If you are a Salesforce developer or admin, then you would be familiar with Salesforce MVP Luke Cushanick and the Apex Workshop Series. With the next Apex Workshop scheduled for July 13, 2016 from 7:00 pm to 9.00 pm Eastern Daylight Time, we caught up with him to share his inspiring journey.
Q) What was your inspiration for the Apex Workshop Series?
I started the Apex Workshop Series in NYC in early 2014 as a way to fill in gaps in the documentation and training materials in the Admin-to-Developer track. I’m a self-taught Apex developer and I wanted to share the best practices that I learned slowly since 2008 to accelerate others’ progression as developers. I was inspired by the Dan Appleman’s Advanced Apex Programming book which taught me how to “think” in Apex. I sought to provide the Basic Apex Programming version of that book so Admins could get started developing with good tools, habits and code.
Q) How has the series evolved from the first workshop to the latest one in June 2016?
I initially designed the workshops as a conversational forum in which advanced and beginner Apex Developers could meet and discuss techniques and patterns for different applications. I created some initial sample code to prime conversations and realized that breaking down the code line-by-line was essential to aiding new developers in reverse-engineering samples that can be found online at developer.salesforce.com or Stack Exchange. From there, I started crafting lesson plans about specific topics like Data Types, Collections and Unit Tests. As I’ve repeated those lessons, I’ve refined the class work to maximize hands-on coding and debugging while emphasizing how you research Apex as you code.
Q) What can the participants expect in the upcoming Apex Workshop in July 13?
The July 13 Apex Workshop is the first hands-on session and focuses on Data Types.
- I’ll show how Admins are already familiar with the concepts from the declarative development tools of the Setup menu and translate those fields into the different data types that represent them in Apex.
- We’ll also explore the similarities between declarative formulas and Apex methods for strings, numerics and date/time data types. As we do this, the attendees will correct and incomplete unit test and use the debug logs and the unit test capabilities to check their work while getting comfortable with debugging – because all coders at every level do a lot of that.
Q) What are 3 unique features of the Apex Workshop series?
Pace: The Apex Workshop series moves at a slow pace to ensure that everyone has time to absorb and ask questions about the concepts. Each session is 2 hours and focuses on such a small slice of the overall Apex language that we can really examine it in great detail.
Practice: We repeat many basic design patterns so that they become second nature which allows attendees to apply them in their own organizations while focusing on the more critical design features like covering all conditions, recognizing hazards and handling errors.
Detail: Many of the existing training resources don’t delve into the detailed use of Apex such as when to use before or after events in triggers, how to optimize code with collections or even how to debug effectively.
Q) Are there any dos and don’ts that participants should keep in mind to gain maximum advantage from the series?
Do accompany this series with use of other resources, especially Trailhead. The existing free resources are great and are essential for becoming an Apex developer.
Do find reasons to write Apex in your own organization. Write a unit test for your Process Builder, or merge three related Workflow Rules into one efficient Apex Trigger.
Do ask questions, ask for more explanation and share your broken code. We learn much more from correcting mistakes and everybody makes them!
Don’t think “I’m not a developer and I don’t want to be one” – whether you intended to be a super admin, a product manager, a business analyst or other related careers, this series will help you understand what happens with Apex and when it should be applied.
Don’t worry if you can’t attend a session, all of them are recorded and posted online so you can catch up!
Tomorrow promises to be an exciting session and make sure you sign up to reserve your spots!