First Contribution to the SFDX CLI

I’ve been pushing some of the non-technical folk within Caddify to adopt the Salesforce CLI for some time. I find the ability to manage logins to different orgs a huge win and know that others benefit from this greatly also. And it was during one of these conversations with our CEO that he said “now if it could open orgs in different browsers that would be amazing”… and that got me thinking.

See the plugin’s changes in action in this video.

I have created several SFDX CLI plugins that we use internally (mostly managing scratch org creation and setup) and am very familiar with node and TypeScript so saw this as a great opportunity to see if I could implement a change that meant the DX org:open commands could target specific browsers on the user’s computer.

I had read – fairly recently – about the new modularisation of the SFDX CLI project, and was excited by this as I remember hearing from the Salesforce folk years ago when SFDX was initially released, and I asked about whether or not they’d planned to open source it all, and was told that it would be indeed be one of the end goals. Anyway, off I went to find the repository that supported the org namespace. After forking the project and pulling it down to my local development environment I was able to see that made use of the open node package, so in turn I made my way to their npm page to see if anything existed already to support “browser targeting”… and there it was, the project supported optional parameters to achieve just what I was after.

Within less than half an hour I had a working proof of concept on my local machine. I then turned to the Contributing section on the DX repo to see how I could get involved, and from there I created a new issue against the repo, mentioning that I’d love to create a PR to implement the new functionality. Only a short while later I had a response from the team, welcoming my input.

I proceeded to more properly implement the change (you know, with tests and that) and submitted my PR. I was honestly bowled-over by the welcoming, supportive, and helpful responses to my PR from the whole team. I was given guidance on naming, implementation, help messages, and all sorts… and I guarantee that the end code that was merged into the plugin’s repo was many times better than my first iteration. Huge thanks to Shane McLaughlin and the whole team for their support and patience.

This new feature is available in the v1.9.0 release of the plugin-org plugin.

In short, the new functionality is really useful, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, and also, if you think that the DX CLI could do with new features or improvements then dive on in and get involved.

Salesforce Vidyard Video Playback

I personally like to watch a lot of informational videos, I find this a good way to learn. One thing I do like though is being able to change the playback speed.

Sadly a lot of the Salesforce videos I watch are published through Vidyard, and for some reason Salesforce decide to not offer the option to change the playback speed via the video settings menu. There is good news though, and this comes in the form of hacking the video URL through the browser devtools.

Here’s a quick video demoing how to do it, but in short you want to add an extra query parameter to the video URL used. In the demo I add &speed=1.5 to the end video URL to enable me to watch the video at 1.5x speed.

I hope this helps you too.

Understanding the Salesforce Security Review with Amnon Kruvi

London Salesforce Dev’s Meet – April 2021

The latest installment of the London Salesforce Developers’ Trailblazer community meet (I’m sure the title gets longer every month) was another ripper, and this time it was a musical one.

We were once again honoured to have our co-organiser – and Salesforce MVP – Amnon Kruvi presenting for us, and this time on Understanding the Salesforce Security Review.

The Salesforce Security Review is a process that all apps need to go through if they’re to be listed on Salesforce’s AppExchange (this applies to paid-for as well as free apps), and it’s notorious for tripping folk up. At MobileCaddy we have recently just been through this process with our latest product Caddify – a no-code Companion App builder – and I’m all too aware of the pitfalls of the process (my scars are still raw). This is not to say that I’m not a fan of the SR (security review) process as a whole, as our application certainly improved in some areas having gone through the process (and I personally learnt lots of useful things about security too). The SR is, however, an undertaking that shouldn’t be breached without being prepared for what lies ahead… and this is what Amnon most tunefully delivered in his talk.

Thanks to MobileCaddy for their continued support in processing the videos. And be sure to subscribe to the London Salesforce Devs YouTube channel to be notified of future releases.

If you enjoyed this video you might want to also check out Amnon’s debut on Invocable Methods which is incredible (though it’ll be your earworm for at least a week).

After watching the session you’ll be sure to have picked up lots of points including to Think about Security at Every Stage of your application, and I have a couple of extra tips;

  1. Join the Security Review Partner Chatter Group – The partners and Salesforce personnel in this group are an invaluable and supportive bunch, and their guidance and advice is gold. In fact join the group before your first submission and ask about anything that you have queries on.
  2. Document ALL THE THINGS – If you’re app needs without sharing or does anything at all that sways from the absolute best-practice then make a note of it in your False Positives document.
  3. Take screenshots and copy the text of your Security Review wizard forms answers. If you fail your first submission (which very well may happen) you’ll need to re-enter all these details again.

The London Salesforce Developer’s Trailblazer community group is run by myself, Keir Bowden, Amnon Kruvi, and Erika McEvilly, and we meet every month. You can join our group here, and also follow us on Twitter and see much of our past content on our YouTube channel. We’re always looking for new speakers who are willing to share their knowledge with our community, so if you feel like contributing please get in touch.

As usual big thanks must go to not only my fellow organizers but also our incredible speaker Amnon, our sponsors MobileCaddy and BrightGen, and Salesforce for providing us with some certification vouchers to give away as prizes to our attendees.

Lightning Web Components Specialist – Trouble getting the boatMap Component?

During the completion (as if writing I’m on step 8) of the new ​Lightning Web Components Specialist Trailhead superbadge I had some troubles with step 6 as I couldn’t get access to the source of the boatMap component.

It’s installed from an unlocked package, and being a LWC it’s not viewable in the Salesforce developer console. I was also unable to see it in the Org Browser VS Code plugin… but then I went back to my old friend the CLI.

Using this command I was able to bring the source down into my repo.

sfdx force:source:retrieve -m LightningComponentBundle:boatMap


I hope this saves folk some time as they work through this badge.

TCG App visits the LAUG

Oh my, that was a blast! Last night I was allowed to run a data model design session at the London Admins’ Trailblazer Community group, and I for one think it was a great success. The idea of the session was to give a brief introduction to the TCG (Trailblazer Community Group) App and then chair a group discussion on how a data model might evolve from the requirements (and assumptions), and I can just say it far exceeded my expectations.

We walked through the various factors that go into making decisions around forming a data model, and how in some instances there isn’t one-clear right answer. We spoke about lookup vs master-detail relationships, chatted through reporting restrictions, mulled over standard vs custom objects, and spent quite some time going over the use of junction objects.

I do hope the session brought some value to the attendees, as I for one made many notes on things to read-up on, and not only in terms of the objects, but also regarding some requirements, and the next steps.

Here, in all their rough glory, are the notes I’ve made.

  • Support for Virtual venue
  • Master -> Detail – restrictions on types/number of relationships based upon object (types)
  • Standard Event – has auto archive rules and other things to be aware of
  • Event types
    • Meetup style
    • Conference
  • Look into campaign standard object – where would/could we use this?
  • Look into OppContactRoles
  • Use of Opportunity instead of EventSponsor
  • Use OppContactRoles to assign Sponsor contact / Venue Contact etc
  • Use of parent accounts; Don’t have a venue, use accounts
  • ACRs – know which contact to need for venue/sponsor (could be same or different)
  • Would let us have a Sponsor (Account) contact also related to a Venue Account
  • Log who (people in the ecosystem) knows about about specific stuff, who CGLs have asked to speak, and about X?
  • What replaces tags? (Gemma: in the Architects Club they have an object for skills) – Poss use NPSP, as they have this – or now topics?
  • Assets library (recordings, decks, etc)
  • Communities access – talk submissions/feedback
  • Think about a single instance for all CGLs to use – would mean one org, but more licenses, can we approach SF about this. Would mean a super-admin, some folk running this
    Would mean sharing available of talks / sponsors / contacts
  • What about the Events mngmt app from Salesforce Labs – more aimed towards conferences?
  • Also been approached about Open Commons from .org… very exciting
  • Next Steps
    • Look into NPSP, feedback from other CGLs on chatter / twitter
    • Rework ERD
    • Perhaps an open vid call to have input from other CGLs
    • Prob should write a V2MOM – perhaps use github wiki for this?
    • Think about KPIs, metrics, and designs

As you can see, I have quite a few next steps… and I’ve also been approached by a few folk in the success community to chat too.

Introducing the Trailblazer Community Group Salesforce App

As a long time leader of the London Developers’ Trailblazer group, and co-organiser of London’s Calling – the annual Salesforce Community Conference held in London – I’m only two aware of the features and benefits of the Salesforce platform (and ecosystem), and it therefore leaves a bitter taste in my mouth every time I open up a spreadsheet or other non-Salesforce tool to perform some management task for these events.

On speaking to other CGLs (community group leaders) I know that the London Developer group isn’t the only one to use a plethora of spreadsheets to help organise themselves, and I also know that a few folk/groups have built their own solutions on the Salesforce platform too. This bespoke and non-Salesforce tool-set only strengthens the bitter taste, especially when a platform like Salesforce is an obvious choice if you wanted to answer the requirements that are put forward CGLs.

And it’s the bitter taste that’s started me on the drive to create a Salesforce app targeted at helping community group leaders and community conference organisers alike in running their events.

I’m really looking forward to getting rid of this bitter taste, hopefully by drinking our own champagne

Tell me more

The vision I have for the app is based upon a few fundamental principles, which I hope promote and facilitate an inclusive and valuable project;

  1. Fully Open – Not just in terms of the finished project (code + declarative) but also in terms of how the project moves forward with regards to decision making, features, discussions etc
  2. Embrace the Platform – The project shall look to highlight the OOTB features and functions of the Salesforce platform (and keep up with it, as much as possible)
  3. Ease of Consumption – Distributed via a managed package(s) so as to reduce barriers of installation and support a known upgrade mechanism along with adhering to a strict backwards compatibility methodology
  4. Best Practices – This means testing all the things and following industry and platform specific best practices.

Where’s the project currently at?

Two answers to this… firstly the project has a github repo and the current thinking is that this can be used to also house documentation, issues etc, and maybe even use github’s discussion feature too.

Secondly, in terms of where the project is regards design/development, the answer is very young. As part of the desire to make this a community project I haven’t really started working on it until I get this post out, and get input from the wider community. As you can see there is a brief requirements listing on the git repo that comes from just my own thoughts, and I welcome github issues or PRs to add/edit this. I’m also wondering about creating a quip doc for this, to reduce any friction for folk who aren’t so familiar with github.

I’m absolutely sure that other CGLs have put together apps on dev orgs and the like, so it’d be great to get some input from them too.

How do I get involved?

If you have thoughts on the project please reach out to me on twitter (@toddhalfpenny) or raise an issue on the git repo.

What’s next?

I’m actually presenting the project as a data-model discussion case study at tonight’s London Admin’s Trailblazer group, where I’ll chat through some of the base requirements I’ve already put together and hopefully provoke some thoughtful conversations about how, and why, a data model in Salesforce might be designed in a particular way. RSVPs for this event are still open.

I’m also in the process of sharing the project within the CGL community to gather thoughts and hopefully expand and refine the project’s v0.0.1 requirements and a road-map going forward.

So yeah… I’m really looking forward to getting rid of this bitter taste, hopefully by drinking our own champagne.

SFignore: Visual Studio Code Extension for .forceignore files

Screenshot of the vscode SFignore extension in action

Last week I published another SFDX plugin, sfignore. This plugin is designed to help Salesforce developers with the (ever so slightly pedantic) .forceignore file. And now, to make developers workflow even more seamless I’ve published the SFignore Visual Studio Code extension.

The extension is essentially just a wrapper to the SFDX plugin, and as such installation of SFDX plugin is a pre-requisite.

Screenshot of the vscode SFignore extension in action
vscode SFignore extension

The extension exposes the “Add to forceignore” command to the command palette.

This is my first vscode extension, and I hope you find it useful. It is available in the Visual Studio Code marketplace.

SFignore: The .forceignore Salesforce SFDX Plugin

Salesforce SFDX projects are a great way to build both declaratively and through code for the Salesforce platform. It’s very common to want to ignore particular files from being pushed or pulled between Orgs and your local project, and this is achieved through .forceignore file. The file has some odd (and undocumented) syntax however, and the process is also known to have a few bugs, and getting the right entries in the file can be hard… and that’s where the SFignore SFDX plugin comes in.

The .forceignore file and the process behind it is sprinkled with black magic – Todd Halfpenny, 2020

I’ve created the SFignore plugin initially through an internal need for the work I’ve been doing with the Caddify project at MobileCaddy. A lot of this work has been around using Salesforce 2GP (second generation packaging) tools to create packages for our new product. Our workflow includes pushing, pulling, deploying to many different shape orgs and includes a fair bit of code and metadata that is used solely for non-production scenarios (test setup, demo data, org cleaning, etc) and we want to make sure that nothing accidentally gets put into our managed package releases. The .forceignore file that is used by the SFDX CLI tooling and tracking allows us to do this – or most of it at least… but it’s syntax is nuanced and is lacking in documentation.

The SFignore plugin gives me an easier way to add entries to the .forceignore file, by taking away the guessing of syntax and the need to remember the correct suffixes for the different metadata types. This is useful, as would you know (or remember) if the correct suffix for a SiteDotCom entry should be SiteDotCom, siteDotCom, or site? And what about AppMenu? Would you know whether to use appMenu, AppMenu, Menu, menu? Only one of these is right, and the syntax differs further depending on whether the change is local or remote. Oh you also need to encode (some) special characters too… if you didn’t know that then this could be why your entry for “Custom: Sales Profile.profile” isn’t working as you expected.

The initial release only supports entries for remote changes, and only a subset of metadata types that I’ve had to use so far… but the roadmap for it includes;

  • Support for local syntax
  • Wildcarding – currently only supports specific entries
  • An extension for vscode.

Here’s an example of using the plugin, where we’re wanting to add an entry to ignore pulls for the profile Custom: Sales Profile.

sfdx sfignore:add -n "Custom: Sales Profile" -m Profile

This results in the following entry being added;

Custom%3A Sales Profile.profile

The -m flag specifies the metadata type, and the valid values should match those as seen on Salesforce’s metadata coverage report and the output of a sfdx force:source:status command.

It should also be noted that something’s appear to be impossible to achieve with the .forceignore file, including;

  • Adding some tests – yeah, sorry
  • Specifying specific custom fields
  • Specifying specific custom metadata
  • Specifying specific record types

If you know how to achieve the above I’d be very happy to hear about it.

You can find the source for SFignore SFDX plugin on github, and you can download it from the npm registry too

sfdx plugins:install sfignore

If you use the plugin and need more metadata types added then please raise an issue on github, or even better fork the repo and create a PR.

sf-package-version-checker – SFDX Plugin to notify on completion of Salesforce Package Builds

If you’ve ever built Salesforce packages with the SFDX commands (in fact long before this) you’ll know that the creation of a package can take some time, especially if your package has dependencies.

At MobileCaddy we’ve been adopting the SFDX CLI as much as we can – and in fact embracing the SFDX ethos as a whole – and recently we’ve been working with the Salesforce second-generation packaging (2GP). During this I’ve found that the standard SFDX command to create a package version would continue to give me status updates every 30 seconds for 10 minutes by default, and even though I could set the overall timeout to a longer value (using the –wait flag, and specifying a number of minutes) I often forgot that the task was running and found myself forgetting to watch the terminal window. What I really wanted was something that would notify once the build had completed successfully (or erroneously).

So, during one of the package builds (~25 minutes in this case, if I remember correctly) I put together the basis for a new SFDX plugin that I could run to monitor the latest package build request, and then ping up a desktop notification when it had completed.

I was actually on the line-up for the (now postponed) CzechDreamin’ 2020, with a talk titled “Take your SFDX Plugins to the Next Level”. The talk covers many ways to interact with SFDX plugins other than via the CLI, and one of the topics included was the use of the node-notifier npm module to create native desktop notifications, and so I put this to good use.

You can very easily support basic (and more advanced) notifications with node-notifier for Mac, Linux and Windows environments; here’s some sample code (similar to that used in my plugin);

First import node-notifier (after installing it with npm/yarn)

import * as notifier from 'node-notifier'

Then to use it have code similar to this;

 'title': 'Latest Packaging Version Creation Complete',
 'subtitle': ‘Success’,
 'message': SubscriberPackageVersionId: ' + res.SubscriberPackageVersionId
 'icon': iconPath,
 'sound': true,
 'timeout': 30

This results in this type of experience;

The source code (with little over 100 lines of actual logic) can be found in the github repo, and the plugin can be installed as an SFDX CLI plugin and run with the following commands;

$ sfdx plugins:install sf-package-version-checker
$ sfdx pkgvsn:monitor

Solved: Opening a new Salesforce scratch org not working

Just a quickie… have you ever created a new Salesforce scratch org then tried to open it from the CLI with sfdx force:org:open only to be routed to Well I have, and it was really annoying me.

But I have a solution (at least it works for me), just enter the domain of your new scratch org – this is output by the CLI command -straight into your browser. On doing this I’m taken into my org in a logged in state.