20 Must See Dreamforce ‘17 Sessions

Dreamforce 2018 has 318 developer sessions, with Lightning, Einstein, Salesforce DX and Release Management being the major themes.

Last Update:
October 3, 2017

With this article, learn about the top developer sessions at Dreamforce 2017, including those focused on Lightning Adoption, Salesforce Einstein, Salesforce DX and Release Management. You will also gain insight into specific sessions that cover topics such as the future of Salesforce DX, hands-on training for building a Salesforce app using Salesforce DX, and how to set up Salesforce DX as part of a continuous integration workflow.

Here are our 5 Key Takeaways:

1. Lightning Adoption is a popular topic for developers at Dreamforce 2017, with 84 sessions geared towards it alone.

2. Salesforce Einstein is another hot topic, with 43 developer sessions dedicated to it.

3. Salesforce DX and Release Management are also important themes, with 11 sessions focused on Salesforce DX.

4. Attendees can learn about the future of Salesforce DX, as well as how to build a Salesforce app using Salesforce DX and set up Salesforce DX as part of a continuous integration workflow.

5. There are also sessions on release management in general, including how Salesforce manages its own deploys for the CRM platform.

Table of Contents

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It’s hard to believe that Dreamforce is only a month away. As of October 2nd, there are already 318 “developer” sessions scheduled. Many of them are good, some of them are great. How do you know which ones are best?

To help you plan your week, we’ve gone through all of the sessions and wanted to highlight a few that look especially interesting for developers. If you’re going to Dreamforce this year don’t miss these. And if you can’t make it, be sure to find the video when it’s published online.

This year there are a few major themes dominating the developer session landscape: Lightning, Einstein, Salesforce DX and Release Management.

Lightning Adoption

Lightning is probably the most popular topic for developers this year. After over 2 years of being live, Salesforce is encouraging more teams to move to a full embrace of Lightning. There are 84 sessions geared towards “Lightning Adoption” alone this year and 61 of the 318 developer sessions include Lightning in the title.

A great place to start is with Ryan Ellis (SVP, Product Management, Lightning Platform) and Greg Rewis (Principal Developer Evangelist) at a session called Lightning Roadmap for Developers:

1. Lightning Roadmap for Developers: Lightning Experience is constantly evolving, with hundreds of new features for developers each release. In this session, you’ll learn about the latest base Lightning components, developer services, and capabilities to help you accelerate your UI development. You’ll also be able to engage directly with our product team and see what’s coming on our roadmap.

Salesforce Einstein

Dreamforce last year was one of the first opportunities to learn about Einstein and this year we expect to hear more. 43 of the 318 developer sessions include “Einstein” in the title and you can be certain there will be quite a few breakout sessions and workshops discussing Einstein and what developers can do with it. Starting with an overview is always a good idea:

2. Einstein Platform Services: Overview: Einstein Platform Services offer a variety of APIs to enhance your companies [sic] processes. Learn in this session about the options like image recognition and object detection or classifying text utterances based on tone and type of action. After this session you’ll have a solid understanding of what Einstein Platform is and how to use it.

Salesforce DX and Release Management

Of course near and dear to our hearts are sessions around tooling and release management. There are quite a bit fewer Salesforce DX sessions that we would have expected: 11 of the 318 developer sessions are about Salesforce DX. But there will still be some great opportunities to learn about what Salesforce DX is now and will be in the future.

It all starts with VP of Product, aka “The Maestro”, Wade Wegner’s session on The Future of Salesforce DX:

3. The Future of Salesforce DX: Salesforce is the only platform that provides a unified model for developing from no code to low code to code. Get the inside scoop on our vision for the future of building on the Salesforce Platform with Salesforce DX.

After you’ve gotten an overview about where Salesforce DX is going, you may want something more practical and direct. Check out:

4. Hands-on Training: Build Your First Salesforce App Using Salesforce DX: Salesforce DX provides an efficient and Agile development model that increases collaboration and facilitates automated testing and continuous integration. During this hands-on, expert-led session, you’ll learn—via the Trailhead module ‘App Development with Salesforce DX’—how to build a Salesforce app using Salesforce DX, convert an existing app to the Salesforce DX model, and use Salesforce DX to deploy an app to a testing environment. This session is ideal for those familiar with building Lightning Components on the Salesforce platform, and those with knowledge of the full application development lifecycle. New to Trailhead? Complete this trail prior to attending your first hands-on training session: https://sfdc.co/TrailheadBasics


5. Getting starting with DX in VS Code: Come join us for a quick introduction to our new extension for Visual Studio Code. We’ll explain its functionality, highlight interesting features and explain best practices for an easy start with Salesforce DX.

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There will also be a few sessions where you can learn more about how to set up Salesforce DX as a part of a continuous integration workflow:

6. Test Automation and Continuous Integration In SDLC Using Salesforce DX: Salesforce is changing the game for continuous integration, in this presentation we will explain tools and ways to face the challenges that will show up when creating a continuous integration process for your organization.

7. Scripting DX: Using build tools to automate your development: Since the release of Salesforce DX developers have been quickly learning how to integrate the tool into their development processes. In this session we will look at how to incorporate the Salesforce DX tool into common build scripting languages like Grunt and Gulp and how to script our most commonly performed tasks. With proper build scripts both developers and CI automation can produce predictable, results providing more reliable integration and testing. Join me to learn how we can use build scripts to automate our environment setup to produce consistent development environments and waste less time on the command line and more time doing Salesforce development. Utilizing scratch org definitions, data load commands and test runners I will show you how we can have our developers up and running with SFDX in no time!

8. Salesforce DX and Fully Automated Deployments: Salesforce DX is the new way to build and release applications for developers working in teams. In this session, you will get an introduction and a demo of the Salesforce DX tools. This talk will include a demo comparing the capabilities of Salesforce DX and other tools you may be using today (e.g. GIT, SVN, Jenkins and ant)

Of course, one of the most important parts of Salesforce DX is the Admin Experience. Check out Michael White’s talk on what an admin can expect from Salesforce DX:

9. Salesforce DX - An Admin’s Perspective The newly released Salesforce DX system dramatically enhances the development process on the Salesforce platform. While these changes were originally built to support developers, you don’t have to write code in order to benefit from these features. In this session, we will introduce several components of Salesforce DX and look at ways to leverage them to improve our Salesforce administration practices. Discover how you can use scratch orgs and the existing declarative tools to create application specific configurations and then release those to your sandbox and production environments. You will leave this session with a better understanding of the Salesforce DX system along with strategies for implementing the features in your org.

Dileep Burki will be leading two sessions on the future of packages in Salesforce. In the first, he’ll team up with Joe McTee about Managed Packages in Salesforce DX and Feature Management. The second will be geared towards AppExchange partners with Jeff Bartolotta.

10. Managed Packages in Salesforce DX and Feature Management: As an AppExchange Partner, have you wondered how you can pilot your new features with early adopters, get valuable feedback, and iterate? Do you have use cases where you want to know if your latest-cool feature is being used by your customers? Are you interested in knowing what Salesforce DX is, and how managed packages work with them? If yes, this is a great session to get an overview and see some awesome demos on two related technologies - Feature Management AND Managed Packages in Salesforce DX. #DF17Partners

11. Salesforce DX Packaging for AppExchange Partners: As part of the Salesforce Development Experience (SFDX), we are redesigning how AppExchange Partners organize, manage and distribute their app’s metadata. Learn how Salesforce DX packaging transforms the way partners will interact with managed Apps. In this session, we will demo how partners can begin to make this transformation and discuss the road ahead for packaging. #DF17Partners

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There will also be a number opportunites to learn about release management in general. We’re especially excited to learn how Salesforce actually manages its own deploys for the CRM platform:

12. Deploying the Salesforce CRM Application: Salesforce delivers 3 major releases a year and extensively prepares our customers for each. Did you know the Salesforce platform is seamlessly updated every day? Get a peek behind the curtain about how our Salesforce Infrastructure teams rollout the releases. We will showcase the processes and tools involved including the major differences between daily updates and major releases. We will also discuss the large scale aspects and show our roadmap for future work.

13. 7 Steps in Building a Seamless Release Management Process: The rapidity of development is always overtaking the speed in which we can deploy. With more and more projects in the pipeline, this gap is growing wider and wider. This triggers a whole new thought about how to reinvent the deployment process. Learn in this session how to increase your release quality and how to identify errors at early stages of the delivery chain. You’ll also walk away with an understand about how to diminish the deployment stream time for projects and features. Develop fast, deploy often!

14. Enabling DevOps Journey Using Maturity Model and Value Stream Architecture: As organizations depend on cross-functional teams to adopt DevOps practices, software delivery processes must support the need for business agility. Traditional development on Salesforce requires managing changes in sandboxes and using change sets for deployments. A value stream based maturity model provides a framework for managing the DevOps journey.

Other topics

Of course, Dreamforce includes a number of other great developer topics outside of these major themes. If you want to learn more about design thinking and how to create better user experiences for your users check out:

15. Don’t Make Users Think! Implementing Design Thinking with SLDS: Design Thinking has redefined the paradigm of user interfaces and user experience. With SLDS, Salesforce provides a powerful framework for streamlined User Interface development throughout the application lifecycle. This session will educate developers, designers and administrators on how to use SLDS in compliance with design thinking best practices to build engaging and compelling user experiences.

Given all of the emphasis on development tooling, Salesforce DX and release management, some might find this session on how to use the command line interesting:

16. Do Not Fear the Command Line: You Are Smarter Than It: If you can write a formula in Salesforce, you too can harness the power of the command line. Many developers and admins want to do more with their orgs, and faster. Salesforce DX has the potential to democratize the command line and give them the power they didn’t even know they wanted. In this talk you will have a brief introduction to command lines, syntax, and a practical demonstration of several admin and configuration tasks, done using Salesforce DX.

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17. Build Custom Setup Apps & Config Tools with the All-New Apex Metadata API: Building an app is not enough. To really win over your customers and empower your admins, a great app should have a superior setup, customization, and upgrade experience. The Apex Metadata API now gives developers access to metadata through Apex, making it easier than ever to develop and deliver these setup experiences. This feature is the most popular Apex idea on IdeaExchange - no developer will want to miss this session!

Obligatory shout out to @codefriar Kevin Poorman and the importance of testing your code:

18. No seriously; Test Your Code: You don’t have to change your underwear everyday. But you should. You don’t have to write meaningful unit tests. But you should. Join us as we refactor a suite of tests so that they are meaningful. Meaningful not only to ourselves, but also our business users and the sociopath (with our address) tasked with maintaining our code years from now.

A look at the new Apex Compiler:

19. New Apex Compiler Rollout: Is your org using the Old or New Apex compiler? Come find out! Rewriting the Apex Compiler wasn’t challenging enough, so we decided to maintain compatibility for all Apex code ever written. The team has worked tirelessly to ensure no one notices when we flip the switch – have you noticed? Come learn about our atypical rollout process and the tools we built to support the rollout, see some examples of “valid” Apex code (according to the Old compiler), and learn about our roadmap for Apex once the New compiler is rolled out to all orgs.

And finally perhaps our favorite session at every Salesforce conference: Meet the Developers. Meet the Developers is your chance to ask questions directly to the people who build Salesforce. The Q&A format is always entertaining and enlightening as you get unscripted, candid and honest answers from Salesforce leadership.

20. Meet the Developers: If you have ever wanted to just sit down with the technical leadership team at Salesforce and ask any question you want about Salesforce Platform technology, this is your chance. This annual and venerable panel session is an open Q&A with the product owners and engineers that are building all aspects of the Salesforce Platform. Bring you questions and here what other developers are burning to know as well.

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