Nerdforce #17.0 – Blazin the Nerd Trail: Getting Started with Apex Triggers

This week we have something unique from Productions.  We invited the Architect himself, Mr. Adam Olshansky.  We had a fantastic conversation about all the Nerdtasticly Amazing things on this globe.  We also Blazed another Nerd Trail as Adam walked us through Getting Started with Apex Triggers. This is where it gets odd.  Some gremlin stole away into my recording software and neatly removed any evidence that I was actually there.  It sounded like Adam and Nana were having a good chat but intermittently stopping in thoughtful reflection throughout the discussion.  I’m afraid the nerd talk had to go, but I was able to rescue the Blazed Nerd Trail.  We are now all lucky enough to walk through a fantastic Trail that is an excellent first step into the Salesforce Dev World.  O…one last thing, Nana and Adam turn into androids half way through the recording.  Anyway, Enjoy the show.

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#SalesforceNOW & the Amazing Potential

The Salesforce World is full of certified, qualified Admins & Developers.  It turns out, the Salesforce World is also full of Orgs with no real Administrator at the helm.  Sure, every Org has at least one System Administrator, but it takes more than a profile to make an #AwesomeAdmin.  Trust me, I have talked to a number of CEO/Salesforce Administrators.  They always remind me of an inspirational bumper sticker I made up.

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Don’t forget all the Freshman Admins who are just now struggling through the first couple of years trying to figure out how to create records based on some obscure requirements given to them by their users.  What if… What if there was a website or better yet, an app that allows someone to enter their requirements and get a number of options on how to resolve them.  There has been a push to train huge swathes of society on these beneficial Salesforce skills, but where do they go for gainful employment?  What if there was a place they could list out their skills, certifications and Trailhead Badges to demonstrate their value?

STORY TIME

I needed a plumber.  I wasn’t sure where to begin looking for a plumber.  Obviously, I could go through a number of traditional routes. I could have looked one up on Yelp, or google searched “OKC Plumber”.  I could have asked some friends for recommendations.  Heck, someone left a Yellow Pages on my porch a few days ago and I hadn’t thrown it out yet.  The problem with any of these options was that I had too many options.  I needed this list to be pared down based on the scale of the problem, my expected budget, my confidence in any reviews available and the time table on which I needed this problem to be fixed.  In my search for a proper plumber I came across HomeAdvisor.com.  Now these folks may seem like another Yelp or AngiesList, and from some perspectives that may be true; but this is what was different about my experience.  The online form asked me to describe my problem and my location.  From there, I was given 4-5 possible candidates with accompanying reviews from past customers.  I had the option to pick a day and a narrow window of time for them to come to my house and properly quote out the problem.  To wrap up this part of the story, I can tell you that the Morgan Plumbing Team was prompt, professional and courteous, but that’s not the point.  The point was I needed a plumber.  It’s safe to say that Morgan Plumbing needed a customer.  This website matched us up perfectly to suit our needs.

The entire experience got me thinking about the fleet of trained and certified Salesforce Administrators and Developers out there.  I was also thinking of the Salesforce Orgs adrift without an #AwesomeAdmin out in the same Salesforce Universe.  How do we match up these poor hapless souls?  Why can’t we have a website or app that allows companies with Admin/Dev needs to post their requirements and get a list of people who could provide them with potential solutions?  I was curious to see what my ‘Forcian Colleagues thought, so I threw something out to the Twittersphere.

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I got a pretty quick response form the Salesforce Gem herself, Jennifer Wobser.  Apparently, I was not the first to imagine this possibility.  Not only had she considered what impact this would have on the Salesforce Community, she had written up and presented a demo to some of the powers that be at Salesforce.  I am disappointed to hear that her idea got little traction, but there a whole myriad of variables that could be behind the slow start.  Again, not the point!  I had to hear more about her idea.  Nana and I invited her on to the Nerdforce Podcast so we could really ferret out some details.

On that note, it is important to mention that this blog post is a Complement to Nerdforce #16 Meet in the Middle.  Jennifer joined us to talk about Data Therapy, Geology, Gemstones, Sibling Rivalry, Admin Bootcamp, and about a big idea that needs big love from the incredible Success Community.  To learn more about this wonderful idea, click over and listen.

What You Can Do to Help

Before I lay out some of the finer points of this idea, let me inform you of your role.  There is no greater feeling in the world than bringing something to fruition.  Whether that is creating the perfect Hotdog Macaroni Burrito or raising the two year old that covets said burrito.  Making something great happen in this world is truly something to cherish.  For us to make this idea a reality, we need to have a grand conversation about it.  We need be talking about #SalesforeNOW on the Success Community, Twitter, UserGroup Meetings, Podcasts, WaterCoolers, waiting in line for the Weird Al concert and anywhere else that encourages creative input.  We need to be talk about the impact it could have on the Community, your User Group, your friends who can use a good job and on Salesforce as a whole.  Your job is to talk about this idea, provide your input, feedback and even your criticisms.  I want to see people talking about #SalesforceNOW on Twitter, Salesforce Community, other Podcasts and other Blogs.  I would even accept hearing about it on Slack and Cereal Boxes.  So read over the idea and talk to someone about how it could help and be sure to add your ideas that would make it even better. #SalesforceNOW

To give you a clear view of Jennifer’s vision, let me show you some of the work and even some Mock ups of the site.  Before I do, I want to thank you Ms. Wobser for seeing my little thought bubble on twitter and breathing life and confidence into it.  My plan is to make this world a better place and even if this is the last that I hear of #SalesforceNOW, I now believe that I can change the world; and that is because of your conviction.  Thank you!  Now read through this plan and tell the world about it.

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Purpose

Develop an application for Salesforce Administrators and customers to engage directly for projects and or full time employment.

The application will allow Administrators to prioritize and tally up their experience including all achievements and certifications.  The end results will be determined by measurable analytics on Administrative market value and employer placement.

Salesforce Customer/Administrator Challenge:

  • Salesforce Administrators cannot document their Salesforce specific credentials or experience on a traditional resume or LinkedIn.
  • There is no scaling system to identify Administrators that are superior or entry level for Salesforce customers.
  • There is no Salesforce approved location or application for Administrators or customers to connect and improve their use of Salesforce.

Solution

We can deliver an application for Salesforce Administrators and customers to directly engage.

Administrators will be able to share their achievements, certifications and accolades on the public market for Salesforce customers to hire the right people at the right time.

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Nerdforce #16 – Meet in the Middle

What a treat this week!  Nana and I had a passionate conversation with the Salesforce Gem herself, Jennifer Wobser (@CRMSalesGem) about Salesforce Admins who need #SalesforceNOW.  We talk Data Therapy, Geology, Gemstones, Sibling Rivalry, Admin Bootcamp, and about a big idea that needs big love from the incredible Success Community.

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Nerdforce #15 – Analogies, Formula1 and King Lear’s Fool

This week we have a very enthusiastic Guest Accomplice in Mr. Dale Zeigler @DZieg11.  We talk about where #awesome Admins can go to get answers.  He gives us insight to his latest idea for a Dreamforce Session and we collaborate to solve a Nerdforce problem.  Nana and I got a solid lesson in Formula1 Racing.

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How to Break Something Critical

How to break something critical right before you go to Orlando for a week & How to clean up the mess.

Well, I really stuck my foot in the mud on this one.  All of you Solo Admins are more likely susceptible to this but we “Mavericks” aren’t the only ones to engage in this type of brash behavior.  I am betting that a good number of you have found yourself just hours away from beginning a vacation and you were scrambling to wrap up a number of projects so you would have less to come back to the following week.  You were writing new formula fields directly in Production or making quick changes to profiles because someone whined about their visibility.  You get that Disney-Brain and all you want to do is wrap out some quick wins to end on a good note.  This week, I will tell you how I cut a few corners, broke a handful of rules, paid the price for my fool hardiness and dug myself out of the hole.

So to understand what I did, you will need a brief understanding of some of my data structure.  I have two custom objects, Project Task and Model.  Hanging below these objects is another custom object called EQLines.  An EQLine will be a child record of either the Project Task or Model but never both.  Due to a lack of foresight on my part when we had a trigger developed for us, we occasionally get orphaned EQLines floating around in the datasphere.  It’s really not a big deal.  I just need to pull the IDs of those orphans and euthanize them on a quarterly basis.  Simple Spring cleaning, right?  Well, if I were just cleaning up these records, I would have likely done it right.  I would have pulled the report that I had already saved for just this occasion and removed them from the system with ease.

So Anyways, I was just revising a Process Builder that established a semi-unrelated lookup relationship DIRECTLY IN PRODUCTION… Did you all just here that?  That was the sound of thousands of Admins slapping their palms to foreheads.  I know, I know: but you must remember that I had a reservation to eat dinner with Belle and the Beast in their Castle.  Who has time to think about validating change sets?  Anyhow, to test this change I would need a report to confirm the process was running accurately.  BINGO, it worked perfectly! Oh, and now this report is giving me list of all those Orphan Records.  I’ll just use this list to remove them from the system.  One last thing to worry about, right?

This is where you yell at the movie screen.  “No Drew Barrymore!!  Don’t go outside!  Don’t rapidly delete a couple thousand records because this list ‘should’ be the same as the one you know is correct!”

DON'T GO OUTSIDE!!!
DON’T GO OUTSIDE!!!

All right.  Did you get it out of your system?  Good, because it happened and there is nothing I can do to fix this short of jumping in the DeLorean with Doc Brown.  Actually, I had this opportunity last week and I didn’t take it.  I was too focused on getting Doc to tell me whether he needed road where he was going.  Seriously, I never thought I would get so giddy about meeting a man pretending to be Time Traveler.

Where we're going, We don't need Roads.
Where we’re going, We don’t need Roads.

So if you didn’t catch on, my big mistake was when I deleted all those orphan records I also deleted ~1400 records linked to all the Models in our system.  My Engineer has graciously decided not to string me up for this mistake.  Now let’s review what can be done in recovering errantly deleted data.

The easiest place to find deleted data is the Recycle Bin.  Salesforce Help Doc: Using the Recycle Bin  It can be found at the bottom of the left hand menu.  The Recycle Bin has come in handy in the past when a User calls up crying that they totally didn’t mean to delete Record-X.  I would groan about how this will be a difficult rebuild and I may need some time to search the foundation data and I can’t guarantee every field has not been corrupted.  I imagine most of them know I making all that up; but if some of my colleagues believe I do literal data spelunking’ what’s the harm?  I could just show them where to find the Recycle Bin themselves, but I don’t want them to rely on a safety net when they delete data.  We are also small enough that I can generally handle these requests directly.  So why didn’t this work for me?  The recycle bin only holds so many records before it starts permanently removes the records.  It also has a time limit, so if this did not arise as an issue for two weeks, we could have lost all of it.  I found ~900 records but I really wanted to get all of them in one swipe.  I’ll set this to the side for now.

This next option is by far the best choice, IF you have done a bit of leg work up front.  How many of you have set up your Exporting Data Backup? Salesforce Help Doc: Exporting Backup Data  It is super simple and the best thing to protect yourself from any damage that those pesky humans can do to the records in your org.  Once it is set up, you get an email once a week or month that leads you to spot in Setup where you can download a zip file copy of your data.  What I learned this week, (or relearned.  Who knows, I set this up such a long time ago) is that you can set the export to only pick specific objects.  There is a simple check box that says “Include All Data”.  I have no idea why I didn’t check that box when I set this up.  Would you believe I never selected EQLines as something to be exported?  That means, in this case, my trusty data backup was completely worthless to me.  Please set up a weekly Data Export and for Kermit’s Sake, select “Include All Data”.  Don’t gamble on which records will be needed.

So where does that leave me?  I was about to go back to my Engineer with the good news that he only has to rewrite 1/3 of the EQLines in our system when it occurred to me that I have an X-App that I use to load my Sandboxes after a refresh.

For those of you who haven’t heard me blab on about X-Author, a brief synopsis:  X-Author is an app from Apttus that allows you to build excel templates which can pull and push data into a Salesforce Org.  It’s an amazing tool.  Look it up. AppExchange: X-Author for Excel

The EQLines are important for testing so I have copy of all the records loaded there.  The X-App was last updated the first week of this January.  YAYYYY!  I know that this was a one-off case.  Nearly no other person would have something like this to fall back on, but YAYYY anyway.  I massaged the data a bit.  The Recycle Bin Records will be the most up to date so I revived them first.  Then I compared that list to the list on my X-App.  This gave me another ~500 records to load.  The only records that are now missing are any EQLines written since January that were not found in the Recycle Bin.  I felt a lot better going to my Engineer with 98% of the data retrieved than any other option.

So what did we learn?  Set rules and boundaries for yourself.  I know it can be easy break the rules when you are the ref as well player, but they are there for a reason.  Use your sandbox and change sets.  The Recycle Bin is a great safety net but don’t rely on it.  Set up your Weekly Data Export.  Be lucky enough to have a copy of your records lying around.  Finally, be super nice to anyone who has to spend a day reviewing and rewriting records because you didn’t follow any of the points listed here.

So carry on Nerds, & learn from my mistakes or you will be destined to learn from yours.

Nerdforce #13 – You Got This!

Nana has fought her way back to the Podcast and we are all excited to have her.  We catch up and talk Disney, American Idol, Apex & the Limits and the Brand New Spring ’16 Trailhead Badge.  The Success Community hits 2M.  We request volunteers for Nerbage Trail Kids; I mangle a description of a great blog post and we both yearn for an Astro doll (HINT, HINT).  Thanks for listening and being a nerd with us.

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Nerdforce #12 – Blazing the Nerd Trail: Process Automation

We have an exciting set up this week.  With the help of Honorary Co-host Brian @Kwongerific and first time Guest Accomplice Jeremiah Dohn @JMDohn, we walk the trail for the Process Automation Badge on Trailhead.  If you plan on hitting this badge up soon or are stuck on a particular unit, you came to the right place.  So check out how Brian and Jeremiah use process automation and what attire they wear to the movies.

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Nerdforce Episode #11 – Cosplay at Southeast Dreamin’

Hi everybody! Nerdforce is looking forward to an amazing extended conversation for 2016.  There are some amazing people out there in our community and most of us have ambitious goals.  No matter how last year worked out for you, we hope that this year will be even better.  On that note, Nana has taken a brief time away from the podcast as she pieces things together after her recent bout with Mother Nature.  Don’t fret too much.  Nana is a survivor and she will come back an even brighter star than before.  To get more details on this amazing story, check out and subscribe to Nana’s Musings.  We can all learn something from her tenacity.

This week we are joined by former Nerdforce Accomplice and now Honorary Co-Host Lauren Jordan (@SaaSyGeek).  She and I have a fun conversation with Southeast Dreamin’ SuperStar, Kristi Guzman (@KristiForce).  We talk about Trailhead, sandboxes, MrRobot and Regional Super Salesforce Events; you know, as you do.  So listen up and check out all the GrabBags below.  Thanks for being part of the Nerdforce Nation.

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Nerdforce #10 – The Nerdforce Awakens!

WE DID IT!!! We hit the milestone Episode #10.  Yayyy!!!  Nana and John met up at the Salesforce World Tour in Dallas and talked to a handful of honorary Salesforce Nerds.  Join us as we ask those daring, geeky question that have always been on your mind.  With an ALL-STAR Cast that includes Holly Goldin(@HollyGoldin), Eric Cullen(@ericcullen), Joni Martin(@jonikmartin or @girlforce1), Molly Masterson(@mollymass), LeeAnne Templeman(@leeanndroid) & and the 1 and only Mike Gerholdt(@MikeGerholdt)!!!!   Thanks for making our year and we hope you Nerd out with us through 2016.

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Nerdforce #9 – The Episode that shall Persevere

Nana and John visit with super nerd, Zachary Jeans!  We talk about the future of the role as a System Administrator, and how modern marketing practices will even the playing field for business.

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