Friday, April 18, 2014

OzForce: Celebrating Australian Salesforce Innovation

Today's  post is a quick one as I'm in the middle of coding and slowly but surely trying to move this blog away from Blogger and onto Ghost... all fun and games but hopefully it won't take too much longer.

As I alluded to in a previous post, Australia has a thriving Salesforce community and is also a hotbed of innovation, with some incredibly powerful and comprehensive apps being built for the platform by local ISV partners. I feel privileged to be a part of this community and have made more than a few friends within it, so I'm proud to say I'll be presenting along side some super smart people at OzForce.

 OzForce - Sydney, May 1st, 2014.

What is OzForce?

I think this phrase from the OzForce website sums it up best, as an event which is: 

Bringing together a collection of Australian cloud applications 
developed on the Salesforce1 platform. A celebration of local innovation, 
thought leadership and community.

No less than eight local companies will be performing elevator pitches of their apps, followed by longer demonstrations in a break-out fashion with a dedicated room for each to go into more detail; my only complaint is that I won't be able to see the other demonstrations myself. I'm familiar with a few of the apps on show (we actually use Dashcord at S. P. Keasey) and would love to see all them in action. The companies taking part are sponsoring the event, so if you're a customer, and you're around Sydney on the May 1st then please come along to learn about some amazing apps and have a chat over a drink or two. 

There's more information available on the OzForce website which includes a registration form; be sure to register early to secure a spot!

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Two Points On Understanding StackExchange Culture

StackExchange sites tend to have two reputations. The first reputation is that they're the best place to go when you're stuck with something, because if the answer's not there already then you know you'll get a good once quickly. The other reputation is for being unfriendly (even tending towards hostile) with respect to newcomers; there's a question on Quora about it and StackExchange themselves even did some research into the friendliness of comments on their sites (read The Hunting of Snark by developer hero Joel Spolsky). This is my attempt to help explain why SE sites can give an impression of being unfriendly despite being filled with some amazing people. 

What Makes It Seem Unfriendly?

Generally (as the research SE performed) comments etc. are neutral in their voice and more are friendly than not, so it's not really a case of what's being said: it's what's being done. Oftentimes a newcomer's question will quickly be closed, or their answer deleted, and unless a useful comment is left (moderators are warned if a post is closed/deleted without comment) they might be left wondering why. In essence it comes down to rules.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Internet Of All Of The Things

"Internet of Things" has been a phrase thrown around for a while now, but that doesn't mean it's tired and old hat. On the contrary I believe we're on the verge of a whole new era. We're poised to take all of the electronic and computing advances of the last fifty years and make a great leap forward, soon we won't be operating our devices, they'll simply do what we want them to do, with minimal intervention on our part.

Not Everything Is Online

These 'things' we discuss don't even need to be connected to the internet directly; currently we (the S. P. Keasey Trading Co.) are working on a project which involves magnetic card readers. These cards are things, and they're not online, but they can still be utilised with other hardware to result in more online data providing allowing for further analytical opportunities. In essence the internet of things comes down to sensors, measuring all kinds of scenarios, from light and sound levels, temperature via thermostats and more. Connecting those sensors to the online world generates usable information, and when the systems we work with can modify the environment those sensors work in we really start dabbling in the realm of magic.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Building The Australian Salesforce Community

Here in Australia the community is strong, but it still has a lot more potential to explore. Over the last couple of years more and more user groups have sprung up, we've got developer groups in Melbourne and Sydney, and events have had an ever-increasing level of attendance; so where do we go from here? Well a good start is to create more community created content and services, and to that end when the Salesforce1 World Tour hits Melbourne in March it'll be sporting a new 'Genius Bar'.

Don't Miss This!

Genius Bar?

Those people that attended Dreamforce in 2013, or perhaps the NYC Salesforce1 World Tour event, may have already stumbled across a genius bar, but for those who haven't it takes the form of a booth at the event, staffed by a rotation of community members, where you can go to ask questions and get expert help without the side-order of sales.

Want to know how to build that particular report? Want to know why this line of code is sometimes failing in your trigger? Those are the questions we're aiming to solve, because sometimes you don't need a day's worth of consulting services, you just need fifteen minutes to get a simple answer to a simple question. All of the Australian MVPs (Steven, Peter, Jason and myself) will be on the bar at various times throughout the day, as will leaders from the user groups. That said, we're looking for more people willing to lend their time as well, so if you've got a certification or two and know your way around the platform then please send us your details and we'll be in touch.

This promises to be one of the biggest events yet in Australia so I hope to see you there!

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Friday, February 7, 2014

Auth0: Serving The Internet of Developers

I wasn't sure what to write about this week, but while working on a new project I discovered Auth0, who offer SSO for the Enterprise. I'm sure you're thinking, "yeah sure, same stuff, different day", but what set these guys apart—and has inspired me to write this post—is their tenacity regarding customer service, and they know that their customers are developers.

Love At First Sight?

It's right there, on the home page: "Designed for Developers". And they're not lying. There's a live-chat option when they're online, and on my very first visit to their site this caught my eye because it said I could chat with a developer; I had some questions so I clicked it, and found myself chatting not to some tier one sales guy, but to the CTO. Sure that's easier to achieve when your company is small, but this guy (Matias Woloski) knew his stuff in-and-out like you'd expect.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Spring '14: 5 Interesting Developer Features

So it turns out I've now written 100 posts on this blog (this being the 101st)! They're not all Salesforce related (particularly around the beginning) but it's been an enjoyable, if sometimes taxing, endeavour and I'm looking forward to writing the next hundred and many more after that. Also, it would be great to have more guest writers so if you have a developer article you'd like to write, get in touch! Now, on to the up coming Salesforce release, Spring '14.

New Goodness

1. Improved TEXT() Function In Formula Fields


The TEXT() formula function now converts picklist values to text
Short and sweet this one, and does what it says on the tin, but I can see this making life a lot easier in certain scenarios.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Developing As An ISV Partner - One Year Down

It is a New Year and time for a return to regular programming: the last couple of months were a bit sparse on the post side of things, mostly down to Dreamforce and the holiday season which both involved traveling. In January last year we formed the S. P. Keasey Trading Co. and set out on a mission to release as many AppExchange apps as we could; we were probably optimistic with our expectations for 2013, but we did learn a lot and 2014 is looking good. So what have I learned as a developer embarking upon the ISV journey? Here's a few of the lessons that jump out at me.

A year old already!

Good Test Methods Are Vital

This is pretty self explanatory and it's something I've covered a few times before now: make sure you right proper test methods that meticulously check the functionality of your code. I'll be the first to raise my hand and say I still take short cuts with this, but I'll also say that nearly every time I do it bites on the butt. I'll chalk this down as a lesson half-learned.