August Salesforce Meetup was the best one yet!

I’ve attended a few Salesforce User Group meetups in Atlanta over the past couple of years and being a big fan of Salesforce enjoyed each one. First unlike most other local technology meetup groups they are held in the morning not the evening. Second meetings are held at different venues around Atlanta…places like Home Depot, St Joseph Hospital, and Manhattan Associates. It’s interesting to get a glimpse inside all these different organizations.  Third they normally have a sponsor who provides breakfast and most important…coffee! Last but not least and the main reason I go to these meetings is the learning experience from 2-3 speakers on a wide variety of Salesforce and Force.com subjects. Talks are typically short 15-30 minutes each with demonstrations and time for questions. I always learn something new at each meetup but this August meeting was the best so far. The very first talk was by a pre-sales consultant (sorry can’t remember his name) from Informatica who walked us through a demonstration integrating two end points…Salesforce and an on-premise Oracle database. Coincidentally I’m starting a new project where I need to connect Salesforce to an on-premise Microsoft SQL Server and so needless to say I was transfixed by what I was seeing…the perfect solution to my current biggest problem! After the meeting upon returning to my office at Georgia Tech I immediately signed up for an account at Informatica, downloaded and installed the free lite version of their small footprint “agent”  onto my local Windows 2003 server where my SQL Server database is running. And by the end of that day I was syncing my Salesforce org with my local SQL Server…whoohoooo! Now that’s what I call getting value from a user group meetup!

Two 0ther presentations at the meetup covered exception reporting by James Martucci an instructor at Salesforce, and the Salesforce partner portal  by Venkat Polisetti, Senior Applications Developer at Fiserv Bank Intelligence Solutions. Both presentations contained useful information that I should be able to apply at work over the next few weeks.

Props to Venkat Polisetti who runs these meetings and always does a great job lining up speakers, coordinating with event sponsors,  and communicating the specifics out to group members.

 

 

 

Learning to build apps in the Cloud with Force.com

Just got home after a great week attending a Salesforce class, Building Applications Using Force.com and Visualforce. The class was held at MicroTek training center located at 230 Monroe street downtown Chicago. This is first of two main dev classes for Force.com covering mostly the declarative aspects of Force as well as Visualforce pages. By declarative I mean “point and click.” While Force.com contains a full blown object oriented programming language, APEX, and follows the MVC (model, view, controller) software architecture…this class didn’t cover programming…although we did get a good introduction to Visualforce pages.  Visualforce pages are a combination of html, javascript, and APEX tags that enable  the creation of custom pages (views) that utilize standard Force.com controllers. What we didn’t cover in this class was creating custom controllers with the APEX language.

For learning to develop custom controllers using APEX Salesforce offers another 5 day class,  Dev-501 – Apex and Visualforce Controllers…which hopefully I’ll get to experience sooner rather than later.

So now I’ve got a week of in depth training…a Salesforce account with 10 seats…a couple of big projects on the horizon at work where I can apply my newly learned Force.com skills…which makes me all set for an interesting Fall I think.

I stayed at the Hampton Magestic 22 West Monroe…a short walk from where my class was held at Microtek. (see photos below).  This was an outstanding place to stay…conveniently located in the middle of the Theater and Financial districts and only a couple of blocks away from Grant Park and the lake. Clean, reasonably priced…great breakfasts every morning too! I’m staying here every time I’m in Chicago from now on!

Every day after class I went for a run along the shore of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River (see pics below). Even though it’s August the temp each day was pleasant with a cool breeze blowing in from the lake…pure heaven coming from Hotlanta…especially this Summer one of the hottest on record.  And I wasn’t alone there were hundreds of other runners, walkers, and bikers on the same paths with me…very cool!

I tried to sample some traditional Chicago food…a slice of pizza and a hot dog…other than these two “samples” I went with fish and chips every evening. It wasn’t the healthiest week of my diet this year that’s for sure but I survived!

One observation about Chicago I have to mention…NO SMOKING inside any building…not a bar or pub or anywhere! And no smoking within 15 feet of any entrance either so you weren’t forced to hold your breath as you entered buildings. What a great idea! Who knows maybe Atlanta will get up to speed on eliminating this health risk one of these days too! But I doubt it.

Last but not least (well maybe so 🙂 I gained two Foursquare mayor ships in Chicago…Microtek and a small French restaurant along the Chicago river running path. It was a good week!

 

The "Bean" in Millenium Park was very cool!
The CTA blue line took me from O'Hare almost to my hotel door for only $2.25!!!

The Hampton Magestic was a great place to stay...highly recommend!

Street scene from the Microtek building at 230 Monroe Street
Fish and chips from Millers pub was absolutely yummy
The water fountains at millenium park were something different for sure!
Running path along the Chicago River
Cyrano's on the river along the running trail...I became mayor of this place! 🙂
Scene along the Chicago river running trail
Running path along Lake Michigan...cool breeze even in August.
Another scene along the Chicago River running path
Fantastic hot dog (Chicago Red Hot) at Halsted Street Deli
The "Bean" at millenium park
Everyone takes their pic in front of the Bean!

 

 

Is Social Media The New Web?

Walking into Whole Foods on Ponce de Leon the other day and saw this sign at the entrance. It reminded me how most of the 2011 Superbowl commercials listed only their Facebook page at the end of the commercial. Makes me wonder if social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are becoming the new web? An added point…while driving past Lenox Square Mall every day to work I notice the main sign out front lists their Facebook page and Twitter handle…not a website URL anywhere to be seen.