Think Outside of The (Sand)box


You just finished listening to another inspiring Admin webinar. And wow, would you love to start using that feature that they did a demo of, but your company doesn’t use that feature yet. Or maybe it’s not on your company’s roadmap? So you go to Trailhead, complete the badge, and most likely tweet at Chris Duarte how you loved the humor in part of the module. Now the end—user requests are piling up in your inbox and you just aren’t sure you will ever get your hands on that feature again. But, you want to keep learning and getting hands-on! So let’s take a look at how you can creatively keep using Salesforce to get even more experience.

How binge-watching taught me Salesforce

If you have spent more than a minute chatting with me you know I love cars. I love racing, and love watching cars and racing on TV. During a holiday week a few years ago, it was snowing in Iowa (of course). So I was catching up on my episodes of Top Gear when it dawned on me – I should track which episodes I’ve watched. So I opened a Google spreadsheet and created a worksheet for every season, columns to capture the information about guests, cars, and episode summaries. And began to enter every episode on a row. But, as I watched the episodes I wondered if I couldn’t make an app in Salesforce to replicate that spreadsheet?

At that moment, I became inspired! I could build an app in Salesforce that had nothing to do with my day job! I actually stopped watching the current episode and started building in a Dev Org. And, it was super fun!

What I learned about relationships

Creating this app taught me a lot about relationships: Master-Detail, Look up, one-to-many, and many-to-many. Understanding how records needed to “connect” helped me visualize problems in my everyday job. In my app, seasons have a Master-Detail relationship to Episodes. I needed to connect Cars and Guests and quickly saw the benefits of a lookup relationship and creating a many-to-many relationship. ?

I learned (a lot) about reports

After the app was built I tried to run reports and realized that some of my architecture wasn’t right for the reports I wanted. So I rebuilt it. And to be honest, I’ll probably rebuild it again because now I want to do things with Process Builder that are manual right now.

I get to dive deep into Lightning

When I built the app it was before Lightning was launched. Now I’m super excited to get the org moved to Lightning. With Themes and Branding, I can really make the org visually match the colors of the show and add even more logos. In the Admin Keynote and Admin Breakout, we have demoed an image slide AppExchange component that I’m excited to add. Now I can have pictures of the cars and the guests on the record! And with Dynamic Lightning Pages, I can set components to show or hide as I need them to – maybe after I watch a show?

Your challenge: creatively get more Salesforce experience

Get out there and app something. Build an app to manage your house and the number of times that you painted each room. Or build an app to manage your hobby. Maybe you collect Star Wars Lego sets. Build an app to keep track of all the lego sets, when they were produced, the ones you put together, etc. Maybe you are part of a local sports league, or throw axes like Kristi Guzman. Build an app to track the players and games or number of times you get to throw the big ax. Maybe build an app to track the books you read this year, just pick something.

I promise if you are just starting to learn Salesforce this will smooth out the learning curve and it’s a great addition to Trailhead. Make sure you challenge yourself. Don’t just do things you know how to do. Try building a Flow, or writing a really challenging formula. It’s only if you challenge yourself that you will learn!

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