Salesforce development trends in 2024

TrailblazerDX is a prominent occasion marked on the Salesforce calendar for new, seasoned, and upcoming Trailblazers. It truly is a flagship Salesforce event.

  • Published 15 Mar 2024
  • 15 mins read
Salesforce development trends in 2024
Table of contents

Hutte Expert Panel

Harald Mayer
Harald Mayer
Hutte CEO & Founder
Harald is the Co-Founder of Hutte, bringing his vision of no-code DevOps to life. His passion enables teams and individuals to focus on what matters most – bringing value to the users they build for.
Matthias Rolke
Matthias Rolke
Freelance DevOps Consultant
Matthias is a freelance DevOps consultant for the Salesforce platform and an advisor for Hutte. He loves open-source software and maintains a few SFDX-related tools.
Article Highlights
  • Salesforce introduced Einstein GPT, an AI solution for CRM that automates content generation within the Salesforce platform, enhancing efficiency and productivity.
  • The new DevOps Center offers a unified configuration and codebase for both low-code and pro-code development teams, promoting collaboration and best practices in release management.
  • Salesforce launched Trailhead Coach to provide guided learning pathways, free certification exams, and job interview opportunities, addressing the need for upskilling in the Salesforce ecosystem.

It unites ‘builders,’ such as admins, developers, architects, and other professionals, motivating them to revolutionize their respective businesses using the Salesforce platform.

This year's event took place from March 7 to 8, 2023, at the Moscone West Convention Center in the hustle and bustle of downtown San Francisco.

At TrailblazerDX, the focus is on Salesforce's more technical facets, often involving in-depth exploration of features, product demonstrations, product development roadmaps, and exciting announcements.

Our Co-Founder and CPO – Harald Mayer – was in the front row of some of's main keynotes of TrailblazerDX 2023. So, let’s look at some of the biggest Salesforce development trends he learned about.

The launch of Einstein GPT in response to automation

Image Source: Einstein GPT

Salesforce has introduced Einstein GPT, an advanced solution that offers auto-generated artificial intelligence (AI) content directly within the Salesforce platform. Einstein GPT is a game-changing CRM for Salesforce users as it puts the ever-growing development trend of automation directly into the hands of teams.

It automates and supports several use cases, such as:

  • Slack
  • Sales
  • Service
  • Marketing
  • Commerce
  • App builders.

During the keynote at Trailblazer, Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI and vendor of ChatGPT, expressed his support for the new technology. In addition, OpenAI and Slack unveiled a new service that is distinct from Einstein GPT.

Einstein is regarded as the most potent and intelligent generative CRM globally. It is powered by public and private AI models infused with CRM data, allowing users to ask natural-language prompts within Salesforce CRM.

The use of AI in the Salesforce ecosystem is crucial as it creates a space where teams can generate AI-generated content. This content is continuously updated to adapt to changing customer information and needs, thus saving considerable time.

The tool aims to put Salesforce users in the middle by leveraging technology to help teams do their jobs more efficiently.

Salesforce develops private AI models, which organizations can leverage through the features of the Einstein technology layer.

Thanks to Salesforce's partnership with OpenAI, OpenAI's ChatGPT is also integrated into Einstein GPT. This gives teams out-of-the-box generative AI capabilities through direct access to OpenAI's enterprise-grade ChatGPT technology.

Moreover, Einstein GPT is open and extensible, enabling users to use it with external models. Data is fed into these models in real time from the Salesforce ‘cloud’ and the Salesforce Data Cloud (previously known as Genie) to ingest, harmonize, and unify all of your company's customer data.

Einstein GPT promises to make Salesforce more productive for your team and enhance every customer's experience by delivering auto-generated AI content within the Salesforce platform.

Salesforce doubles down on Git-Based development

Image Source: Salesforce

Git-based development is becoming mainstream with the introduction of Salesforce’s DevOps Center. There has been a lot of interest in the Salesforce DevOps Center, particularly among newer Trailblazers, admins, and Flow users.

The Salesforce DevOps Center serves as a central hub for release management, providing both low-code and pro-code development teams with a unified configuration and codebase, thereby fostering closer collaboration.

While using the benefits of version control for handling Salesforce metadata isn’t new, it was only with the arrival of Salesforce DX, scratch orgs, and second-generation managed packages (2GP) that it saw more traction within the Salesforce ecosystem.

Working Git-based development opens the door for all kinds of automation, such as running automated code quality checks, executing test automation (on the front end or by conducting unit tests), and automating the deployment.
Harald Mayer
Hutte CEO & Founder

Its point-and-click interface replaces change sets and enables effortless deployment of changes.

Furthermore, the DevOps Center is offered free of charge to all Salesforce clients, demonstrating Salesforce's commitment to aiding organizations in implementing DevOps best practices, such as managing releases, user stories, pipelines, work items, and source control.

The Salesforce DevOps Center fosters a closer relationship between declarative, low-code, no-code developers (and admins) and pro-code developers, allowing them to collaborate more effectively and apply DevOps best practices while working with a unified set of configuration and code.

This promotes greater compatibility and collaboration across all functions, including:

  • Admins
  • Developers
  • Release managers
  • Business stakeholders.
According to Karen Fidelak, the Product Manager of the Salesforce DevOps Center, the platform is geared towards introducing DevOps best practices to the entire community, regardless of their position on the low-code to pro-code spectrum.

The platform aims to drive modern best practices, such as source control, into the deployment approach.

Traditionally, pro-code developers have been comfortable using command-line interfaces (CLI) and writing scripts to commit changes to source control systems like GitHub.

The DevOps Center extends the same power to admins, allowing them to leverage the benefits of source control without being burdened by the complexities of GitHub through an easy-to-use declarative UI.

Although adopting the DevOps Center may entail changes in the way admins develop straight into production or use change sets to move metadata changes between sandboxes and production, using the DevOps Center or other products that support Git-based development—like Hutte—has enormous benefits.

It's important to note that Salesforce has improved its offering in terms of application lifecycle management and deployment support, but it has still left many vital gaps for the ecosystem of Salesforce DevOps solutions to close.

Fidelak shared several items on the DevOps Center roadmap. These included:

  • The CLI plugin is set to be released in Spring 2023
  • Bitbucket integration is to be available in GA during Summer 23
  • Non-happy paths are planned to be in GA also during Summer 23
  • Data model and UI customization are scheduled for Spring 2024
  • Jira integration is set to be in GA by Spring 2024.
In addition, metadata management was discussed during the customer feedback session True to The Core. Fidelak encouraged her fellow Salesforce product managers to develop products that work seamlessly with the existing metadata system.

Strong partnerships remain at the forefront

Image Source: AppExchange

Salesforce is credited with advancing and popularizing the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model more than any other enterprise IT company. However, it has always relied on partnerships to succeed.

By broadening the reach of its products and integrating them more deeply into users' essential business processes, AppExchange helped cement Salesforce's position as a leading provider of sales management software.

Despite its declining prominence as Salesforce has expanded, partnering with AppExchange remains a crucial trend for independent software vendors (ISVs) seeking to access the customer base of one of the most prominent names in enterprise software.

With Salesforce Data Cloud, it will rely heavily on the thriving community of app developers it has spent the last 20 years cultivating through AppExchange.

However, with many emerging marketplaces to collaborate with and increasing exasperation from ISVs struggling to differentiate themselves in Salesforce's competitive ecosystem, Salesforce shows a firm commitment to the partner ecosystem and the AppExchange platform.

Their goal is to give the marketplace the attention it deserves by delivering and announcing needed innovations.

Innovations include revamping and upgrading security and UI to make it more user-friendly for ISVs.

Flo The Automation Flying Squirrel

Image Source: Salesforce

The latest addition to the Salesforce characters is Flo, who, according to its creators, has everything to do with a flying squirrel. Flo represents Salesforce's automation for its users, Salesforce Flow, and shares similar traits to Salesforce teams—agile, hard-working, and always ready to reach new heights.

Yvette Henderson, Senior Project Manager for Salesforce, shared that the team gave a tech product a real-life persona. Samantha Mannis, Copywriter for the creative team, added that they are linking an actual product to real-world characteristics.

Project Manager Kate Davis shared that Flo was carefully selected to represent the trend of automation, embodying the concept of taking swift action and delivering repeatable results.

Companies of all sizes use automation to streamline teamwork and achieve more with fewer resources. This trend is expected to continue growing, with Salesforce reporting that 91% of organizations are experiencing increased automation demands, and nearly three-quarters are using automated workflows to enhance customer experiences. 

Furthermore, nine out of ten employees report to Salesforce that automation improves their job satisfaction and work-life balance, leading to higher retention rates and less turnover.

With automation, teams can communicate and collaborate more effectively, maximizing their digital environment. Flo simplifies automation and helps businesses develop a unified, productive community.

Automation, like squirrels, is the glue across departments, bringing teams closer together and allowing them to work more efficiently. Introducing automation increases collaboration satisfaction by 90%, which is truly impressive.

Flow templates aid automation

Image Source: Salesforce

Salesforce has also announced that more than 900 out-of-the-box Flow templates are available, which can help you build and automate faster. This, like the introduction of Flo, appeals to the rising trend and need for automation within Salesforce.

As an added benefit, these templates follow best practices and streamline business processes, making it easier for your team to get started.

Salesforce integration user licenses addressed

Image Source: Salesforce

The trend of free user licenses has been circulating as Trailblazer community members and members in other Salesforce groups have expressed their concerns over it.  

That is why during TrailblazerDX's True to the Core session, it was announced that Salesforce Integration User Licenses would be free. The issue of API-only licenses being cost-prohibitive was raised in a previous True to the Core session. 

While having a license per API and integration is best practice, the cost of licenses makes it challenging to purchase licenses for various APIs and integrations.

Enterprise, Performance, and Unlimited edition orgs will receive five free Salesforce Integration User Licenses, with additional licenses billed at $10 each. This news is fantastic for organizations and teams looking to enhance their control and visibility over each API.

The founder of Salesforce, Parker Harris, also made a clear statement that Salesforce’s core values are to continue supporting NGOs (especially when it comes to licenses).

Trailhead Coach appeals to the need for upskilling

Image Source: Trailhead

Salesforce has launched Trailhead Coach to equip teams needing guided paths regarding personalized learning. This is in response to the development trend of upskilling Salesforce users to operate the platform in both code and no-code environments.

Trailhead Coach has insightful content, free certification exams, and automatic access to job interviews with Salesforce customers and partners.

This initiative aims to prepare job seekers for new careers and provide companies with qualified talent, thus furthering Salesforce's efforts to close the digital skills gap.

With Trailhead Coach, anyone pursuing a career in the Salesforce ecosystem can access a free, skills-based learning path that culminates in automatic job interviews. This is crucial as 75% of businesses report difficulties recruiting qualified talent.

By 2026, the Salesforce economy alone is expected to create 9.3 million new jobs, with Salesforce customers and partners requiring skilled talent for their digital transformations. 

At the same time, job seekers require opportunities like Trailhead Coach to develop new skills and gain experience for future in-demand jobs. As the digital-first world continues to evolve, reskilling has become crucial.

“We take pride in leading the charge to bridge the skills gap and empower the next generation of Salesforce talent to drive success in their organizations.” Ann Weeby, SVP of Trailhead at Salesforce, expressed.

Over five million Trailblazers have used the platform to enhance their careers by learning about AI, automation, data literacy, and other relevant topics.

Trailhead Coach builds on Trailhead's success by providing a structured pathway for those seeking a career in the Salesforce ecosystem. It offers step-by-step guidance to help individuals upskill and thrive in this industry.

Trailhead Coach offers the following features:

Guided learning pathways

Trailhead provides self-paced learning, enabling participants to acquire relevant skills to their career objectives in the Salesforce ecosystem.

Free certification exam vouchers

Participants can earn vouchers for over 18 widely recognized Salesforce certifications, demonstrating their skills and proficiency to potential employers.

Automatic access to interviews with employers

Upon obtaining certification, participants gain mock and informational interviews with Salesforce Talent Alliance employers, a group of Salesforce customers and partners searching for technology talent.

Trailhead Coach is accessible to two groups of participants:

  • Members of Salesforce's Workforce Partner Program, which is a global network of organizations providing training in Salesforce skills
  • Job seekers from underrepresented communities enrolled in the Talent Alliance Career Cohorts program, a career development initiative.
According to Salesforce, more than 80% of hiring managers agree that skills are a more valuable attribute than a traditional education or career background when assessing job candidates.

Trailhead Coach trains individuals for careers in the Salesforce ecosystem and offers businesses a pool of Salesforce-skilled talent to help them succeed.

Metadata intelligence speeds up delivery

Image Source:
During the True to The Core session, DevOps vendor was recognized for its work on metadata intelligence. This comes as no surprise, as Salesforce app production teams are constantly looking for ways to speed up application delivery.

That interest and trend in productivity drive interest in Salesforce DevOps. The leading Salesforce DevOps companies worldwide have created platforms that manage an organization’s Salesforce DevOps process. Each platform’s success is derived from a key, shared characteristic – metadata intelligence.

The need for Salesforce DevOps arises from the requirement to accelerate the Salesforce release management process, which is hindered by the ability of any admin to modify an existing org's metadata configuration with the slightest administrative or setup change.

This results in Salesforce lacking a key feature of cloud native projects – the ability to reliably rebuild the entire system from source code and database migrations.

Deploying changes from a sandbox to testing in production orgs can be frustrating due to the dynamic nature of a Salesforce org. Deployment failures can’t fully indicate the extent of the issue, leading to multiple deployment iterations where developers gradually fix metadata issues.

These errors are often caused by unrealized dependencies or interim changes to the org's metadata, which can slow the process and be a bottleneck for Salesforce delivery managers.

To alleviate deployment frustrations, selecting a Salesforce DevOps platform with metadata intelligence is perhaps the most critical consideration.

Parker Harris expressed his desire for a structured JSON format to export all metadata in one place and mentioned how was "hiding the complexity we put on them."

The team at was thrilled with the recognition. CEO Ian Gotts, expressed his delight in an email exchange, stating that it was great to see Salesforce recognize the importance of governed metadata management and the challenges involved in achieving it.

Composability and digital transformation

Image Source: MuleSoft

Creating new applications in an IT architecture is similar to putting a puzzle together, but the pieces have contracts and well-published ways of supporting their use.

MuleSoft is currently refining composability with REST APIs. Another example is the RBC Wealth Management Project and its impressive system integration job, which links 26 separate systems into a Salesforce Customer 360 implementation. RBC heavily relied on MuleSoft's composability features.

TrailblazerDX also highlighted the surprising surge in MuleSoft's performance in the previous year, indirectly indicating the high demand and trend for system integration among Salesforce customers.

The pandemic exposed weaknesses in customer service, prompting many companies to launch ongoing digital transformation projects.

As a result, most large enterprises are committed to pushing forward with digital transformation initiatives. This creates a growing market for products and services that can deliver results similar to RBC's system integration project.

Data cloud infrastructure

Image Source: Oracle

The event attendees learned more about the development trend surrounding the infrastructure of Data Cloud on top of metadata API, Hyperforce, and an Oracle base layer and how it strengthens the vision of a united Salesforce.

EVP and General Manager at Salesforce, Patrick Stokes (among others), highlighted how products like Mulesoft, Tableau, and Marketing Cloud are closer to the core platform.

Salesforce also appealed to product managers to embrace metadata API and close remaining gaps on the platform.

Development Practices

For a long time, one of the biggest development trends has been standard development practices. That is why event attendees were happy to see Salesforce promoting standard development practices like:

  • Version control
  • Code assistance when writing Apex and Apex test classes for your Git repository
  • Continuous integration and continuous delivery
  • Packaging in countless sessions
  • Testing Salesforce automation frameworks through UTAM
  • Acknowledging the limits of built-in capabilities, like change sets for shipping modern business applications.
TrailblazerDX was a fantastic showcase of an innovative DevOps ‘ecosystem within the ecosystem.’ With many vendors present, various approaches were discussed to support teams in delivering value on the Salesforce platform efficiently, securely, transparently, and intuitively.

I look forward to the emerging trend of shipping (unlocked) packages with version numbers and release notes in a way that is common sense in other ecosystems. In addition to its technical benefits, I think this will improve collaboration with multiple external consulting companies and contractors.
Matthias Rolke
Freelance DevOps Consultant

That’s A Wrap For TrailblazerDX 2023

TrailblazerDX 2023 focused on the development trend of generative AI and Einstein GPT, but the true stand-out trend was Salesforce DevOps. Vendors and attendees dominated conversations around DevOps trends, as enterprise application delivery was a key focus of the event.

Additionally, Salesforce Customer 360 and the Data Cloud (Salesforce Genie) garnered significant interest.

The popularity of DevOps can be attributed to its necessity for delivering and maintaining complex Salesforce implementations. It has become a minimum requirement for Salesforce project delivery, with release management just the tip of the iceberg.

The most successful teams utilize DevOps metrics to demonstrate the importance of their work to stakeholders. Salesforce demonstrated a cohesive strategy for:

  • Building
  • Delivering
  • Organizing
  • Optimizing enterprise applications.

Developers, admins, and teams want to be "a leader of excellence and a trailblazer and pioneer who brings changes to their generation," which is why following these development trends is necessary to deliver revolutionary business apps in the Salesforce ecosystem.

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Last updated: 11 Jul 2024