TrailheaDX

I just got back (i.e. took a 5 minute bus ride home) from the first ever Salesforce developer conference, TrailheaDX! Just wanted to share my thoughts and help anyone who missed it feel like they were part of the experience as well!

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I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first signed up for the conference as details were a little hard to come by. I entered with an open mind and right away identified the forest, or “Trail” theme that was present (TrailheaDX get it?). There was also a pretty sweet Dev Zone setup similar to what you’d find at Dreamforce with a very “Developer” theme present! There were a bunch of great demos available including one of my favorites on IoT from Josh Birk (@joshbirk). There was also one by Christophe Coenraets (@ccoenraets) on Bot integration, the #AwesomeAdmin team on Process Builder, and some partner demos including Amazon Web Services, Slack, and Microsoft. Normally I tend to stay away from sponsor booths unless I’m interested in the swag but I actually sought some of them out to see some of the cool stuff they were demoing. There was something for every type of developer regardless of whether you focus on declarative development, programmatic development, or sit somewhere in the middle. I stuck to more of the code focused development but there were options for all.

Keynotes

There were some exciting pre-keynote talks with the always entertaining hosts Peter Coffee and Leah McGowan-Hare. They interviewed Salesforce customers and employees such as Mary Scotton, Samantha Ready, and Chris Duarte! Sam mentioned the new Trailhead Superbadge feature that is now available!

There was also a surprise live appearance by the Salesforce MVP parody band, Apex & The Limits (@ApexNTheLimits)! It was their first time presenting live all together and they did an amazing job. Check out the footage captured by Salesforce founders Marc Benioff and Parker Harris!

The keynote itself got the conference started with a bunch of demos including showing off some IoT demos with Thunder, MetaMind, Lightning App Builder, and Lightning Components. The Summer ‘16 release was looked at and the Winter ‘17 roadmap preview was talked about as well! Both Marc Benioff and Parker Harris made appearances as well as Alex Dayon, Shawna Wolverton, Adam Seligman, and Sarah Franklin. Marc made an announcement of a $50M incubator that Salesforce has created to support innovators in the community who want to build apps with Salesforce. There were also 130 viewing parties all over the world that took part and got to say hi to the conference via webcam!

I was fortunate enough to be asked to participate in the intro video and even made it into one of the keynote slides 🙂

Check out some more keynote details here!

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Sessions

Regardless of what type of developer you were, there were some sessions for you! True to the Trail theme, there were some campfire sessions to have some more intimate discussions. I happened to attend a pretty cool one on Inclusion in Tech with Mary Scotton (@rockchick322004)! Highlights from that discussion below. Unfortunately due to capacity, I wasn’t able to get into a couple of the other campfire sessions as they were first come first served and I didn’t get there early enough. I also missed out on a building bots hands-on training since they didn’t want to violate the fire codes. Understandable but I was a little disappointed about missing that one (fortunately the workshop was posted online!).

In terms of some more traditional sessions, there were a wide array of those as well! I saw several sessions on the agenda regarding Introduction to Apex and others on Advanced Process Builder for the more declarative oriented developers. Being more interested in the coding side, I attended two different sessions on the Lightning Component Framework, the first of which talked about how XML and CSS fit in and the second one discussed where JavaScript and Apex came into play. It definitely helped me understand a bit better how all the puzzle pieces fit together and was a nice refresher on some of the object oriented principles baked into the framework.

On Day 2, I attended a pretty sweet session with Christophe Coenraets (@ccoenraets) where he talked about how bots are becoming the new apps and showed off some bot integrations with Salesforce to Slack, Facebook Messenger, and the Amazon Echo. Even more amazing, you can download all the code and more as a package from this site here and recreate the demos yourself! This was probably one of my favorite sessions I’ve ever at a conference and I’m very excited to start playing around!

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Force Bot

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Trailhead Bot

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Diving even deeper into the programmatic capabilities, a couple of engineers decided to recreate the demos using the React JS framework. Unfortunately I’m not the greatest when it comes to JavaScript so while I was able to follow along at a high level, looking at the code there in small chunks didn’t do me a ton of good. Still pretty cool to see some of the capabilities and I’m sure the JS gurus that were in attendance appreciated it!

The last session I went to was a Q&A with the Salesforce Platform team. The team answered questions from several audience members, including a few challenging ones from some of the MVPs, and did their best to convey what was coming (within the bounds of Safe Harbor/Forward Looking Statement guidance of course). They didn’t reveal a ton but did talk about how they’re looking to make changes to the deployment UI (change sets) and also add a bunch of other features. They were only able to say that it’s coming “soon” though.

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Swag and Friends

Outside of the learning and keynotes at Salesforce conferences, I’m always interested in collecting swag and meeting up with friends from the community that I mostly only know through Twitter. At TrailheaDX, I was able to do both! I came away with a sweet new water bottle and pair of socks for watching a demo and earning a badge while on site, a new backpack, some study materials (including a Lightning Experience Guide, Lightning Components developer guide, and cheat sheets), and a pretty sweet Rubik cube from the CRM Science team.

In terms of friends, I also did pretty well! I got to hangout with the always fun #AwesomeAdmin team, the Developer Relations team, and Team Trailhead from Salesforce, as well as meet a few of the MVPs I had only known virtually, and even snap a few selfies with some of them! I also got to meet Abhilasha Singh who came in all the way from India! Pictured below are me with Misty Jones (@MistyRaeJones) in from Arizona, Jen Wobser in from Arkansas (@crmsalesgem), Abhilasha Singh in from India (@Sweety_abhi), Kristi Guzman in from North Carolina (@KristiForce), and in the last picture Ryan Headley in from Wisconsin (@lifewithryan), Nana Gregg in from Texas (@nanahg3), and Katie McFadden also local to San Francisco (@katiesmcfadden).

There were also a couple of pics in trail gear taken that didn’t have me in them 🙂 Feel free to check those out here!

One More Thing

It wouldn’t be a Salesforce event without a little star power, and this one was no different. We got to watch a show from Lenny Kravitz and a fireside chat with the one and only Steve Wozniak! As an Apple fanboy, I was ecstatic! The concert was pretty awesome and Woz shared some anecdotes about hanging out with Steve Jobs, pulling pranks, his love for technology over business, his thoughts on the current state of technology, some good and bad experiences with recent Apple products, and how far he thought AI would get in the future. I definitely enjoyed hearing him speak and got inspired to go buy his book.

Conclusion

Overall I’d say it was a very successful conference! I’m guessing for next year if Salesforce puts it on again they’ll probably want to pick a bigger location, and I’ll definitely make sure to get in line for the really popular sessions a bit earlier. I got some sweet swag, great networking, learned some more info I can take back to work to help my company, and had a fun time hanging out with people who love Salesforce like I do (#SaaL). Regardless of your flavor of development, TrailheaDX had a place for you. I hope they do put the conference on again next year and I’ll make sure to be in attendance!

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Comments

  1. Crazy jealous of that backpack 🙂 Great writeup Adam!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Adam, thank you so much for the awesome recap of TrailheaDX!! The details were so vague before hand, but being a Trailhead and Salesforce addict, I just had to register. Sadly just over a week before the event, I found out I would have to be in London for work at the same time. Now, although extremely jealous of all the awesomeness I missed, I know I will definitely be at the next one. Thanks for sharing the details and photos. Can’t wait for TrailheaDX II!!

    Liked by 1 person

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