A Developer's Dreamforce '16 recap

Posted on October 10th, 2016 at 7:44 pm


This year I finally had the opportunity to attend my first Dreamforce. If you've never been or heard of Dreamforce--it's a four day Salesforce event attended by over 160k admins, developers, and executives. It had over 3,000 training sessions, keynote speakers such as Melinda Gates and will.i.am and around $800 billion of annual revenue represented. Meaning if Dreamforce was its own country, it would have the 17th highest GDP in the world. The conference even has its own party app called "PartyForce", that allows thirsty attendees to find nearby free parties hosted by desperate vendors.

I'm professionally sexy! -Everyone at Dreamforce

Despite the cheesiness and marketing fluff, it was truly engaging and thought-provoking experience that has already brought a lot of value for my role as a Salesforce Developer. In this post, I wanted to provide a quick recap of what I thought were some of my most important takeaways.

Salesforce Einstein

The main focus of Dreamforce was Einstein, which is using Machine Learning to calculate lead scoring. While I wasn't able to wade through all the marketing barf buzz to understand the implementation, the concept of using ML to solve complex problems/find patterns from large datasets was really eye opening! In fact, my team was already inspired to create our own DecisionTree app built with Node.js/Heroku to help us calculate some of our own complex business logic.

Over the next decade, ML products such as Einstein will continue to be a focus and provide an enormous amount of insights to companies that have been hoarding data over the past few decades.

Salesforce DX

Good bye change sets! Salesforce is finally modernizing its development process with a suite of tools called Salesforce DX. The suite includes a CLI tool, a new environment type called a Scratch orgs, which provisions itself off a git repository, and what sounds like close integration with Heroku Flow--Heroku's CI tool.

Considering there are similar products out there, Salesforce DX is a little late to the game. However, I am excited to see Salesforce encouraging best practices such as version control and continuous integrations.

Mavensmate - Visual Code

Speaking of tooling, my favorite text-editor tool--Mavensmate has some exciting changes! The Mavensmate guys have a released a beta version of their new desktop app as well as support for VS Code.

I played around VS Code a little bit and I'm really excited about it! The error handling makes it really easy to pinpoint compile issues and the built-in git commands are very helpful to see diff changes.

Eventually, would love to see the ability to create checkpoints and do more complex debugging from within Mavensmate. I spoke to Joe Ferraro after their session and he hinted that DX might have some interesting things in their roadmap, so fingers crossed!

If you're interested, you can install the beta version of the new desktop app beta on Github.

Lightning Design System

LDS is basically the Salesforce equivalent of Bootstrap. Now when you build custom applications, you can give your HTML pages a responsive Lightning look and feel.

This also one of the first times I've seen Salesforce promoting an open sourced project, so it will be really cool to see how the Salesforce community responds! Checkout it out at www.lightningdesignsystem.com

Conclusion

While I certainly didn't cover everything I learned, I think these four products/features are going to make my life as a Salesforce dev pretty exciting over the next year. Salesforce is making some big strides in adopting source control, open sourcing their Lightning Design project and will hopefully deliver on the promises of Einstein. I'll see you next year, dreamers!

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