MuleSoft Workshop

After our Field Service Lightning Workshop we had another one – this time about MuleSoft.

This time we had about 30 attendees even from non-Salesforce companies, we had Rob Roop for a short introduction and the only MuleSoft Ambassador in Europe – Patryk Bandurski.

MuleSoft Workshop Attendees

MuleSoft and Salesforce

Sadly the MuleSoft team from Salesforce was fully booked for other events, but Rob did a great job presenting something he really didn’t know much.

He spoke about importance of integrations, how companies are getting more and more connected, but there was one slide which I liked the most – the different types of integrations on Salesforce platform.

Rob Roop presenting MuleSoft

MuleSoft when you need to orchestrate multiple APIs, Salesforce Connect when you want to reference the external data but don’t really want them in Salesforce, Heroku Connect because it might be easier to connect to Postgres, Platform Events when you want something in real time, Salesforce Customer 360 when you need to connect customer data from different systems and consolidate them or Salesforce API when you know best what you need.

The MuleSoft

And with that we passed the word to Patryk, who orchestrated the rest of the day. He split it into 3 parts – Application Networks, API lifecycle and Prototyping.

Application Networks was to me mostly introduction to the integration world. System APIs, Process APIs, Experience APIs and finally the Application Network, when you don’t have to connect systems point to point but they can communicate through network and don’t really know how to talk to each other. ESB in IBM world, nothing new to me.

But it is important to see the future, because with first integration you might be tempted to make it point to point, but that will block you in the future.

Anypoint Platform, which you can use to design the whole experience. And that’s the point where I occasionaly lost myself and had to find me again. Switching back and forth, different types of artefacts – at the end it wasn’t that hard, I just didn’t see the picture at the beginning.

We started at Sign-Up page, where anyone can start 30 days demo. MuleSoft Kernal (aka Community Edition) was thrown away (or I feel), you can download something and much more, which is usually too much to me, when you can survive with the web.

The whole process is pretty easy after all – you design, simulate, gather feedback and validate. As with everything else.

API design phases

Anypoint Exchange has a tons of artifacts you can use – examples of connections to popular REST API, description of common data structure and much more. All of it can be linked and used in your API, with versioning.

Design

MuleSoft uses RAML (RESTful API Modelling Language), which has pretty readable structure and the editor isn’t bad at all. Might be hard to remember all the defaults, so you can skip thing and know when you shouldn’t do it, but after all it shouldn’t be that hard to learn it. After all there is a certification which you might want to get – API Design Associate.

Fragments after fragments, linked together and at the end we had the data structure for the call. Somehow is looked odd, to write it by hand, when we have Swagger or Apiary and we should be able to reuse the documentation someone else already did, but whatever, it is probably possible to use them somehow.

Simulate

I got lost again for a while, but found myself quickly. Mock service is something I know from Salesforce as well, so we designed the API and tested it. Or are we already in the Feedback phase? Lost again 🙁

API designer

Never mind, the designer is nice, we somehow had to enter the structure of the data again and then save as a new „type“. More and more typing, frankly, it scares me.

Feedback and Validate

Yeah, I got it. Not sure where in the spiral we are, but I understand, why it is important. I like the fact that you can comment on the Exchange, something maybe Keboola can invent 🙂 Or rather not, that would mean I have to reply to customers who uses my free Salesforce Extractor/Writer.

Flows

Design Center

Now the fun begins. We have all those artifacts, API definitions (or is it the same) and we put it together into one big flow, which can have several (a lot of) steps and do crazy things. Obviously it can reuse information from previous steps, do some logic, iterate through variables, handle transformations. Pretty cool, you just need the imagination.

The deployment was pretty longer than I expected, but in real life it should run the old version till you deploy the new version, so there shouldn’t be any downtime. Nice.

MuleSoft Catalyst

The last topic – Catalyst, which should enable organisations to learn quicker. Accelerator for three large projects full of best practices and ready to go pieces.

Which somehow go together with MuleSoft.U courses, which are for free and you can take them any time you want. They are on my to-do list for a few months already, hope to finally get to them. You can also find some modules on Trailhead and I feel there will be more.

Presentations

Would you want the presentations we saw during the day, here you go:

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Degustace čokolády

Pokud nemáte rádi čokoládu případně nechcete utrácet, tak raději dál nečtěte.

Ukázkové tabulky čokolády

K Vánocům Ježíšek přinesl poukaz na čokoládovou degustaci a konečně jsem se dostal k tomu, abych vyrazil. Čekalo nás 12 + 1 vzorek, které jsme v průběhu dvou hodin poctivě ochutnali a většinou vychutnali. A aby to nebylo jenom o tom jídle, tak jsem se dozvěděli i něco o historii a výrobě čokolády a o různých výrobcích.

Jak se degustuje

Čokoláda se – dost překvapivě – degustuje podobně jako víno. Nejdřív ji člověk zkoukne, jestli není moc černá, což by značilo, že je spíš přepálená. I hodně hořká čokoláda je s odstíny červené a fialové, neměla by být černá.

Pak se jí dotkne – ta kvalitní hořká se v podstatě nerozpouští.

Poslech nás všechny rozesmál, ale prý se má poslouchat. Při zlomení, protože čokoláda se má lámat. A má krásně a silně lupnout, pokud se tak nějak oddělí, tak asi nebude nic moc.

Vůně je asi jasná, stejně jako chuť. Při degustaci se nekouše (ale jinak prý můžeme), ale nechává se roztávat na jazyku, aby se chutě rozlily hezky v celých ústech.

Co si budeme povídat, ten zážitek byl úplně jiný, než když ji rozkoušu a hned zapiju vodou 🙂

Mimochodem – degustovali jsme také Milku. Nelupne, na prstech se rozpustí, nevoní vůbec nijak a když ji zařadíte mezi ty ostatní tak zjistíte, že nemá ani chuť. Cítíte prostě sladkost, ale po ničem to nechutná. Prý je na ní obdivuhodné to, že obsahuje 58 % cukru, takže jim stačí jenom cca 40 % aby ten cukr udrželi u sebe a nerozpadl se, když rozbalíte tabulku.

Výrobci

12 čokolád, 12 výrobců, o pár jsem si něco zapsal.

Nejbližší výrobce je už na Zbraslavi a to co jsme ochutnali bylo moc dobré. Míšina čokoláda získala spoustu ocenění, vyrábí se v malém („jednou do měsíce nám přivezou tak 30 tabulek“) a … musíte to zkusit.

Ajala je pro změnu z Brna a taky jsme si pochutnali – dochuť brownies byla opravdu cítit, datle nejím takže ani moc nepoznám. Asi jsem v průběhu večera ochutnal i o kousek lepší, ale neuděláte s ní chybu, pokud si chcete přivézt něco z výletu 🙂

Willie’s Cacao je hrubší než všechny ostatní, protože Willie prý kupuje staré stroje, opravuje je a vyrábí na nich, takže nikdy není schopen dosáhnout té jemnosti nových mašin. K výrobě se prý dostal tak, že na dovolené byl u nějaké plantáže, která se shodou okolností prodávala, tak ji koupil a od té doby dělá čokoládu. Také o ní natáčí videa a napsal knihu s čokoládovými recepty.

Original Beans má hezký „give back“ program – za každou prodanou čokoládu zasází jeden kakaovník, obal je plně kompostovatelný, výnosy z prodeje jdou na podporu různých oblastí. A – ta čokoláda je výborná.

Odrůdy

Prý jsou v podstatě jenom tři odrůdy kakaovníků:

  • Criollo, které roste na posledních pár místech na světě, je nejlepší, plné chuti, vyrábí se z něj jenom cca 5 % čokolády;
  • Forastero je nejčastější (80 % čokolád je z něj), ploché, takže nepřekvapí ani neurazí, výrazně větší lusky;
  • Trinierio je kříženec mezi těmi dvěma.

Boby z každé země chutnají jinak, venezuelské jsou prý víc hořké než vietnamské, takže i když máte stejné procento kakaa, tak jedna z nich může být víc hořká.

Že jsou mléčné, hořké a bílé čokolády víte, prý má přibýt i růžová, která se dělá ze speciálně vyšlechtěného kakaovníků, který šlechtili 13 let a chutná vlastně stejně, jenom jinak vypadá.

Když si kakaovník zasadíte u nás tak nic moc nevypěstujete. Prý potřebuje 36°C, 94 % vlhkost, hodně světla a přitom být ve stínu. Také to prý vypadá jako plesnivý klacek a až když vyroste do 190 cm tak začne vypadat jako strom a má listy. Plody nerostou na větvích ale na kmenu případně začátcích silných větví.

Vzhůru na nákupy

Na čokoláda.cz toho mají na výběr spoustu, vůbec nevím jak vybrat, takže jsem hned po degustaci zakoupil spoustu tabulek co jsme ochutnali, ať mám alespoň pro začátek. Pak se asi někdy zastavím v Husově 8, kde mají prodejnu, protože ty čokolády jsou krásné i na pohled a oni to mají všechno nachutnané, takže určitě dokáží poradit.

Kde vlastně nakupujete vy a která čokoláda je ten favorit, ať mohu ochutnat něco dalšího?

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How to select sessions for conference?

CzechDreamin

Organising conference is easy – you find place, attendees, speakers and sponsors and put it on one big heap. Done.

When I helped to coorganize first (and later) Sutol conferences, we found speakers amoung ourself. We realised we limit the diversity by it, but it was really hard to find speakers outside of our circle. Not a way I wanted to follow with CzechDreamin.

When the Salesforce Basecamps are organised, those partners who pay enough get slot to talk about something. Again, not a way I want to follow with CzechDreamin, as – to me – it doesn’t sound fair to partner and attendees. And I’m not alone in this thinking.

So when I started to organise CzechDreamin I knew, that we will open call for abstracts and hoped we will get enough traction to get some great speakers to submit their idea. Not many people here believed me.

Then we opened call for abstracts, got some absracts, I wrote to a few people, pretty sure others helped me to promote as well. I rather didn’t check our Salesforce till the very last day.

And then came the moment when we closed the call.

What now?

Easy, that’s what I thought.

I exported the session titles and abstracts out and the whole team marked how they like each session. 1 – 5 as in school. We did average and just after that I linked it to names.

Looks our job should be done by now, just choose those top 20 or how many fits into our schedule and we are done.

It wasn’t that easy. First of all some sessions overlap in content and it make sense to choose just one of them. But which one – the one with better points or the one with better speaker.

What about speakers who submitted more sessions and they are all great? So we prioritised with the intention of one session per speaker. Just to have the diversity.

Equality and balance

Then came the question typical in Salesforce community – what about equality? Is it important or not? After all we did a blind selection so the best won, should we take gender into account later or not? And if we have less women then men is it our fail that we didn’t reach out to so many of them? Or that we aren’t open enough? Or anything else?

Of course we also had to balance the sessions for the attendees we want. My ultimate goal at the beginning was to have some really deep dive session, as I felt from conferences I attended that the sessions don’t go deep enough. At the same time I wanted to make the conference open to beginners as well, to people who don’t want to get deep but still want to get deeper than on Salesforce organised events.

We also had to balance the topics. We got plenty of marketing sessions, development topics, basic admins and much more. 22 slots we have sudently feel not enough and I understand the whispers about YeurDreamin being multiday event next year.

I’m grateful for everyone who submitted their session, selecting those few we are able to host was one of the hardest thing I ever did. Something, I didn’t expect at the beginning.

Thank you everyone who submitted one more time. And for all of you – it is time to check the session at CzechDreamin and get your tickets.

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DocuSign Gen

There is a new tool on the market for document generation, which I had to try. I have great experience with S-Docs, so of course I compare those two and this comparison shows how new DocuSign Gen (DSG) is.

It is simple

First of all – when you install it, the UI is simple and quite sufficient. Five simple tabs in a form of wizard, which will get you through.

DocuSign Gen template wizard

It looks sexy, until you switch on second tab with fields and you need to find those you want. There is one long list of all fields and related objects and you have to scroll up and down. And you have to add all of them, because they aren’t used to just give you the code but also query the database, so when you add different field to your (word) template you will get an error.

Field selection

First comparison to S-Docs – you can use the fields to dynamically render parts of document, but you cannot set their format, how date should be visualised or what is the precission for numbers.

Otherwise the work is really easy – just open your Word document and copy and paste the field codes where you need them. Upload the document and select whether you want the output as Word document or PDF, which is better than in S-Docs, which – as far as I know – cannot convert the Word document to PDF.

Create a flow

DSG is Lightning first (I would say) and for each template it generates a button, which you add to page layout to be able to generate document from the template.

It is great, until you have more than a few templates per object. Then the S-Docs‘ approach, which allows you to select which documents you want to generate (and support one click generation as well) is better.

S-Docs is also able to generate documents on background by creating a job record. DSG doesn’t have anything like this, the only thing you can do (with a bit of development skills) is to tweak the default Lightning Component it generates for each template to allow its use in flows and then you are able to generate the documents directly from flows.

DocuSign Gen Lightning Component - most of it generated automatically, I only change the "implements" and recordId

Integration with DocuSign

I remember days, when S-Docs has been integrated with DocuSign, but it isn’t the case anymore. So I somehow expect than DSG will be integrated and I would be able with one click to generate document and send it for signature.

Not the case, it might be in a roadmap, but now the approach is, that you generate the document with one click, you want to check it anyway and then you send it with another click to DocuSign. Make sense, but still, the one click approach would be awesome.

User management

Good to remember, that you have to add users, which are allowed to use DocuSign Gen. What might be surprising (for you and for them), that they will get an email with confirmation link, which they have to click and create their account on DocuSign website. Not sure why, but it is definitely something you have to communicate with them, otherwise they will just ignore the email (especially as the link doesn’t work when you are in trial) and then be surprised that the document generation doesn’t work.

Conclusion

A while ago I tested a bunch of different solution and S-Docs came out of it as a winner. The UI might not be the best and most sexy, but the price/feature ration is definitelly one of the best I saw.

I miss the Word -> PDF conversion a lot and it is the reason why I really like DocuSign Gen. A few more improvements, which will came over next a few month I’m sure, and it will be even better player than now and I might switch to it.

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Welcome to the Salesforce MVP Program

I’m probably the latest to blog about this, but at the beginning of April I’ve been awarded with the Salesforce MVP title. And from that time people started to ask – what it exactly mean and how can I get it?

Welcome to Salesforce MVP Program

What is it about?

Salesforce created the program a while ago and changed it from that time. Basically once a year the whole community can nominate people, who they think show expertise, generosity, leadership and advocacy.

Not sure about the first point, as some MVPs publicly declare they don’t really know much about the technology, but the rest is true.

Then they check all the nominations, get feedback from existing MVPs (e.g. it is a good idea to be known among them as well) and then blackbox will decide, who will become MVP and will make it to less than 300 people worldwide. The whole process is described on their blog.

Benefits?

You know, I signed the NDA and everything is secret. But some benefits are publicly available:

  • access to Premium Support, which I can use for my clients as well;
  • free certification vouchers – which I struggle with, because I can use them but still, why not let my company pay for them if they want the certifications?
  • special access to product team;
  • early access to beta programs – which sounds cool, but as customers cannot use it yet, is it worth the time to know, where it goes? To me yes, to others?
  • free ticket to Dreamforce and discounts to other events (you still have to pay for flights and hotel).

What you did?

You might want to make it as well. Don’t make it your priority, it really should be a reward. But it doesn’t mean you cannot copy what I do, it will help the whole community.

And probably the most important thing – I did and do it all for my pleasure, not for my benefits.

I hope you got the idea. In a nutshell it looks like I don’t bother working much for my employeer but rather spend my time elsewhere. Hope it isn’t true and I’m just more effective than those who cannot imagine how I make it all happen.

Is it important for customers?

Frankly, I hope it isn’t. As I wrote above, they can even feel I won’t have time for them.

But they definitely benefit from it. Not from the MVP title, but from the actions:

  • I learn a lot by helping others and I can use it for their benefit. This led me to all my certifications and being System and Application Certified Architect plus certified consultant on most Salesforce products is something they benefit directly;
  • I can hear about new features well before they are ready, prepare them and don’t waste money on thing that will become standard. It also means we push some changes to the future just to save money and energy;
  • I can use by network to ask people with more knowledge how to approach things;
  • I always learn a tons of new things on conference and I don’t hesitate to use this knowledge. If you not going to conferences you definitelly miss a lot.

Who will be next?

I’ve been told I’m the first Salesforce MVP in the CEE region. You have to be active in the community for 12 months and next nomination round will open probably in December, so you won’t make it unless you are already on the way, but why not aim on next year?

Bullshit, you cannot get the title, but you can do all those great things and benefit from them anyway. Do them. And let me know!

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