A Tale of Two Cities

Once upon a time, at the centre of the universe was a city called London. This was the hub of activity for all things Salesforce… It started with developers coming together once a month and soon we had all different types of groups covering bases like Admins and Women in tech. Slowly but surely people started to spread their wings and move outside the big smoke, creating new Salesforce user groups up and down the country.

Today we’re are going to focus on the tale of two cities; starting with London and ending in Reading. It’s no coincidence that I landed at Reading, as it’s the city I was born in – and it’s also my birthday today!

But let’s start with London’s Calling. Before anyone says it, yes, you’re right, I didn’t go, so how can I possibly have an opinion on the largest European community-led event..? This was the third year running for London’s Calling, and unfortunately, this year will it fell during half term, which as any parent knows if you aren’t going away can mean a lot juggling of work, amusing the kids, and general chaos!

I wasn’t entirely left out in the cold as this year they decided to live-stream, and I mean proper quality live-stream – the next best thing to being there in person is watching live. So once the kids were all settled I tuned in to catch the wonderful Louise with some great new content “Essential Training Techniques for Every Admin”, then continued to dive in and out during the day when I could – thank you London’s Calling for the stream!

Another first for London’s Calling was the live coding sessions and one session where I was literally biting the hand off the presenter – a certain Mr Paul Battisson – to share the code on his walkthrough, which used Platform Events to bring together Heroku and IBM Watson no less! There were many more wonderful sessions, which now are all up on YouTube. A massive thank you again to the team for delivering the most complete community-led event!

That was a yearly community event, but another somewhat smaller and more regular event was the London Admin meetup where I am also of the organisers, along with Chris and a few others. This month we returned to a venue we went to for the first time at the end of last year – Bluewolf.

Gemma and Barry are experienced and wonderful hosts, helping us to pull off another great meetup. The content for this month featured an introduction to Field Service Lightning (FSL) by Barry himself, followed by Jason from Gearset with an introduction to source code driven development for admins plus a demo of their app for Salesforce (…one which I use everyday).

Quick whistlestop summary: Field Service Lightning, in case you haven’t guessed, is for the field service agents, so imagine someone from British Gas pitching up to fix your boiler, well there is strong chance they’re using Salesforce to manage their work. Even more so these days as FSL is now one of the fastest selling products on Salesforce, as you can read about here:

A product Salesforce launched two years ago is now the fastest growing in company history

Something else which was very cool from Barry’s session is that FSL has some not-so-obvious use cases which may not immediately spring to mind, such as the scheduling and optimising of university lectures being one cool example.

The final session of the night was by Jason from Gearset, and this was a session I had a hand in planning and organising. Jason’s topic was an introduction to source driven development which is one of the key principles behind SFDX, which switches around the traditional thinking around ‘my salesforce org is the master of changes over to source control like Git’. Concepts and terms like git, branching and merging may at first have been scary to some of our attendees, however when Jason did a very quick demo at the end with just a few clicks then most realised it’s just words you will pickup and it’s not as hard as it potentially sounds – especially using an amazingly simple app like Gearset. I love it, so expect a post in the near future on how I use it.

Right that’s enough of London, so where next? Well after many, many attempts I finally made my way back to my birth town of Reading for a somewhat intimate affair at the other end of the user group spectrum. The Thames Valley Salesforce Developer Group is a group which meets once a month hosted by Harish, Jonathan and the wonderful Antonina (who was unfortunately absent). It was easy to find and park. Hospitality was awesome as I was greeted with an abundance of pizzas and refreshments.

The theme for the meetup was Spring ‘18, and after our recent posts I was I keen to see what features these guys picked out. The presentation was split into two – one half developer-focused presented by Jonathan and the second half was given over to admins with Harish.

Jonathan mentioned one of my favourites, which is that finally we have the ability to clone Sandboxes (in beta),

and Harish touched on the continued expansion of Path to more core objects.

Over beers the guys told me how great the session was when the head honcho Sarah Joyce Franklin, SVP Dev Relations & GM Trailhead, attended, demonstrating true commitment from Salesforce to get out into the trenches for events of all shapes and sizes. Keep it up!

And there you have it, my adventures from London and back to my birth town of Reading!

Now, let’s finish off that last piece of cake…

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