Is there a free licence or alternative pathway for a solo developer to release an app using DX?

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.


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 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.

Source : Link , Question Author : frackham , Answer Author : Derek F

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