TrailblazerDX 2022: Recap

Wow, it’s good to be back. What an event. After two years without any in-person activities, it was a surreal experience to say the least. Salesforce did an excellent job getting folks in and out of the venue, and making the whole event as well-run as we’ve all come to expect from them. The keynotes, sessions, and the concert experience (Weezer) were all very memorable, and they covered a ton of ground. There were a few stand-out items for me that I took particular note of and I’d like to discuss them here. In addition, there are currently (as of this post) 18 sessions on Salesforce+ available to view on-demand.

Platform Unification

A heavy emphasis was placed throughout the show on how Mulesoft will be used to glue together some of the recent additions to the Salesforce family (Tableau, Slack) and leverage some low-code Flow tooling, like Mulesoft Composer, to assist with those orchestrations. You could tell from the amount of air-time that this topic got, that this will be a heavy emphasis for the company in the coming years.

Mulesoft: Anypoint Code Builder

This was a big one for me. Mulesoft showed off new tooling, directly in VS Code, that will be used to develop API specifications, API flows, and will serve as a complete replacement for the aging Anypoint Studio product. It was a very, very welcome announcement for me and will make the process of building APIs on Mulesoft much more pleasant experience. There will be a beta of this later this year.

Read more here.

Salesforce Functions

Anyone who has be interested by serverless compute such as AWS Lambda or Azure Functions will immediately be interested in Salesforce Functions. This was announced a few years ago, but has made significant progress and there is already a well documented set of developer material available for it. Functions may exist in either NodeJS or Java, and have access to both Salesforce data and also Heroku data. These are a great way to bridge data from external systems, using technology you are already familiar with, into (or out of) Salesforce.

Read more here.

Event Based Architectures

Salesforce is leaning into the event-driven development model. Several mentions of the new Pub/Sub gRPC API were mentioned as the future of this style of architecture. This solution is a managed abstraction of Apache Kafka and handles all of the integration into Salesforce for the developer. If you are building software on Salesforce that previously would leverage Platform Events, Streaming API, or Change Data Capture… it is strongly recommended to use the new Pub/Sub API for that development.

Additionally, several mentions during the show were given to AWS for the new Event Relay service that sends events from Salesforce Event Bus to Amazon EventBridge. This makes it easier than ever to integrate data and functionality from AWS with your Salesforce data. Event information (such as when a record is updated, or modified) can flow from Salesforce to AWS and also back to Salesforce after processing is complete (also as event). Admins will also be able to configure this with low-code configuration in the future to better collaborate with AWS development/devops teams.

Read more on Pub/Sub API here

Read more on AWS EventBridge / Event Relay here.

DevOps Center

Long the wheelhouse of tools like Gearset, Salesforce has now entered the DevOps arena and will be making change management and deployments a first-class citizen inside the Salesforce Platform. A public beta has been confirmed for June.

 

Developer Introduction to Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud

In 2016, Salesforce acquired a company known as Demandware, and re-branded their solution as Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Later, in 2018, Salesforce acquired a company known as CloudCraze, and that later became known as Salesforce B2B Commerce, and the original Demandware acquisition became known as B2C Commerce. One key difference between these two solutions is that the B2B Commerce product runs “on platform”, and the B2C (Demandware) product does not.

The development paradigm for B2C Commerce Cloud relies on developer knowledge of server-side Javascript (similar to NodeJS, but is actually Rhino Javascript). Similar to the Marketing Cloud (ExactTarget) product, developers who are used to developing with Salesforce DX, Lightning Web Components, and Apex will find that there is none of that here. The entire solution is different, however that has changed somewhat with the introduction of add-on products like Salesforce OMS, Salesforce Loyalty, and other features which run on-platform, but are integrated with B2C Commerce. Additionally, there is in-fact, an accelerator from Mulesoft, which will let you quickly connect your B2C Commerce instance to your core sales/service instance(s). It is not required to integrate the two, but does greatly simplify the process.

 

Developer Introduction to Mulesoft

If you’ve been a developer for any length of time, you’ve been tasked with connecting data from system A to system B. It could be data from your ERP to your Ecommerce web store, or it might be from your CRM to your Marketing tools. These ‘point to point’ integrations work well when a business is in it’s infancy along the path of digital transformation. Unfortunately, as the number of point to point integrations grows, so does the complexity of trying to maintain those systems. They become so fragile, and so unstable, that the entire IT team is afraid to touch them let alone replace them (which would feel like a herculean task). In addition, dev teams outside of central IT are slowed down because central IT is spending all of their time maintaining and keeping those systems working and online. What if there was a better way?

 

Create Your Own .NET Core Templates in 4 Easy Steps

Do you ever develop prototypes, or starter projects/accelerators, that you’d like to use again in the future? A good way to do that is by creating custom templates for dotnet. Once completed, anytime you want to create a new project of that type in the future, you can use key in “dotnet new ” and you’re off, complete with correct namespaces. You can even do conditional checks, or variable replacements.

 

Setting Up A React & Web API Development Environment in Visual Studio 2017

Front-end frameworks like React, Angular, and Vue are making big waves in software development. Microsoft makes great tooling for working with JS frameworks like those in the form of Visual Studio Code. There is also a large trove of information and tutorials getting setup inside the VS Code environment. One specific resource I really appreciated was Cory House’s Pluralsight course on setting up a JS development environment.

 

Generate Test Data With Faker.js

Here is a common scenario for you. You’re building an application… any application. It could be your side project, a sales tool, an ecommerce site, a REST api, a video game, a reporting dashboard. Anything. You’re building your app, and you reach a point that you’d like to try it out, to see how it would look to a user. How do you simulate a production scenario with no data to test with? If you’re lucky, you have data from an existing customer you can use, or there is a sample dataset available online. If you’re unlucky, you’re left generating dummy data using garbage inputs (random strings, random numbers, etc) – data that passes the regex, but doesn’t provide a good simulation.