Dreamforce ’21 Recap

What a week! I was fortunate to be one of the 500 or so that was able to attend the in person Dreamforce in San Francisco (after confirming my vaccination status and 4 negative tests in the week prior and during). As always, there was a ton of information to process but here are my top 5 takeaways from the week.

Slack

Have you heard about Slack? If not, after this week you most certainly have. What is being billed as the Digital HQ for today’s new post-(and mid) pandemic world, Slack is being increasingly integrated with Salesforce. You can create apps using Slack commands, connect Slack to Flow, write Slack logic in Apex, and use it for Huddles (one off quick meetings) or coming soon, Clips (voicemail-like messages). I’m a big fan of Slack and looking forward to the increasing Salesforce integrations.

Slack promotion showing Huddles available now and Clips available soon

Automation

It’s been rumored for a while and confirmed during a Salesforce Live, but Workflow Rules and Process Builder are going away in favor of Flow. When asked about it at the True to the Core session at Dreamforce, EVP and GM of Platform Patrick Stokes said in reference to automation, “We want one way to do things”. As part of Salesforce’s efforts to reduce the multiple, subpar ways to do the same thing, they’re focusing on condensing down to one, incredible way to do everything.

While there was no definitive date for if and when Workflow and Process Builder will stop working, Patrick did share a timeline for when we should expect to see updates.

  • Spring ‘22 (v236), a tool to migrate Workflow Rules to Flow
  • Summer ‘22 (v238), a tool to migrate Process Builder to Flow
  • Winter ‘23 (v240), Salesforce will remove the capability to create new Workflow Rules and Process Builders

I imagine we’re still some time away from Workflows and Processes to stop working altogether, if that time ever comes (I think some orgs still use active S-Controls), but Patrick’s message that “we want everybody to be using Flow” should be heard loud and clear.

Architecture

One of the biggest changes to Dreamforce this year was that Salesforce Architects not only got their own mascot plushie, but their own keynote at Dreamforce! The keynote started off strong by introducing the new Architects website, architect.salesforce.com, where you can find tools, models, and diagrams galore! They also shared their new initiative, Salesforce Well-Architected.

Architecture principles Trust, Speed to Value, Adaptability, Scalability, and Performance

If you’re a Lucidchart user like me for making diagrams, they also announced a Salesforce shape library for Lucidchart, to help make your diagrams much snappier. 

Speaking of architecture, every year it seems like Salesforce has a new architecture diagram for how they think about the platform, which isn’t so surprising with how fast technology is changing. This year’s diagram had Slack on top of everything. On the bottom now though, is Hyperforce, Salesforce’s ambitious project to move everyone’s orgs from their own servers to the public cloud; namely Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Alibaba. Hopefully this elasticity will bring additional performance improvements.

Platform Architecture Diagram with Slack on top, Customer 360 below, Einstein below, and Hyperforce on the bottom

New Features

One of the things I always ask each year is ‘What are the new features that I can start using immediately?’ These are the major new things I’m looking forward to using right away.

Salesforce+

Wasn’t sure how I felt about a Salesforce streaming service when it was first announced but I especially liked going back and immediately being able to watch Dreamforce content. When it comes out 6 weeks after Dreamforce, I’m usually tied up with other stuff so it was nice to catch sessions immediately while DF momentum was still there. I recommend checking out anything you missed!

Looking forward to seeing what else Salesforce puts on there when it’s not from a major conference. There are still some features left to be desired but I imagine the service will continue to improve over time. It’ll be nice to have a single place to (presumably) catch webinars that I miss.

Salesforce Functions

I’ve been waiting on this feature (formerly called Evergreen) for a few years now. The idea that we can write Java, JavaScript, and Typescript directly in Salesforce has a ton of potential, not to mention the incentive for Salesforce Developers like myself to upskill on some of these other languages. Glad to see that this is finally GA. There’s even a recipe repo to start playing around.

Functions concepts; Elastic Scale, Stay on Platform, and Expand Talent Pool

Salesforce Backup and Restore 

This announcement went a little under the radar but will be interesting to see if this solves customers’ backup issues. With Salesforce Backup and Restore, customers will be able to backup and restore their own data, down to the object and hour. It remains to be seen what this means for ISV partners that do similar things and if the Salesforce service goes down, what that would mean for a backup and restore service but I see some potential here for sure.

Backup screen showing activity, active backups, and statistics
Restore screen showing objects and records for restore along with date/time range

CLI Unification

This one is probably a bigger deal that I’m making it out to be, especially if unlike me, you’re working with a bunch of different CLIs for SFDX, Heroku, Commerce Cloud, Tableau, and Mulesoft. Now all the CLIs are being rolled into one CLI that will be backwards compatible with the others so existing scripts won’t break. Commands are also becoming simpler and coming with interactive prompts to make it easier to get stuff done without having to lookup flags and attributes for each command. I’ve only been able to find a demo for this so far but I’m excited to start using it.

CLI unification showing going from 6 CLIs to 1
SF deploy command as part of the CLI

Roadmap

The other major question I ask every Dreamforce is ‘What are the features I have to look forward to in future releases?’ That question was answered as well. If you want a demo of any of these, check out the IT Leader’s Guide to the Salesforce Platform on Salesforce+!

Admin Filterable Related Lists

Have you ever wanted multiple related lists for the same object on a page that did different things? Soon you can have it! For example, 2 related lists for Cases, one for open cases and one for closed cases on the same page. Configure it with App Builder without needing any code.

Admin Filterable related lists showing the same object related lists with different filters applied

Multi-Object Pages

Being able to create a single page, with fields from multiple objects, without needing any code? Sign me up! Looks like this is a little ways away with the pilot still 2 releases away but will keep an eye on this space.

App Builder showing fields from multiple objects being added to a page

Code Builder

The successor to the Developer Console is going into Beta in the next release! Definitely excited for the capabilities to essentially bring the magic of VS Code into the browser. This will hopefully make it much easier for new devs to start getting used to the concept of an IDE without all the installations.

DevOps Center

I heard one Salesforce team member say “No more change sets!” in regards to what the DevOps center will bring. That alone makes me excited for this functionality. And it is tentatively only 1 release away! Looking forward to the future of change management in Salesforce and saying goodbye to change sets.

DevOps center screen showing a change being reviewed

Another nice thing I liked hearing from True to the Core was a brief presentation from the new Salesforce Chief Product Officer David Schmaier. He talked about Innovation Themes that he is focusing on. For me, the concept of making everything easy in Salesforce and bringing all the different products together are definitely very welcome. Looking forward to seeing the future innovation!

Helpful Links

If you want more info, or to give feedback on the WF and PB retirement, as well as any other questions you want answered that can be considered True to the Core, check out the Trailblazer Community group at: sforce.co/tttc

If you want to catch up on everything from the Admin Main Show, they put together a trailmix here. 

There’s also a trailmix for Salesforce Developers from the Developer Keynote!

Hope to see you all in person at DF22!

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