So I'm currently working as a Salesforce developer. I have a few ideas for apps /cli plugins that I'd like to develop and release in my own time.

To do this in the way I want to work, I need: - Vs code / git setup (check). - CLI set up. (check). - Free or Dev only Salesforce org to enable a permanent/full Dev hub. (Nope).

However it strikes me that Salesforce development under the new DX umbrella is geared towards companies with existing Salesforce licences. You can't use a trailhead dev org to develop a plugin for example. I need a production org with a permanently enabled dev hub.

The trial hub is great for exploring but not suitable for more complex development (and is, you know, a trial!).

Is there any alternative to buying a licence just for myself? This would be prohibitive for me at this time, but would be helpful to know so I don't spend more time on this (and I'll go back to C# instead) :)

Please note I am not asking about non-compete clauses, how to develop solo, the merits of whether the company should enable this kind of work (all good questions :) ). I'm only asking about the access to tools for solo development and minimum required licences, if any.

1 Answer 1


While SFDX is geared towards being used with scratch orgs (which, as I'm sure you already know, requires a dev hub org), you can use the Salesforce CLI without them (and without a dev hub org).

Instead of using sfdx force:source:push all the time, you'll be using the following sequence:

  • develop some code, and save it
  • convert to metadata api form with sfdx force:source:convert -d <destination directory>
  • deploy to your (free) developer edition org with sfdx force:mdapi:deploy -d <same directory as the last step> -u <username or alias for your target org>

When you get down to it, this flow is similar to what people used to do with the Force.com Migration Tool (using Apache ANT).

The one big drawback I find to this approach is that the error messages that force:mdapi:deploy returns are pretty terrible (at least for now). Unless you jump through a few hoops to extend the sfdx integration with vscode like Bob Buzzard has, I don't think errors from a metadata api deployment have accessible line numbers attached to those errors.

  • While I'd prefer that there was something like how other development platforms enable full developer access, this looks to cover everything I asked, thanks.
    – frackham
    Commented May 30, 2018 at 21:13

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