Heroku and Salesforce: All You Need to Know in 2021
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Heroku is the leading tool for creating customer-centric apps connected to the data in your Salesforce CRM. Heroku was recently acquired by Salesforce in a move that solidified Salesforce’s market-leading role in the CRM world and also vastly increased the app and data possibilities for its clients.
The acquisition of Heroku happened at a time when Salesforce was heavily investing in promising new software. With every new acquisition, the value of the Salesforce market and the value of Salesforce to its clients increases.
The takeover, explained here on TechCrunch, signified the value that Salesforce believes using Heroku can add to a business’s workflow. Salesforce understands the importance of integrating CRM data directly with front-facing customer services, and absorbing Heroku ensures that they can offer businesses a secure and effective way of doing this without the added complexity of integration.
Now, as Salesforce and Heroku are so effectively linked, the experience of using the two in conjunction with each other has never been simpler, smoother, or easier.
When And Why Use Heroku?
The focus with apps is on streamlining the communication between your business’s systems, whether that’s front-facing customer interfaces or behind-the-scenes databases. Apps produced on Heroku can connect systems and programmes together that are not naturally compatible, allowing you to bypass the limitations imposed by the architecture of Salesforce itself.
With Heroku, developers can work in their preferred programming language on a platform that has a ready-built infrastructure. Developers are no longer required to develop that infrastructure first, which is a time-intensive process. Heroku provides around-the-clock maintenance, patching, and support, meaning that your developers do not have to be on-call to resolve issues.
With all of this and more in place, your developers can concentrate on developing those business-critical apps that will revolutionise your business processes.
5 Benefits of Using Heroku with Salesforce
Heroku can provide many valuable benefits to help businesses scale up their app development and data management, providing a full-cycle CRM that manages everything from customer interaction, marketing, app-testing, and data control. The key benefits can be grouped into five main areas: developer experience, data management, add-ons, scalability, and security.
Improved Developer Experience
One of Heroku’s aims is to make the processes behind building apps as simple as possible, reducing the time it takes to bring the app to life, freeing up more of your developer’s time for coming up with those all-important problem-solving ideas. Ultimately, the easier the development experience is, the more enjoyable the process of creating an app is, and the better your final product is likely to be.
Services such as Heroku Runtime ensure that every aspect that is critical for smooth app functioning and production is handled by the Heroku team, including configuration, logging, failovers, and security. This means that once your app is up and running, it’ll stay that way.
Data and Apps Together
Though the main draw of Heroku is its app-developing capabilities, Heroku is also great for managing data. It provides fully scalable options for your databases that are ready to use in conjunction with your app. Rather than having to develop data storage infrastructure from scratch in order to derive insights, developers have access to Heroku Postgres, Heroku Redis, and Apache Kafka to answer these questions from the very beginning.
Heroku Postgres - This is the most advanced open-source database of its kind. It is fully optimised for developers, allowing them to build data-driven apps while being guided by the expert knowledge and teams that Heroku has to offer. Postgres has been running on the cloud for over 12 years, and comes with around-the-clock maintenance, a scaling system that responds automatically to fluctuations in your app traffic, accessible insights and analytics based on safe experimentation and alternative use cases, and strict data protection and security measures, including the option to use your own encryption key.
Heroku Redis - This is the most popular in-memory, key-value data store available. The focus of Redis is to improve both the experience of the developer and his access to valuable insights. Redis connects and configures using the powerful Heroku command line interface (CLI), specially designed for easy use. Performance analytics are displayed in a very visual way, helping developers instantly access and respond to data trends. Factors such as ‘active connections’ and ‘number of calls per command’ are plotted side-by-side on an easy-to-read graph.
Apache Kafka - Apache Kafka is a middleware tool that provides a communication network between the actions of those interacting with your app and your real-time insights. The pull-based model completely turns traditional push notifications on their head. It allows you to draw, log, and direct event information as it happens, putting the control back in your hands. Events of all sizes taking place in your app can be tracked and presented in a real-time stream, helping you gain valuable insights into customer habits. From an easy-to-use CLI, you can add new topics, create new partitions, and manage your data log and key metrics, giving you the power to divide and direct instances as you see fit.
175 Available Add-Ons
With over 175 available add-ons to personalise your development system and your app, Heroku offers an almost endless combination of possibilities. With so many trusted tools available, developers can reliably acquire the functionality they need and build better apps, faster. Each add-on is fully managed by an expert Heroku team, giving you all the advice and guidance you could need to get the most out of its capabilities. As each add-on has been specially designed for Heroku, integration is quick and simple, and they can be easily scaled as app use grows.
Add-ons provide a huge range of services, including uptime alerts, automatic backups, and instant data access.
One of the key benefits of the Salesforce takeover of Heroku is the fact that they are both now fully integrated with one another. Configuration requires very little input from developers, and the two systems are guaranteed to work seamlessly to inform and improve one another. Whatever the size of your business, apps designed with Heroku are easy to scale. At every step, from your chosen database to the specific portfolio of add-ons you have chosen to implement, your app and Salesforce CRM are fully scalable at just the click of a button. All data will be synchronised across both platforms, and the actions taken on your app will be automatically added into your CRM, enabling you to go beyond the standardised data architecture of Salesforce. As your business grows, these capabilities and associated memory will grow with it, and your new teams, as they adapt, will be added into this shared resource. Once you have outgrown your current platform, advanced features can be quickly and easily added to improve performance.
Implementing your own security protocols can be difficult when creating an app. It’s a part of development that your developer would rather not focus on when devising an app that ticks every box for the business.
When you develop with Heroku, the security is dealt with for you. Heroku provides continuous threat monitoring, automatic vulnerability patching for the operating system, and ops throughout the day. For example:
- Smart containers called dynos mean that your apps are kept secure, but also ensures they can be easily monitored and quickly upgraded by the Heroku team
- Features such as code and data rollback allow you to restore a previous version if problems occur
- Heroku’s secure Data Clips keep everyone on the team informed with up-to-the-second insights, without compromising security
- At Enterprise level, Private Spaces provide dedicated runtime environments that are network isolated, for optimised power and performance
Most Common Heroku Uses
Heroku can be used in a number of different ways, but there are 4 common uses that appeal to a range of business types.
Middleware connects isolated systems together, such as websites and payment systems, or website forms and databases. Middleware apps can provide services such as single sign-on, in-memory caching, and messaging tools, as well as transform your legacy applications into cloud-based applications that will stand the test of time. Like Apache Kafka, you can also use middleware to produce real-time data streaming. Altogether, this provides a unique opportunity to bypass the complexities of different systems in a cost-effective way that will continue to work every single time it is deployed.
With Heroku, you can build middleware apps that run on a predetermined schedule to pull specific data from an external system into your Salesforce CRM. The flexibility of the coding language used in Heroku ensures that it is possible to build a bridge between two separate systems with ease.
Enterprise-level businesses will require exceptional data storage capabilities, beyond that which out-of-the-box Salesforce can offer. Old contact records that are no longer used regularly can be exported to external databases and then called upon when needed. Heroku Postgres provides a database that can be accessed from anywhere using a unique URL, and is secured with trusted IP ranges. One major benefit of Postgres is the automated backup service that can be activated from your Heroku app. With Postgres, you are able to free-up space on your Salesforce CRM, back up valuable historic data, and access the data at a later date from anywhere using the seamless data synchronisation tools of Heroku Connect.
Salesforce Continuous Integration Implementation
Continuous Integration (CI) in Salesforce simply means ensuring any new code that is introduced into the system doesn’t bring with it dangerous bugs. With Heroku Flow, you can use Heroku CI in conjunction with Heroku Pipelines, Review Apps, and GitHub to do just that. When you deploy your app to GitHub, Heroku CI duplicates it as a disposable review app within a staging or production environment so that new features can be tested. Tests are run automatically, and any issues or bugs are highlighted to the developer before they can be experienced by the user. Once solved, the test can be automatically re-run until full functionality is achieved, and the app updates can be made live.
Complex Salesforce Functions
Some functionalities are not supported by Salesforce, such as connections with FTP servers, sending and receiving big (more than 12MB) documents with Apex, time-tracking, and custom branded web forms, so require an external app to do so. This app can be custom-built on Heroku by either your developers or those at Magicforce and connected to Salesforce with an API.
The team at Magicforce has built countless apps using Heroku, and so is familiar with the different possibilities and add-ons available to your business.
For detailed advice on how to get your business set up on Heroku, how to integrate Heroku with your Salesforce ecosystem, and how to begin creating those apps that will revolutionise the way Salesforce works for you, contact us here.