Salesforce Meetup – MavensMate

As my final days at EE come around, I’m starting to make some headway in getting to understand more about the architecture and nuances of frontend development and the associated frameworks. Hand in hand with this education also comes an implicit syllabus relating to the development workflow, and in particular the tooling that’s available. I wrote about a JS tooling workshop I attended in this post and this week I attended one of the Salesforce developer meetups and there we also covered tooling, specifically David Helmer talked about MavensMate and how that can be used in Salesforce development.

Like the previous events that I’ve attended the meetup was held at the Make Positive offices and once again they were great hosts and sponsors, supplying beer and pizza, just what the doctor ordered.

Mavensmate is a plugin for several IDEs, most commonly used with sublime but there are plans to also include support for atom.io too in the near future. Essentially it gives developers an open source, apex IDE.

Primarily built and supported by Joe Ferraro it’s a cross platform tool that gives Salesforce developers a tool to match those available to developers who are using other languages such as PHP and JavaScript.

David kicked off his talk by announcing that it’ll take the form of a live demo…. there was the inevitable feeling in the room that we could be in for some good-ol squirming. What followed though was anything but, thanks it seems to the wonderful features of, not only Sublime Text, but also Mavensmate itself.

Demonstrations of many features were presented. Key ones (read those that I made a note of and can remember) were;

  • It’s open source… pull it and contribute
  • Editing and compilation of apex code (via force.com platform)
  • Resource bundle handling and uploading
  • Templating
  • Auto completion of functions and variables
  • Apex Testing – And whilst your tests are running there’s a whole host of games you can play (pacman etc), genius
  • Anonymous apex (exec) – runs ad-hoc code platform.
  • Project meta data can be pulled down viewed
  • Fetching debug logs

See the MavensMate documentation pages for more information.

I had tried previously to get MavensMate running in Sublime Text 3 on Ubuntu, but without luck… but I’ll certainly be trying again and will contact Joe if I’m still having issues.

Sadly I was unable to hang around and chat with the other Salesforcers, they’re a good bunch and it was a shame not to catch  up with them… hopefully next time.

Do-Less JS Tooling Workshop

On my journey to beefing up my Frontend development skills (primarily Javascript) I’ve also been trying to get up to speed with some of the tools that are commonly being used to improve workflows and encourage development best practices. To a relative newcomer I feel that it was all a little overwhelming… the number of package managers, development and testing frameworks and task-automation tools was (is) just quite amazing… and to be honest it left me fairly confused as which tool I should be using to do which job.

I was relieved then to see an Embracing Javascript Tooling workshop date pop up in my twitter stream… looking at the details for the event I was please by the topics covered, which included npm and bower, grunt and gulp, these were tools I’d been playing with but was still unsure as to which to use and when. The workshop was the very first one being run by Jack Franklin and Ollie Jennings under the Do-Less banner and I was pleased to give them support so thought I’d put my name down.

The one-day workshop took place in Bath at The Guild co-working space, a really beautiful building that suited our needs just fine. On arrival I was treated to a small but welcoming goody-bag which included a bottle of pop and some haribo, an ideal sugar-rush or two for whenever I need it. The workshop essentially ran through a couple of small projects and tasks, with the morning session covering them using Grunt and the afternoon re-doing them with Gulp, with both sessions making use of npm and bower. The workshop really expected at least some minimal knowledge of JS. And being comfortable with git and the command prompt was certainly useful since the pace was quite stiff, thankfully this suited me just fine. As well as this we also briefly covered Yo and Yeoman and there was ample time for questions as we went.

All-in-all I was very pleased with what I got from the workshop and wish both Jack and Ollie well with any future events they hold. And personally it certainly helped clear up a few queries I had, although I think that perhaps coming to the workshop without any experience of at least some of the tools might give attendees a very steep learning curve.

As a small take-away, it does seem that to a frontend developer, every possible issue is a nail that and be bashed with a Javascript hammer (and perhaps they’re right?).