Phil's Salesforce Tip of the Week

Split Views – Phil’s Salesforce Tip of the Week #452

Welcome to my Salesforce Tip of the Week #452

 

Tip 1 – Split Views on Lists

Doing the Spring ’21 Admin maintenance module, this is one thing I used straight afterwards in my Org, so I thought I should highlight it.  If you find yourself working through multiple records in a list use split view, so you can see a list view and a record side by side. It is just a button click away, and a click to change back to Table or Kanban.

Further information from Trailhead:

What’s new?

First, there was display as Table, then display as Kanban. Now there is Split View. View a record while still viewing a list. Split view is great for going through records in sequence or for quickly skimming through a set of records. The split view panel is collapsible for extra flexibility.

Why was this added?

Do you often find yourself working through multiple records in a list? With split view, you can see a list view and a record side by side. To move on to a new record, select it from the split view, and the new record opens with the list still in view. No more navigating back and forth between your list and your records. 

How does it work?

To access split view, select Split View from the Display as dropdown menu. If you select split view for an object, that object automatically loads in split view until you change its Display as view.

 

Tip 2 – Events

With the obvious lack of the big in-person learning events, Dreamin’ events are the best chance to block out a day to a wide range of Salesforce sessions. Keep an eye out for international events as well as ‘local’ ones, because getting out of bed 3 hours earlier/later, is a lot easier than a 5,000 mile commute! For example, take a look at Albania Dreamin (22nd May) and Czech Dreamin (10th June).

Tip 3 – ICYMI

The Galacticos COO Paul was recently interviewed by Josh Birk on the Salesforce Developer Podcast on “Weird Apex”. You can find the full recording here.

 

Final Tip of the Week – Sign up

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Salesforce Developer Podcast – Weird Apex and Being Inquisitive

Recently Josh Birk interviewed my for the Salesforce Developer Podcast on “Weird Apex”. You can find the full recording here. I’m going to share some additional thoughts about the background to the discussion and how the simple act of being inquisitive has lead me to some of the weird and wonderful things I discussed on the podcast.

 

Weird Apex Salesforce Developer Podcast

Image taken of https://developer.salesforce.com/podcast/2021/05/episode-82-weird-apex-with-paul-battisson.html

Love What You Do

When we meet clients for the first time, we tell them that at Cloud Galacticos we are 100% Salesforce nerds. We have team members who are MVPs, user and developer group leaders, and authors. We also have speakers, CTAs, and a number who tick multiple of these boxes. When hiring, one of the things we focus on is how much people enjoy working with the platform. I always ask “Why Salesforce?” Of course, sometimes working your way through a big set of profiles and permissions to figure out what the gaps are is not the most riveting work. I find that it is important to ensure I take time to do things I enjoy within my work to stay inquisitive.

A prime example of this is the VR setup I built with Vincent Reeder for a Dreamforce talk. Virtual Reality is cool and still fairly new tech, however it is not really enterprise friendly (as we discuss in the podcast). Still, Vincent and I took it as a technical challenge to see how we could get different pieces of the Salesforce Platform to play together to deliver something cool. Is this a completely practical exercise that we will reuse? No, but the learnings on how to use the different bits of technology will definitely help me in the future. It’s a much more fun way of learning.

 

Build a Career You’re Interested In

I’d highly encourage anyone who is looking to learn more about a particular topic to approach it in this way. By trying to keep this in mind I have built my career on Salesforce and have had a great time doing so. It has helped me learn enough to be able to write two books on Apex as well as given me the opportunity to speak at events all over the globe. I would recommend listening to other episodes of the Salesforce Developer Podcast. You will notice this is a common theme.

Phil's Salesforce Tip of the Week

Org Shape and Critical Incidents – Phil’s Salesforce Tip of the Week #451

Tip 1 – Org Shape

Thank you to our Architect and fellow MVP Mike Gill for this one…”The Org shape feature has had a bit of rough ride to get here, those familiar with the history of the feature will know this. Now it is officially available to all as a Public Beta, anyone can take it for a spin!

What is it? – Create an org shape to mimic your baseline setup – scratch orgs have been largely difficult to adopt due to the complexity of getting your Scratch Org setup to look like a Sandbox or Production Org. Org Shape allows you to easily create Scratch Orgs which match you Production Org in terms of licenses, features, settings and limits. The once impossible task of getting your scratch org looking like a production org is now possible.”

Take a look here for more details.

Mike also adds:

“If you don’t know the benefits of scratch orgs – here are some- As we move into a more DevOps centric world, scratch orgs provide a unprecedented level of control around org management which is necessary for CI/CD
– Ability to track changes easily and pull down only the changes you want
– It forces better developer practices – such as modularisation”

Tip 2 – Critical Incidents

Some of the Community saw this management come into affect this week, after issues on Wednesday…so if you want to learn about Critical Incidents, from either side of the desk, take a look at this Trailhead module.

Final Tip – Sign up

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Command Line Data Loader – Phil’s Salesforce Tip of the Week #450

Tip 1 – Command Line 

(2 words that can strike fear into ‘non-developers’) Thank you to our Lead Developer Simon for sharing a use of the Command Line that many probably do not know about…

“Did you know that DataLoader can be launched from the command line? Setup can be fiddly, but once working this can be a robust solution for getting data in and out of Salesforce. Run a command after exporting data from databases, run a scheduled job to ensure Salesforce data is ready for work, or leave a shortcut to a batch file on the desktop of a User who needs to import data occasionally. See this for more info”.

Here is some further information from the Data Loader guide

When running Data Loader in batch mode from the command line, several operations are supported. An operation represents the flow of data between Salesforce and an external data source, such as a CSV file or database. You can use the following operations. Enter values in the process.operation parameter in lowercase

Operation Description
extract Uses the Salesforce Object Query Language to export a set of records from Salesforce. The exported data is written to a data source. Soft-deleted records are not included.
extract all Uses SOQL to export a set of records from Salesforce, including existing and soft-deleted records. The exported data is written to a data source.
insert Loads data from a data source into Salesforce as new records.
update Loads data from a data source into Salesforce, and updates existing records with matching ID fields.
upsert Loads data from a data source into Salesforce. Existing records with a matching custom external ID field are updated. Records without matches are inserted as new records.
delete Loads data from a data source into Salesforce, and deletes existing records with matching ID fields. Deleted records are moved to the Recycle Bin.
hard delete Loads data from a data source into Salesforce, and deletes existing records with matching ID fields without first storing them in the Recycle Bin.

Tip 2 – Help when you can

I know there are a lot of important causes vying for our attention. We at Cloud Galacticos wanted to show our support for our friends and colleagues in India, but were unsure of how to do so. Just in case anyone is looking, we found the DEC a reliable and trustworthy place to donate.

Final Tip – Sign up

Remember if you have enjoyed this week’s tip then sign up for the weekly email, direct to your inbox here!

Phil's Salesforce Tip of the Week

Apex Recipes – Phil’s Salesforce Tip of the Week #449

Tip 1 – Apex Recipes 

I recently revisited this post from the Salesforce Developers Blog by Kevin Poorman, introducing Apex Recipes last year. “Apex Recipes is a library of concise, meaningful examples of code for common use cases following best practices. They reflect enterprise patterns that can be utilized for real world solutions.”

Follow the instructions in the post to install the app, or you can do a quick Trailhead badge which guides you through it.

Look at the Trailhead module here…”Quick Start: Explore the Apex Recipes Sample App

Tip 2 – Take a break

I like this article from BBC this week, mainly because it gives 3 practical ways to take a break from screen time. It is worth a 5 min read, but my favourite is to do some ‘walking meetings’. If you don’t need to present slides, or take detailed notes, put your headphones on and walk while you talk. Fresh air, extra steps, and less screen time!

Final Tip – Sign up

Remember if you have enjoyed this week’s tip then sign up for the weekly email, direct to your inbox here!

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Mastering apex & events news – Phil’s Salesforce Tip of the Week #429

DreamTX

DreamTX is split over 14-17th Dec (or 15-18th in EMEA/AsiaPac regions). As well as the full details here, there is also a Developer focused blog post here which highlights some recommended viewings and Q&A sessions.

The Developer focused post highlights sessions covering areas like Lightning Web Components, integrations and APIs, and Salesforce Developer Tooling. But there are plenty more sessions to get booked on your agenda!

And just in case you wondered…’DreamTX’ is the name Marc Benioff decided upon to signify a full ‘Dreamforce Trailblazer Experience’.

 

London’s Calling 2021

Kudos to the London’s Calling team for announcing that they will be back on 19th March 2021 for a virtual event (this time a planned virtual event!) . Just a date for the diary so far, but keep an eye out for registration & tickets. Fingers crossed maybe it could be the opposite for 2021, where we may be unexpectedly allowed to meet in person due to the success of the Covid vaccine, and Francis, Todd, Louise, Kerry, and Amanda may be looking for a last minute venue!? (I don’t wish anyone extra work, but I will still have my fingers crossed for this!).

 

Mastering Apex

Congratulations to our COO Paul Battisson on his new book, out this week, ‘Mastering Apex Programming‘. Publishing his first book earlier this year was a major achievement, but TWO whilst being overworked and in a global pandemic is seriously impressive! I am sure we will write a future guest post with Paul so we can hear more about the book, and the differences between the two, but it is fair to say this builds on top of ‘Learning Salesforce Development with Apex’, and is the next step once you are comfortable with the fundamentals.

STOP PRESS – use code ’25APEX’ for 25% off the ebook on packtpub, or 25% Amazon.com with this link.

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Salesforce Sharing and Visibility Designer Cert

Everyday is a school day at Cloud Galacticos. We like to encourage our team to keep on learning and developing their Salesforce skills, especially as we operate in a fast moving and dynamic environment. One of our most recent team members to gain a new certification is Val, who passed her Sharing and Visibility Designer Cert. We caught up with her to find out more…

 

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO TAKE THE EXAM?

As a fan of Trailhead, I’m a big believer in constantly challenging myself to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of Salesforce. I have enjoyed completing some Superbadges to cement knowledge gained from working with Salesforce.

A few months back, I decided to embark on a journey to become a Certified Application Architect. Subsequently passed the Certified Salesforce Platform Developer I as my first step on that road.

 

HOW DID YOU APPROACH THE PREP FOR THE EXAM?

I conducted some research into other people who had taken and passed the exam. The consensus seemed to be that the first approach is to review the exam guide. Then to conduct a self-diagnosis of the areas I knew well, and those I know fairly well (and may need to refresh). Finally, those which I was aware of but had never touched before.

From there I focussed on the items in my list which needed the most attention. Then I embarked on a combined mission of completing Trailhead badges (and one Superbadge) which covered the subjects and/or reading up from help.salesforce.com. I also created online flashcards for the areas I would need to revise later, which helped a lot.

 

WAS IT A TOUGH EXAM AND ANY TIPS FOR PEOPLE THINKING OF DOING THIS EXAM?

It was harder than I expected. I was glad I’d gone into some detailed study on Apex sharing and sharing within communities. Additionally, there were more questions than expected about scalability issues. So I can’t stress enough the importance of knowing all areas inside out!

And as a member of the Ladies Be Architects group, I found some great posts and links there, which helped me to focus on study areas.

 

WHAT DOES PASSING THE CERT MEAN TO YOU IN TERMS OF YOUR DAILY WORK?

As a Senior Consultant at Cloud Galacticos, my role includes designing and implementing solutions on the Salesforce platform. So it is important to make sure the knowledge that goes into providing our customers with advice and solutions is correct and up to date. It includes studying areas of functionality that I haven’t personally touched on, but which could come up as important in my next project.

 

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER CERTS YOU PLAN TO TAKE IN THE FUTURE?

The last step towards Certified Application Architect for me is to take the Data Architecture and Management exam. So that is going to be my next focus. Wish me luck!

 

ABOUT CLOUD GALACTICOS

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Consulting Partner with an all-star team. We are user and developer group leaders, bloggers, MVPs and all round Salesforce nerds. We have people all over the UK including Manchester, Leeds, York, Sheffield, and London. If you are looking for a Salesforce partner with experience who can help you make the most of your org, why not give us a call?

Phil's Salesforce Tip of the Week

Which Automation Tool Do I Use? – Phil’s Salesforce Tip of the Week #413

This week I stumbled across this great page that gives some fantastic details on when you should use each of the different automation tools Salesforce provides. I really like this page because it provides a great quick reference for people to look at when trying to determine the best tool to work with. When I first started it was pretty easy to decide as workflows were the only option. With the variety of tools now available to use on the platform, it’s a lot harder, particularly for those starting out to know what tool to use when. Hopefully this page can help in answering those questions.

Which Automation Tool to Use

Other top tips and news…

Hierarchical Relationship on Users

I was working with one of the team on a project this week where we needed to have a relationship between users, a perfect use case for the Hierarchical Relationship Type! Its only available on the User object, but I wanted to make sure I shared it as a top tip as not a lot of people had come across it.

New Book – Learning Salesforce Development With Apex

Our very own COO Paul Battisson has just released his first book – Learning Salesforce Development with Apex, designed to help those with little or no programming experience understand the Apex programming language. Congratulations Paul on this great achievement, if you want to buy a copy, you can grab one from Amazon here.

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Salesforce Evergreen – A Game Changer For Salesforce Developers

Last week was Salesforce’s annual #Dreamforce conference in San Francisco. It’s when over 100,000 Salesforce fans descend upon the city to listen to the latest innovations from Salesforce. I was unable to attend this year, but followed along closely at home to the announcements. The one that stood out to me in particular was not Salesforce Blockchain, Einstein Voice or Customer 360 – it was the Salesforce Evergreen announcement that for me could be the real game changer.

 

The Impact of Serverless

To understand why you have to perhaps take a step back and look at how the rise of AWS and in particular, the AWS Lambda and the serverless paradigm has impacted development.

Take the following example – you want to upload an image in Salesforce against a case both before and after work is completed. These images should be stored off platform in Amazon S3 and you want to have both the original and a thumbnail, with the thumbnail being displayed on the case. Whilst uploading the images to S3 could be done via Apex in Salesforce, the resizing must be done off platform currently. So how do we do this and where?

We can either have an endpoint available on a platform like Heroku with a dyno running, or have a Lambda function that will run whenever called. That’s the key difference here, we have to have the Heroku dyno (at least 1) running to handle requests whereas with Lambda we are only paying per executed function. (Note this example is based upon a Lambda example from AWS you can read about here.) Whilst I am a big fan of Heroku, use cases like this lend themselves more to Lambda for running small jobs and repetitive functions where there is no need for a full web server framework to be setup, just receiving and processing some data from an event.

Such scenarios are becoming more common as organisations want to connect more pieces of their process seamlessly. This has driven a number of people towards using serverless based solutions to handle these simple problems – they just need the code to run and perform the action. Many organisations are also working to modularise their systems into more discrete functional blocks, often referred to as microservices. I’ve written before on Salesforce and Microservices and spoken on the topic previously at Dreamforce 2015 and Dreamforce 2017.

Previously, the conversation has always been how to make Salesforce interact nicely with serverless systems, or how to rearchitect parts of your existing Salesforce setup to operate in a more modular way. As soon as some more complicated processing was required (such as image resizing) you were forced off platform and had to decide which platform to use. How would you manage security and authentication? How could you invoke the new service – API via code or a Platform Event? You couldn’t think of doing all this on Salesforce – until now.

Enter Evergreen

Salesforce Evergreen is a new toolkit that will allow developers to write small functions and microservices using Apex, Java and Node.js which can be invoked natively from within Salesforce using both declarative and code based tools, as well as having native visibility to the platform – so no need to manage authentication.

Salesforce Evergreen Architecture

Taking our previous example, instead of a service running off platform, whether Heroku or AWS, we could now have a small set of functions that are called directly from the declarative tools in Salesforce. Whenever a case is closed. upload the images from Salesforce to S3, process these images and update the case. No additional infrastructure needed, no authentication required, all on a single platform.

This is truly game changing, by allowing developers to build these functions using existing languages in Java and Node.js, you are enabling the developer to utilise all of the existing ecosystem of functionality out there. For example, npm, the package ecosystem for Node.js, has somewhere in the region of a million packages, covering all types of functionality – csv parsing to providing random jokes. Almost all of these libraries become available for use alongside your existing Salesforce applications with all the plumbing and authentication done for you! You simply add in what you need, leveraging the existing tools and off you go.

Similarly, if you have an existing complex function in Java from an existing application, you can migrate that to become an Evergreen function and deploy it for use from within Salesforce! As wonderful a language as Apex is there are some things that it cannot do or that Java or Node.js will be a better tool for, now you can leverage these languages to do more with your Salesforce data.

Summary

The new Evergreen toolkit is going to make a huge difference to what is possible for Salesforce developers and opens up exciting new possibilities which should lead to some incredible new solutions. I am already signed up for updates from Salesforce on the Developer Preview and will be looking ahead for different applications for this toolkit for our customers. If you want to read more, Salesforce have posted a blog here.