Saturday 23 March 2013

Book Review - Tips and Tricks

Disclaimer - I haven't purchased this book - I was sent a copy to review by the publisher.

4743EN Cover Tips and Tricks is written by a couple of my fellow MVPs, Abhinav Gupta and Ankit Arora. It is aimed at both developers and administrators and packs a lot of information into the 200+ pages.

For Administrators

Administrators get a whole chapter dedicated to tools to make their lives easier, including those that come with the platform as standard (e.g. data loader) and a long list of code share and app exchange packages. There is also a deep dive on Salesforce analytics, covering topics such as custom report types, adding formulae to a report and setting up analytic snapshots - all of which are important for administrators wanting to get the most of the platform.  

For Developers

The book starts off with an introduction to the platform, covering key concepts for anyone starting out with development such as multi-tenancy, the metadata driven development model and governor limits. Later chapters take you through setting up development environments and migrating changes between those environments, useful tools for developers from both Salesforce and the wider community, and concludes with a couple of chapters that give great advice on writing flexible and scalable Apex and Visualforce code, as well as tips for troubleshooting when code isn't performing as expected.

For Both

For administrators wanting to understand more about maintaining and extending applications, the developer specific sections will prove very useful.  By the same token, development in starts with clicks rather than code, so the administrator-centric chapters are something that every developer should read.


This book isn't a training manual for development - where I think it would have been really useful in the past was as I was starting to carry out serious development with the platform.  I understood enough about the basics to start being productive, but when I was trying something new, I'd be searching the discussion boards and reading blogs to get more information.  With a book like this to hand I'd either have the information that I required right there, or be pointed in the right direction to find out more with minimal effort.  

 I always hope to learn something I didn't know from these books, and this time it was a number of the tools available, particularly to enforce CRUD and FLS when running in the system context.  Its certainly a useful addition to my Salesforce library and one I'm sure I'll be coming back to regularly.

Saturday 2 March 2013

London Salesforce Developers February Meetup

Feb meetup 1 jpg large 

The February London Salesforce Developers Meetup took place this week, with 30+ people (Kingmakers!) attending. While the usual suspects were in attendance, there were quite a few new faces, which bodes well for the group.

John Stevenson gave an update on the events that are being run for the community - I can definitely say that the Git and Github Kickstarter Workshops are popular, as every time I receive a notification that one is available, by the time I click through to the details its full!

John Mahoney gave a demonstration of the steroid component library - I didn't get to see as much of this as I'd have liked to, as I was advising someone on customer portal setup in the corridor!

And in a startling development, which nobody could have predicted, I gave a short talk on Salesforce Certification!  As I served as a judge on the EMEA Technical Architect Review Board in January, I'm in a tricky position when talking about this certification. I've spent the last year trying to spread the word of how to pass the board, but that's clearly no longer appropriate. I was therefore fortunate to be joined by my colleague, and newly Certified Technical Architect, Chris Eales (@theEalesie), who talked about his experience and gave advice on how to prepare for the board, plus details of the mechanics of the process.  

The slide deck for this talk can be accessed here. (On a related note, I've added a Salesforce Certfication page to this site that contains links to all my certification related posts - you can access this from the right hand sidebar).

The meetups take place every month and include beer, pizza and plenty of time for networking.  If you haven't made one yet, we'd love to see you. Make sure to join the Meetup group to get notified of all upcoming events.