London Salesforce Developer Meetup – Sept Review

It was back to the splendid Salesforce Tower, Liverpool Street, for September’s London Salesforce DUG. The standard fayre of beer and pizza (and Coconut milk, for those that fancied it) was available, so let’s thank Salesforce for the venue and Westbrook for the sustenance.

London Salesforce DUG Sept 2016

Photo: Anup Jadhav – London Salesforce DUG

Lightning was once again on the menu, and I wonder if we’ll ever again have a DUG or AUG that has a lightning-free line-up. But let’s make no mistake, Lightning is still evolving, so these talks are just as needed and as interesting as ever.

Advanced Designs for Reusable Lightning Components – Tom Waud

As well as sponsoring the event, Westbrook also represented in the talks, with CTA Tom Waud kicking off the night. He presented a run through of some useful design patterns and approaches that can be considered when looking to reduce code duplication when building Lightning components. He also covered some clever handling of some of the nuances that currently exist with the framework. This talk was actually the one that Tom will (has) presented at Dreamforce ‘16… and if you do (have) caught it there then I’m sure you’ll be glad you did.


Tom’s talk focused around a Job Scheduler component that he has written, and he used this as a reference throughout. The approach made it very easy to relate the concepts he spoke about to real life implementations and challenges. The code for the scheduler can be found in Tom’s git repo.

Tom covered a variety of aspects including;

  • Composition using Facets – Including the aura:set and Event Bubbling (including a Winter ‘17 improvement called includeFacets
  • Dynamic Creation of Components
  • Object Orientation – Encapsulation + inheritance, and some of the current limitations and workarounds.

It is clear that Lightning is still evolving with every release of Salesforce, and it seems that, despite some good fixes coming in with the Winter ‘17 release, some of the missing/broken parts are still a barrier-too-far for many ISVs and consultancies alike. With this in mind though, it was also good to see John Belo – Director of ISV Technical Enablement, EMEA – ask Tom (and the audience) how Salesforce can improve Lightning for developers and what could be done to increase its adoption.

Tom’s slides can be found here.

Winter 17 Lightning Release, Highlights for Developers – Laura Kulikauskaite

As the newest Associate ISV Technical Evangelist, Laura was at the DUG to talk us through some of the changes to Lightning in Winter ‘17, and how these changes affect and can be used by developers.

The first thing that she mentioned was a new Winter ‘17 Lightning Trailhead module, so if you’re dabbling with Lightning (or using it in production) then it would be good to check out.

As well as the fixes and improvements that Tom mentioned in his earlier talk, Laura covered some nice new enhancements to Lightning. These include;

  • Custom Lightning App, with custom Lightning navigation bar
  • App Launcher available in the access menu
  • Utility Bar – Currently only available to ISV partners. Should be available for all users in the Spring ‘17 release

Laura also covered the release of many more base Lightning components (icons, badges, inputs, etc) as well the support for Quick Actions.

Another new feature, that apparently has been highly demanded by users, is Inline Editing in Listviews. I remember a breakfast-meet back in January ‘16 at Salesforce Tower (before it was kinda-called Salesforce Tower) where this idea was originally spoken about. Diego Ferriro Val – Software Engineer/Architect Lighting – spoke about how Inline editing can quickly lead to a huge increase in transactions to the platform, as each edit could kick off a save event. In the actual approach demonstrated at the DUG the list remains in an at-risk state, with edits highlighted. A Save button actually needs to be clicked for the edit to be sent to Salesforce. Whilst this approach does get over the risk of adding unnecessary load to the platform, it does potentially mean that these at-risk edits could be lost, if for example, the user’s laptop ran out of battery, or crashed. Perhaps Salesforce are using a more persistent local store for these edits to combat this, though this was not covered in the demo. Within the MobileCaddy apps we take an offline-first view on these types of actions, and we would be using the persistent encrypted local store for all edits, so as to reduce any real at-risk records.

A demo of the Lightning App Builder was also on the menu, and I have to say I still noted Lightning to be pretty slow. I’m sure work on improving this is ongoing, but personally I think the current performance is going to irk users who are using LEX. And I might be wrong but doesn’t the screenshot below look like a classic list view (yes this is my Summer ‘16 dev org, but still looks the same in Winter ‘17)?



During the questions, the point of unit tests within Lightning was raised. We were told that these are planned for Spring ‘17. I’m sure this will make many developers much happier.

Wrap up

It was another truly interesting DUG, and I really must thank Anup Jadhav and Jodi Wagner for organising and Westbrook and Salesforce for sponsoring and hosting.

It’s good to see the evolution of Lightning, though it is very clear from chatting to other attendees that adoption is still slow.

Useful Links

West London Salesforce1 Meetup – Jan 2015

Yesterday Creation Technology hosted the inaugural West London Salesforce1 Users and Developers MeetupPaulJustin and I, on behalf of MobileCaddy, are delighted to have been invited to present alongside the wonderful Peter Chittum.

The meetup was entitled Create Mobile Solutions in a Flash and followed nicely on from the last Salesforce meetup we attended which was focused on Salesforce Lightning (see our blog here).

Image by Creation Technology

Peter Chittum – Salesforce Lightning

Peter was up first; his talk was based on two of the Lightning products, Lightning Components and the Lightning App Builder. As per usual with a Salesforce talk the Safe Harbour slide was then presented and with this in mind informed that the Lightning App builder should be in GA in the Summer ’15 release. It’s currently in pilot so is available to use if you ask your account contact.

Lightning Components

Peter covered a few of the basic points, how SF1 was built using Lightning, how Aura is the open source basis of lightning, etc. We’ve written about these before, so I won’t go into details again. One thing that was mentioned over again though, and I think was the big take-away from this part of the session, was the Event Driven approach of Lightning and how this enables different components to interact with each other, through subscription and firing. Components could be one of three types, and interaction between them all is available and this is the grounding for a component based framework like Lightning. The component types are;

  • Standard – Out of the box from Salesforce
  • Custom – Written by you and your teams
  • AppExchange – Written by third parties and available through the (coming soon) ComponentExchange

Peter then showed us a quick demo based upon the Lightning Quick Start tutorial, but he also added an external component in. He used a FileUpload component (written by Peter Knolle and available on github) and demonstrated how the component could be plugged into his app. There’s further info on the component on Peter Knolles blog.

Further info on on what’s available in Spring ’15 and how to use it can be found in the Spring ’15 Lightning Component Dev Guide.

One final note on components is that within a component, developers can include fully fledged documentation, including code examples, specs etc. This, if pushed correctly, could be a big winner for devs everywhere.

Lightning App Builder

Peter then showed us a quick demo of the Lightning App builder. If you’re not familiar with the App Builder then you could do worse than watch this demo vid.

Peter’s demo showed us that with some boiler plate code Peter Knolles’ FileUpload component could be made available in the App Builder palette. It was a brief demo, but I suppose if something has been made quite simple then it lends itself to being quicker than you might expect.

I’m still not personally sure how much the App Builder will take off among the more hardcore devs, but who knows, I might be pleasantly surprised (I’ve not yet used it myself).

Justin Halfpenny – Delivering Enterprise Mobility

Our CEO Justin was up next discussing Enterprise mobility. The WhoWhy and How of delivering what has become standard for consumer mobile applications.

Justin told us how, inside our organisations, more people are mobile than we think. Just because they’re onsite it does not mean that they’re sitting at their desk. As for Why? there are many answers. Not just increased productivity, but also improved customer service and decreased cost of business. All this lends itself to better business… for yourselves and for your customers. We also need to be aware of the rate of change in technology; A lot of people are now walking around with devices that have many sensors and capabilities. Who knows what will be available on them next year, and the year after.

The How? of course is where MobileCaddy comes in.


With MobileCaddy we remove all the boring stuff, the functionality that has to be there, the things that as devs we hope will just work so we can get on with building the functionality that are going to make our apps the best they can be. As an app dev you shouldn’t need to worry about monitoring, upgrade rollouts, authentication, etc.

Justin then demoed a Child Healthcare Tracker application that we had built. Showing how each platform interaction can be logged and monitored, and how this can give organisations peace of mind. He also demoed the MobileCaddy Platform Emulator and Codeflow environments that allow for rapid development and testing of mobile apps built for Salesforce.

Justin’s slides can be found over here on SlideShare.

Closing Notes

Huge thanks to the Creation Technology team for putting on an excellent event. For a “first” meetup it was very organised and well attended and I very much look forward to the future ones. A special note should be made on the supplied food and drink, never before have I been offered Rioja and Olives at a techy meetup… and I think Paul was pleased with this situation.


Creating Mobile Solutions in a Flash with the West London Salesforce1 User Group


We’re excited to be presenting at the first meet-up of the West London Salesforce1 Users and Developers Group  next Wednesday 21st January, which will take place in the Club Workspace at the Barley Mow Centre in Chiswick, London. The theme of this meet is Creating Mobile Solutions in a Flash, and we’re looking forward to hearing the group’s views on Enterprise Mobility, and listening to the hopes and fears Salesforce users have when it comes to ‘going mobile’ and the projects being undertaken by fellow developers, admins and users.

Continue reading…

London Salesforce Dev Meetup – Jan 2015



Yesterday myself, Paul and Justin attended the first London Salesforce Developer’s meet-up of 2015. We had all been to many in the past but were particularly excited about this one, as Doug Chasman and Skip Sauls were presenting on the much hyped Salesforce Lightning.

The meetup was hosted for the first time at the dotmailer offices near London Bridge, they provided excellent facilities which were matched only by the quality (and quantity) of pizza and beer supplied generously by the kind folk at MakePositive. So big thanks to both companies.


Doug and Skip (though mainly Doug, as Skip had laryngitis!) talked and demo’d us through the history of Lightning, the architecture of Lightning Component, some examples and a look into the future to see what’s on the roadmap. There was a lot of information passed on, and I have to be honest and say I don’t want to (or maybe can’t) regurgitate it all here… but I will cover what I seem to believe are the main nuggets that got me thinking.

Lightning and Aura

  • Before Lightning became available to developers Salesforce had been using it internally for sometime.
  • In fact SF1 is built using Lightning.
  • Lightning is also known as Aura. Salesforce’s marketeers didn’t want to call it Visualforce2
  • Aura is Salesforce open source UI framework, and can be found on github here.
  • Anyone out there can contribute to Aura through Pull Requests, and with that their work will end up inside Salesforce and powering Lightning.
  • Aura/Lightning is built by the same team that built Visualforce


Doug also covered (many times) the fact that trust and security were high priorities… obviously that was great to hear. This eye on security has meant a couple of things. 1) lightning components (on the platform) live on a lightning domain. 2) Communication to/from the client/server parts of Lightning components is locked down. This point was one of the very few “guidances” that is put on how components are used.

Here are a few other points on Lightning;

  • There will be a Component Exchange, a-la AppExchange
  • The client/server comms are called Action Services. There are options to box car calls as well as other behaviours (display-last-known-goodauto-refresh, etc).
  • Offline capabilities are limited to read at present. Create and Update are on the roadmap (no dates given).
  • BIG SAFE HARBOUR – Summer ’15 should see the ability to put Lightning Components inside Visualforce pages.
  • As well as Lightning Components being available for use in Visualforce pages, Lightning Out will also enable Lightning components to be used within other containers (websites, etc).
  • The Lightning team are working closely on getting integrations with other JavaScript libraries. These include Angular, Polymer, React, Meteor, and others.

For more information on Lightning, check out the Salesforce developer site.

All-in, the session was excellent. Both guys showed passion for the platform and certainly for Lightning. If you get a chance to see them talk then I’d definitely recommend it.

Big thanks to Anup and Co. for another brilliant meetup.

Want More Salesforce?

If you have a thirst for more Salesforce goodness then come along to the Create Mobile Solutions in a Flash session of the West London Salesforce1 Users and Developers group, where our good selves will be among the presenters.