Finally Passed the Advanced Developer Multiple Choice Exam!!!

This is no April’s Fool joke. Yesterday, I finally passed the Salesforce Advanced Developer Multiple choice exam!!! It was my second attempt. The first attempt was 6 months ago, but I now know that I was not ready then, so it was a good thing that I did not pass.

Back then, I barely knew the material. I thought I knew it because I had memorized it, but that did not mean that I “understood it”. I am now happy to say that I “know” this stuff. I know it like I know the back of my hand. And, that is a VERY good thing, because I now wait to complete the next stage of the process…the dreaded programming assignment.

Unfortunately, I have to wait until the next limited registration period (which is not until June 2). But, I am confident that the skills I have acquired so far will not atrophy before then. If anything, they will just continue to improve.

So, how did I learn this stuff like the back of my hand? I did it by following EVERY suggestion on Forceprepare. I basically did all of the following:

  • Obviously, I memorized all the notes I have posted on this site (but that was just the beginning and was not enough by itself to pass)
  • I watched the entire re-broadcast of the 501 Dev Class (which I posted about here). I took additional notes from that and posted them to this site (still not enough to pass). UPDATE, sorry to say but Salesforce has since removed the re-broadcast links from the 501 class.
  • I watched all of the 8 training videos on Pluralsight (which I posted about here)
  • I watched at least a dozen or more videos from Dreamforce.
  • I read countless blog articles from experts like Jeff Douglas, Matt Lacey, Bob Buzzard, etc
  • I worked through all the code in Bob Buzzards latest book, The Visualforce Development Cookbook (which I reviewed here).
  • I worked through ALL the Workbooks on DeveloperForce (they have been updated recently and they are REALLY GOOD).
  • I read through the entire Developers Guide (and YES, I know it is LONG).
  • The MOST important thing: I played with all the code on my Developer org (which is now packed with best practice code examples).

When I took the test yesterday, it was so easy to me. I could see through all the tricks they had put in. It seemed really obvious to me (which I think will make the programming assignment phase a breeze). Bring it on, I say. I just wish I could do it sooner.

Book Review: Visualforce Development Cookbook

Not a book for beginners, but GREAT for seasoned Apex developers

I recently had the honor of reviewing the recently published, Visualforce Development Cookbook. The code recipes are great and could really go far in demonstrating the potential of the platform. It is obvious that the author, Keir Bowden has implemented many, if not all of these recipes in real-world scenarios. However, I think this is a dangerous book for developers new to the Force.com platform. In fact, I would not recommend it to anyone who has not worked with the platform for at least one year.

While step by step instructions are provided, along with occasional notes about real-world considerations that should be made, the author does not go into detail about these considerations. For example, on page 36, the author advises readers to use a Utility class to handle creating the data, but does not go into how to actually do this.

Also, the author only provides test code for one of the recipes in the first chapter and then never mentions testing again. Anyone that has worked with the platform for a while knows that writing test code can sometimes take longer and be more difficult than writing the actual code. I could see someone new to the platform using this book to create many changes in their development org and get everyone excited about using the stuff and then never be able to get all the required unit test code together in order to deploy.

The sample code that was provided was easy to download and well organized. It was also formatted properly so that you could cut and paste it straight into your development org. Very little sample code is included in the actual book, which I think helps to ensure that the book stays up to date. As long as the publisher and author continue to update the sample code with each new Salesforce release, the code should stay viable as the platform inevitably changes.

I REALLY liked the chapters on JavaScript, Force.com Sites and Mobile Development and cannot wait to try out some of the recipes included for my clients. My favorite part of the whole book was the fact that the author utilized the Google Hosted Libraries Content Delivery Network rather than static resources for the jQuery code. This was a very smart move and helps to ensure that the code stays viable in the future and also makes use of the latest industry standards.

Some of my favorite Javascript recipes included the tooltips (which featured a slick slidedown effect), the collapsible list elements and the scrolling news ticker. This chapter really demonstrated to me the power of Visualforce and how you can use it to make some powerful and dynamic pages that are unique to your brand.

I really appreciated the final chapter on jQuery Mobile. In fact, if you read only one chapter in this book, read this one. As the author explains, the book is about Visualforce and not mobile development, so it focuses on using HTML5 and the jQuery Mobile Framework to provide the interface code. My favorite recipe in this chapter was the one on navigation and transitions. The author includes transition examples that pop, flip, turn, flow and slide the user from one page to the next. Sweet!!! I will warn you that the code did not display well on my iPhone, but I plan on looking into this further and if I find out the reason why, I will do a separate post about this.

I did find a few inevitable errors in the book as I worked through the code recipes, but the errors were minor and I got past most of them easily. I will report the ones I found to the publisher as errata.

In short, this is an invaluable resource for seasoned Force.com developers, but should be approached with caution for newbies. Force.com is a powerful platform. Much more powerful than most people give it credit for. While this book does include recipes that clearly demonstrate that power, I think experience is needed to help the reader apply the knowledge from this book in the best way possible.