Pic courtesy Salesforce
Talks like this from the ISV team are really handy, though I think it will take more (at least more time) for partners to really start rolling Lightning into their current offerings, especially when there are still some elements that are’t available through Lightning yet (and no concrete ETAs, either).
From a mobile perspective, the drive to Lightning may smooth the road to getting apps to fit well with Salesforce1, though of course they will then be subject to the constraints that come with it. Applications that still require advanced features, such as a fully customised UI, or full offline support, need to be built outside of Salesforce1. If your app has the requirements then MobileCaddy is the answer for you.
Lightning Connect Int. with OData Services – Marc Paris
Marc is a Technical Architect at Cognizant and kicked off a passionate talk on Lightning Connect. He talked about how and when it can be used to pull external data into the Salesforce UI.
Lightning Connect was launched towards the end of 2014, but I hadn’t really seen it in action – or maybe I had, and I wasn’t aware of what was happening under the hood, but I suppose that’s its beauty, right?
Lightning Connect can be used to connect in these scenarios;
- Lightning Connect ←→ Lightning Connect – for inter-org communication
- Lightning Connect ← → oData Service
- Lightning Connect ← → Custom Adapter
Marc took us through a demo of the second option, where he had a basic oData service running using the Apache olingo project. He showed us how, through config, the connection could be added, and how Salesforce would use the web service to discover the objects available. Lightning Connect can support the following features, as long as the backend service does likewise;
- Create, Read, Update, Delete
- Inter-object Relationships
- Integration with Global Search.
His demo included querying the REST API in a basic manner, as well as using page layouts to filter the data that is requested from the source. He also showed us basic update and delete flows too… it all seems very powerful.
£33k per external source, wowee! – Todd Halfpenny 2014
The power though does come at a cost, currently £33,000 per external data source… a price tag though that may well put a big-ol-hole in a lot of business plans.
It’s interesting to think that through the use of Lightning Connect that no data is stored on SFDC itself, and that it is all pulled/pushed in real-time to and from the external data source. Whether this helps with any data residency restrictions is, of course, another topic altogether. In the questions that followed Marc’s talk the mention of PCI was also raised, but it seemed we all agreed that internal logs may also contain data, so this would need further investigation.
I will post a link to Marc’s slides once I have it.
Initial thanks, as always, go to the organising crew, and especially to Anup as he was the only one able to make this outing. And thanks to must go to Cognizant who sourced the venue, beers, and pizza (and chocolate snacks too).
Lightning isn’t going to go away, but the path for ISVs is a long one, and one that is going to need investment. With regards to Lightning and fully offline, robust mobile apps, there are still several gaps to be filled. For these reasons it’s not currently our go-to framework; it does not, at the current time, lend itself to the control and extensibility needed to support mobile apps that fulfil parts of critical business processes. Performance issues are another reason that, at present, we are steering our partners and clients to alternative such as Ionic, though of course we hope that this will change in future.
And as for Lightning Connect, I have so many ideas on how it could be used, I just don’t have pockets deep enough.