A Bite-Sized Explanation of RAMP and The Value it Will Bring Your Project
A few short years ago TriFin Labs started with a question: most apps are made up of the same components, so why do we recreate the wheel every time? Why not use best of breed technologies, and modern development methodologies to drastically cut down the time to launch? Why create siloed applications that aren’t connected to your enterprise systems?
It just made sense – we could pre-build features, functionalities, and integrations that are used again and again as deployable ‘modules’, stand up Salesforce as the back-end, and deploy the app on Heroku’s Platform-as-a-Service.
Thus RAMP was created to be the most complete web and mobile framework for deploying enterprise apps to Heroku and Salesforce.
What is a development framework?
It’s best described with the analogy of building a house. When constructing a home you have to first lay the foundation and frame the house. After the framing is complete, it’s time to have a plumber run the necessary piping, and an electrician to run the wiring throughout the house.
Once completed, you have all of the essentials for your house: the foundation, the frame, running water, and electricity. This is your home’s framework.
Once the framework is set, the builders ensure that the crucial functionalities are in place; things like making sure pipes are running to exactly where they need to, and that all of your outlets are accounted for. Then it’s time to start designing the look of your home; the colors, siding, roof tiles, and everything else that will make your home unique, beautiful, and feel inviting.
Now, think of your typical mobile app in this same way. On the inside of the app you have to enable hosting and network security (the foundation) and the code that makes up your typical functionalities and workflows (the plumbing and wiring) – this is your framework. Then there is what makes an app, your app: the front-end design, and the core functionalities that are customized for your business.
At this point, RAMP contains up to 60% of your traditional app, which frees us up to focus on the really important things.
The Value of RAMP
We try to live by the mantra of “smarter not harder” which is why we run a repeatable project methodology, with RAMP at its core. RAMP was created to provide unparalleled speed to market, to enable us to leverage the best of breed technologies in each and every project, and to allow for us to be laser-focused on the user experience and critical functionalities.
1) Speed to Market
Traditionally when creating an app we would build three separate apps with three separate code bases in order to be omnichannel with Google Play, the App Store, and the web. This was all very expensive, due to potentially needing 3 separate skill sets to build each experience, nonetheless building the same app 3 times.
Not only does this slow the development process, but how are you supposed to innovate with these three different code bases and 3 different teams? When you think about what it would take to add features and updates the development hours start to add up and it becomes a big, expensive mess.
With RAMP, we have decided to approach this from a different vantage point, and a much simpler one at that. We believe you should be able to use a single code base, and you should be able to take that code base and deploy it to the Web. You should also be able to take that same experience and put it on iTunes and Google Play.
Now not only do you have a web experience, with all of the benefits that come along with a desktop application; But you are also on iPhone and Android, enabling you to use mobile-only features like the accelerometer, geofencing, push notifications, access to the camera, and much more.
As mentioned earlier, RAMP contains 60% of your traditional app build. This includes software integrations, predetermined workflows, core functionalities, and more. Of these pre-assembled integrations, these are 3 that extremely important in any app we build:
Heroku Connect is what allows us to seamlessly connect your web and mobile experience to Salesforce. By optimizing RAMP for Heroku Connect, we are able to point and click an integration strategy that automatically stands up a Postgres schema for us, and with that, we can generate a full, secure, restful API to connect our web and mobile experience to the Salesforce platform.
At the foundation of every web and mobile experience is the need for network and password security. Pre-built within RAMP are integrations with high-end security solutions that we are able to very quickly deploy to your web and mobile app, allowing us to ensure the safety of your, and your user’s data.
The most powerful aspect of having a Salesforce connected app is your ability to control, and receive data from your application directly in Salesforce. Things like changing banners, rewriting copy, sending notifications, automating tasks, generating usage reports, and much more can be done with the click of a button in your Salesforce Org. This gives the business a level of agility that is unmatched and done without touching a line of code.
The speed at which we are able to build solutions because of RAMP, without having to sacrifice quality (but rather improve it), maybe the greatest benefit of all. This is because every app is a new opportunity to engage customers, drive business results, and eliminate repetitive tasks. And in order to take advantage of this opportunity (before your competitors do), you need to get the app in your customers’ hands as quickly as possible.
Since we’ve consolidated the code bases, reduced the effort and the expertise required, and pre-built integrations, we’re able to get applications MVP’d out within a fraction of the time, only hovering around the fifteen hundred hour mark.
2) Using The Best of Breed Technologies
By optimizing RAMP for Heroku and pre-building integrations, we are able to leverage all of the goodness of the core Salesforce platform as well as other premier partners to offer extremely powerful functionalities into your app on day one.
Some of our top partners are:
Salesforce is the business system at the core of RAMP. By being built to run on Salesforce, we are able to implement any of their core services within a very short amount of time. Whether it’s sales cloud, service cloud, marketing cloud, IoT cloud, or any of their 20+ services, it can be integrated within your app.
Heroku – Salesforce’s Platform-as-a-Service is what makes Salesforce connected apps possible. This platform enables you to effortlessly scale, monitor your app’s health, and deploy features with the click of a button that would otherwise take hundreds, if not thousands of hours to replicate. Heroku Connect is also what enables your app’s seamless connection to Salesforce.
Xively is the premier IoT management solution enabling you to easily connect products to the IoT and funnel the data they provide into your Salesforce Org. By working alongside Xively we are able to deliver game-changing IoT connected products in a fraction of the time.
Cloudinary is the best cloud-based media management and transformation platform there is. When it comes to media management and transformation, the Cloudinary platform is the best there is. Typically used in any app that we build, Cloudinary is a content management system for your images and videos. Their tech can automatically transform your media to whatever size your app calls for, allowing you to use the same image across multiple sections of your app with only one file..
Auth0 is the leader in identity management and authentication services. By integrating Auth0’s solutions into your web and mobile application, you can be sure that your, and your users’ data is always safe.
3) Laser focus on user experience
In a world where over 1,000 apps are added to the app store every day, and millions are being downloaded, it has never been more important to stand out. One of the hidden benefits of RAMP is allowing our team to focus our time on the most important aspects of your web and mobile experience. As mentioned earlier, all of the plumbing of the app is already taken care of, so we can focus on creating a beautiful aesthetic that keeps users coming back again and again.
A quality user experience really comes down to striving for ease of use. If it’s not easy for your customers, your partners, or your other business constituents, people aren’t going to use it and you’re going to get pushback. Not only does a pixel perfect design and an easy to use interface provide a great experience, but it provides the legitimacy that your app needs to be taken seriously in the marketplace.
What Does This Cost You?
Nothing! There are no licensing fees attached to it and we plan on keeping it that way. In the end, RAMP enables us to build apps faster, more powerful, and with a focus on the things that actually matter. This translates to cost-savings, faster timelines, and pixel perfect application that your users can fall in love with.
If you want an in-depth look at how we bring RAMP, Heroku, and Salesforce together to create these one of a kind digital experiences, you can watch this webinar. (P.S – There’s no form fill for this one.)
About Shane Rostad
Shane Rostad is a marketing manager for TriFin Labs that loves to share his knowledge and learnings about tech through writing. When he's not reading you can find him exploring Florida's parks or loitering in a local coffee shop.