This year, I have the privilege of going to the two largest Salesforce Developer events in the calendar. Last week I was at TrailheaDX, the Salesforce run developer conference in San Francisco, and I will soon be at Forcelandia in Portland, the community-driven event for Salesforce developers. They sound so similar, so you may ask, “why are you going to both?” That’s a fair and reasonable question, so let me elaborate a little for you; after all it’s not just for the fun of flying 20,000 miles.
Let’s start with the keynotes: to me a keynote is the opportunity to make us stop and look at things differently. That can be because of a big announcement or just because of the point of view that’s put across, and obviously it needs to be delivered by someone that carries weight in that particular space.
TrailheaDX’s keynote presenters certainly carried some weight; just look at the names of those on stage: Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Shawna Wolverton, Alex Dayon, Adam Seligman. But for me, I didn’t see anything differently afterwards, other than perhaps the scale of the developer community in India.
Forcelandia’s keynote, on the other hand, really excites me. Leah McGowan-Hare brings the weight of respect that is needed, but more importantly, I can’t wait to hear what she has to say. She’s held a number of different roles over the years – developer, trainer, consultant – with all the insight and perspective this gives her, I can’t believe that I’m not going to learn something on that Thursday morning.
But what about the rest of the day? Anyone who knows me will know that I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, it’s why I go to these things and for me the keynote is generally a mere aperitif for the rest of the event. TrailheaDX’s content was focused purely on Lightning and the content was, for the most part, driven and presented by Salesforce themselves. This makes sense to me; Lightning is the future, we need to learn it and there are no better people in the world to disseminate that knowledge than the people that created it. I learnt a fair amount I didn’t know about Lightning, certainly about what is coming up. And that’s great but… well, tea is great, too. Now, I love tea but after the 11th mug or so it gets a bit samey. (I’d like to note I also love beer but that never gets samey.)
On the other hand, have you looked at the agenda for Forcelandia? The variety is phenomenal: Bulk API, continuous integration, Wave apps, TDD – we’re not drinking tea anymore, we’re drinking from every fountain, beer tap, kettle or spring that’s available. This content has been put together to help you be better at what you do now, not just at what you’re going to have to do in the future. Even the “admin” content is code focused; Unit Testing, Apex, Triggers. This is what a developer conference should be about: code.
This difference in content epitomises one thing for me, and that is community. You can tell that Forcelandia is a “community driven event” and that the content has been chosen by the community, for the community. The best part of that is, if it’s not what you want then say so… in fact don’t just say so, put yourself forward to present next year! This is how these events grow and become better.
So, after a hard day gaining knowledge and bettering myself, how do the two events cater to my need to relax, network and let everything sink in? Well, TrailheaDX had Lenny Kravitz, and to be fair, it’s going to be pretty hard for a community event to ever top that. However, by aligning with the Oregon Brewfest, I think that Forcelandia is a close second and I’m looking forward to retiring to the festival in the evening (did I mention I like beer?). I think it’s great to top a day like this off with something slightly tangential – after all, we can only talk about Apex for so long, right?
I’m clearly super biased in my assessment here, after all, I may have attended TrailheaDX but I get to present at Forcelandia! I’ll be talking about invocable actions, why you should use them and more importantly how to make them work at scale. There will be code, there’ll probably be live coding and I suspect they’ll be group debugging, too! I have the questionable task of following Leah’s keynote so be sure to cut me some slack. Otherwise come and say hi… I’ll be the one with the odd accent.