What we learned at Dreamforce ’16
This month Paul, Pete and I jetted across the pond to San Francisco for Salesforce’s Dreamforce 2016. We witnessed a lot of cool stuff while there, and learnt a whole lot more about Salesforce optimisation which we can’t wait to share with you. So here’s a little something I put together about the trip.
A photo posted by OE:GEN (@therealoegen) on Oct 2, 2016 at 2:01pm PDT
Our outbound flight was an Airbus A380 (a very very big plane) which Paul and I were very excited about. Pete? Less so. I even ate… steaks on a plane! (badum tishhh)
We set off for the first day of Dreamforce after some obligatory sightseeing, which involved Sea Lions and LOTS of walking; I even had to buy new shoes! Shacked up in Haight, we were in a really cool place full of history, interesting people, and great food (shout-out to Kate’s!)
A photo posted by OE:GEN (@therealoegen) on Oct 4, 2016 at 9:21am PDT
First thoughts? Dreamforce is BIG! Free backpacks, water bottles, and mountains of swag. The Agenda Builder website (and app) was a godsend; we were able to cherry pick which of the thousands of sessions we wanted to go to, dividing and conquering.
Paul did his CRO thing which meant networking with fellow Salesforce partners, while Pete and I focused on the Dev sessions and keynotes.
We learnt ALL THE THINGS, such as (safe harbor):
Einstein was everywhere, including on some free socks we managed to nab… It’s AI and machine learning built into every part of Salesforce. Here are some key bits:
AI makes our lives easier with personalized recommendations, intelligent search results, and automated assistants (but not killer robots)
AI is at an evolutionary tipping point with the convergence of data, computing power, and algorithms
AI is embedded in the applications that we already use in our consumer lives and is surfaced inherently through the UI experience.
A photo posted by OE:GEN (@therealoegen) on Oct 12, 2016 at 6:45am PDT
This is the future of development on the Salesforce platform. Lots of lovely geeky stuff, including continuous integration (CI), integration with GitHub, Scratch Orgs (disposable Salesforce orgs – create one, test something, shut it down), and a command line interface where Pete feels safe and warm. We’re very excited about DX. Read more about it here.
Lightning: it’s coming of age…
The Lightning Experience is getting closer and closer to feature parity with Classic, and goes beyond it in many areas.
Lightning Components are getting a lot easier to make with the help of Lightning Base Components (reusable, low-level components which can be added to any custom Lightning App or Component).
Lightning Component Builder – a new place for Developers AND ADMINS to build and test Lightning Components – drag and drop interface, snippets of pre-written code, live code suggestions, generally lots of cool stuff going on. I’m very excited about it. It’s in Pilot at the moment and there’s going to be a Developer Preview in the Spring ’17 release.
Lightning Data Service – developers can now access Salesforce data in Lightning Components without the need to write Apex Controllers! This is way better than it sounds, I promise!
Lightning API – coming in the Summer ’17 release, a new API for building UI on top of Salesforce data and metadata using the Lightning Data Service.
Lightning Bolt solutions – pre-built Lightning Community templates created by Salesforce partners.
Sonic Lightning – audio in Lightning Components! Developer resources coming soon.
Lightning Design Tokens – these have been around for a while, but we learnt more about them at Dreamforce and will be passing the knowledge along to our tame designers.
Lightning Inspector – a super cool tool to help developers debug their Lightning Components in the Chrome web browser.
We also learnt best practices from industry experts in:
Developing Lightning Components for Communities
Integrating Salesforce with other systems using OAuth and Salesforce Connect
Integrating existing web apps into Salesforce with Canvas
Developing Salesforce at Enterprise-scale
SOQL query optimisation
Developing apps that make use of the Reporting API
There was a huge focus on philanthropy, giving back, helping public schools, and pushing towards equality in all areas. The (RED) charity had a huge presence, and their CEO delivered an emotional speech mid-way through Marc Benioff’s keynote. Will-I-Am was also really inspiring with his words about public schooling and getting kids off the streets.
Some other techie bits that look quite cool:
A photo posted by OE:GEN (@therealoegen) on Oct 4, 2016 at 9:55pm PDT
But a personal highlight of mine, along with the super-duper U2 gig (never thought I’d say that), was attending the ‘Awesome Admin Karaoke’ while Paul and Pete were upstairs watching Tony Robbins jump around a lot on stage. One guy sang Backstreet Boys. It will live long in the memory:
And finally, to convey to you how mad Salesforce is, check out the Admin keynote, which has dancing bears at the start…
Salesforce is mad. Beautiful, and mad.