CTA601

Just before Christmas, when I thought that there will be no more travel, came a great offer – CTA601 training. I wrote to Santa (read „my boss“) and got an approval. Flights and hotel reservations and I was good to go. Just to learn day before, that thanks to French strikes we move everything to London. Cancel everything and do it one more time.

I spoke shortly about CTA 601 at Dreamforce with Suzanne Ferguson from Salesforce. I never considered it a must, more like nice to have, which will go deep on all topics and will scare me to even think about the exam. And I found out that the workshop is more or less mandatory before you can even think about going in front of the board, kind of qualification criteria. Ok, here is my chance.

Maybe fast forward back even more – when I joined PwC I said I want to have the knowledge but don’t want to have the certificate. Reason? I’m simple too lazy and also don’t think there is a need for so many (200+) CTAs in the world. How many really big projects are out there, which really need one? And then, three years later, I’m on the path, just because the pyramid looks incomplete without it. Yes, I know that even Salesforce says the opposite.

The workshop

Sebastian Wagner was our couch/trainer and my feeling is, that he was pretty soft on us. I hoped to leave scared and not willing to do it and it didn’t happen.

We covered how to approach the board (timing, how to tackle the order, where we can get lost, that we should use colors, etc..)

We had a few rounds of questions and answers, where Seb asked us and we tried to answer. This was actually the best part of those two days and I would love to have just that. It really helped me to find what I don’t know, learn in what details we should go (and also how much fascinating technical details some people know) and experience the different difficulty of questions. Some were super deep and required knowledge, some were just so obvious that I felt I’m missing something (how would you tackle importing data from 6 different regions), some were super easy (sharing on junction objects.

Some had surprising solution – Canvas (glorified iFrames) should be the first way how to think about integration with web-app, you don’t have to do much on your side. I never used them, never even mentioned them to client, but here we go, in two days we mentioned them like 10 times, it felt almost like when the answer is AppExchange it is correct answer. A few more notes on this – peer-to-peer connections are the worst, middleware is ok, mashups might be good idea as well (strange is how hard it is to find something about it on SF web).

oAuth flows – we all failed (and I know this is my weak area and I don’t care much because it is pretty easy to learn it). Everyone says you need to know oAuth flows and I never understood why, especially as you cannot really see how it flows, all you see (as a consultant/architect) are the settings. As an architect you should know what communicate with what and what firewall will do with it. The reason why you need to know it – we’ve been told – is that it demonstrate that you can draw dependencies, processes and some more. Still feel that drawing some process from the example we will get would be better.

Licences and objects and limits – another area I need to refresh, I feel I know it pretty well, but I wasn’t aware of any limits on community users. Who would expect that Salesforce isn’t willing to sell you any number of them 🙂

Integration patterns is another area, where I feel I know what it is about, but some polishing would help. Especially considering all the security consequences (pass session Id might not be great idea).

Git is here, don’t use change sets.

Yeah, the whole deployment live cycle, when to use which sandbox, how many of them, how to solve branching in git. Which surprises me the most, that there isn’t some branching standard you can just copy and paste (ok, I know there are some approaches, but I’ve been using git on several projects and each of them was totally different). Single org/multi org and other things which might change the approach, really like this part and need to have a long and deep debate about it with some developers to learn more.

Practice and practice and practice some more. I didn’t present, but all those drawings, still look easy and knowing myself how I present the best without preparation …

Two days later we finished and … will see what the future brings.

Further reading

A few links you might like:

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