Managed vs Unmanaged Packages – An AppExchange Guide for Product Managers

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Managed vs Unmanaged Packages – An AppExchange Guide for Product Managers

Posted by Seethu Maria Mathew

minutes read

Salesforce AppExchange is not just a marketplace for selling products and services. It is considered as the powerhouse of ideas transforming into innovative products. In fact,  89% of Salesforce’s Fortune 100 customers have at least one application installed from the AppExchange.

If you are a growth driven product manager or a savvy CEO looking to launch your app into the Salesforce ecosystem, then you have come to the right place. Let’s get started on app packaging.

This blog covers the two types of packages that every product manager should be aware of before launching AppExchange products. 

Let’s have a quick look at some important terms before getting into the details.

Components : It defines an item that includes custom objects and custom fields.

Attributes : It represents a field on the component.

Package : A package is a container to incorporate either small individuals or components like objects or fields or a huge set of similar applications. It is like a bundle of components that function together as an app or a piece of functionality. You can distribute to any Salesforce user after creation of a package.

Types of Packages

Unmanaged Package

Think of it as a beautifully wrapped gift box where you can open and see what’s inside. It’s free, the code is visible and you can even move the components from the existing org to any other org even if it’s not related to each other. But on the other hand it cannot be upgraded once a new version is released and hence you may have to re-install the same in the new org. 

Managed Package

A Salesforce managed package has its code hidden and it is introduced to the AppExchange marketplace as a single entity. More like any other app out there, the end user gets all the benefits of the product, but does not have access to the code base. Managed packages are commonly preferred among Salesforce partners to distribute and sell applications on AppExchange due to its protected nature. It can be easily upgraded like your operating system and it automatically updates the code.

There are three versions of managed packages

  • Managed – Beta : A version of the managed package for testing apps
  • Managed – Released :  The package is launched on AppExchange and  is publicly available
  • Managed – Installed : Package is installed from another Salesforce org, but managed

Benefits of Managed packaging

  • Full API access for all editions.
  • API accessible components have integrated versioning support.
  • Automatic upgrades are available.
  • Customers can easily access applications from AppExchange. 
  • You can branch and patch a previous version.
  • You can seamlessly provide subscribers with patch updates.

Key Differences between Managed and Unmanaged Packaging

Managed Packages Unmanaged Packages
Easily Customizable and upgradable  Cannot be upgraded and only be customized/ edited in the org they have been installed.
Highly protected and secure from data threats High risk for data loss due to lack of review
It is used to distribute open-source projects or application templates to developers It is used by Salesforce partners to sell and distribute applications via AppExchange
It does not count against the total limit of your Salesforce org for tabs and custom objects. It does count against the total limit of your Salesforce org for tabs and custom objects.

When to go with  Managed or Unmanaged packaging?

On first look, unmanaged packages are great as it’s free, and faster to launch. However, these are best recommended if you are providing a highly customized piece of code for a select few of your high priority customers. Scalability will be an issue here.

Managed packages on the contrary are the go-to approach if you are looking to tap into the Salesforce ecosystem as a growth stream for your product. It’s scalable, carries the badge of trust having undergone the Salesforce security review and is backed by robust tools to manage the features of your app.

Having an experienced partner in the development of a managed package is critical for your product’s success in the AppExchange space. We have a solid track record of enabling product managers and CEOs of product companies to launch, grow and thrive in AppExchange. For more information, checkout our AppExchange development services.

If you need any additional support, you can always  get into a no-strings-attached 1:1 call with our Salesforce consultant.

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