Salesforce Extension Pack Review: Breakthrough Tool Needs Improvement - Keenan Vision Podcast 002

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This is an abridged version of a full review video that shows me using the product: https://youtu.be/sInYK7yCfxU

Read the review: https://salesforcedevops.net/index.php/2021/06/30/salesforce-extension-pack-review-breakthrough-tool-needs-improvement/

Before Visual Studio Code (VS Code) from Microsoft became the preferred integrated developer environment (IDE) for Salesforce, developers struggled with Java-based Eclipse because it was the only supported IDE. Now, in 2021 this has all changed with VS Code plus Salesforce Extension Pack integrated with command line utilities resulting in much faster Salesforce devops pipelines.

To help spread the word about this fantastic development, and to chime in with my comments and observations about the current state of the product, here is my detailed review of Salesforce Extension Pack for VS Code. You can check out my video review here

Salesforce Bridges the Gap with Salesforce Extension Pack and SFDX-CLI

SFDX-CLI is the key architectural component that connects simple scripting capabilities with many crucial metadata API and DML functions of Salesforce. Introduced in late 2017, SFDX-CLI plus VS Code integration provides a key touchpoint between the open source devops world and the Salesforce platform.

SFDX-CLI gives devops engineers a scriptable interface to a Salesforce org, which enables the orchestration of devops pipelines. Now, by marrying SFDX-CLI with the most popular interactive developer environment (IDE), Salesforce Extension Pack delivers a powerful and extensible working environment for Salesforce developers.

Salesforce Extension Pack Components

The Salesforce Extension Pack is a collection of eight separate VS Code extensions, which should be installed together by first installing the extension pack.

Apex: The Apex Language Server

Salesforce CLI Integration

Lightning Web Components

Apex Interactive Debugger

Aura Components

SLDS Validator: The Salesforce Lightning Design System Validator

Apex Replay Debugger

I will cover the most used parts of the Pack for back-end development, which are Apex, SFDX-CLI integration, and the Apex Replay Debugger. One component, the Apex Interactive Debugger, only applies to partners and is not used by most developers.

Conclusions

Salesforce Extension Pack delivers on its promise to augment VS Code, which makes it a powerful and productive platform for day-to-day Salesforce developer activities. With Salesforce Extension Pack installed, using VS Code and Salesforce CLI (SFDX-CLI) dramatically increases a developer’s productivity when compared to using Eclipse or the Developer Console.

There is still plenty to improve upon, such as the awkward installation procedure and other glitches that can turn into showstoppers. I wish that Apex language server were more lightweight, and that Java was not needed as well. And please slow down with all the versions!

Despite any ratings or other reservations, I wholeheartedly recommend that all new and existing Salesforce developers immediately adopt the best, free Salesforce development system available. Hopefully by seeing how using these tools improve the daily workflow of a Salesforce developer, you and your team members will be inspired to make the leap to the future today.

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