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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Cloud Galacticos 2019 Highlights

Being the CEO of a Silver Partner Salesforce Consultancy and managing a UK-wide team of people is no mean feat. So it’s no surprise that Phil Walton, who is also in the Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame, has a rather busy calendar. As we reach the end of another successful year, he reflects back on some of his personal highlights of 2019.

World Tour London and our Client Drinks Reception the night before (May)

Cloud Galacticos at Salesforce London World Tour with paul Sturgess

Team Galacticos with Paul Sturgess at Salesforce World Tour London 2019

 

For most Salesforce-ers Dreamforce is the highlight of the year. But for me, the London World Tour is the big one. OK so we didn’t have Fleetwood Mac or Alicia Keys, but it is a great chance for the UKI and European Salesforce Community to meet up in person.

We had a great day, meeting Clients and Partners old and new at our Gold stand. Plus we were joined by ex-Harlem Globetrotter and Britain’s tallest man Paul Sturgess, who not only attracted a lot of attention, but was a great guy to chat with!

North Africa Dreamin’

Phil Walton speaking at North Africa Dreamin

Phil Walton speaking at North Africa Dreamin

I was very proud to be invited to speak at Africa’s first Salesforce community event – North Africa Dreamin! It was a great trip to Casablanca, where I met some great people, and had some amazing food. It is amazing to see the Salesforce Ohana spreading around the globe.

Team Galacticos

2019 has been a fantastic year for Cloud Galacticos, with excellent growth in revenue and people. We have also picked up a number of new certification skills, and industry expertise. Between the team we have bags of experience in Healthcare & Life Sciences and also Financial Services, so they are now our official specialisms (although we work in many other sectors). 

We were really excited to welcome both Nkosi Ncube and Mike Gill (who you can see below at MuleSoft CONNECT 2019) to our development team. Both are smart, experienced, knowledgeable and great guys – exactly the type of people we want on the team!

Nkosi and Mike who joined the Cloud Galacticos team in 2019

Nkosi and Mike at Mulesoft Connect 2019

We also welcomed Malcolm Heeley to the team towards the end of the year. Malcolm has a lot of experience as a business analyst and project manager which we cannot wait to use!

Nell Meghani and Phil Walton with Malcolm Heeley (centre) who joined Cloud Galacticos at the end of 2019

Salesforce Consultancy

Certificates

Also between the team we have picked up a number of new Consultancy and Architecture certifications, which we are very proud of! We have also begun to deliver training for Salesforce, fantastic recognition of our deep knowledge of the platform.

Admin and Developer User Group

MuleSoft speaking at a User Developer Group

Manchester Salesforce Admin User Group

We also attended and helped run a number of user and developer groups in Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds – bringing Salesforce to the North of England! We had a variety of speakers including MulseSoft as you can see in the photo above.

Here’s to 2020!

About Cloud Galacticos

Cloud Galacticos is a Salesforce Silver 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?

 

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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.