Archive for August, 2011

August 26, 2011

Over & out!

Right now (barring any flight delays), I am somewhere over the middle of the States, but thanks to the power of the internet, this week’s post is right on time. (Although we all know I’ve had my issues scheduling these posts — so fingers crossed!)

If you’ve been tuned in to the blogosphere these past few weeks, you would have already seen a flurry of pre-Dreamforce posts. And I know that a lot of them have been dedicated on what to bring to Dreamforce. Very handy, truly. But I’m here to share all the things that are important to leave at home. (Yeah, another bullet point list…)

  • Three piece suit – Forget any company dress code that you have. The outfits are Dreamforce run the gamut – everything from jeans and hoodies to a suit and tie. But here’s the thing, unless you are there as a vendor, go for comfort over dressy. The days are long & you won’t want to be focused on when you get to escape the constraints of your suit.
  • A ball gown – On the same note, I want to comment on the ‘gala’ event. Yes, that’s what it’s called, but don’t think of it as a formal event. It’s definitely more of a loud concert-club vibe in there, so take that time to unwind & have fun.
  • The wrong attitude – By this I mean a few different things. Don’t be an elitist who is too cool to talk to anyone else, but also don’t be so shy that you don’t introduce yourself to the people around you. In my past 4 Dreamforces (Dreamforci?), I have never met someone who wasn’t willing to talk & share their experiences with Salesforce. Don’t discredit your skills if this is your first Dreamforce & don’t think your the coolest kid in class if it’s your 8th. This community is is a huge part of what makes this company so amazing, so remember to engage, engage, engage!
  • A laptop – OK, bring your laptop. I am. But leave it in your hotel room! You do not want to be lugging that thing around all day, I promise you that. And as long as you have your trusty smartphone, you’ll be fine! They even up’ed the spend on WiFi again this year, so hopefully we’ll be able to tweet to our hearts’ content.
  • Your daily bag – Your laptop bag or whatever bag you lug to work every day – forget it. One of the best parts of Dreamforce is the swag you get, and the Dreamforce bag is my favorite part. They are usually high-quality bags that you *will* want to use, so no need to lug an extra along with you.
  • Those cute new 4″ heels – Yes, it’s been said before, but please…leave your uncomfortable shoes at home.

So pack your bags, watch out for Irene & meet me in San Francisco! Find me at the Community Conference to grab some free swag from yours truly!!

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August 19, 2011

Psst…I gotta tell you something!

I cannot believe how close to August 30th we are! This time next week, I’ll be on a plane heading out to Dreamforce. So I wanted to take the next two weeks to give you my take on the need-to-know stuff before getting on that plane. If you’ve been reading other blogs, I’m sure you’ve gotten a few pointers already (bring loads of business cards, wear comfy shoes, register for sessions), but I’d like to share a few insider secrets that you may not have heard already.

  • Check-In – Registration opens at 8:00 am on Monday morning. The earlier you can take care of this the better. While they have a lot of check-in kiosks, you’ll want to take care of this as soon as you can so that you’ve got your badge & can start wearing it with pride.
  • Keep a little snack in your bag – While there is TONS of food during meal times & at vendor events, I often find myself with some hunger pains during the keynotes and afternoons sessions. A granola bar or piece of fruit in the bag can be precious if your belly starts growling. I also keep a pack a gum in there to mask any coffee breath.
  • Attend the Community Conference – Kick off Dreamforce by meeting the power behind the Salesforce community on Tuesday morning! It starts with breakfast & a keynote from our community manager, the incredible Queen of Kuhl – Erica Kuhl! That’s followed by a bunch of breakout sessions lead by some of the Salesforce MVPs (myself included – I’m rocking out in the Answers Live Session). We wrap up with the first for three Birds of a Feather lunch sessions, with MVPs swarming the room. (You can add the Keynote & all #CommCon sessions in the agenda builder.)
  • Volunteer!– This was new at Dreamforce last year & I am so glad that they are bringing it back this year. A great extension of the 1/1/1 model, these are on-site volunteer opportunities where you can pop-in when you have a spare 5 (or more) minutes.
    • Assemble hygiene kits for the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital
      Wednesday, August 31, from 11:45 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
      Marriott Marquis, Yerba Buena Foyer
    • Create tote bags with Project Night Night
      Thursday, September 1, from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
      Moscone South, Upper Lobby
  • Go hang in the Dev Zone, even if you aren’t a developer – In fact, I should probably say *especially* if you aren’t a developer. No one will make you feel out of place & you’ll surprise yourself with how much you  already do know. (Plus, it will give you an excuse to drop all the knowledge I’ve been sharing these past few weeks.) While you’re there, make sure to grab the Force.com Workbook. Rumor has it, it’s been freshly updated for Dreamforce & it really is a great learning guide. They also tend to candy over there for a mid-day sugar rush.

Have you noticed that I really like making lists?

I’ll have some more great tips for you next week, and be sure to find me at Dreamforce (your best bet is at the Community Conference or in the Salesforce Campground on the Expo floor) to pick up some reader swag!

August 12, 2011

Sittin’ on Top of the World

Wow, I really am flying fast & loose with my post titles these days. But since it got your attention, you may as well keep reading. So what does the top of the world have to do with Salesforce development. Can’t figure it out yet? Top of the world…top…the peak…the apex…APEX!! (Yup, I went there). As a button-click admin, all I really knew about Apex was that if it was beyond my button-clickin’ skills, then it was probably something to do with Apex & I couldn’t do it. But I had no idea what Apex really was.

Let’s look at the Salesforce definition of Apex: “a strongly-typed, object-oriented programming language that allows developers to execute flow and transaction control statements on the Force.com platform.” A little too wordy for me, so let’s break that down.

  • Strongly-typed – this is a computer science-y term for coding languages that put restrictions on how actions that mix data types can be mixed. To put it a bit clearer, a coding language that has somes rules.
  • Object-oriented programming – OOP is one style of programming using Objects — Click for a refresher, but objects are storage center for data & the actions (methods) that the object can do.
  • Language – While my last few posts have been regarding dev-speak, this is actually the words & syntax that a developer uses while writing code. Things like ‘public class‘, ‘standardController‘, etc etc…
  • Execute flow – Translate to ‘make stuff happen’
  • Transaction control statements – Not gonna lie, I didn’t know this one. So I googled it! These are statements that control DML actions: insert, update, delete.
  • Force.com platform – Really? Are you on the right blog? Well, if you aren’t a SFDC addict, this is the cloud computing platform that I can stop raving about.

Hopefully I didn’t lose you through all that. Next week, I’m going to switch gears a bit & provide some insight to all the happenings at Dreamforce. If you aren’t going yet, hurry up & sign up now (only 16 days until the big event)! I’m gonna have some really great schwag for my readers, including extra special gifts for those who comment on my blog! Seriously!

August 5, 2011

Give me some action!

I have to start by apologizing. That post title is pretty misleading, but I had writer’s block while trying to come up with something, and it’s the best I could do. Today’s dev words are about when your code goes into action, so it’s not *that* misleading — right? I’ll just say that you agree & we move on to the learning bit! Today we’ve got one big concept one, followed by two easy ones.

  • Bulkify – You’ve probably heard this term a lot. The basic concept is that when you bulkify, you are making sure that your code properly handles more than one record at a time.  This becomes important, because Force.com code runs in a shared environment, so you don’t want to be hogging all the virtual memory. Think of someone on the subway taking up 6 seats for no reason – jerk, right? Don’t be that guy.
  • Compile – This is just turning your code from human-esque speak to the zeros and ones that computers use to do their magic. If your code doesn’t make sense, or is written wrong, you’ll get a lovely compile error — but at least you won’t break anything!
  • Run – OK, easy one. Think of this as hitting the “Go!” button on your code.

And there you have it – the action words that go with code!

We are now 24 days (and 3 blog posts) away from Dreamforce! If you haven’t registered yet, here’s a $100 off. Now go sign up!

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