Salesforce Developer Apps to Help You Work Smarter Not Harder

For the past nine years, Paul Liu has been building apps on the weekends at his local Starbucks. Today, 10 of Paul’s apps (under his own company, BoonPlus) are on AppExchange. From helping with pricing and quoting, to generating opportunities, orders, and service contracts, Paul’s apps help Salesforce developers and partners work smarter, not harder.

In this article Paul talks about his Trailblazer experience, his apps, and what he’s learned along the way.

How did you first get involved in Salesforce?

Paul Liu: I got involved in Salesforce back in 2009. At the time, I worked as a data analyst and Salesforce developer for nonprofits through the Taproot Foundation, an organization that helps nonprofits and social change organizations solve challenges in their communities through pro-bono work.

What do you like about being a Salesforce developer?

Paul: I like building on the platform. The Salesforce platform is complex, and the setup and configuration is growing. I am compelled by the ability to create tools and products that help streamline, standardize, or templatize certain configurations.

One of the tools I find myself using frequently is the Metadata API wrapper. It lets developers work with Salesforce metadata using familiar and on-platform language. It is an open source project hosted on Github, so Salesforce partners (ISVs) can develop UI or post install scripts to update subscriber editable items like layouts and picklists. This is important because Apex Describe provides read only support, along with the ability to query certain objects, such as Apex Class, Apex Page, etc. There is an open source wrapper around this Salesforce SOAP API, which has become quite popular with developers wanting to build solutions such as those above.

You built free apps on AppExchange that use Metadata API wrapper for configuration. Can you share more about this?

Paul: Yes, these apps support the configuration including objects/fields permission granting, field set creation, Visualforce page creation, button creation, layout edition, workflow, and process builder creation.

Read this post on the app features and instructions on installing the apps, and configuring.

What has the last nine years of developing apps taught you?

Paul: Building apps for the last nine years in the South Bay area of California has been a fun and exciting challenge. I’ve learned how to overcome the configuration challenges that stand in the way of getting my apps adopted by Salesforce admins. I couldn’t have done it without the Metadata API wrapper.

Outside of your role and interest in building apps, what else do you enjoy working on?

Paul: I build apps for fun — BoonPlus is my pet project. During the work week, I have a day job where I work with startups on managing, improving, and supporting their Salesforce instances. I have had many opportunities over the last decade to help businesses scale and improve, and that’s been incredibly rewarding.

What is your advice to other Trailblazers who want to follow in your footsteps?

Paul: Get all of the hands-on experience you can. Take trails, join communities, and stay current on what is happening in the world of Salesforce and AppExchange. Aim to become a proficient expert in your local area. I’ve spent the last decade getting all of the experience I could in leading and contributing to enterprise application deployment, management and support. Through this experience, I have gained proficiency in translating business requirements into technical architecture. This has allowed me to be solutions driven; increasing business efficiency and reducing operation costs. Anyone with these skills will not have a shortage of career opportunities!

Thanks for your time, Paul. Check out Paul’s apps from BoonPlus on AppExchange.


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