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Why We Started Blue Canvas

Our CTO, Alex, recently wrote an email to the company as part of our 2021 kickoff. Given that it nicely summarizes so much of what we try to do with our product, we thought it might be nice to share with you all here.

February 3, 2021

All,

When Marc Benioff started Salesforce, there were a lot of CRMs. But none of them fit his vision of a CRM that was a delight to use. More than 20 years, billions in revenue, and hundreds of thousands of jobs created later, I’d say he succeeded.

Why? Along the way, Salesforce stumbled into the creation of a developer platform that was decades ahead of its time. A lot of “innovative” ideas that are catching fire today were actually part of the Salesforce platform back in 2006:  

  • Serverless functions (now attempted by AWS Lambda)
  • Schemaless Databases (MongoDB, CouchDB, etc.)
  • Cloud computing (AWS, Google, Microsoft Azure)

And yet the one thing that’s always been missing is world class developer tooling. Millions of incredibly skilled software developers are stuck using tools like Ant, change sets, or clunky enterprise software. These developers and admins are spending hours a week doing manual tasks like deploying field level security. They spend hours every month using email, spreadsheets, and clunky tooling to communicate about what is going into the next release instead of leveraging slick developer loved workflows like pull requests and code reviews.

Most annoyingly they do not have a delightful developer experience. It’s as if all these Salesforce developers are stuck using Oracle level tooling!

Salesforce DX tried to fix this but it has not lived up to its promise. The tooling feels half baked - everything is command-line oriented and doesn’t fit into Salesforce’s smart “clicks not code” philosophy or DRY principles. Scratch orgs are incompatible with sandboxes and production orgs, defeating their purpose.

An ecosystem of tools has emerged to work on this, but none delivers a truly world class developer experience. They are clunky, manual, and unintuitive. Many are built on first generation technology or on Salesforce itself.

Where is the GitHub for Salesforce devs? Where is the Stripe for Salesforce admins? Where is the tooling that delights users, that makes them excited about their jobs again? At Blue Canvas we believe that Salesforce developers and admins deserve tooling that is:

  1. Fast. It should take seconds to compare code, review and approve code and see what is being worked on.
  2. Intuitive. Admins and devs should both delight in it’s simplicity and grok-ability. A user should become a power user within 15 minutes of using the tool because the complexity is abstracted away. Branching should be easy and actually work with sandbox strategies that admins and developers actually use.
  3. Modern. It should promote best practices. It should actually help teams get to continuous delivery so that their businesses move faster.

How do we do this?

We are still at the beginning of our journey but our Git-oriented solution has us on the path to achieve this level of delight. Our customers seem to agree. Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication in 2020. Let’s go in 2021!

Courage!

Alex Brausewetter

CTO

Blue Canvas

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