Salesforce week 5

All (well most) of this week was spent – you guessed it! – studying for exams… I tried to take the Salesforce Certified Advanced Admin on Wednesday but due to hickups in the system at Webassessor I had to exit the exam and the new time slot I got I couldn’t do. So the exam is now scheduled for Monday. It’s going to be exciting. Whether I pass or not I’m at the point where I need to see some actual questions to gauge what they are asking for instead of simply trying to guess. My take on exams and certification hasn’t changed much and I still think that while certifications are nice the proof is in the pudding. Real experience is the only thing that matters.

On Thursday I thought that the AppBuilder certification should be attainable given the amount of effort I have been putting into studying so on Thursday night, with the rest of the house sleeping, I took the certification test. And passed!! Very happy. I have now have 2 of the 5 certifications I need.

I also did my first round of volunteering and logged 5 hours on that account at our pre-Christmas Party event on Friday for “Cykling uden alder”. While the whole volunteering thing still doesn’t come easy for me I feel that actually doing it makes it easier. I’m also volunteering all day Tuesday next week which will be good.

What did I learn

  • More on SOQL especially using this nice article on SOQL
  • Questions on the AppBuilder certification is tricky and takes careful reading and rereading
  • Testing field level security should not be done as System Administrator as it settings doesn’t apply when you’ve been assigned Read All Data / Modify All Data. Instead clone something the Standard User profile and test with that

Status after this week

Trailhead points: 57000

Trailhead badges: 56

Certifications: 2 (Salesforce Certified Administrator, Salesforce Certified Platform App Builder)

Inspecting IDE traffic

For my studies for the Certified Salesforce Advanced Admin I needed to understand the various code deployment options for the platform including the IDE based on Eclipse. Installing the IDE was pretty straight forward and creating a project and adding an APEX trigger was likewise easy. As I like to understand what’s going on under the covers I went to inspect the traffic but of course everything is encrypted using TLS so I went to my favorite tool for these kinds of tasks – Charles Proxy. This tool allows inspecting all traffic including being a man in the middle of TLS connections.

To make this work however you need to add the Charles Proxy TLS certificate tot the Java keystore of the Java runtime you are using. Please note that adding the certificate to keychain on Mac is not sufficient as all traffic from Eclipse is through Java. On Mac this is the most likely something like the cacerts file in /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_112.jdk/Contents/Home/jre/lib/security (replace the Java version with your actual version). To import do as follows:

  1. Get a PEM version of the certificate – in Charles this is done from the Help menu
  2. Open a Terminal and run something like this (assuming Java is on your path):
    sudo keytool -keystore /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_112.jdk/Contents/Home/jre/lib/security/cacerts 
    -import -v -alias CharlesProxy 
    -file ~/Downloads/Axiom-IdpCert.cer
  3. Agree to trust the cert – otherwise what’s the point?!
  4. Now restart IDE, setup Eclipse to proxy through Charles Proxy (in Settings search for proxy and fill in HTTP/HTTPS proxying)
  5. Configure Charles Proxy to enable TLS proxying for both “” and the actual hostname of your org depending on whether you are using a custom domain or simply the pod name

Now traffic can be inspected and the requests is visible – both the login request to where you can see the endpoints, org id etc. The 15 digit org ID is used to compose the URL for the tooling API so the IDE knows where to send data about classes, triggers etc.

Salesforce week 4

It’s been another week of training, training, training. I’ve watched a LOT of video and started the week studying for the AppBuilder certification only to find out that maybe Certified Advanced Admin was a better place to go after Certified Admin. So Wednesday or so I rebooted and refocused on that certification which really has set me a while back on making another cert by this week or early next week. We’ll have to see how it goes. This week I made a new level on Trailhead and I’m now at the Expeditioner level meaning at least 50 badges and 35k points. Trailhead is not something I have to do per say but I think the modules there are engaging and much more fun than the traditional Help and Training courses.

I’m getting pretty tired of hearing of the business requirements of AW Computing which is the fictitious company used for all the cert training exercises…

Along the way I’ve dived into APEX and Visualforce. APEX is a Java-style programming language for the Salesforce platform and it allows you to write almost all the code in it. It’s very similar to Java but with a nice integration to SOQL (Salesforce Object Query Language) and SOSL (Salesforce Object Search Language) built it. Very cool and easy to use. All APEX may be written in the browser based UI – pretty nice. Visualforce on the other hand is a markup based language (think XPages or JSP) for the platform. Main difference here is that all pages inside Salesforce may be overridden and it seems like all the built in controls are available for me to reuse. This makes it very easy to make pages that span objects and provide context info while editing. Nice. Visualforce is hooked up with APEX allowing you to do use the standard controller (LOTS of functionality provided out of the box) or write custom controllers. It’s incredibly easy and the APEX integration with SOQL makes it easy to do. With 10 lines of Visualforce and an APEX class of 5-6 lines can give you a fully fledged UI showing records from your org.

As I’m writing this I’m waiting for a sandbox for a practice org to be done provisioning. Sandboxing is another nice concept and allows you to build and test in a separate org from your production org while optionally bringing over data from your production org for testing. Sandboxes come at a price but the flexibility and power seems to be worth the money.

Well back to studying…

What did I learn

  • APEX and that an int is integer and strings are single quoted. There are cheat sheets at with the specific APEX one here
  • Of the DML commands (insert, update, delete etc.) upsert and merge are particular cool when coming from traditional SQL
  • Visualforce is nice and has lots of cool components for reuse
  • Repeat after me: “clicks before code, clicks before code”

Status after this week

Trailhead points: 53450

Trailhead badges: 50

Certifications: 1 (Certified Salesforce Administrator)

Salesforce week 3

I spent 2 days in Stockholm at the Nordic Winter Summit. The summit gathered all of Salesforce from Denmark, Sweden and Finland (no Norway office yet) for two days of get together. I also met most of the people from the Danish office which was nice. It was 2 very nice days hearing about that went down the last year, what’s on the top of the agenda currently and what’s the plan for the next year. We heard about some of the great volunteering that’s being done by Salesforce employees across the Nordics and what cool new customers we have. We also saw demos of some of the new and coming functionality for the various clouds. Thursday night was a great party and we all had fun it seemed.

Tuesday I earned my first certification out of the 5 I need and I took the test at home. Areas I need to learn more about is Communities, Products and Price Books and portals. All in all I think the test was tough by that I’ve learned a lot already. Next is the AppBuilder certification and I’m hoping to do that late this week or early next week. That’s my plan now anyway.

Still no AMEX card.

What did I learn

  • Never attempt to wear a watch when taking the certs – it’s not allowed
  • Stockholm is cold in December
  • The various automation methods in Salesforce (Workflows, Flows, Visual Process Builder) can be a bit confusing
  • Trailhead is cool
  • the FY17 Code of Conduct training and test is perfect for breakfast entertainment

Status after this week

Trailhead points: 36.250

Trailhead badges: 37

Certifications: 1 (Certified Salesforce Administrator)

Salesforce week 2

So another week went and passed. I got my phone number ported and I’m now fully setup technology wise. I spent the entire week reading, reading, reading getting ready for my first certification which is a Salesforce Certified Administrator. Aiming to take it Monday or Tuesday this week. I’ve used both the online courses from the Salesforce help but also a lot of Trailhead. I like the latter much more as it validates the assignments you complete in a training org. The online courses are just do this by clicking here, here, here. I also finally managed to get an org for my online courses. I had to connect through the US East VPN endpoint and say that I live in the US. Anyway it worked. Speaking of Trailhead I also completed my first Super-Badge (Security Specialist) and I’m up to Mountaineer status. I’ve also started to get a better handle on the organisation and I actually remember names and abbreviations.

Thursday we were out celebrating our Q3 result with beers and some food. A nice evening out and met new members of CSG that I’m a member of (Customer Success Group).

Next week is all about study (hopefully passing the first exam) and a two-day summit with CSG Nordic in Stockholm.

What did I learn

  • The formula language seems very limited when it comes to date manipulation ie. it lacks a calendar which I find funny. Must study more.
  • AMEX form should be scanned in high quality and not attempted printed on Mac
  • Vacation is called PTO and should not be confused with VTO (Volunteer Time Off)
  • Life in the cloud is good and I’m not using anything but a web browser to get stuff done

Status after this week

Trailhead points: 32.650

Trailhead badges: 30

Certifications: 0

Salesforce week 1

So that was week 1. I started with Salesforce on Tuesday and I’m up and running with my new MacBook Pro and a new phone. Well I’m not actually using my new phone as I’m porting my old number over to Salesforce but it should be ported by Thursday next week. IT wise everything is pretty smooth and between TechForce and Concierge (IT helpdesk and IT self-service) it was very easy. Everything here is done in the cloud if possible and everything is using SAML and/or two factor auth. Either using Yubi-key or Salesforce Authenticator. You pick. You get the feel that Salesforce onboards loads of people every week so the guides and tutorials are slick and if they are not enough there are Chatter groups to help you (Chatter is the social network inside Salesforce).

And yes. Everything here runs on Salesforce. Everything. We drink our own champagne.

After settling in my primary focus for the first week was to get setup on my equipment and order corporate credit card, hook it up to reimbursement etc. Also reading the learning journey I’m setting out on. I need to obtain 5 certifications for Salesforce and it looks like they should be earned before I leave for Salesforce Bootcamp in San Francisco second week of January. I’m going to be busy. Most time has been spent learning the ropes, trying to remember names and abbreviations and do Trailhead. Man have I done a lot of trailhead! I broke 10k points and 11 badges on Thursday and I’m well on my way.

Great first week.

What did I learn

  • V2MOM’s are important and the guiding light
  • Being part of a matrix org is – well – an interesting new thing
  • Loads of stuff to learn and I’ll definitely need to speed read
  • Names and abbreviation and lots of them
  • The Salesforce infrastructure and backend is seriously cool – repeat after me: “I want my own superpod”

Status after this week

Trailhead points: 16.650

Trailhead badges: 12

Certifications: 0