Dreamforce21: My Takeaways & Thoughts

Brandy is the newest addition to the Salesforce family! She represents Marketer community.

Another (Hopefully the last) virtual Dreamforce has come to an end today. Still miss walking around Trailhead Park and listen to insightful and technical presentations (and win plush Codey or Astro) that are hard to experience online. Still, there was a handful, among many other announcements, I was able to take away from this year’s Dreamforce:

Slack Everywhere!

There indeed were a lot of Slack-related announcements. This year’s Dreamforce was about bringing Digital HQ where people from anywhere can be easily connected in Slack, along with workflows and integrations that allow users to stay in Slack even when searching and creating/updating Salesforce records.

Foyer was one of the biggest, which will be in Pilot coming October. It’s a native slack integration for the Salesforce platform, which could have seen coming since the big acquisition in July. Learning Slack integration tools (Block Kit) is going to be an unavoidable skill extension for Salesforce Developers, as more integrations between Slack and Salesforce will be encouraged.

Code Builder

New and flashy IDE within a browser, comes with CLIs and extensions already configured. There has been a lot of request for improving Developer Console, especially when the LWC was introduced — you can’t develop LWC without setting up IDE on your machine. For any Salesforce Developers who advanced from being an Admin without much knowledge on software engineering, setting up IDE and working outside of Salesforce instance could feel daunting.

As more no-code automation solutions become more configurable and handle complex business cases, needing for easy code maintenance would be

I think this still is in Pilot, but can’t wait to give it a try when this comes around for GA!

DevOps Center

Step away from Changesets, and closer to modern CI/CD pipeline built into Salesforce. Just based on the demos provided, it seems to be optimized for programic changes. Not sure how it can deal with quick rollback, selective prod deploy, undo commit or recreate feature branch from work item, post- or pre-deployment scripts or data deploy, and work item depending on other work item commit.

As much as I’m in love-hate relationship with Copado, it provides thorough and complex procedures that takes care of branch management and environment sync, and also provides lot of ways to customize and configure our own deployment. DevOps Center at this point would support only small portion of actual DevOps process compared to established Salesforce DevOps tools like Copado. But for small Salesforce teams, this feature would definitely a time saver managing Salesforce changes.

Functions

Pay-as-you-go elastic computation will be GA soon! Functions can process Salesforce stuff (Salesforce job data), complex files (PDF, image, XML), and also some AI predictions and executions. There are no pricing details available, but I doubt it would be any cheaper than other Salesforce products. Still, being able to easily build Java/JS utilizing 3rd party libraries, runing on-platform, and executed on dediated elastic runtime will bring more power to Salesforce platform.

Functions still need to be invoked from Apex classes, which then can be invoked from Flows. But the heavy-lifting of making callouts and connecting to proper services can be gone utilizing Functions.

The future of Salesforce Development/Automation Architecture would be a combination of no-code automation tools like Flows (easier to attract newer talents than expecting them to learn how to code) and complex backend business logic being handled in Functions with minimal Apex (easier to attract more traditional software engineers than expecting them to understand and learn Apex), then display data with Javascript (LWC & LWR).

CLI Unification

Salesforce CLI for all Salesforce clouds — sfdx, heroku, mulesoft, and now functions— is in beta! Here is the wiki for detailed information. Once you install Salesforce CLI, all you need to do is to run sfdx update

The biggest update that made me excited is that the newer version uses space instead of colons. I got used to typing : very fast, but just being able to type space would make my typo ratio go down significantly.

Other interesting subjects like Backup & Restore, Flow Orchestrator, Mulesoft Composer, and more were announced as well! Did you attend this year’s Dreamforce virtually or in person? Which announcement got you most excited? 🎉 Above mentioned topics sure will keep me busy studying and programming for a while!

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