AppExchange is Salesforce’s online marketplace where you can find applications developed by 3rd parties that you can use with Salesforce. If the standard Salesforce functionality does not meet your requirements, then there are two ways to cater to this; either develop everything from scratch or make use of a ready-to-install app or component from AppExchange. It is the fastest and convenient way to extend your Salesforce implementation.
(By the way, do you know that Salesforce got idea of developing application marketplace from the legendary Steve Jobs of Apple. Here is the link to a blog post if you want to read about it (5 mins read) – How Advice from Steve Jobs Inspired the AppExchange)
Thousands of solutions, apps, and components reside on AppExchange that can be installed in just a few clicks. They are categorized by type, industry, or even Salesforce edition it supports.
An app is just like any other Salesforce app that includes different entities such as custom objects, tabs, reports, dashboards, apex triggers and classes, visualforce pages, lightning components, etc. The publisher has bundled everything together for you to get up and running with the functionality.
A component can be a Lightning Component or Lightning Web Component. You can get up to speed with your development activities by using components from AppExchange. A component can be a part of a Lightning Home Page, Record Page or a Lightning App. These components are responsive and reusable. Using these you can build pages with drag and drop Lightning App Builder.
Whenever you are catering to a new requirement from stakeholders, and if is complex in nature, it is recommended that you check out AppExchange before starting to get your hands dirty with coding. There are a lot of solutions to almost every use case on AppExchange. If you don’t find anything after a comprehensive search, then you can think of custom development.
Salesforce Labs is a program that lets salesforce.com engineers, professional services staff, and other employees share AppExchange apps they’ve created with the customer community. They are constantly publishing new apps and components every now and then. It is worth checking it out from time to time for any interesting additions.
For this guide, we will be showing how to install Salesforce Lab’s ‘Salesforce CRM Dashboards’ app and ‘Timeline’ component from AppExchange. After going through this guide, within the next 15-20 minutes, you will learn how to:
- Install an App from AppExchange
- View Components of Installed App
- Install a Component from AppExchange
- View Components of Installed Component
References & Useful URLs:
- YouTube Video (1:23 mins) – AppExchange Overview Demo
- AppExchange Home Page – https://appexchange.salesforce.com/
- AppExchange YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/AppExchange
- Trailhead Module (45 Mins) – AppExchange Basics
- Install a Package – Help Article (10 mins) – https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=sf.distribution_installing_packages.htm&type=5