November 2017: MobileCaddy Updates for Your Salesforce Mobile Apps

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This November product update highlights some exciting new things our team has added to the MobileCaddy Application Delivery Framework in recent weeks. We’re constantly working hard to improve the experience of delivering Salesforce mobile apps for our clients and partners, and that means keeping the framework evolving and improving. As I do every month, I’ve sat down with Paul, our CTO, Todd, our Chief Mobile Technical Architect, and Frank, our Lead Product Engineer to surface the best bits from the past month. This update will walk you through all the latest aspects of our framework for you to check out.

 

So what’s new with MobileCaddy this month?

 

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How to Master Salesforce Mobile App Distribution with Containerisation Services

As the demand for custom mobile apps continues to skyrocket, it’s becoming easier to meet business requirements by using hybrid apps built with standard web technologies, and using container apps to overcome the challenge of distribution. This article provides an overview of how to easily distribute Salesforce mobile apps across iOS, Android, and Windows 10.

Hybrid Apps Open the Door for Containerisation

There are essentially two different approaches to building mobile apps: native and hybrid. It is important to understand the high-level differences to put this article in context to then see how we can leverage Container Apps to de-skill, de-risk and accelerate our time to market.

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July 2017: What’s New with MobileCaddy and Your Salesforce Mobile Apps

The Latest from the MobileCaddy Product Team - July 2017

One of the most exciting things about our Application Delivery Framework (ADF) is that it’s constantly growing and evolving, to allow our partners and customers to push the boundaries of what can be achieved with mobile apps on the Salesforce platform. As such, it’s vital that we help our community stay abreast of all the new MobileCaddy features and updates as they’re released.

With that in mind,  I’ve decided to record and publish my regular discussions with Paul, our CTO, Todd, our Chief Mobile Technical Architect, and Frank, our Lead Product Engineer. In these sessions we’ll be covering what’s new with MobileCaddy, and will be sharing this with you to provide a first-hand look at everything we’ve been working hard on to improve.

So what’s new with MobileCaddy this month?

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What Data Have Your Mobile Users got on Their Devices?

Visibility is key. When building, testing, and beyond into production, just having insight into what is going on with mobile users who may be thousand of miles away in different time zones, or developers working under pressure to strict deadlines, understanding the actual data which is being processed can be a lifesaver.

For every user/device (or emulated ‘devices’ for developers or testers using a CodeFlow Emulator or a Platform Emulator), you can see exactly what data was requested by each synchronisation, either at a table-by-table or record-by-record level.

To do this, navigate to the Connection Session tab and locate the Connection Session record which pertains to your user/device and for the Mobile Table you want to inspect.

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Working with Salesforce Record Types and Offline Mobile Apps

Due to the fact that Salesforce record type IDs can vary between instances, it’s an important consideration to understand the effect of this on your design, development effort, and the potential failures once the app moves to production. As always with MobileCaddy, our aim is to remove this consideration to allow for more rapid and robust mobile apps.

salesforce-record-types

Salesforce record types

For nearly every object in Salesforce (both standard and custom), you can create multiple record types of the same object. This allows separation of ‘types’ of records. For example, if we had a custom object for ‘assets’ (so Asset__c) we may want to store types of these assets that have shared, similar, and distinctively different attributes.

There’s an excellent video by CertifiedOnDemand which explains the concepts regarding why you would want to use record types, which I’ll refer to here, as our purpose is to look at the implications for our particular use case (here are some Salesforce tips and tricks on record types as well).

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Why Offline First is as much about User Experience as Robustness

woman in the office shakes organizer

More often than not the ability to work offline is the reason using a solution like MobileCaddy is considered.

This is really because no matter how good your app is as we can see from this previous post - if the app stops, so does the business that it supports. And of course this is not acceptable.

This alone should be enough to convince us all that our enterprise apps should always follow the MORE(s) Design specification with Offline First being a fundamental requirement.

However for many Salesforce.com customers that do not have experience of deploying and managing these apps there is another often ignored upside to Offline First. A reason that will have just as much impact on delivering the organisation aspirations.

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MobileCaddy – An Architectural Overview

Because it provides an end-to-end lifecycle solution for mobilising mission critical mobile apps, MobileCaddy has a number of areas of functionality. To help understand where MobileCaddy fits in with your current Salesforce.com setup, and how apps are configured, developed, and deployed to our users, below is a short video giving a high level architectural overview.

 

You’ll see that MobileCaddy is a fully native package that is installed from the AppExchange. Once this is installed it is a matter of point and click to begin to create your first application. This is all in the native Salesforce UI and then lets us select and mobilise our current standard or custom sObjects and fields.

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End of Support for Android OS 4.2 and 4.3 in Winter ‘16 for Salesforce1

winter 16 releaseAt the end of September Salesforce announced the end of support for both Android 4.2 and 4.3 (Jellybean).

Below is the email that was sent out from Salesforce:

As an admin of a Salesforce org, we want to notify you of an important change to the support of Salesforce1 for Android, which your organization has used in the last month.

What is changing?
With our Winter ‘16 release*, Salesforce will no longer support the Android 4.3 operating system (OS) or below for the Salesforce1 application. While you will still be able to use those operating systems with your current version of Salesforce1, support for technical or product issues will no longer be provided by Salesforce and no further development will take place. This means that users will only get Salesforce1 upgrades if they are using Android OS 4.4 or higher, which is a requirement for the latest version of Salesforce1. As a reminder, Android tablets will remain unsupported.

*Currently targeted for October 2015; date subject to change

Why are you doing this? 
As we evaluate which operating systems to support for Salesforce1, we consider which ones will give our customers the best experience. Those assessments allow us to focus our development efforts on features and capabilities that will add the most customer value. To that end, upgrades coming in the Winter ’16 release will require Android OS 4.4 and higher.

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