Saturday 28 June 2014

London Salesforce Developers - June Meetups

No, the title isn’t a typo - in June the London Salesforce Developers had no less than three events.

Unfortunately I missed the first one - this took place on 11th June while I was taking a few days holiday in San Francisco after the MVP Summit. The venue was Tquila’s offices in Smithfield and the subject was "Getting Up Close and Personal with Heroku”.  It doesn’t look like anyone has written this up in a blog post, but if I find one I’ll add it here. If you know of one, let me know in the comments. In the meantime, here’s a photo of Tod Nielsen, CEO of Heroku, presenting to the group:



The second meetup, on “Integrating Clouds & Humans with Wearable Apps", took place on June 17th. This was a late breaking event, as it followed hot on the heels of the official announcement by Salesforce, and was in doubt for a while due to most of the organisers being on holiday or out of the country and no venue being available.  Luckily Joshua Hoskins and Appirio stepped in and saved the day. I’m pretty sure that none of us knew much about this topic prior to the event, so it was a good learning exercise for everyone - I didn’t realise that the wearable was tied to a smartphone for example.  One of the downsides to seeing this cutting edge technology is the realisation that it won’t be available in the UK for quite some time - Google Glass has only just gone on sale, for example, 2 years after it was available in the US.  Here’s Joshua introducing Developer Evangelist James Ward :


The final event of the month was our regular 4th Wednesday meetup, which took place on June 25th at Make Positive’s offices.  The theme was Tooling and David Helmer of Mavens Consulting gave a talk on Mavens Mate:


The numbers were excellent considering we were running at an event a week, even for the wearables event where the attendees only had a few days notice.

At times like these, those of us that are organisers of the group have to remind ourselves how lucky we are. It seems like every time an evangelist/product manager/executive is in the country they want to come and present to us - a lot of groups would kill for the calibre of guest that we get and we are always grateful that they take the time out of their busy schedules to fit us in.  The wearable tech, for example, was the first one in the world as far as I’m aware, and we just got asked if James could come and give a talk as he was in the country.  Three events in as many weeks is a lot of effort from everyone concerned, but they are first world problems for sure.

The next meetup is scheduled for July 23rd - whether this turns out the be the next one the way things are going is anyone’s guess. To keep up with the latest information, look out for the hash tag #LonDevSFDC on twitter.

Saturday 21 June 2014

JavaScript in Salesforce Home Page Components

(alternatively Don't say I didn't warn you, or I've been expecting you, Mr Bond)

While poring over the Summer 14 release notes in preparation for the next BrightGen Salesforce Release Webinar, I came across a new feature that I've been expecting for some time - the new Rich Text Editor for HTML Home Page Components. While this may not sound like a big deal, the purpose of this editor is to stop unsupported markup (which we all know means JavaScript) being embedded in home page components, which will specifically impact sidebar components that manipulate the DOM of the main Salesforce page.  This technique has often been used in the past to inject additional behaviour in standard view or edit pages, removing buttons based on attributes of the record for example, or injecting additional logic into the standard save process.
So the deal is now sounding bigger, but there's still hope -  existing components will still be able to use the original editor and thus continue to maintain unsupported markup. However, the door is then slammed firmly shut with the statement "Existing HTML home page components with unsupported markup will continue to work until Summer ’15” (italics mine). The recommendation is to use the new Visualforce component, as this will allow markup that is not supported by the HTML editor (as you can use JavaScript quite happily in Visualforce pages). However, as Visualforce pages originate from a different server to regular Salesforce pages, they won't be able to access the standard page DOM due to the browser's same origin policy, so it appears the days of cheeky JavaScript in the sidebar to hack the main page are numbered.
Here's where I allow myself a smug moment - this mechanism has always seemed to me like a loophole that would be closed at some point time, so I've been a constant advocate of not using it. Whenever a customer has asked for this, I've asked them to confirm in writing they are happy for us to expend time and effort (and therefore their money) building something that may break at any time in the future and that we may not be able to fix, ever.  Unsurprisingly there has been no takeup of this.
Now I realise that this post is painting a picture of doom and gloom, but I don’t think its all bad news.  Given that the hacks will continue to work until the Summer '15 release suggests to me that there’s something to at least particually replace them coming in a future release.  Knowing Salesforce as I do, I’d expect it to allow enhancements/additions to the standard page without the total hijacking that is currently possible.