Saturday 29 January 2022

Record Triggered Flow Ordering and Explorer in Spring 22


As is true of most releases over the last few years, Spring 22 has a bunch of flow enhancements in it, and two particularly caught my eye. I'm pretty sure that Apex developers will be casting a longing look in their direction and wondering why the same thing isn't available for pro code, although I have some opinions about that which I'll also share!

Flow Ordering

While best practice around no, low and pro code is one <insert automation tool here> per object and action, this isn't always achievable. Even if you've been able to achieve it with your own org metadata, as soon as you install a managed package from the app exchange you'll probably get some overlap. And if you've embraced the unmanaged package development approach, you stand a good chance of undoing your own good work. 

Spring 22 introduces the concept of ordering for record triggered flows, allowing an administrator to control the order they are executed in, and an evil co-worker to cause all sorts of havoc. There might have been havoc without ordering, but this allows the evil co-worker to guarantee things run in the wrong order!

A flow trigger order value can be specified between 1 and 2000 (so much for one flow per object and action!), but it things are a little more nuanced than they might first appear.

Order values 1 - 1000 execute first, and if multiple flows have the same order value, the API name is used as a tiebreaker. 

Then flows with no order value execute, in order of their Created Date. Note that you can't change the Created Date, so if you want to influence the order of flows in this section you'll have to supply an order value and take them out of this section. I see what you did there Salesforce!

Then flows with order values 1001-2000 execute, again with the order of any collisions being decided based on the API name.

I'm not sure why those without a value run in the middle section, but obviously if you keep all your order values below 1001, then those without a value run at the end, and if you have them all above 1000 then those without a value run at the start, so you really are in full control.

Note that each of before and after save flows have their own 1-2000 set of values that are independent. You can't specify an order value that would cause an after save flow earlier than a before save flow - what a merry time of misrule that would be!

Flow Trigger Explorer

When I originally saw this I was really impressed, as I thought it was working in tandem with the new ordering functionality and showing me the exact automation in the order that it runs in. However, throwing a few examples in to show this at the January 2022 meeting of the London Salesforce Developers made me realise it's not quite as cool as that. If you look closely at the screenshot below you'll see a couple of issues if you are hoping this will show you what happens when:

First, the items in each section are sorted by flow label, not the order value, API name or Created Date. Second, inactive flows are mixed in with active ones, so you need to dig a little deeper. It does let you see at a glance the items that might impact an action on an object though, so I think it's a worthwhile start, and I'm sure that this will get more functionality as time goes on.

Why Doesn't Apex Have These?

Controlling the order that triggers run in is something that Apex developers have been looking for since forever. And finding. There are trigger handlers galore that solve this in a variety of ways, with different levels of configuration and complexity. Managed packages sometimes present a bit more of a challenge, but a well architected package will give you a way to merge their automation with yours if you need to. While I'm sure Salesforce could provide something like the order value for triggers, or indeed their own baked-in trigger handler, I'm willing to bet this would be a case of no good deed goes unpunished and those that care deeply about these things would all be upset about different aspects of the solution being forced on them. 

An Apex trigger explorer that listed the triggers involved in a single action and object would, in my view, be a solution looking for a problem. The setup pages show the triggers associated with an object, and a decent naming convention will make it clear which ones run under specific circumstances. A trigger handler framework would likely show the same trigger to rule them all for all actions for an object, or at most a dedicated trigger per action and object. 

So I don't think these are particularly needed for Apex, at least for Apex developers. Admins configuring Apex might find them useful, but with the ascent of low code tools there will probably be less of that in the future anyway. I'd still like to see some kind of unit test framework for low code though, so hopefully there's a team somewhere in Salesforce at least thinking about that.


Saturday 22 January 2022

refreshApex and Lightning Web Components


One of the things I particularly like about Lightning Web Components is the wire service. The ability to let the platform send me the data when it decides things are ready, rather than having to figure out when to call an Apex method based on rendered callbacks and the like really cleaned up my code from the days of Aura.

Updated Records on the Server

The one area that it doesn't automatically handle for me is sending me new data when a record is updated server side, by other Apex code or maybe the controller of the LWC that is using the wire service. Initially my approach was to return the updated records to the component if it was my own controller method carrying out the update, or switch to imperative Apex calls once I knew an update had taken place. Neither of these were particularly satisfactory though.

The solution is the refreshApex method, which you import from salesforce/apex. Per the docs 

Sometimes, you know that the cache is stale. If the cache is stale, the component needs fresh data. To query the server for updated data and refresh the cache, import and call the refreshApex() function.

Exactly what I need, and it keeps my data in the scope of the wire service, so if that gets notified that there is a newer version of the data, I'll get that too.

There's a slight gotcha that makes it easy to get this wrong. When I first tried it I was convinced that it didn't work, because I'd misunderstood a key aspect of the docs. The instruction in question is:

NOTE The parameter you refresh with refreshApex() must be an object that was previously emitted by an Apex @wire.

So in my wire method handler, I captured the object that I'd retrieved:
@wire(GetPage, {name: 'home'})
gotPage(result) {
    if ( {;;

and when I knew the record had been updated server side, I executed the refreshApex method:

getLatest() {
and nothing happened. I got no errors, but the data didn't change either. As refreshApex returns a promise, I figured maybe the issue was it wasn't resolving, so I added the code to handle success and failure:
getLatest() {
    .then(()=> {
            new ShowToastEvent({
                title: 'Success',
                message: 'Refreshed Data',
                variant: 'success'
    .catch((error) => {
            new ShowToastEvent({
                title: 'Error Refreshing Data',
                message: message,
                variant: 'error'

this time I got an error, that didn't make a lot of sense to me, but seemed like the refreshApex method wasn't returning a promise, even though it was supposed to return an promise.

As it was the first time I'd used it, I had no idea what the correct usage looked like, so there was a bit of trial and error before I realised that "an object that was previously emitted by an Apex @wire" meant the entire object rather than the data property that I was extracting. And reading further on the docs confirmed this, which reminded me to always RTFM!

Updating my wire method handler to capture the whole thing rather than the records from the server:

@wire(GetPage, {name: 'home'})
gotPage(result) {
    if ( {;
and things were all good:

Notice that I don't have to care what data was returned by the wired method, I just save it somewhere and pass it as the parameter.

Example Component

My LWC Blogs repo has an example component that shows refreshApex being used correctly. If you are going to try it out in a scratch org, check the instructions in the README as there's a little bit of setup to get the page to work correctly. 

The component retrieves a Page record that has the name 'Home' and shows how many views it has had. There's a button you can click that increments the views count by calling an Apex method. Once the method completes, the record cached server side is updated using the refreshApex method, and the user receives notifications about all sorts of things:

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Sunday 9 January 2022

ApexTypeImplementor in Spring 22

Note: This feature may be in Beta come Spring 22 - the release notes in Salesforce Help say that it is in beta, the PDF version doesn't mention it. If I get confirmation either way I'll update this post! Remember that Spring 22 is still in preview, so this feature might never see the light of day anyway!


The Spring 22 release of Salesforce introduces the ApexTypeImplementor object, which contains information about the classes that implement an interface, either directly or indirectly. You've been able to access Apex class bodies for years, so picking up the direct implementation of an interface has been possible for a while. Figuring out that that the interface is implemented in the inheritance hierarchy gets a bit more tricky. In either case, having the platform take care of it for you takes away a chunk of code, which is always a good thing.

Use Cases

When I first came across this new feature it had a touch of the "solution looking for a problem" about it, but once I had a chance to dig into it in a little more detail, I have a number of scenarios where I'll be able to apply it as soon as it is available/maybe out of beta.

Rule Engine

The most common use case from my perspective is the configurable plug and play engine. I have several rules engines where a class is considered a rule because it implements a specific interface. I'll have a number of classes that implement rule variants, and these rules are enabled and applied in a specific order based on configuration. 

The ApexTypeImplementor doesn't help in terms of which rule classes should be applied, as I still want it to be driven through configuration rather than the code just applying everything it can find in whatever order they come back. Where it does help is to assist the admin who is configuring the rules. Rather than them having to remember the names of classes or look them up and copy/paste from other setup pages, I can create a custom configuration page that offers them only the classes that implement the interface, thus ensuring that the configured classes are available.

Setup Verification 

A less obvious use case is confirmation that a system is setup and configured correctly - i.e. that there is no missing or obviously broken configuration that will cause errors at runtime. Each feature that can be enabled has an associated class that checks the feature is configured correctly (or at least plausibly as it's quite hard to confirm correctness without running a bunch of tests). As long as each of these classes implements the same interface, I can execute code from an admin clicking a button or quick action that finds all of the classes that implement the verification interface. Each of these is instantiated and the method that checks the configuration is executed. This works really well if the additional features are delivered via org dependent or unlocked packages, as the code that implements the feature and the code that checks it are developed in tandem.

Training Confirmation

The third use case that I have is around training, and ensuring that the training has been retained. I have a collection of packages that I can drop into an org that ask the user to carry out some configuration or regular business work, and then check that they carried it out correctly. 

At the moment the packages create configuration entries when they are installed, and those configuration entries are used to generate cards on an application page so that users can access and check the challenges. Because I want all of the challenges that are installed to be available to the user, with the ApexTypeImplementor I can do away with the configuration entries and just show the users details of all the classes that implement the interface. 

Sample App

I've created a sample application in my Spring 22 repository to show ApexTypeImplementor used in anger. I have an interface that a class implements to describe itself to interested parties :

public interface ClassInfoIF 
    String getDescription();
    String getAuthor();

I'm using a Lightning Web Component to display the details of the classes, which extracts them from a dedicated controller (that also implements the interface!) : 

public static List<ClassDetail> GetClassDetails()
    List<ClassDetail> classDetails=new List<ClassDetail>();
    List<ApexTypeImplementor> classInfoTypes = 
           [SELECT ApexClassId, ClassName, ClassNamespacePrefix
            FROM ApexTypeImplementor
            WHERE InterfaceName = 'ClassInfoIF' and IsConcrete=true];

    for (ApexTypeImplementor classInfoType : classInfoTypes)
        ClassDetail classDetail=new ClassDetail();
        if (null!=classInfoType.ClassNamespacePrefix)
            classDetail.fullName=classInfoType.ClassNamespacePrefix + '.';

        ClassInfoIF classInfo = 
                    (ClassInfoIF) Type.forName(classInfoType.ClassNamespacePrefix,


    return classDetails;

The bolded sections above show the query that extracts the classes that implement the interface, and the code that constructs the class as an instance of ClassInfoIF and executes the methods that describe the class. If a new class is added to the org that implements this interface, it is automatically included the next time I access the page.

I've put in a few fake classes too, including one that implements the interface by overriding methods from its superclass to check the indirect side of things works too. Accessing the application page shows the information I'm interested in for each class:


Tuesday 4 January 2022

2021 Year in Review - Part 4

Testing. Testing. 1..2..3 (and more) Lateral Flows

The theme of the last few months of the year was testing. Not the fun kind involving mocks and setup/teardown, but the unpleasant kind that required shoving swabs up your nose. The picture everyone wanted to post on social media had changed from a selfie to a negative result!

It was all worth it though.


The London Salesforce Developers were back in person! This felt simultaneously wonderful and very weird - seeing three dimensional versions of faces I'd only seen on screens for 18 months took a little bit of getting used to. I also got the opportunity to meet in person a bunch of graduates that I'd been training up for the last few months!

The theme of the meetup was a quick run through some of the interesting features from the Winter 22 release that had gone live earlier in the month. We kept it pretty light though, as most people just wanted to network. 

Bret Taylor was apparently telling everyone he was going to be promoted to Salesforce CEO soon. He wasn't wrong, but as it turned out wasn't right either.


Back to back in-person events for the London Salesforce Developers, as Rob Cowell presented a cracker of a session on Integrating AWS with Salesforce. There was also a dog, which made it pretty much perfect for me.

And the biggest news of the month, for me at least, BrightGen was majority acquired by Credera.


Just ahead of the Omicron variant, the Xmas Megameet of the London Salesforce Developers, Admins and Women in Tech took place on 6th December.  

After months of rumours it finally happened, although not exactly as some were expecting, Bret Taylor was promoted to co-CEO of Salesforce. He was also took over as Chairman of the Board of Twitter. Not a bad week's work by any measure.

Dreamforce made it outside of San Francisco, although sadly for those of us in Europe it was only to the other side of the US in New York. The safety aspects of this were taken extremely seriously, and held up as an example for everyone else. And launched as a product - Dreampass. What with the reimagined in 2020, the acquisition of Slack and now Dreampass, Salesforce have certainly maximised opportunities during these pandemic times.

What Does 2022 Hold?

More Covid cases for sure - the numbers continue to rise rapidly in a number of locations including the UK. Work from home is again the advice, so I'd expect the first couple of London Salesforce Developer meetings to be virtual again. Hopefully three months of in-person softens that particular blow!

I can't see Salesforce resting on their laurels with regard to remote work, so I'd expect more in the way of acquisitions to establish themselves as a player in this space. Videoconferencing still seems like an obvious addition to the product set, and it will be interesting to see if (and how) Slack is further integrated  into the Salesforce UI, given that it will supposedly replace Chatter.  Half of employees say they may quit if remote work goes away, so there's plenty more opportunity in this space I feel.

Two things are for sure, there will be three further releases of Salesforce in 2022, and if there is a major outage it will be in May!

Whatever happens, I'm sure I'll be banging on about it on here or Substack. Thanks for reading!

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Monday 3 January 2022

2021 Year in Review - Part 3


Another month, another new (and virtual) event. The first Consultancy Dreamin' took place on the Hopin platform. In a change of pace for me, I was looking after a cohort of speakers rather than running any sessions myself. I was also (and somewhat unexpectedly, as I'd missed the training session) facilitating a couple of panel sessions, which was great fun. Usually at these events I just have to worry about getting myself somewhere at the right time and not messing up my demo - it's a very different experience organising others, especially once the EMEA and US aspects of the event started to overlap!

July also saw my personal favourite event for the London Salesforce Developers - Discover a lightning fast way to debug in Salesforce with RFLIB. I've long been convinced that platform events are a great way to decouple automation from database transactions, and this is an excellent use of them.

The Salesforce acquisition of Slack finally went through, although it felt like it had already happened some time before. Almost simultaneously, a bunch of Trailhead badges for Slack went live and the hunt to get them all started up again. It wasn't all unicorns and rainbows though, as the Times New Express reminded us of the Salesforce execs that had departed to this point in 2021.


Salesforce launched Salesforce+ - the first (and only?) enterprise software company streaming service. While I've done some gentle mocking of this (here and here), I do think it's a great idea. It was also good to see Salesforce trying something different on the event front, albeit still trapped in front of a screen!

I reviewed Ahsan Zafar's book on Salesforce Data Architecture and Management - a good book tackling a tricky subject. Remote working was also something I was spending a lot of time thinking about, with particular reference to returning to something like normality.

An old friend, and former leader, of the London Salesforce Developers - Anup Jadhav - returned to tell us all about OmniStudio. This was an extremely well attended session, second only to Erika McEvilly's trigger session that kicked the year off. 


Dreamforce was back. Sort of. The events around the world had disappeared and San Francisco was now 1,000 attendees over 2 days, but it did happen and people were there. It was streamed on Salesforce+ rather than trying to recreate the physical event on a virtual platform, which made a bit of a change, but still kept us in front of our screens. The London Salesforce Developers had another virtual virtual watch party, but we were seeing the numbers drop as people were becoming zoomed out.  This chart of our attendance figures shows the decline - it was slow, but definitely heading down aside from the occasional event.

for this reason we'd decided to go back in-person in October. Exciting times!

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Sunday 2 January 2022

2021 Year in Review - Part 2

The lockdown locks before and after!


Lockdown finally started to ease in the UK, with non-essential retail starting to open up and overnight stays away from home allowed again. Outdoor mixing was allowed, but with a maximum of six people from two households, so we didn't feel it made a lot of sense to move the London Salesforce Developers back in person just yet.  My fellow co-organiser, Amnon Kruvi, gave a well attended virtual talk on the Salesforce Security Review. Judging by the questions, there are clearly a lot of future ISVs among our members.

The rumour mill suggested that Salesforce were committed to an in person Dreamforce in 2021, which turned out to be accurate, although calling what happened Dreamforce seems a bit of a stretch when only a small number of people from the US were allowed to attend. I guess it was important to be seen to be holding it, but it's hard to agree with "Dreamforce is an annual event that brings together the global Salesforce community" when the vast majority of said community have to watch on a streaming platform.

Summer 21 Pre-release signups opened up, reminding us that we are never more than a few months away from a Salesforce release.

I also reviewed Tameem Bahri's book: Becoming a Salesforce Architect - I liked it then and I still like it now!


While you might never be more than a few months away from a Salesforce release, when it's May you also appear to be at the most risk of an outage, and 2021 continued the trend with a DNS issue. While the issue took the trust site down, it was good to see Salesforce continue to send people there to maximise their frustration. Why limit yourself to unhappy customers when you can turn them incandescent with rage?

Paul Battisson joined the London Salesforce Developers to tell us how to improve the performance of our Apex code by turning it up to 11.

Continuing with the performance theme, this month also saw the publication of one of my most popular blogs of the year - The Impact of System.Debug, which garnered close to 3,500 views, several comments and a new Apex PMD rule!


After 15 months without letting any scissors near me, the lockdown locks finally went, freeing me up from several minutes of grooming every week and raising over £500 for charity. They'd provided a lot of pleasure for a lot of people, mostly in the form of pointing and laughing, but their day was done.

The Summer 21 release hit production, and Salesforce published the root cause analysis of this year's instalment of the May outage. There was a new Event Bus on the way, with talk of a new pub/sub API. Six months later there's a few references to a pilot and a guide, but the marketing seems to have been dialled right down. Shades of Evergreen/Functions maybe?

Although countries were starting to open up, the virtual events kept coming, with the trailheadx developer conference. Scheduled with an eye on San Francisco local time, the near to 5pm start wasn't ideal for those of us in the UK, so I mostly caught up on the content over the next couple of months. Mostly, because the London Salesforce Developers ran a viewing party for the keynote, where we all joined a video call to watch a keynote on video. Very meta. To ensure everyone paid attention we had a word hunt, where spotting common terms from Salesforce keynotes (awesome, 1-1-1, you know the kind of thing) earned swag. An unexpected side effect of this was the entertainment of people joining an hour into the session and hoping they were the first to hear 'awesome'. Entertaining for me, as I wasn't running the competition!

Dreamforce was announced as a series of in-person events around the world, although everything outside of San Francisco quietly disappeared over the next few months. 

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2021 Year in Review - Part 1