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’.
Earlier this year, as part of my Technical Architect certification preparation I wrote a blog article showing the various portal license types and the standard objects they allowed access to.
In Summer ’13 Salesforce introduced a new product called Salesforce Communities that allows you to expose your Salesforce data to external parties and all in all offers a significant functionality improvement over Portals. Yaron Wilf explores some of the benefits in his blog post on the Cloud Sherpa’s blog.
Portals are still available for purchase however so its useful to see both license types side by side and understand the subtle differences between the two.
Salesforce are pretty good at making marketing videos, these are two of my favorites because despite my finely honed sense of cynicism I’m a idealist who loves an uplifing musical score and some well timed words.
I’ll return to some hard core technical content next time.
If you are in the Sydney area or remote and can teleconference, and you want to present at the Group, please get in touch with me at my email address <firstname>@<lastname>.net or via twitter @sherod, LinkedIn, meetup.com or smoke signals.