New entrants into the Salesforce ecosystem can be forgiven for not knowing Bob Buzzard (aka Keir Bowden). But once you start developing on the force.com platform you naturally end up on the developer boards which is where you find Bob, sorry Keir endlessly answering posts and mentoring the community. The sheer number of posts he has made is mind boggling that I am amazed it’s taken this long to produce a book, which is the topic of my post. There are many salesforce.com books out there, but none to my knowledge focused specifically on VisualForce.
The book format is organised as recipes and is grouped into sections such as core, sites, all the way to mobile. Each recipe includes easy to follow steps which involves creating the required classes and pages using the code which you downloaded from the publishers site. Once created, there is instant sense of achievement, something you can touch, play around with and augment instantly into other developments you may be doing.
For example, I was working on an interface which allows a user to edit multiple records and create records within the same page. Bang, I was able to short cut what I was working on using one of the recipe from the book. Before I knew it I was following the best practice wrapper design pattern and understating it. This beats trawling the developer boards and trying to piece bits of code together to get a working solution.
At the last developer meet up, Joshua was preaching about CloudSpokes.com Armed with my cookbook I start seizing the opportunity to knock out some challenges. I knew of the term “Twitter Bootstrap” but thought it was something to do with Twitter platform APIs! Nope, it’s an extremely accessible CSS framework for styling and create responsive web sites. Using the knowledge from the section on sites in the book on how to skin a Visualforce web-to-lead page, I’m very quickly turn plain old Visualforce into something amazingly clean, crisp and responsive.. Unfortunately I didn’t win the CloudSpokes challenge, but hey I know more than when I started and have the urge to bootstrap everything I touch!
Thoroughly recommend this book for anyone starting to learn Visualforce and also for people with existing knowledge. It drives home all the best practices of Visualforce which matter into simple to follow examples, you cannot fail to be an expert at the end.
Last bit, this space is moving very fast, so I expect to see a 2nd edition next year, Np Keir!