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I was recently invited to be a technical reviewer of a book written specifically to help people study for the Salesforce.com Certified Force.com Developer exam. It’s written by Siddhesh Kabe who writes the May the Force be with you blog.

The book is called Force.com Developer Certification Handbook (DEV401) and is now available through Amazon in both paper and Kindle versions, online via Safari (read some of it online!) and also from the publisher themselves, Packt, in both dead tree and electronic formats.

Force.com Developer Certification Handbook (DEV401)

Fellow technical reviewers include Matthew Botos (he’s also a great photographer!) and Ankit Arora who write the ForceGuru blog, both of whom were recently appointed Force.com MVPs.

Here’s an overview of the book:

CHAPTER 1, Getting Started with Force.com, gives an overview of Force.com concepts and leads the reader through set-up of a free Developer Account.

CHAPTER 2, Creating a Database on Force.com, shows how to create objects and relationships within the Force.com data model.

CHAPTER 3, User Interface, explains how to create tabs, pages, page layouts and Visualforce elements. There’s a lot of knowledge crammed into this chapter, so don’t expect to understand it all at once.

CHAPTER 4, Implementing Business Logic, covers validation rules, formulas, roll-up summaries, workflow and approval processes in pretty good detail.

CHAPTER 5, Data Management, looks at inter-object relationships and the Data Loader, used for importing and exporting data.

CHAPTER 6, Analytic and Reporting, shows how to create Reports and Dashboards.

CHAPTER 7, Application Administration, explains access rights, roles, profiles and passwords.

CHAPTER 8 contains a 66-question practice exam, with solutions.

If you’re looking for good Force.com books, also see my review of Jason Ouellette’s book, which has now come out with an updated 2nd Edition.

The Bottom Line

  • It’s a new book to help with certification
  • Just reading the book isn’t enough to pass   you also need real-world hands-on experience
  • Have a brief read of it online
Tags: people

Back in 2000, I joined a dot-com darling called Ariba. Well, their success faded pretty quickly and I often wondered if I should have taken my other job offer, from Siebel (now a part of Oracle and a competitor to Salesforce.com). One measure of relative career goodness I use is the number of job ads available for a particular technology, and Siebel always had more job ads than Ariba.

So, how handy is it to have Salesforce.com experience on your resume?

Well, a quick look at Craig’s List didn’t reveal too many openings, but I did receive an email from Valerie Day who works in ‘Talent Acquisition’ for Deloitte. They have quite a few listings for Salesforce Consultants and Managers.

I asked Valerie how Salesforce Consulting differs from other types of consulting. Here’s what she had to say:

“Salesforce provides the ability to move to a more virtual model of remote consulting which saves money, improves efficiency by reducing time wasted on travel as well as improving the life expectancy of a consultant by providing a better work/life balance.

“Implementing SFDC follows a more iterative approach to consulting as opposed to longer more drawn out waterfall consulting approach which is more common with on-premise applications such as SAP, Oracle, Siebel. This leads to faster implementations, real time development and a more interactive experience for the client.

“Because of the easy to use interface, it does allow for functional folks to develop code where as with other systems this work could only be achieved by dedicated technical resources.”

    I certainly agree with that last statement. I remember the first time I met with a Salesforce sales person. They were able to answer all the technical questions themselves, which is not the norm with other technologies.

    I also agree that implementations are quicker because you can prototype solutions immediately, rather than having to build the basic technology first. Not good for earning heaps of revenue for a consulting firm, but I guess that’s their problem!

    For those people interested, Valerie can be contacted at vday@ (followed by the obvious domain name).

    The Bottom Line

    • Salesforce-skilled people are in demand out there
    • Salesforce implementations tend to be shorter than the traditional on-premise applications
    Tags: people

    CertificationIf you’re thinking of doing the Salesforce certification for Force.com, take a look at ForcePrepare. It has tutorials, FAQs and even a mock multiple-choice exam with answers and explanations.

    I asked Naveen, the author of the site, why he put it together:

    “I am a Force.com certified developer. I had cleared the exam few weeks earlier. The tutorial contents (and other material on the forceprepare site) are written by me. The tutorial contents were my study notes when preparing for the developer certification. I have developed similar tutorial sites in the past like www.preparepm.com, www.javaprepare.com and www.thecloudtutorial.com.

    “The purpose of building the site is to help people prepare for the SalesForce certifications.”

    I haven’t tried any of the exams, so I asked Naveen what he thought of his exam:

    “I found the preparation for the exam useful. It made me understand the breadth of the Force.com platform. The exam appeared to be reasonably complex. It had some situational questions. There was not a lot of material available on the web (mock exams etc.), so I was not sure what to expect in the exam. That made the exam appear difficult.”

    Well, hopefully ForcePrepare will make it easier for other people.

    Good work Naveen!

    The Bottom Line

    • Salesforce offer certifications including one for Force.com
    • The ForcePrepare site will give you good exam preparation material from somebody who has already done the exam

    During Dreamforce 2009, I had the pleasure of meeting Jason Ouellette, the Chief Architect at Appirio. Appirio is a well-known name when it comes to Force.com development, having been involved in some major Force.com projects such as Japan Post and the systems shown at the Dreamforce 2009 keynote (including Chatter stuff before it was even released!).

    Jason has recently released a book dedicated to Force.com Development. It’s called Development with the Force.com Platform: Building Business Applications in the Cloud and, aside from having the world’s longest title, is also the world’s first book on Force.com (that wasn’t written by Salesforce).



    Jason’s Force.com Book

    The book covers practically every topic relating to Force.com which is, as you probably know, an awful lot of information! As such, having only 400 pages, the book is more of an introductory tutorial than a reference book. Indeed, Jason fully admits that people will still need to refer to the standard PDFs to get detailed technical information.

    So, who is the book good for? Definitely for anyone having to code Force.com who is relatively new to Salesforce and Force.com. It mentions all the technologies available in Force.com, so is vital for people wanting to come to grips with the platform.

    If you’re a developer already using Force.com and you’ve used the Salesforce platform for 2+ years, then this book isn’t going to teach you anything new. However, it is rare that a developer has played with every feature in Force.com (eg I’ve never played with approvals, Salesforce-to-Salesforce, DML rollbacks, Visualforce JavaScript actions), so the book can even teach old dogs a trick or two.

    For further insight into the book, see my review on Amazon.com.

    Now for a real treat. While at Dreamforce, I managed to snag an interview with Jason, so here he is talking about his own book:

    Thanks for the interview, Jason!

    The Bottom Line

    • Force.com now has its first book!
    • It’s great for people new to Force.com, might not be so helpful to already-experienced Force.com developers
    • Jason Ouellette’s a really nice guy!
    November 11, 2008
    Tags: people

    Bloggers of the world unite!

    Fresh from Dreamforce, I just had the pleasure of meeting David Schach, better known for writing the X-Squared on Demand blog .


    The Enforcer (left) & David Schach (right)

    David showed me some of the stuff he has been doing with Visualforce, which made me quite jealous. Take a look at his recent blog post of his Upcoming Plans to see what’s keeping him excited. (Oh, and thanks for the link to drop.io — very nice!).

    The Bottom Line

    • The world’s a small place