Saturday 13 October 2018

All Governor Limits are Created Equal

All Governor Limits are Created Equal



Not all Salesforce governor limits inspire the same fear in developers. Top of the pile are DML statements and SOQL queries, followed closely by heap size, while the rest are relegated to afterthought status, typically only thought about when they breach. There’s a good reason for this - the limits that we wrestle with most often bubble to the top of our thoughts when designing a solution. Those that we rarely hit get scant attention, probably because on some level we assume that if we aren’t breaching these limits regularly, we must have some kind of superpower to write code that is inherently defensive against it. Rather than what it probably is - either the limit is very generous or dumb luck.

This can lead to code being written that is skewed to defending against a couple of limits, but will actually struggle to scale due to the lack of consideration for all limits. To set expectation, the example that follows is contrived - a real world example would require a lot more code and shift the focus away from the point I’m trying to make. 

The Example

For some reason, I want to create two lists in my Apex class - one that contains all leads in the system where the last name starts with the letter ‘A’ and another list containing all the rest. Because I’m scared of burning SOQL queries, I query all the leads and process the results:

List<Lead> leads=[select id, LastName from Lead];
List<Lead> a=new List<Lead>();
List<Lead> btoz=new List<Lead>();
for (Lead ld : leads)
    String lastNameChar1=ld.LastName.toLowerCase().substring(0,1);
    if (lastNameChar1=='a')

System.debug('A size = ' + a.size());
System.debug('btoz size = ' + btoz.size());

The output of this shows that I’ve succeeded in my mission of hoarding as many SOQL queries as I can for later processing:

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But look towards the bottom of the screenshot - while I’ve only used 1% of my SOQL queries, I’ve gone through 7% of my CPU time limit. Depending on what else needs happens in this transaction, I might have created a problem now or in the future. But I don’t care, as I’ve satisfied myself requirement of minimising SOQL queries.

If I fixate a bit less on the SOQL query limit, I can create the same lists in a couple of lines of code but using an additional query:

List<Lead> a=[select id, LastName from Lead where LastName like 'a%'];
List<Lead> btoz=[select id, LastName from Lead where ID not in :a];
System.debug('A size = ' + a.size());
System.debug('btoz size = ' + btoz.size());

because the CPU time doesn’t include time spent in the database, I don’t consume any of that limit:

Screen Shot 2018 10 13 at 16 23 59

Of course I have consumed another SOQL query though, which might create a problem now or in the future. There’s obviously a trade-off here and fixating on minimising the CPU impact and ignoring the impact of additional SOQL queries is equally likely to cause problems.


When designing solutions, take all limits into account. Try out various approaches and see what the impact of the trade-offs is, and use multiple runs with the same data to figure out the impact on the CPU limit, as my experience is that this can vary quite a bit. There’s no silver bullet when it comes to limits, but spreading the load across all of them should help to stretch what you can achieve in a single transaction. Obviously this means the design time takes a bit longer, but there’s an old saying that programming is thinking not typing, and I find this to be particularly true when creating Salesforce applications that have to perform and scale for years. The more time you spend thinking, the less time you’ll spend trying to fix production bugs when you hit the volumes that everybody was convinced would never happen.



Saturday 6 October 2018

Dreamforce 2018

Dreamforce 2018

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2018 marked my 9th Dreamforce, although the first of these was staffing a booth in the Expo for 4 days so it’s difficult to count that. In a change of pace, the event started on day -1 with a new initiative from Salesforce.

Monday - CTA Summit

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The CTA Summit was pretty much my favourite part this year - an audience of CTAs and travelling bands of Product Managers giving us lightning (the pace, not the technology, although we did get some of that as well!) presentations and answering difficult questions - for me the questions were as informative as the presentations, especially if it was an area that I haven’t done a lot of work in. Nothing like knowing what others are struggling with so you can be ahead of the game.

The format was one that I’m reasonably familiar with, having been lucky enough to attend 3 MVP summits over the years, especially the constant reminders that you are under NDA and can’t share any of the content. Sorry about that! One thing I can share is that Richard Socher (Salesforce Chief Scientist) is an excellent speaker and if you get a chance to attend one of his talks, grab it. Some of the sessions were hosted at the Rincon Centre, where I saw a couple of outfits that looked really familiar.

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Tuesday - Keynote

Early start as the Community Group Leaders State of the Union session was a breakfast presentation at the Palace Hotel from 7am, then more CTA Summit sessions before heading over to Moscone Center.

For the first (no pun intended) time that I can remember, Marc Benioff’s keynote took place on Day 1. As an MVP I’m lucky enough to get reserved seating for the keynote and made sure I was there in plenty of time - queueing with Shell Black prior to security opening put us in the first row of reserved seating, three rows back from the stage.

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The big announcements from the keynote were Einstein Voice (conversational CRM + voice bots) and Customer 360. If you want to know more about these, here’s a slide from the BrightGen Winter 19 release webinar with links to the appropriate keynote recordings (if you can’t read the short links, you can access the original deck here


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The keynote wasn’t the end of the day though, with CTA and MVP receptions on offer I was networking and learning late into the evening,

Wednesday - Speaking

After a couple of days listening to other people talking, it was my turn. First up was the Climbing Mount CTA panel session over at the Partner Lodge, where I was up the front in some stellar company. We even had parity between the male and female CTAs on the panel, which is no mean feat when you look at the stats, something the Ladies Be Architects team in the foreground and working hard to address.



After this I headed back to Trailhead in Moscone West, showing incredible self-control as the partner reception was just starting. I limited myself to a single bite sized corn dog and ignored the voice in my head telling me that a couple of beers would loosen me up nicely, and went straight over the speaker readiness room to remind myself of the content for my Developer Theatre session “Quickstart Templates with the Salesforce CLI” (picture courtesy of my session owner, Caroline Hsieh).

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Once the talk was over I continued in a tradition started last year and went out for a beer with some of the contingent from Sweden - Johan (aka Kohan, Mohan) Karlsteen, the creator of Top Trailblazers, and one of his colleagues. As is also traditional, we took a picture and included a snapshot of the guy who couldn’t make it so that he didn’t feel left out :)



Thursday - More Keynotes and the Return of @adamse

Thursday was the second highlight of the event for me - the Developer Keynote, closely followed by the Trailhead keynote. A big surprise at the Dev Keynote was the presence of Adam Seligman, formerly of Salesforce but now with Google.


And I had pretty good seats in the second row for this keynote, better than Dave Carroll in fact. Did I mention I’m an MVP.



The gap between the Dev and Trailhead keynotes was only 30 minutes, but as they are literally over the road from each other I made it in about 20 (there’s a few people attend Dreamforce, so crossing the road isn’t as simple as it sounds!). I typically sit a bit further back in this one as there is huge amount of exuberance in the front few rows and I try to avoid displaying any excitement or enthusiasm in public if I can. 

After the keynotes I caught a couple more sessions before heading over to Embarcadero for the annual BrightGen customer dinner. I’d said to my colleagues when I bumped into them on Monday night that I’d see them again on Thursday, Some of those that hadn’t been thought I was joking, but they weren’t laughing when I showed up at 7pm. 

I also got to catch up with the winner of the UK and Ireland social media ambassador at Dreamforce competition - long time BrightGen customer, Cristina Bran, who told me all about her amazing week.


Friday - Salesforce Tower Trip

I’d been lucky enough to have my name picked out of the hat to get to visit the Ohana floor of the Salesforce Tower. It was a bit of a foggy day (what are the odds) but the views were still pretty spectacular.

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and that was Dreamforce over for another year!

Vegas Baby!

The BrightGen contingent traveled home via Las Vegas for a little unwinding and team building. Like the CTA Summit, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, so I can only show this picture of me arriving at the airport, still sporting some Salesforce branding.

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