London Salesforce Developer Meetup – Jan 2017 Review

The London Salesforce Developer User Group kicked off the new year with another lightning talk based event. This one was fielded by the graduates of the latest Speaker Diversity Programme. The speakers at the event were the second batch of graduates to pass through the course, and one lucky winner would gain a speaker slot at the upcoming London’s Calling community Salesforce event.


The Speaker Diversity Programme – brainchild of the DUG organisers Jodi Wagner and Keir Bowden – was set up to act as a step up for new speakers into the Salesforce user group circuit (and hopefully further afield).

The group met in Salesforce Tower, on one of the new floors recently occupied by Salesforce… the view just gets better every time I visit.

And onto the talks… well actually a little preface; I’m going to try to not going into too much detail here, as videos of all talks are available on the DUG YouTube channel, thanks to MobileCaddy.

The Talks

Process Builder Tricks – Claire Jones

Kicking off the evening was Claire, she talked us through one of her favourite admin tricks; using process builder and filtered lists to show just relevant information to users. She showed us the steps needed to enable this, and also how you’d need to use a slightly different approach if you’re using Lightning Experience.

How to Create Lightning Bolt Templates – Stas Dunayev

Lightning Bolt Community Theming was the next topic, covered by Stas. He walked us through the pre-Lightning Bolt options of cookie-cutter looking community sites. He showed us the composition of Bolt themes, and how each piece, and the theme as a whole are all Lightning Components.

Stas covered the ability to create custom page layouts, and packaging of themes for distribution and use. I’ve personally not had any experience with community themes, but I can see a real market for premium, well executed themes in the AppExchange.

Break The Rules – Julia Doctoroff

What a great title for a talk, and Julia did a great job of delivering on its promise. She walked us through the a mechanism of disabling validation rules via custom settings. The talk takes us through a real life case of needing to perform such a task, the implementation, and the human case of realising something’s not right and then fixing it.

Salesforce life balance – Sankaran Napoleon

I’ve met San at several previous meets, and if someone had asked me to guess what he might be talking about then I think I’d have been pretty close. Sankaran always appears happy, never stressed in the least. So maybe he’s onto something (even if at points it does seem like Benioff himself had commissioned the slide deck).

Developer’s Intro to Lightning – Chris Bacon

I’m not sure how many devs are really using Lightning in the wild, but Chris is certainly among that (quite possibly small) number. His talk guided us through an (all too brief) intro to Lightning Components from a developer’s stance. His overview covered a basic example and demo, and for some in the room it was a real delight to see some code.

If you’re interested in getting into Lightning development then I highly recommend watching this one as well as taking the excellent Trailhead Module.

The Path from Dev to Consultant – Alejandra Sivori

As someone who’s taken the jump (leap?) from Salesforce Developer to Consultant Alejandra gave us a talk on a set of soft skills that she developed during the transition and how they affected her and her team’s results. Alejandra mentioned some advice on how to improve in these areas, and also some of the pitfalls to be aware of.

And the Winner is…

As I mentioned, one of the wonderful graduates was going to get a speaker slot, alongside myself, at London’s Calling 2017. The audience were asked to blind vote for their favourite talk, and the lucky winner is Chris Bacon. Within Chris’ talk there is mention of using browser developers tools to aid your Lightning Development process, so if you’re lucky enough to be attending London’s Calling (tickets have now sold out), then be sure to catch me talking about browser dev tools at 3:15 in the Ctrl room.

London Salesforce Developer Meetup – April Review

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s a Salesforce Ladies in Tech and Developer Super Meetup!

That’s right, the March meetup of the London Salesforce Developers joined forces with the Salesforce Ladies in Tech to hold a combined super-gathering.

The Brightgen offices in Salesforce Tower hosted us, and as ever I was dead pleased to ride in the outside elevator up to their amazing view over the city. And I was in great company on my way up, joined by both Jodi Wagner – one of the night’s speakers and all round Salesforce celeb – and the MobileCaddy CEO, Justin Halfpenny. Not only is he our CEO, but he’s also my brother and the latest member of the community to put their names forward to co-organise the London Salesforce DUG.

The evening was to have two talks, one from each of the meetup groups… but of course it started with a natter and a drink. Seriously, if you’ve not been to a meetup then I can’t recommend you attend enough. Even without the presentations they’re an incredible source of business and geek chat, and the odd slice of pizza.

Personal Branding – Jodi Wagner

First up was Jodi. She’s an incredibly active and passionate member of the community. Not only is she a co-organiser of the Salesforce Women in Tech meetup but she also co-organised the incredible London’s Calling and the recent Evening with Ladies who Salesforce. Oh, she’s also a delivery manager at Accenture, if she wasn’t busy enough already.

Jodi’s talk was all about personal branding, and she started with something that I hadn’t even begun to appreciate, and that’s the thought that personal branding isn’t about you, it’s about other’s perceptions of you. She recommended that, however vain it might be, it’s a good idea to google yourself. I did, and I was pleasantly relieved/surprised (delete as appropriate).

Search results for "todd halfpenny"


Once you know where you currently stand you then need to think about your Value Proposition, and where you want to be. Jodi has many suggestions around how to get there, and you can find all the details in her slides. Some key areas mentioned though include;

  • Planning
  • Know the channels – what you post on LinkedIn won’t necessarily work in your favour on Facebook, for example
  • Keep a schedule in mind – when are your target audience online
  • Monitor the results – tools can be used to see the reach and impact of your work.

A really nice touch to Jodi’s talk was a slide containing a few tips from some of the folk within the Salesforce ecosystem who appear to have mastered their online branding. A couple of messages seem to come through strongly, such as “Be authentic” and “Be consistent”, the latter could apply to message and cadence.

I had asked Jodi about whether or not she thought it was a good idea to have a personal account, as well as one for your professional self. She replied that if you get the balance right then a single account can be very strong; it was nice to hear her say that from my tweets and blogs that she knew that MobileCaddy was doing some incredible work with offline Salesforce apps, but also that I like food and go for a jog every now and again… I’ll take that.

Open Source & Apex Common and Apex Mocks

The next talk was actually in two parts, let’s respect that; The talks were by Andrew Fawcett and David Frudd of FinancialForce.

Getting the most out of the Salesforce Open Source Community

Salesforce has been notable of late in the Open Source world following its release of the Lightning Design System, but there are many more Salesforce (initiated and related) open source projects than that, and some have been around for quite some time. MobileCaddy are keen open source contributors too, not only into our own projects such as our mobile starter apps, but also the Salesforce Mobile SDK projects that we extend to provide fully offline mobile apps with custom UIs. We also contribute to other projects such as ngCordova and Ionic that help provide support for incredible hybrid mobile applications.

Andrew talked us through things of note to look out for when contemplating whether or not to contribute (or even use) open source projects, though more of interest to me was what you can get out of it. He spoke about how FinancialForce’s open source projects had helped them with;

  • Recruitment
  • Product Promotion
  • Social/ethical Rewards

What’s new in FinancialForce Apex-Common and Apex-Mocks?

Andrew’s colleague David was up next to talk about two of FinancialForce’s projects. Apex Common and Apex Mocks are two projects that we use and love at MobileCaddy and David gave us an explanation of each, and some of the new(ish) features and fixes that had been contributed not only by FinancialForce employees but also the wider open source community.

The fflib-apex-common repo gives you a wonderful project that aids Apex developers by giving them a best practice and practical design patterns library for use within their Salesforce applications. One can combine the beautiful modular code you get from using this library with the fflib-apex-mocks repo to achieve great coverage in your unit tests too.

For information and examples and tutorials on using these, and the other FinancialForce projects head over to their developer site.

Wrap Up

It was really nice to share the meetup with the Ladies in Tech, and I hope it’s something we get to do again. I’d love to have chatted to some of the other attendees more, but time as always was not on our side.

Videos of the evening’s talks should be available on the meetup’s YouTube channel (soon if not already there).

Thanks, as usual, to the organisers and sponsors.

The next meetup should fall on the 25th May, less than a week after the London edition of the Salesforce World Tour. I hope to be at the meetup if manning our sponsorship booth at the World Tour doesn’t prove too much for me. UPDATE: the meetup has moved to the 17th May – Developing Wave Apps with Skip Sauls, hope to see you there!

And if you are planning on coming to the World Tour in London then drop by our sponsor booth and check out some of the apps we’ve built for, and with, our partners, and how you too can realise the mobile advantage of taking the power of the platform with you.

London’s Calling – A 1st Time Speaker’s View



Unless you’ve been living under some kind of Salesforce-repellent-rock you’ll be aware that the inaugural London’s Calling event took place on the 5th Feb. But if you were under that rock then I’ll quickly mention that it was Europe’s largest Salesforce Community event to date.

When I first heard of the event, at the monthly London Salesforce Developers meetup, I was very excited, and pitched to the MobileCaddy team that we should submit a talk idea… so to say I was honoured to have our MobileCaddy CFP response accepted was (is) of course an understatement. There were 70 CFPs received by the organising team (more on that motley crew later) and there ended up being 28, plus two keynotes.

Only the Paranoid Mobile Apps Survive

This was to be my first speaker slot at a Salesforce event… I’d done a couple at the Ionic UK Meetup group before but they’re not on quite the same scale. My talk was entitled Only the Paranoid Mobile Apps Survive and focused on some key stumbling-blocks and factors that needed to be taken into consideration when wanting to take a critical business app mobile. Although our MobileCaddy SDK greatly helps in supporting the app designer and developer in these areas I was keen for my talk to steer clear of becoming a sales pitch. Having spoken to Simon following the acceptance of the talk into the program he mentioned that this angle was one that led them to choosing it for inclusion. Simon and co have been extraordinarily efficient since the event too. And in speaking of them, the fabulous organisers were;

In the lead up to the event Simon made sure I had a clear timetable for submission of various steps of the talk, and I don’t know if this is the norm, but it certainly helped me avoid a “last minute rush job”.

On the day I arrived early since MobileCaddy were also gold sponsors of the event and we had a booth to set up. I’ve no idea what time Jodi and the gang had gotten there but things were already in full flow… and the first sight of the T-shirts was really exciting… it was all very real.

I had planned to get to as many talks as I could, but the flow of attendees coming over to our stand was really quite astounding, and I made it to far fewer than I had hoped. It was a genuine pleasure though to experience a real informal, community atmosphere and to have so many chats with folk who were really interested in Salesforce and intrigued to learn more about how we’ve enabled true offline mobile Salesforce apps; the entire sponsors area had a real buzz, and feedback from the other sponsors seemed to mirror mine.



Over lunch (which was top notch, by the way) I met a fellow speaker, David Biden who was also due give his talk in one of the afternoon slots. It was almost uncanny how similar his situation was to mine; a first time talker who had planned an anecdotal style talk who was eager to avoid pimping his own company. We shared thoughts on how tough 15-20 minute talks were to plan, trying to make sure there was enough depth without getting in so deep you run out of time. His presentation covered Salesforce in the Public Sector and is definitely worth 17 minutes of your time… so go watch the video once you’re done here.

Whilst setting up for my talk the event tech-chap in my room was baffled that my laptop hooked up to the projector without issue; well that’s Ubuntu for you 😉



The talk went well, I think. Though there were a few spare seats, but in all honesty I wasn’t surprised… the three other talks on at the same time were being run by seasoned pros, and talks that I definitely would have wanted to attend. Of course I’d love any feedback so please feel free to have a gander and let me know your thoughts.


There’s no way I can’t write an article on the event without mentioning Peter Coffee’s closing keynote… full of food for thought and delivered in the coolest of fashion. Again, check out the vid and enjoy.

“He has two problems.
1) He’s dead.
2) When he was alive he wasn’t scalable.”
@petercoffee on Steve Jobs

And following that was fun and frocking at the after-party, again the community spirit was in full flow and another chance for myself and the rest of the MobileCaddy team to mingle and chat… and by the time I left I have to be honest I was a little tipsy and very tired.

In wrapping up I can only say that I’m already looking forward to next year’s London’s Calling, and of course any of the other European events that were much talked about during the day. The organisers did a grand job of supporting me, and the rest of the community made me feel very welcome.

5 Blog Posts You Should Read on London’s Calling


As proud sponsors we’re very excited that London’s Calling is now only 11 days away, so we thought we’d compile some of the best blog posts on the subject.

  1. 5 BIG reasons why attending London’s Calling will be beneficial to your career – Scott Gassmann
  2. My Top 5 Sessions At London’s Calling – Ben McCarthy
  3. The 5 Essentials You’ll Need for London’s Calling – Jodi Wagner

What? Only 3 posts?
Erm yes… but 3 “…5 etc etc” posts.

The posts are well worth a read and should help you get the most from the event.

And for those that aren’t aware of London’s Calling then where have you been? It’s Europe’s biggest Salesforce community event to date, and it should be great.

There are 4 tracks and 30 speakers, including keynotes from Erica Kuhl and Peter Coffee. Among those speaking is yours truly on behalf of MobileCaddy with a talk entitled “Only the Paranoid Mobile Apps Survive”. The talk shall cover what needs to be taken into account when embarking on a mobile transformation project for business critical applications.

But even if you’re not interested in mobile (come and talk to us… you need to be) then go grab you’re ticket now, and be a part of what’s lining up to be a fantastic event. We look forward to meeting you there.