Looking at future through Force.com Canvas window

Technology is transforming fast and we see how businesses make our lives easier day by day. In a single night, technology is never same again. Salesforce Identity and Force.com canvas were one of best features that were announced to the whole world at Dreamforce in 2012. Salesforce Identity made services and apps to use Salesforce as authorization provider for other services. The concept of OAuth (Open Authorization) was really getting its importance in building authorization patterns for apps. The greatest challenge that Salesforce faced was in bringing the existing web applications developed using different technologies running in servers and leverage their functionalities instead of re-writing the application logic in Salesforce environment.

Security plays a key role when a feature has to be developed in Salesforce platform that does safer data exchange in and out of the web application to Salesforce. With Salesforce Identity and the logic of HTML iframe, Salesforce came up with the concept of Force.com Canvas that enables organizations to run external apps inside Salesforce.

This was a great success for Salesforce.com

Force.com Canvas came as pilot version in Winter ‘13 release of Salesforce.

Force.com Canvas window

Let’s peep inside Force.com Canvas to see its advantages

Start combining apps

With application architecture running on industry authorization standards, organizations can bring in the power of third party applications like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google etc and frame content that takes data from all these applications and services. With Force.com Canvas, you actually empower your organization with the latest and powerful content.

Transform Ghost Town apps into powerful apps

Ghost Town apps are those that run on legacy systems and are used by some business processes in an organization. Since these apps are critical, they can’t be replaced but need to be brought into modern technology platform with very minimal coding effort. Force.com canvas makes these legacy applications run inside Salesforce and stream data in and out of the system. This makes the legacy systems more powerful when plugged to modern technologies like Salesforce.

Grey Space Innovation

When different apps get together in Force.com Canvas, the focus now shifts in creation better customization over the combined output of these apps. The intersection area of innovation popularly known as “Grey Space” becomes the central point for businesses in creating more opportunities and enhancements to make technology accelerate like anything.
So many integrations on Cloud! Do you think it should be tough to accomplish?

Excuse me. I bet you might judge it wrong looking at so many integrations and technologies.

Salesforce puts a very simple pre-requisite for your external application to get started running inside Force.com Canvas.
“Your web application should be running on https endpoint and should use either Signed Request/OAuth authorization principles.”

That’s it. No matter what technology your application runs on. No matter what servers does it run on. No matter if your application is open source or non-open source. No matter if the earth spins from left or right, your application will run if this one condition is met.

What if I don’t have an existing application, is Force.com Canvas still an option to choose?

Yes. Force.com Canvas still is your choice. You can develop applications using quick start templates and push the application code to Heroku (Salesforce platform for open source apps). You can take the application code to your development environment via GitHub, make necessary changes to the code and commit it back to Heroku. From that moment, all the code changes that were committed would reflect on the Canvas app running in Salesforce.

Author : Abhishek Subramanian Date : 01 Mar 2013