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Get Started with Salesforce Mobile SDK

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you'll be able to:

  • Understand the features offered by Salesforce Mobile SDK.
  • Describe the differences between Salesforce App and Salesforce Mobile SDK development.

Introduction to Salesforce Mobile SDK Development

In a short time, mobile devices have become indispensable to our personal and professional lives. People of every stripe create and consume data on an ever-increasing variety of connected devices. Workers use smart devices to stay in touch with each other, make deals with customers, and engage the public on social networks.

To meet the challenge of running businesses on mobile devices, Salesforce provides the Lightning Platform. This platform guarantees enterprise-grade reliability, availability, and security across a wide range of mobile technology.

Lightning Platform offers many options for building and deploying mobile applications. The two most basic and comprehensive of these options are the Salesforce Application and Salesforce Mobile SDK.

  • The Salesforce app, available on Apple App Store and Google Play Store, is the fastest way for Salesforce administrators and developers to deliver apps for employees. It offers simple point-and-click tools for administrators and the Lightning web development platform for advanced developers. This trail doesn’t address development on the Salesforce app.
  • Salesforce Mobile SDK gives developers the tools to build mobile applications with customized user experiences. Mobile SDK lets you produce stand-alone custom apps that you distribute through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. These apps can target employees, customers, or partners. You can choose native or web technologies to build these apps while enjoying the same grade of reliability and security found in the Salesforce app.

In this module, you’ll get started with Mobile SDK app development.

Mobile SDK harnesses platform technology for a complete mobile development experience. Its modular architecture provides features and services such as:

  • Enterprise Identity & Security—Mobile SDK includes a complete implementation of Salesforce Connected App Policy, so that all users can access their data securely and easily. It supports SAML and advanced authentication flows so that administrators always have full control over data access.
  • SmartStore Encrypted Database—Mobile databases are useful for building highly responsive apps that also work in any network condition. SmartStore provides an easy way to store and retrieve data locally while supporting a flexible data model. It also uses AES-256 encryption to ensure that your data is always protected.
  • Mobile Sync—Mobile Sync provides a simple API for synchronizing data between your offline database and the Salesforce cloud. With Mobile Sync, developers can focus on the UI and business logic of their application while leaving the complex synchronization logic to Mobile SDK.
  • Mobile Services—Mobile SDK supports a wide range of platform mobile services, including push notifications, geolocation, analytics, collaboration tools, and business logic in the cloud. These services can supercharge your mobile application and also reduce development time.
  • Salesforce Experience Cloud Sites—With Salesforce Experience Cloud Sites and Mobile SDK, developers can build mobile applications that target their customers and partners. These applications benefit from the same enterprise features and reliability as employee apps.
  • iOS and Android—Mobile SDK supports development on the two dominant mobile operating systems.

About Native App Development

Salesforce Mobile SDK lets you develop native apps on iOS and Android. You build Mobile SDK native apps using the mobile platform’s development tools and languages. For example, you can develop iOS apps in Xcode using Swift or Objective-C. Native apps offer maximum performance and full support of OS and device features.

Access to Device Features

Native apps enjoy direct access to features such as

  • Fast graphics API—This feature matters most when, for example, you’re using large quantities of data and require a fast refresh.
  • Fluid animation—Fast graphics produce fluid animations. Top quality animation is essential in gaming, highly interactive reporting, and apps that transform photos and sounds.
  • Built-in components—The camera, address book, geolocation, and other features native to the device can be seamlessly integrated into mobile apps. Another important built-in component of the native OS is encrypted storage—more about that later.
  • Ease of use—Customers gravitate to the performance and “look and feel” of native apps. When you add in the device features they expect, your app becomes that much easier to use.

Powerful Development Tools

Native app development requires an integrated development environment (IDE). IDEs provide tools for building, debugging, project management, version control, and other professional development requirements. Mobile SDK supports Xcode for iOS development, and Android Studio for Android development. In these environments, developers enjoy the benefits of
  • Proven APIs and frameworks
  • Painless visual effects through established frameworks and components
  • Professional debugging technology
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