Friday, 12 May 2017

TrailheaDX here we come!

There is a new Salesforce conference event on the horizon, and I think it's going to be a good one!

I missed Dreamforce 2016, through my own misadventure (I literally got married the weekend before) - and I also missed Dreamforce 2015 - because I had attended the previous three years, and Desynit had a swathe of excited new developers so it only seemed fair to let them attend whilst I held the fort back here in Bristol. I thought with a two-year hiatus, if I worked real hard, and was real nice to the management - my application for Dreamforce 2017 would be met with open arms....

Imagine my horror then; when Desynit announced conference attendees for the year, they told me I wouldn't be attending Dreamforce 2017 either! Three swings and three misses, what had I done wrong?!

Well - what had I done RIGHT - because Desynit then announced they weren't going to send me to Dreamforce this year, they are going to send me to TrailheaDX instead!

My fellow Salesforce developer Dorian Sutton and I will be jetting off to San Francisco at the end of June to take part in what I personally believe could be a turning point in the "Computer Science Conference" world.

Previously there have been two types of IT Conference - there is the Dreamforce style - which let's be honest is a flashy party full of salespeople and free branded pens (which break before you get them home). It is a fun party, and it's always nice to meet so many people and see so many sessions - but to the development world it's also a little like being an exhibit at a zoo; and also typically pretty overwhelming.

On the other side of the coin, there are IT conferences (typically held in educational institutions) where the loudest noise you will hear for 3 days is someone dropping a tea spoon at one of the coffee stations. Back-to-back sessions (often led by sponsored bigCo experts) make sure no-one is forced to suffer the indignity of having to talk to a stranger for any length of time and half the attendees are actually just there to get away from their colleagues and cubicles - and are back in their hotel rooms by 17:29 each day.

Enter TrailheaDX.

TrailheaDX - to me - looks like an incredibly exciting opportunity to finally have a technically oriented conference environment, without too much of the "whooping" and t-shirt cannon hype, but still actually in Technicolour™, with some life and vibrancy to it.

You know it's going to be good, because the actual Salesforce platform developers and engineers will be there, talking to people and leading sessions.

If you look at the session list it is absolutely cutting edge. Advanced Lightning Components, Einstein the DX CLI - this isn't just people revamping a presentation they gave 6 months ago (and 6 months before that); it's new and exciting, and for once - the Safe Harbour statement might actually mean something to me!


This is the biggy for me, at Desynit we have spent hour and hours, over months and months trying to work out, and improve our version control, release processes, disaster recovery, forward-working enviroments and everything that every over branch of programming has at least some options for.

We have Bitbucket, and scripts, and can often be found begging each other to try to follow the convoluted processes we have that basically make every change request cost sweat and blood. The DX CLI promises to solve all these problems for us and make our lives bliss (remember that safe harbour statement I mentioned earlier?!)

But we are seriously looking forward to this, the whole team will be waiting with baited breath for our return from TrailheaDX to report back what the upcoming changes will be for Metadata control and Git integration to Salesforce.

So if you are going to be there.... get in touch with me on Twitter, and perhaps we can meet up for that awkward coffee that I'm hoping I actually won't have to do; but more importantly, we can retweet each others experiences, which is far more interesting anyway.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Take the lead - in your local Developer community

Related Reading: The Salesforce Developer Career eBook

Ever wonder who those super-stars are who run one of the hundreds of Developer User Groups around the world? Do you see the DUG Leaders getting shout-outs in Salesforce Podcasts, keynotes and blogs and think 'who are these heroes, and where did they come from?' ...

Well the answer is, they are actually most likely folks just like you; and therefore you can be one too!

Five years ago, the Directors at Desynit were talking to Chris Lewis and myself about some great times they used to have in London when they ran an occasional knees-up for the CA Plex developer community that they called Plex in the City. They just picked and broadcast a date and a pub, put it on some Plex forums, and developers turned up and had a great time. They made connections 14+ years ago that they still keep now, and every now and then the phone still rings at Desynit from someone looking for the "Plex development team" here..

This led Chris and I to decide to start “Force by Forcewest” a developer user group for Developers in the Southwest of England.

So we sent some e-mails, created a Facebook and Twitter page, and made a tiny flag which we stuck in an upside down plastic cup. When the date rolled around the two of us went nervously to the pub at the arranged time - and waited...

..and you know what; out of the dark, developers turned up!

We had a great time swapping stories, debating and drinking a few beers, and we agreed to do it again. I met some people on that very first meetup in 2011 whom I am still friends with today. More importantly, it went on to me discovering the vast and supportive Salesforce community - for which I now hope I am a useful part!

It was at Dreamforce 2012 I saw a session by Andy Boettcher titled “How to run a Salesforce developer user group” - I thought I’d struck gold, a kindred spirit! I was first in line for the session, and so imagine my surprise when he introduced both April Nassi - head of Developer Relations at Salesforce, and the fact that already there were already dozens of groups all over the country. After the session I spoke to Andy and April, and she set me up with all the information I needed to run a local Salesforce developer user group… both the Meetup group page, the financial support Salesforce can offer for hiring meeting facilities and food/drink and within a couple of weeks, a great big box of t-shirts, caps, books and even a Salesforce iPod to use as a prize or giveaway!

Within 6 months we were up and running, a new official Salesforce DUG for Bristol - and I was suddenly one of those heroes I thought the world of!

If you have even the slightest desire to get involved in your local developer community, you have a couple of options: find your nearest one and go along, or if there isn’t one near enough be your own local hero and start it up! If you are worried about the work load - firstly, it’s really not that hard(!) and secondly, you will probably find within a meetup or two that there are a couple of other people who will be keen to get involved and help organise events with you.

To find your nearby group head over to and check out the map.

Have a browse over the DUG FAQs on the Salesforce developer blog

Get in touch with @Salesforcedevs on Twitter where you will get answers to everything you need to know! The DUG Leaders have their own amazing leadership team directly within Salesforce, we have a Slack channel, a Mobilize feed, and a DUG leadership group, which has occasional worldwide conference calls for sharing ideas - getting updates from Salesforce and feeding back on our experience running the groups. It’s a great bunch of people to be a part of.