Back in 2022, Salesforce revealed Code Builder – a web-based development environment fully optimized for Salesforce development and powered by Microsoft’s Visual Studio Codespaces. Since then it has been in beta for developers to try out. That is, until now…
Today, Salesforce have officially announced that Code Builder is now Generally Available. In this post, I’ll take you through what Code Builder is, what you can do with it, how to install, and the differences between the beta and GA versions.
What is Code Builder?
Salesforce Code Builder is an online development tool designed to enhance coding for the Salesforce platform. It’s like an internet-based version of Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code, making it easy for those already familiar with VS Code to use.
It’s a fresh, open, and adaptable development toolset that’s been integrated into a new web-based environment (IDE). This means that developers, administrators, and architects can enhance their productivity and creativity by accessing the latest Salesforce development tools.
It also includes AI that can turn natural language into code, and developer extensions available on the Open VSX marketplace, allowing you to easily customize your CRM right from your web browser.
What Can I Do With Code Builder?
Salesforce Code Builder empowers developers, administrators, and architects in the following ways:
- Easy Customization: It allows you to start customizing Salesforce right from your web browser with just a few clicks. You can deploy a web-based integrated development environment (IDE) loaded with Salesforce extensions, CLI tools, programming languages. Plus frameworks like Lightning Web Components, Apex, SOQL queries, and more. No need for installation, configuration, or updates to access these features.
- Speedy Development with AI: Developers can accelerate their coding tasks using generative AI powered by Einstein for Developers. This AI helps you code faster, increase productivity, and perform tasks like generating, testing, debugging, and refactoring code. Einstein for Developers is tailored for Salesforce languages and frameworks and is available through a separate extension.
- Flexibility and Familiarity: Code Builder provides flexibility by allowing developers to customize it with third-party extensions from the Open VSX marketplace. This marketplace is a community-driven platform for sharing and using VS Code extensions, enabling you to create a feature-rich IDE experience that supports DevOps workflows and source-driven development.
Installing Code Builder
- From Setup, enter “Code Builder” in the quick find box, then select Code Builder.
- Enable Code Builder, and then review and accept the license agreement, which allows you to install the package.You can disable the preference at any time. If Code Builder is already installed, disabling the preference prevents access to the Code Builder application.
- Click Install Package. After the installer launches, you’re guided through the installation process to install the latest version of the Code Builder managed package. You can come back to this Setup page to reinstall or upgrade the package.
- Select Install for All Users, and then click Install.
- Approve third-party access and click Continue.
When the installation is complete, you receive a confirmation email. You can confirm the installation on the Installed Packages Setup page.
From Setup, enter “Installed Packages” in the quick find box, then select Installed Packages. You see an entry for Code Builder that looks something like this (below). If you get the message that the app is taking a long time to install, you will automatically get redirected to this page after you click Done.
Einstein for Developers
Released in beta for VS Code back in September during Dreamforce, Einstein for Developers is a generative AI coding tool built exclusively for Salesforce-specific coding languages. It has been built using CodeGen, Salesforce’s open-source Large Language Model (LLM), turning simple English prompts into executable code.
Now Code Builder users can join the party, as this has now been rolled out to Code Builder as well as VS Code! Simply install it via the extensions tab to take advantage of Einstein for Developers right in Code Builder.
Code Builder is accessible in various Salesforce editions, including Lightning Experience in Enterprise, Performance, Professional, and Unlimited Editions.
However, it’s not available in the EU Operating Zone, which is a specialized paid service offering data residency commitments. Code Builder is supported in European Union organizations that are not part of the EU Operating Zone, following standard product terms and conditions.
Beta vs. GA
The main difference between the beta version of Code Builder and the GA version is the Salesforce editions it could be installed in. The beta version could be found in the AppExchange and installed in any environment.
This is not the case with the GA version, and you can now only install it in certain editions of Salesforce. The biggest absence for me was the inability to install it in my developer org, which is where a lot of developers start building. Hopefully, this is something that comes back to being available for developer orgs in the not-too-distant future.
In essence, Code Builder simplifies the beginning of Salesforce development. It offers a pre-configured coding environment within your web browser, complete with Salesforce extensions, CLI, and workflows. This means you can start being productive right away without the need for intricate setup processes.
If you have one of the required Salesforce editions, I would definitely encourage you to try this exciting new tool out.