One of the best ways I found to connect with people in the Salesforce community and gain their unique perspectives is through Salesforce community events There is nothing better than putting a face to the name of a MVP or other Salesforce expert and building an enduring connection.  Let me share with you my latest experience at Forcelandia.

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For the Love of Forcelandia

For the past 5 years, in the mid-summer heat, the Portland community group has hosted Forcelandia. I’ve attended many times before, but this year I was lucky enough to be accepted as a speaker. Being a speaker was an opportunity for me to give back to the community by sharing knowledge and sparking some discussions. Other speakers at the conference included many well-known names in the community and several Salesforce product folks. It’s always fantastic to hear about the roadmap directly from the source.

Community

There is no “typical” attendee at Forcelandia. That is because there is such diversity including developers, lots of admins, and many admin-elopers (a term I first heard at Forcelandia). There are architects and analysts, QA professionals and UI designers, evangelists and bloggers. It really is an eclectic mix of passionate, knowledgeable people with the same goals – to learn and to share knowledge. And because the conference is relatively small (about 250 attendees) it’s possible to have meaningful connections and meet all of these amazing individuals.

The Fashion

The fact that Forcelandia is a developer’s conference, and that it’s in Portland means the dress code is SUPER casual. There was a sea of trailblazer hoodies and t-shirts as far as the eye can see. I personally look forward to busting out some of my prize Salesforce geek t-shirts for the occasion. This is the shirt I wore for my session.

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Location

For many of us in tech, commuting to work means walking across the hall to our in home office. When we get the opportunity to interact IRL (in real life), it’s a bit of a thrill. The Forcelandia venue (McMenamins Kennedy School) is such a perfect location. From keynotes to breakouts, everything is in one building and the food is outstanding. The intimate setting offers several options for adhoc meetings too.

Sharing the Love

For my Forcelandia presentation I wanted to share one of the major themes that I’m incorporating into my own skill base which is to become more proficient at testing. This theme takes many forms as it relates to automation, development, etc. But one area that needs more focus in my opinion is testing for declarative configuration. It’s often overlooked because test coverage is not required on the platform.

Many of the breakout sessions at Forcelandia discussed the concept of selecting the correct automation for the scenario. The lines increasingly blur between declarative configuration and development. When do I use a flow? When do I write a trigger? At the end of the day, automations are all equal but some have advantages and disadvantages depending on the particular use case. Even though this essential truth is becoming accepted, we still categorize the testing of our automations into two distinct buckets – those that require test coverage (apex) and those that do not (workflow, process builder, flow).

I suggest that we should ignore whether test coverage is required by the platform and choose to make testing a part of our process for all automations – even declarative ones. This is a somewhat revolutionary stance because it represents a big paradigm shift. But I do see the community heading this way, and I think the platform is heading this way as well. One good example is the Winter 19 release feature that lets you deploy process and flows as “active” – but only if you opt in and also have sufficient test coverage for them. Sound familiar?

I certainly enjoyed my time at this year’s Forcelandia's user community, I hope to participate in more Salesforce community meetings and continue to create many more meaningful connections.