April Salesforce developers meetup review

  May 8, 2014       Richard Clark

On April 30th 2014 the London Salesforce Developers Meetup group had our session in support of the global Salesforce1 Developer Week. Salesforce provided a number of training videos, example code, presenter guides, workbooks and mini-hacks to help get the community motivated and building their first mobile app on Salesforce1. Here’s a short review by our CTO Richard Clark

My role as a co-organizer was the simple task of talking through the configuration only part of the presentation before handing over to the infamous Bob Buzzard for the bells and whistles of real examples you can build code.

There were 5 demos in total. The first two were config only, showing how easily a simple Donations app can be delivered to a mobile in just a few clicks. Then there was a slightly more detailed demo of using an Interview app and pulling together the tangible benefits of using both a mobile phone and publisher actions to automate and capture interview notes quickly and easily. Included in the demo was a look at how the new Spring 14 Twitter integration can be exposed as a mobile card, which is something that previously required code. I would expect to see more of these components in the future!

The first of the coding demo was to show how users could check in using Geolocation facilities of the phone and Google Maps API to track their location and get directions to another location within a mobile card. While a simple example it was a good introduction to how the publisher.js library can be used to to interact with the Salesforce1 app container and the importance of Javascript Remoting. It also makes a very nice demo when the end location is a nice pub!

This was quickly followed by a slick integration with Github linking Issues with Cases in Salesforce. This example alone has led me to change how we manage code reviews at makepositive and we’ll now be integrating our Agileforce project tool with Github issues for greater visibility of code issues – so thank you for that alone Salesforce!

The final demo was regarding the scenario of customer facing mobile apps. Salesforce1 App is a great for internal users but not an option for customer facing solutions. However, we can still use the rest of the Salesforce1 Platform to provide a solution. You can access this demo at http://devweek.herokuapp.com, take a look at that (Tip! use the Facebook login to save time) as it describes itself perfectly.

Behind the scenes this was written in Javascript using Node.js on Heroku. We do most of our Heroku development in Node.js here at makepositive and it’s good to see it coming to the forefront elsewhere too. The Node app access Salesforce data from a local Postgres database which is synched from Salesforce using the new Heroku Connect (previously named Heroku1 at Dreamforce 13). This is an important development that will reduce time and cost to deliver custom apps on Heroku integrated with Salesforce.com, while reducing the number of API calls previously required.

The group then went off to either go through the Workbook, build one of the mini-hacks or people went to build their own apps. About 50 people stayed to work and it was interesting to see the small groups forming to help each other and to see some of the interesting things people wanted to build. A number of members chose to integrate their proprietary non-Salesforce solutions into Salesforce1, but most tackled one or all the exercises.

We pulled everyone back to the presentation area after 1 hour, and despite some technical glitches in Reflector keeping in synch a few guys showed what they’d built. Not everyone had a fully working solution, but I remember the days it took an hour just to get your development environment set up, let alone build 90% of a new app!

We then decamped to a local bar (as usual) and the hardcore brave commuters who didn’t mind there being no tubes running.

We’re just checking with Salesforce which materials we can make public, but if you missed your local event then it’s well worth getting hold of a copy of the presentation or a video of one, and looking at what you can do both configuration wise and the coding demos – which to be honest to a lot more than the workbook exercises. Finally also check out the content at bit.ly/s1mobile.

Next month we’ll be talking more about Heroku Connect, Angular.js and Ionic with a talk by Cristophe Coenraets, a Salesforce Developer Evangelist specialising in mobile apps and Salesforce1. We have over 620 registered members already and limited space, so if you’re interested in coming then register early to avoid disappointment!