Gearset’s DevOps Dreamin’ Chicago 2022 was a brand-new opportunity for the Salesforce DevOps community to connect and share expertise at a designated conference. It was also the first in-person event I’ve had a chance to attend in two years. Across two days full of interactive sessions, workshops, and hands-on training, I had the chance to meet members of my Chicago Ohana Salesforce group and connect with new people with similar passions, challenges, and solutions to share.
Although DevOps is a relatively niche sect of the Salesforce ecosystem, over 200 attendees, diversely represented across declarative admins, coders, BAs, and consultants, comprised the event from all manner of organization sizes and industries. Compared to traditional software development, Salesforce DevOps is still in its infancy. This reflects my own journey, and many also in attendance at the event, as my experience with DevOps has slowly matured alongside the emerging technology. Event planners took this fact to heart in building a conference agenda that was a nice combination of roadmap previewing and a range of how-to, hands-on, and both technical and non-technical content.
DevOps Sessions + Speakers
In all, there were over 30 overlapping sessions, plus breakout rooms, allowing inquisitive minds to pick the brains of developers, configurators, architects, and anyone responsible for building on Salesforce. Featured speakers included Salesforce Ben, Karen Fidelak (Senior Director of Product, Salesforce), Christie Fidura (Director, Global Developer Marketing, Salesforce), Tom Leddy (architect Evangelist, Salesforce), and Charlie Isaacs (VP, CTO for Customer Connection, Salesforce).
I had the privilege of attending several of the sessions led by the Gearset team. Session topics ranged from high-level process breakdown and product features to hands-on pipeline setups and experiential community experiences. All of the sessions were educational, practical, and left me with a head full of new ideas to consider and apply once back in the (virtual) office. “Supercharging DevOps; 3 Key Considerations” was one of many conference highlights diving deep into optimizing team collaboration during the building and deployment of Salesforce apps.
After a packed morning absorbing new knowledge and listening to product experts, Eric Dreshfield’s and Melissa Hill Dees’s sessions provided a casual respite. Eric’s session allowed participants to sit back and listen to him walk us through the progression of his Salesforce career and share his best tips on thriving within the ecosystem during his “How Your Personal Brand Can Drive Your Career” presentation. Melissa Hill Dees and Sandi Zellner’s conversational session, “Have You Considered the Consequences?”, saw audience members partnering up to conduct a team-building exercise built to skill up on development concepts in a fun, engaging manner.
Perhaps my favorite moment from the DevOps sessions came during the “CI/CD Pipelines Workshop” with Piotr Zuralski. The session was so engaging and informative that, as soon as the session ended, I logged into my laptop and set up CI jobs in my project to get practice setting up my own pipelines. One particularly noteworthy, and chuckle-inducing, moment occurred (on April 1, fittingly) during Karen Fidelak’s presentation featuring a slide showcasing survey results stating, “Everybody LOVES Change Sets.”
3 Key Takeaways from DevOps Dreamin’
1. Camaraderie is one of the best learning opportunities
As mentioned previously, DevOps Dreamin’ represented a wonderful opportunity for those in the Salesforce ecosystem to ramp up in knowledge as DevOps itself is ramping up on the platform. Most everyone in attendance arrived with the same knowledge base and eager attitude to learn together as these tools mature. The glimpse of what attendees saw on display at the two-day event helped to energize all focused on building on Salesforce and iterating their internal processes.
A palpable sense of camaraderie and companionship was quickly formed over the course of just two days. Some of the best conversations I was a part of took place at booths in the time between sessions. These moments provided people like me with a chance to have more intimate one-on-ones with companies like Provar, for example, who provided me with a great personal demo.
2. Expect to see more GitHub
Git, and GitHub more specifically, was a major player at the event as well. For example, Karen Fidelak mentioned that GitHub will be the first to integrate with Salesforce’s upcoming DevOps Center. This integration is expected to launch sometime in Fall 2022. For those in the development space, this should come as no surprise. However, for those just now getting into it all, this integration points to what direction to take when there are several Git options for newfound admins and developers to utilize. One session, in particular, Blanca Leon-Carter’s and EJ Sherman’s “Git for Admins,” helped illustrate how, why, where, and when to use Git with currently available tools (like Gearset), and gets us ready for the new DevOps center.
3. If you can dream it, Gearset can build it
I came away from Gearset’s DevOps Dreamin’ Chicago 2022 eager to put into practice the many exciting announcements, demonstrations, and methodologies put on display. So much of Gearset’s event was centered on the vast potential upcoming releases, tools, and updates that will present to the broader Salesforce ecosystem. This is a key takeaway I’ll continue to utilize long after the event’s conclusion.
As soon as pipelines comes out of beta, I’ll take what I’ve set up with CI jobs and implement a full pipeline. I’m currently setting up an internal pilot to utilize Git as the main focus of a new deployment strategy I’ve devised. One of the phrases repeated by the Gearset team over the course of the event was to “avoid the Big Bang,” a key bit of advice for all within the Salesforce ecosystem to iterate through mindfulness, not chaos.
For an additional recap of DevOps Dreamin’ 2022, visit Gearset’s post-event wrap-up blog.
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