After two years in development, Salesforce launches its web-based IDE in beta

Regular TechCrunch readers might recall that, roughly two years ago (in June 2020), Salesforce made waves with the announcement of Code Builder, a web-based integrated development environment (IDE) modeled after GitHub Codespaces. Mum had been the word since then, but today, Salesforce unceremoniously dropped the beta for Code Builder, which the company describes in a blog post as having evolved into “a development environment optimized for Salesforce.”

As promised several summers ago, Code Builder — powered by Amazon Web Services — allows developers to launch an IDE in their browser from within their Salesforce organization. In addition to features like code completion, search, and refactoring, Code Builder ships with support for Salesforce frameworks and comes preinstalled with tooling including Salesforce Extensions.

Predictably, Code Builder plays nicely with Salesforce-developed programming languages including Apex and Lightning Web Components, offering autocomplete for all of them. (Apex is commonly used to build software-as-a-service apps on top of Salesforce’s CRM platforms, while Lightning Web Components are custom web elements built using HTML and JavaScript.) With the IDE, developers can test and deploy changes to Apex classes and Lightning Web Components or build and run a Salesforce Object Query Language query to search an organization’s Salesforce data for specific information.

As one might expect, Code Builder also has built-in integration with version control systems like GitHub.

GitHub Code Builder

Image Credits: Salesforce

“Code Builder comes with the same set of extensions as in the Salesforce Extensions pack for Visual Studio Code, and the look and feel is similar to the Visual Studio Code User Interface,” Mohith Shrivastava, lead developer advocate at Salesforce, said in the aforementioned blog post. “So if you are a Visual Studio Code user and have used our tools like the Salesforce Extensions pack, you should feel at home.”

A few words of warning before you give Code Builder a spin: Salesforce is capping usage at 20 hours for a maximum of 30 days for the duration of the beta. To be saved, changes must be deployed to an org or committed to source control. Salesforce also makes no promise that Code Builder environments won’t be deleted without warning, and it says it’ll remove all beta environments sometime before Code Builder reaches general availability.

Lest the launch of Code Builder be interpreted as Salesforce transitioning away from desktop IDEs, the company strongly assures that this isn’t the case. “Our strategy is to have one set of IDE extensions that customers can access from either [Microsoft Visual Studio Code] or Code Builder,” Shrivastava continued. “Hence, we will continue to build and maintain the Salesforce Extensions pack to support both VS Code on desktop and Code Builder in the browser.”

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