It is the culmination of at least 18 months engineering to put Salesforce on an API and mobile first footing for future development.
It is a responsive webapp which is also wrapped in a native iOS or Android container and shipped as ‘Salesforce1′ hybrid app.
It is an umbrella marketing term for the collection Salesforce.com owned platforms. It encompasses the traditional ‘force.com’ platform that Salesforce1 is built on and also the existing non-force.com API/Platforms underpinning Pardot, ExactTarget, Heroku and others.
Thinking of getting into Salesforce.com in the new year? It would be a great time as it has never been busier – Salesforce.com is growing their business over 30% in revenue year on year and this success is flowing into the partner and customer ecosystem; my employer Cloud Sherpas has grown by over 300 staff in 2013 (and we’re still hiring ).
If you are thinking of jumping in a career here are some practical tips I wish people had told me when I first started out 3.5 years ago:
Get a password manager and use it.
Lastpass or 1Password, you are likely to get a LOT of usernames/passwords for different Salesforce orgs, these tools will help you.
You will register more developer editions over time, but I’ve got one I use as the basis of my ‘official’ identity on success.salesforce.com and its the place I do most of my training and self education.
The official accounts are the starting point but there are lots of lists around with MVPs and Salesforce staff on them, following these people on Twitter will give you useful insights into what the community is doing.
Book early for both accommodations and flights if you are going (And you should hope to go at least once) … and by early, think… 10-12 months early!
Always be learning – Read the manual…. and experiment
Salesforce publishes so much information so it can be overwhelming, but it is vital you know the platform. Reading the manuals and watching the videos is a start but nothing beats experimenting in your developer edition org.
Early in my time with with Salesforce I found the blog of Keir Bowden (Aka ‘Bob Buzzard’) and his list of Salesforce qualifications (all of them) and set it as a benchmark for myself to try to achieve.
I got the chance to meet him at the MVP summit and he turns out to be a great guy to boot, so I was pleased to find Keir and Packt Publishing have been busy preparing a book in time for Dreamforce called ‘Visualforce Development Cookbook’.
The book is a concise summary of all the techniques you (eventually) develop yourself when working with Visualforce. It’s not exaggeration that if this had been around when I’d started out I would have saved myself a considerable amount of time and more than a few mistakes. That said, the book still taught me a few tricks I didn’t realise you could do. (Passing action methods to VF components? I must have missed that one…)
Containing 87 Recipes broken into 9 sections it covers pretty much everything you can do with Visualforce and then a little more (it branches out into jQuery Mobile toward the end.)
Titled a ‘Cookbook’ it should be read like one – that is, not cover to cover, but rather by checking the index for a recipe that suits your problem and then jumping straight to the solution. This means that each recipe does contain a bit of repetition as it steps you through the common steps of creating VF pages or Controllers but you can always quickly switch to the ‘How it works’ section to get to the meat of the solution.
There are few books on Visualforce and even fewer resource devoted to providing specific advice on how to achieve the common things one needs to do in Visualforce. That gap has now well and truly been fulfilled by the Visualforce Development Cookbook I would recommend it for any VF developer (I learned a few things myself) but I would especially recommend it for those who want to advance a development team’s ability to quickly build best practice Visualforce pages.
Three years ago I said ‘yes’ to an opportunity to start working with Salesforce. I made a conscious decision to the throw myself into thoroughly understanding the product and its technology.
It was soon after starting that journey that I discovered Salesforce is as much a community as it is a product or a technology platform, one that spans from Melbourne to Newfoundland and from London to Mumbai.
Nothing has made that more apparent to me than the last couple of days where, as a guest of Salesoforce.com I joined 88 of the 100 odd Salesforce MVP’s at a hotel in San Francisco to discuss not only Salesforce’s confidential plans and ideas for the future but also for them to openly gather our feedback on what they were getting right and wrong.
It is easy to be cynical in the commercial world about motivations but it seemed obvious to me that from the top (Parker Harris in this case, who spent the day with us) Salesforce is driven to recognise its flaws, to do its best and to constantly improve based on the feedback of its customers as quickly as they can humanly do so.
I wanted to write this post to express a thank you; to thank Cloud Sherpas Australia’s management Aly Tennant and Paul Mansfield for supporting my trip; to my fellow MVPs for being such a passionate and friendly group of people; and to Salesforce.com and its staff, in particular Matt Brown but also everybody else who helped out officially and unofficially both before, during and after the day of the summit.
Finally Marc Benioff, Parker Harris and the Salesforce management team for doing that most important thing when it comes to making things happen; saying ‘yes’.