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I am a little bit intrigued about the mobile SDK and its use, as well as the new Lightning framework. Are they used to build standalone mobile apps, or simply to extend the salesforce1 mobile app? Is there a salesforce.com framework to build mobile apps destined for our customers (Who don't have access to our salesforce organization) without needing to use Salesforce1 app?

I appreciate your answers

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To interact with salesforce you typically need a user (which mostly requires a paid license too). There are rare exceptions like public sites.

So in order to build something using either the Mobile SDK or Lightning, you need a user.

The Mobile SDK is an approach to create native Apps for devices using API to interact with the platform.

The Lightning framework on the other hand will run the App on the platform.

Salesforce seems to push a lot of effort into Lightning and the concept comes with lots of new features and possibilities. So I expect this will be the future. Unfortunately the term Lightning has also been used to rebrand lots of things so maybe it's less confusing to speak about Aura What is the difference between Aura and Lightning frameworks?

If you need an app for your customers (and/or partners) you best have a look at Communities

http://www.salesforce.com/communities/overview/

They also require paid licenses but are cheaper an come in packages.

There are inofficial tricks to implement your own user management based on public sites. This would save you license costs but you also loose a lot of existing functionality and security.

  • Uwe thx. Your reply is very helpful. What I need to do is to allow customers to add event records in our org, using both a website and mobile app. I was thinking, this can be done in website by using Web Services. As for mobile, ain't the mobile SDK relevant? To interact with the platform, I won't be needing a user for every customer i guess. I would need authentication in the background using API. Am I right? – Alex Nov 28 '14 at 21:13
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It is recommended to have a community license for customers as you don't have to re build the security layer. If the requirement is only to create Events from website or mobile app, it can be done without a community user.

but over time when you have are trying to build apps for customers, you would end up rebuilding the security layer.

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