Ruby on Rails and Salesforce

How you can integrate Ruby on Rails and Salesforce? This question and more will be resolved in this article. Let’s start! Ruby on Rails (Rails) is an open-source web application framework, written in the Ruby programming language, that is used in many big-name applications, like GitHub, Airbnb, Hulu, Zendesk, and more. And as with all open-source projects, you can always contribute code. 

The Rails Doctrine

Rails has some interesting pillars that every developer should know: 

  1. Optimized for programmer happiness – “Ruby is designed to make programming not only easy but also fun” (Yukihiro Matsumoto)
  2. Convention over Configuration – The environment in which you work assumes many logical situations by default, so if you adapt to them rather than creating your own rules each time, programming becomes an easier and more productive task
  3. Rails is ‘omakase’ – Omakase is when you don’t know what to order in a restaurant and let the chef choose. In Ruby, this is the practice of letting others assemble your stack for you.

Check out the official site of Ruby on Rails and go deep into Ruby.

Integrating Ruby on Rails (Rails) with Salesforce

Salesforce, as the leading CRM, is constantly working to innovate, making it a great platform to integrate your applications with. Rails, like many other platforms, is frontend agnostic, giving you the flexibility to choose the tools and technologies that make the most sense for your project. Salesforce brings a robust set of APIs into the mix, letting you make use of the data and logic in Salesforce within your Ruby application. 

Pick the Right API(s)

This is the one area where you’ll need to make some choices, depending on what you need your application to do with Salesforce. Knowing which APIs you need will help guide which gems to install.

  • SOAP API – Create, retrieve, update or delete records, such as accounts, leads, and custom objects. Allows you to maintain passwords, perform searches, and much more. Optimized for real-time client applications that update a few records at a time. Indeed you can use it for processing many records, but when the data sets contain hundreds of thousands of records, SOAP API is less practical. Process data from a few thousand to millions of records very simple with the Bulk API.
  • REST API – Powerful, convenient, and simple REST-based web services interface for interacting with Salesforce. Based on the same underlying data model and standards objects as the SOAP API. (Other REST APIs that may be of interest: User Interface API, Connect REST API.)
  • Bulk API – This is based on REST principles and is optimized for loading or deleting large sets of data. You can use it to query, queryAll, insert, update, upsert, or delete many records asynchronously by submitting batches. Salesforce processes batches in the background. Also, another benefit of the Bulk API is that it has higher record limits.

Get Authenticated

Salesforce leverages OAuth 2.0 for authentication. There’s no need to code any of this from scratch, just leverage the Ruby gems (ruby software packages) restforce and omniauth-salesforce. Check out connectSFDC for a rails project with omniauth-salesforce installed and ready to interact with a Salesforce Connected app.

Integrate Your Application

If your application needs real-time access and is only updating a few records at a time, you can make use of the Restforce gem to access the REST API.

  1. Add ‘restforce’ or install manually with ‘gem install restforce’)
  2. Instantiate your client object and authenticate using OAuth.
    ‘Client = Restforce.new’
  3. Query away. (See the official Restforce documentation for all your options.)

For the SOAP API, use Soapforce

  1. Add ‘soapforce’ to your Gemfile or install manually with ‘gem install soapforce’.
  2. Instantiate your client object and authenticate using OAuth.
    ‘client = Soapforce::Client.new’
  3. Query as needed. (See the Soapforce Github page for options.)
  4. Log out.
    ‘client.logout’

For the Bulk API, use SalesforceBulkAPI

  1. Add ‘salesforce_bulk_api’ to your Gemfile or install manually with ‘gem install salesforce_bulk_api’
  2. Authenticate using restforce with OAuth.
    ‘client = Restforce.new(…’
  3. Instantiate using the Restforce client.
    ‘salesforce = SalesforceBulkApi::Api.new(client)’
  4. Query as needed. (See the SalesforceBulkAPI page for options.)

Much of the groundwork has been done for you with these gems. The robust Salesforce APIs make it easier to bring the functionality and data into your Rails app. (Not into Ruby? You could always check out our article on Python with Salesforce.) 

Let us know how you’re approaching your Ruby on Rails and Salesforce projects.

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Salesforce Classic vs Lightning: More than a pretty interface

When we first published “Lightning Experience vs. Salesforce Classic: Is the Lightning Experience Revolutionizing Salesforce?”. Over two years ago there were many features missing from the Salesforce Lightning Experience. Making the conversation about the UI and what was missing. Certainly, over the last two years, Salesforce has significantly closed those gaps. Now, only discussing the Lightning UI misses many of the benefits it has introduced. 

User Experience

Often the most controversial part of any redesign, the user experience in Lightning is significantly different than Classic. It’s common for users of a product to resist changes to their experience. Lightning brings benefits for those that do. Whether your users are selling, helping, collaborating, or marketing, there are improvements to help them get their work done faster. Salesforce worked to simplify the user experience and create more efficient navigation. That allows you to not only change records quickly but change applications.

Significant work has gone into refreshing record layouts, dashboards, and report views. When Lightning was first introduced, admins and users were finding themselves having to switch back to Classic for specific tasks. Now that happens far less often. With the Lightning App Builder, it’s easy for admins to create new custom page layouts. The benefits aren’t limited to administrators. Here are a few areas the experience has improved.

 Salesforce Lightning Experience

  • Home 

Salesforce has transformed the way you start your day by adding an intelligent Home page. Sales reps can monitor their performance to goal and get insights on their key accounts, with an assistant providing the complete list of things to do. Admins can use the Lightning App Builder to create custom Home pages.

  • Opportunity Workspace

The new design allows you to help your sales reps work their deals faster. Lightning enables you to showcase key record details in the new highlights panel at the top of the page. Also, get key coaching details with a customizable Path to support your sales process. And, see a wealth of related information on hover using a quick view.

  • Accounts and Contacts

Lightning has optimized the layout for accounts and contacts, organizing the content by their primary use case: reference. Your sales team can locate important data efficiently, get the latest news for your customers, work smarter, keeping the data clean with field-level duplicate matching, among other functions.

  • Reports and Dashboards

Now users can create their filters while viewing a report. Also, if you already have reports from Salesforce Classic, the transition is very easy, because the reports are automatically viewable in the new interface.

Architecture 

Meanwhile, when someone says Lightning, it’s common for people to think just about the new user experience. Wrong, Lightning brings even more. Lightning as a platform has improved the experience for users, administrators, and developers. With new frameworks, Salesforce has made it significantly easier to create new pages and applications and made data access easier to manage. 

The new Lightning architecture takes advantage of modern web stacks that are now more standards-based, with Lightning Web Components providing a layer of specialized Salesforce services. You no longer need a proprietary component model, proprietary language extensions, proprietary modules, etc. For example, there are many significant benefits such as:

  • Common component model
  • Common programming model
  • Transferable skills and easier-to-find / easier-to-ramp-up developers
  • Interoperable components
  • Better performance because core features are implemented natively in web engines instead of in JavaScript in framework abstractions

Development 

Developing in Lightning requires a mind shift, but opens doors. Salesforce Classic was built around a page-centric model, while Lightning is based on an app-centric one. Basically, now that Classic Visualforce is only one (older) option, it’s possible to build web applications that are mobile-ready and run natively in browsers, even faster. Furthermore, the new lightning component architecture gives you two programming models: the Lightning Web Components model and the original Aura Components model. 

in addition, if you are currently developing Lightning components with the Aura programming model, you can continue to do so. Both can coexist and interoperate. But, in the future, we recommend you consider migrating your Aura Components to Lightning Web Components. Start with the components that would benefit the most from the performance benefits of Lightning Web Components.

“Lightning offers us the opportunity to use Lightning Web Components, these allow us to perform faster tasks with custom components, which can be used in different pages with just a drag and drop. It has great compatibility with different browsers which allows us to work without problems on desktop and mobile devices.”

Alexis M, Developer

“With Lightning Web Components I have been capable to develop reactivity, responsive and scalable solutions, thanks to its state-of-the-art web architecture that integrates features like Lightning Design System and MCCV model, leading to smoother development and a more comfortable user experience.”

Christian R, Developer

Check out one of our latest workshops. Mateo H, developer, shares one of the latest components our team has been working on:

If you want to discover more about Salesforce Lightning, we recommend you check out this module on Trailhead. That is to say, if you want to go deep into the main differences check out the Salesforce help page: Compare Lightning Experience and Salesforce Classic

Our team has also worked with different organizations and their projects. We are Salesforce platform experts and we offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.

Innovation, an important tool for boosting business

The concept of innovation gained popularity in the business world in recent years. If you’re a business person or an entrepreneur who regularly follows talks, events, workshops, or internet content for getting some inspiration; you may be inspired by this idea. But what does innovation mean? Well, Michelle Greenwald, a Forbes contributor, mentioned that “Innovation is one of the most bandied about terms in global business today, but exactly what it means can be nebulous.”

We agree. Innovation is about approaching things in a different way. However, since disruption is part of this concept, every company or human can incorporate innovation into their real environment. Does it make things more difficult? Taking an innovative approach may be challenging initially, but it can be an advantage for growing your business.   

We also innovate the Oktana way. We like doing things differently. We apply innovation for our customers (such as the offline app we built for an energy company) and we innovate every time we release a new version of Tok. Coming up with new strategies, writing code, and taking actions are part of our daily work and they’re integrated into every single level of our company. Here are some strategies to boost your innovation.

1. It’s not about perfection

If you are looking for perfection, we’re sorry to say this approach may not be right for you. At Oktana, we prefer taking the path less traveled so we can get different results and solutions. We understand that sometimes it’s about the minimum viable product, or as some call it, the “minimum lovable product”. In these situations, we know it’s about delivering the best product possible within the project’s constraints, not delivering perfection. Even when we deliver an amazing product and our customers are satisfied, we know there is always a different way it could have been approached. The next step is about exploring those possibilities. That’s why we are constantly working on new lightning web components, new versions of our digital products, and hunting for new and challenging projects. If you want to innovate, don’t aim for perfection. Aim for disruption.

2. Face your assumptions

Do you remember René Descartes? Yes, that French philosopher who has influenced the world since the sixteenth century and who has placed doubts in the middle of his thinking. We are not asking you to doubt everything, but we do recommend you determine if all of your assumptions are still useful. Why? We all have ideas that we take for granted. Ideas are so entrenched in our minds that they tend to shape the way we approach things, and that’s not always a good practice. (Remember when remote work was not a “good idea” for many companies, then a pandemic showed us what was possible?). Take the time to question your assumptions. Compare them to the current situation. If you feel they really don’t make sense then it’s time to innovate! 

3. Innovation is for doers.

Creativity is an important stage of innovation, but what happens if we don’t stop thinking? All of our great ideas stay in our minds and never come to life. That’s why innovation is for doers, for people who dare to take action after a planning process. If you are having trouble bringing your ideas to life, don’t worry. It happens to everyone and we believe it’s part of the innovation process. What do we recommend? Write your ideas on paper, share them with your teammates, and ask for feedback. All of these actions are small steps but your ideas are now living outside of your mind. After this first step, congratulate yourself and start planning. Your idea will grow until you have a great product in your hands.

4. Mistakes are part of innovation

What would the world be like without mistakes? Failures are probably one of the best teachers humans may have. If you fail in your attempt at creating a new product, then you have another opportunity to do it. More importantly, you now have a better understanding of what you are doing. Don’t get us wrong. Mistakes on their own don’t deliver value, it’s your attitude that really matters and how you use your personal experience to enhance your solutions. Noah, one of our engineers in the US, shares a very interesting perspective: 


“For me, innovation means changing the norm for the better. A change is not automatically positive or negative. If a change is made but the overall outcome is negative, that’s fine because the change does not have to be permanent. You can roll-back the changes until you find something that works well. Innovation is trial and error a lot of the time. Because of that, innovation does not always mean improvement. But innovation paves the path for improvement.”

Noah B. Engineer at Oktana US

As Salesforce partners, we learn a lot from our customers and the projects we deliver. These recommendations are just a part of it. We encourage you to share them with your team so you can all have the same mindset. Also, if you want to innovate the Salesforce way, here are a couple of trails that might be worth reading: Innovate the Salesforce way and Innovation Customer Discovery. Now, sharpen your mind and use innovation in every level of your projects.

Innovation Tok
Innovation Tok - Oktana Team

Learn more about Salesforce Administrator Certification Exam

This Salesforce Administrator Certification will help you have a better understanding of Salesforce CRM fundamentals. Also, demonstrate your expertise and abilities in the platform. You should be able to maintain a Salesforce org. Respond to frequent business requirements and inquiries, and last but not least, execute Salesforce administrative tasks. You will have knowledge of the features available for end-users as well as the configuration options available. Learn more about the Admin role and the skills they need to succeed. Start completing this 10 minutes module on Trailhead.

Kevin, who has recently joined Oktana, became interested in Salesforce before joining our team. He had heard of Salesforce on another job, but he never really understood what Salesforce was. Time passed and he decided to finally study and get his first certification. Now he has completed this certification and believes that it is a great start for a Salesforce career path. Even though this is not a certification that requires development. It motivates you towards achieving even more certifications, such as Dev I. 

About the exam:

The Salesforce Administrator Certification consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. And 5 additional non-scored questions to be answered in a 105 minutes exam. The passing score is 65% and the registration fee is USD 200, according to the laws of your country, extra applicable taxes may be required. 

Certainly, there are no official prerequisites for this certification. However, it is highly recommended to complete the Salesforce Trailhead Trailmix Prepare for Your Salesforce Administrator Credential before scheduling the exam. In this trail, you will find almost everything you need to know to pass the exam and ensure you’re an expert in the area. Additionally, we encourage you to complete the Study for the Administrator Certification Exam Trailmix to review your knowledge and learn more about the exam itself.

Also these Trailhead Superbadges can also be used before the exam to help prepare:

Exam structure:

The exam is structured around 12 main features and functions: 

  • Organizational Setup – 3%
    • Salesforce Platform Basics
    • User Authentication
    • Preparing the Salesforce org for users

  • User Setup – Weighting 7%
    • User management
    • Customization of an org to support new business units

  • Security and Access – 13%
    • Data Security
    • Identity Basics

  • Standard and Custom Objects – 14%
    • Data modeling
    • Lightning Experience Customization
    • Customization of Salesforce Objects

  • Sales and Marketing Applications – 14%
    • Accounts and Contacts for Lighting experience
    • Lead and Opportunities for Lightning experience
    • Products, Quotes, and Contracts
    • Campaign basics
    • Customization of a Salesforce path for a team

  • Service and Support Applications – 13%
    • Service Cloud for Lightning experience
    • Cloud Efficiency
    • Knowledge Basics for Lightning experience 
    • Build a community with Knowledge and chat

  • Activity Management and Collaboration – 3%

  • Data Management – 10%
    • Data Management 
    • Import and export with Data Management tools 

  • Analytics—Reports and Dashboards – 10%
    • Reports and Dashboards for Lightning Experience 

  • Workflow/Process Automation – 8%
    • Lightning Flow

  • Desktop and Mobile Administration – 3%
    • Lightning App builder 

  • AppExchange – 2%
    • Appexchange basics 

Final recommendations

Kevin shared that the hardest topics for him were Service and Support. Why? Because he did not have background expertise in the area. He also suggested paying extra attention to the reports-related modules because there is a wide variety of topics and can easily confuse you. He recommended not underestimating this certification. Also, take extra time to review all features and functions before taking the exam to ensure that you have the knowledge you need to pass. 

Even though the Salesforce Administrator Certification is in the career path of Quality Assurance and Devs, most usually start with the Dev I Certification. Kevin, on the other hand, recommends taking this certification first to get a solid foundation in Salesforce. It will help you take future certifications.

At Oktana, after new employees complete their one-month onboarding process they are ready to sit for this exam. We provide all the resources mentioned above as well as exam mockups and additional tips to ensure success. 

We are now hiring! Check out our open positions here

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Five tips to make feedback your ally at work

Feedback is something people are often afraid of because it tends to only expose weak points that may make you feel intimidated and vulnerable. However, that’s a very old-fashioned point of view. Effective feedback is not only about providing a list of things that are wrong. Constructive and empathetic feedback brings new perspectives and a positive intent to highlight proven skills.  “What Good Feedback Really Looks Like” on the Harvard Business Review says: 

“Feedback — both positive and negative — is essential to helping managers enhance their best qualities and address their worst so they can excel at leading.”

Craig Chappelow and Cindy McCauley

We consider feedback to be a huge source of knowledge and an opportunity to improve. If you are having trouble giving or receiving feedback, here are 5 valuable recommendations we apply at Oktana

1. Consider feedback at every stage. 

Whether you are a senior manager or just beginning your career, requesting feedback should be always part of your planning. Why? Sometimes you are so in love with your projects that you tend to believe everything is going well. So you keep working with that perspective and when you finally realize something is wrong it’s usually too late or too expensive to fix it. You can be sure you are moving in the right direction by asking your teammates, boss, or partner for their perspectives on your progress. We do it all the time and trust us, the results are great. Plus, it creates a sense of ownership for the whole team. 

“Feedback is so important when we execute every single task. It measures the quality of your work. Besides, it helps me identify possible mistakes and improvements that will enhance our project.”

Zayli RodrÍguez, QA Analyst at Oktana Uruguay

2. Distinguish what is worth your attention 

Ok, let’s say you are following our previous recommendation and you are considering feedback as your projects progress. You are excited because your co-workers are giving you cool new inputs. Congratulations. That’s awesome! But what happens when you start noticing that some of the feedback you’re getting contradicts other feedback you’ve received? We know, it’s challenging. Everyone is bringing their own perspective to it and they aren’t always going to agree. You know yourself and your projects. That means you have the job of figuring out which feedback is the most relevant. Just make sure you’re not letting your bias guide which feedback you’re listening to.

3. Be truly positive

We love it when people are positive and enthusiastic, but if you lose your sense of reality it may not be easy to deliver value. When you are required to provide feedback for a project or a teammate, you have a huge chance in your hands to help them perform better. Don’t miss that opportunity by hiding your real thoughts because you’re afraid of a misunderstanding or you’re just trying to be polite. This is what constructive feedback is all about. Find the best way to convey your ideas in a way your partner truly feels that you actually want to improve things. Use your voice, regulate your tone, and use any resource you have so you help others focus on the solution, not the weakness. 

4. Actively listen to every client.

And by the client, we are not exclusively talking about your customers. We are also talking about internal co-workers. When you create a solution, you think about your final users, don’t you? So whatever you are doing, you make sure it makes sense for them. But you also collaborate with other teams within the company. Wouldn’t it be efficient to have a good idea of what they think of your project and your performance? Indeed, it is!  At Oktana, we use Tok, the leading Chatter real-time messaging app, for staying always connected. We use channels to collaborate but when we need to get feedback, we know private conversations are the best place to do it. Activate every approach you have to get the feedback you need. Bruno Venturini, tells us how Tok helps him collaborate: 

“Tok allows us to communicate in an intuitive way with your team or co-workers. Besides, it’s also relevant for sharing ideas between developers and QAs to make our projects improve”

Bruno Venturini, Developer at Oktana Uruguay

5. Encourage others to give feedback

Create the conditions for an environment where feedback becomes one of the engines that drives excellence. Most visionary companies, either multinationals or startups, track feedback consistently. If you are part of one, get onboard and treasure that asset. If you feel your company doesn’t understand the value of constructive feedback, teach by example. Create simple spaces where people feel their opinion is taken into account. It doesn’t have to be sophisticated. Chats or phone calls also work. As soon as your co-workers notice you are performing better, they will want to copy your strategy and it will be easier for you to give/request feedback. 

So, these are our recommendations for any employee to make feedback their ally. We live it every day at Oktana, even more during the new environment this pandemic has brought (we have previously written an article about Communication and Remote Work that you may also want to read). Apply them in your daily routine and you will notice the difference in your performance. Also, If you want to see Salesforce’s approach, we encourage you to read the modules about the Culture of feedback and the importance of One-on-one Meetings. Have a good one! 

Feedback
Feedback

Get started with Salesforce Platform Developer I Certification

The Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I is probably one of the most important and complete certifications that Salesforce offers. Additionally, it is a prerequisite for many other certifications such as Dev II and it is the first step to becoming a System Architect. At Oktana we encourage our developers to achieve this certification in order to empower their Salesforce careers. It is an excellent asset to demonstrate to their peers and customers that they have the required skills to provide a successful project.

If you have already taken this certification, we recommend you to read our Salesforce Developer II Certification article.

For the purpose of this article, we have interviewed Bruno and Stefania, two new Oktana employees who completed this certification before starting to work with us. We’ll take a look at the certification description, prerequisites, and the exam itself.

Certification Audience Description:

Salesforce claims that this certification targets people who have “experience developing and deploying basic business logic and user interfaces using the programmatic capabilities of the Lightning Platform”.  Bruno and Stefania agree and extend the target audience of this report to “anyone willing to undertake a developer path in Salesforce”. 

Prerequisites: 

There are no official prerequisites for this certification. Salesforce claims that generally, people who undertake this certification have at least 2 years of experience as a developer and 6 months of experience on the Salesforce Lightning Platform. Our developers, on the other hand, believe that you can start preparing for this certification after only 4 weeks of experience with the Salesforce platform. 

About the exam:

The Salesforce Certified Platform Developer I exam has the following characteristics:  

Content: 60 multiple-choice questions + 5 non qualified 

Time: 110 minutes  

Pass mark: 65%  

Exams can either be taken online or onsite at a testing center.

No hard-copy or online materials may be referenced during the exam.  

Exam Outline:

The exam is structured around 6 main topics. These are: 

  1. Salesforce Fundamentals – Weighting 7%
  • Describe the tools and technologies that power development on the Salesforce platform.
  • Demonstrate expertise in working with Apex and Aura components.

 

  1. Data Modeling and Management – Weighting 13%
  • Give your data structure with objects, fields, and relationships.
  • Demonstrate expertise on how to import and export data in Salesforce.
  • Customize without writing code by using point-and-click logic

 

  1. Logic and Process Automation – Weighting 38%
  • Automate processes for every app, experience, and portal with declarative tools.
  • Use Apex to manipulate data 
  • Write Apex triggers to perform custom actions
  • Show expertise in search solutions

 

  1. User Interface – Weighting 25%
  • Use Visualforce to build custom user interfaces for mobile and web apps.
  • Build reusable, performant components that follow modern web standards using Salesforce Lightning Web Components

 

  1. Testing, debugging and deployment – Weighting 17%
  • Write robust code by executing Apex unit tests.
  • Describe the testing framework and requirements for deployment.  
  • Describe how to monitor and access various types of debug logs.  
  • Demonstrate expertise in capabilities and security implications 

 

Bruno and Stefania agreed that the most interesting thing about this certification was learning how to break with the “developer paradigm” of wanting to make all changes using lines of code. This certification teaches you how to customize your platform by using the tools provided by Salesforce. This allows you to work more efficiently and effectively!

Preparing for the exam:

 

It is highly recommended to complete the Salesforce Trailhead Trailmix “Prepare for Your Salesforce Platform Developer I Credential” before scheduling the exam. In there you will find almost everything you need to know to pass the exam and ensure you’re an expert in the area. Additionally, we encourage you to complete this Study for the Platform Developer I Exam Trail to review your knowledge and learn more about the exam itself. You can also choose to take a Trailhead Virtual Bootcamp for Platform Developer I certification. The 30-day course will teach you everything you need to know and includes a $200 USD voucher to sit for the exam. The price for the course starts at $450 USD and you can register by clicking here. Bruno recommends finishing all Trails related to this certification before starting to practice on Focus on Force, which provides study guides and practice exams.

At Oktana, after new employees complete their one-month onboarding process they are ready to sit for this exam. We provide all the resources mentioned above as well as exam mockups and additional tips to ensure success. 

Both of the developers we interviewed for this article think that this is a GREAT certification to have and would 100% recommend it to everyone working with Salesforce. What are you waiting for?

We are now hiring! Check out our open positions.

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How to prepare for Tableau Desktop Specialist Certification

Finding better ways to clean and organize your data is the key to making a good decision. Have you heard about Tableau? It’s a platform with a simple but very powerful mission: help people see and understand data. In this article, you will learn a bit more about this awesome platform, hear the perspective of one of our amazing developers, and understand more about the process to obtain the Tableau Desktop Specialist I certification.

What is Tableau? 

Tableau is a visual platform that transforms the way we use data to solve problems. It empowers people and organizations to make the most out of their data. 

Tableau was founded in 2003 as a result of a computer science project at Stanford that aimed to improve the flow of analysis and make data more accessible to people through visualization.

In 2019, Tableau was acquired by Salesforce, but its mission remains the same: to help people see and understand their data. Today, organizations everywhere—from non-profits to global enterprises, and across all industries and departments—are empowering their people with Tableau to drive change with data.

At its annual Tableau Conference (2020), Tableau Software shared plans to bring together Tableau and Salesforce’s Einstein Analytics, an artificial intelligence platform. By combining the best of Tableau and Einstein Analytics, customers now will have access to the broadest and deepest analytics platform on the market. Additionally, Einstein Analytics will be renamed to Tableau CRM, and will continue to provide the best analytics and AI experience in the Salesforce CRM workflow.

Tableau Desktop Specialist I: Fundamentals

At Oktana, we constantly motivate and provide our employees with all the necessary tools to train and obtain different certifications that will help them with their day-to-day tasks. In this case, we spoke with Juan, a Software Developer at Oktana. He was recently certified for Tableau Desktop I. Juan told us about its importance and how to prepare to pass the exam.

How is the exam?

  • Duration: 1 hour 
  • Questions: 30 (you pass the exam with a score of 70%)
  • To begin the exam, you sign up and connect to a call via Zoom with a Tableau specialist. This expert guides you through the exam. Minutes before starting, you need to show your ID and the surroundings of the place where you will be taking the exam.
  • All the questions are multiple-choice. You have to log in to Tableau and do the visualizations to find out which is the correct option.

The easiest and most difficult parts of the certification

Juan commented that Tableau is a very powerful tool. In a short time, you can create graphics that generate a strong impact. He recommends taking this certification because it doesn’t require much time to prepare for it. Also, it’s very easy to understand, and since it is focused on the world of data analysis, it doesn’t require programming.

The topics that he found a bit challenging to comprehend were dimensions, measures, and differentiating between continuous and discrete fields. Also, understanding how to connect data between two different spreadsheets before starting. Additionally, the calculated fields, which are perhaps the most mathematical and may require a bit of programming (but it is very simple).

Recommended Courses:

Juan took the courses recommended by the Oktana Training Team:

  1. Tableau 2020 A-Z: Learn data visualization through Tableau 2020 and create opportunities for you or key decision-makers. Discover data patterns such as customer purchase behavior, sales trends, or production bottlenecks. During this course, you will learn all of the features in Tableau that allow you to explore, experiment with, fix, prepare, and present data easily, quickly, and beautifully.
  2. Tableau 20 Advanced Training: Understand how to use Groups and Sets to increase your work efficiency 10x. Also, discover how to perform Analytics, Data Mining, create Animations, and much more.
  3. Tableau Specialist Certification Prep: This course has just one goal, prepare you to pass the Tableau Specialist exam. The course includes:
  • A downloadable study guide with notes and links
  • Information about taking the Specialist exam at home with a remote proctor
  • Videos covering the Specialist topic areas 
  • Three self-scoring full-length practice exams with a solution guide

Tips to achieve this certification

  • Don’t just watch the videos given to you on the exam prep, use them as an example and practice. In this way, you will have greater control over the platform. 
  • Practice with all the mockups you can before taking this certification (you will feel much more confident).
  • Although during the exam you have access to Google. You cannot use sites where you have to register and there is communication with an external person. Juan doesn’t recommend using Google at all because it slows down the tool and this can affect your final results.
  • Finally, If you don’t know the answer to a question, save it for last. It will save you time and let you focus on what you know best.

Should you take this Certification?

Definitely, yes! Companies like Amazon, Experian, and Unilever trust Tableau (business intelligence (BI) and analytics software) to explore, visualize, and securely share data in the form of workbooks and dashboards. 

As you can see, this tool is very user-friendly with drag-and-drop functionality. Tableau Desktop Specialist allows you to quickly clean, analyze, and visualize your team’s data.

for this reason, in less than 15 days you can learn how to navigate Tableau’s interface to connect and present data using easy-to-understand visualizations. By the end, you’ll have the skills to confidently explore Tableau and build impactful data dashboards. So dive in!

If you are interesting on reading more about certifications, click here.

5 ways to master remote work and improve communication

Remote work is here to stay. Period. The new normal is here and it demands a brand new perspective on communication. In this pandemic, one of the cornerstones that we must consider is social distance. That’s the reason why well working remotely is a skill we currently need to stay profitable and grow our businesses. This might be confusing for many, but it’s actually quite simple (and fun). There are companies that have been working with teams abroad and are working remotely with ease.

In other words, take some time to learn from the experts. Integrating teams in different countries to create IT solutions for our customers is something we at Oktana are very used to. Nara, from our Human Resources department in Paraguay, tells us more about her experience:

“[I believe] things haven’t changed a lot since I have always reported and worked remotely with co-workers from other countries even before the pandemic showed up. [Morover,] I think remote work has improved my performance because I save time in the traffic and even money that I used for transportation and food. Now I feel I have more energy and resources.”

Nara G. – Human Resources at Oktana Paraguay

We even created Tok, the leading real-time chat app for Salesforce users that helps companies to squeeze the best of communication within the new normal (Can you tell we’re proud of it?). Let us help you work remotely more wisely to increase your efficiency, improve work culture, and grow revenues.

Distance has nothing to do with meters or feet

This is our first and most important recommendation. Why? Because it’s not about distance. It’s about having the right state of mind. If you want to master remote work and enhance your communication skills, you have to let go of that idea of physical distance. Talented remote workers know their partners are always just a click away:

“[The new normal] impacted the way we communicate with our teammates. Now we need to find new ways to facilitate communication. However, Tok is that space where we can stay always connected and work more fluently”. 

Nery C. – Web developer at Oktana Paraguay

That’s the key. We know where to find our teammates, and especially, how to reach out to them in the most effective way. Here is a tip that you may want to consider in your routine: identify your partners and get to know them. If you didn’t have a chance before, schedule a 10-minute chat to introduce yourself now. Don’t talk about work, get to know the human behind the “co-worker.”

Be direct and clear

No one owns a crystal ball to see into your mind, so try to express yourself clearly. We understand, having a work conversation through a screen may feel weird in the very beginning. That feeling will vanish as long as you decide to take the leap and connect with your co-workers. Also, you will notice in every conversation that you will develop more concise messages.

Our recommendation? Remember, less is more! When having 1:1 chats related to work and professional arrangements, try to pull everything together in a way that is as simple as possible and provides what your co-worker needs.

In remote work, communication is key

You are safe working at home but still need to reach your co-workers. Before the pandemic you could just walk over and have a conversation. Not anymore. Now you have to leverage technology to manage your communication and collaboration. Make sure your team agrees on which channels to use. With Tok, our teams use Channels and Groups to adjust their conversations according to their needs. For example, Channels are great spaces for teamwork and let members message each other around a common matter, like a real-time group chat. On the other hand, Groups were designed to share posts and let people interact with them, like social media.

Tip: Remote work is not only about efficiency. It has to do with culture and collaboration. When managing your conversations always make sure everyone knows where to go, is able to participate, and every voice is heard.

Stay 100% tuned in

Ok, this is important and we would like to highlight it because most of us tend to take it for granted: notifications are crucial. We get it.  Your phone was full of notifications even before the pandemic. However, if you want to track your projects, having the right notifications is the best way to do it.  Remember, your team is not physically together; so an important matter or message will come to you in a push notification or desktop alert.

We use Tok notifications in our office to make sure we keep track and guess what? We never miss any details! Here is our tip: Be aware of which notifications you have turned on. Make sure they’re the right ones. Then, get used to answering them as soon as possible. It might sound obvious but trust us: it only takes seconds for a pending message notification to be forgotten.

Have fun!

Yes, productivity and hard work bring great results. We believe fun is also a crucial element to consider when it comes to business success. No team member or leader will reach peak efficiency if they are not working in a comfortable and pleasant environment. How can you contribute to creating a better culture while working remotely? Through communication, of course. Don’t let screens make your conversations boring.

Most messaging solutions include many features to make collaboration as much fun as possible. Use them! With Tok, we use emojis, gifs, snippets, polls, and other resources to express ourselves in every message.

If you have read this far, you now have a better understanding of what efficient communication means in remote work scenarios. Remember, the sense of distance is in your mind and you can adapt: always use efficient and clear communication, stay 100% connected, and make it a better place to work. Follow these recommendations and you will be all set!

For more information about how we strive to improve communication for our customers, please visit us here. Also, if you need a general overview of Salesforce’s perspective, visit this trail. Now go back to your daily assignments and enhance your communication level across your company. Your teammates will notice the difference.

Our team is doing their best while working remotely. We have worked with different organizations and their projects. We are Salesforce platform experts and offer custom development to help you build your platform and solve the right problems. If you want to know more about our work, go check out our latest success stories.

Heroku Scalability Simplified

What is Scalability?

Scalability is a general software concept. It means that a system is built in a way that can be easily grown in regards to usage (example: more people accessing a site) or adding new features to the site. It is the ability the software has to continue to properly function as its context changes.

In Heroku, it refers to the system being able to cope with more users or more traffic.

Heroku Scalability

Heroku provides easy-to-use tools that enable developers to scale dynos (Heroku app containers) instantly to meet demand. After an app is deployed, it may require adjustments in response to things like increased traffic, new functionalities, or business scale. You can scale using the Heroku Dashboard or Heroku CLI.

Heroku Dashboard:

The Heroku dashboard is the web user interface for Heroku’s core features and functionality. It enables programmers to manage their apps, add-ons, deployment processes, metrics, and much more. It provides a simple slider interface for scaling dynos and you see the results immediately reflected in your dyno formation.

Heroku CLI:

Developers can also oversee their dyno formation using the Heroku command-line interface (CLI). This allows you to create and manage apps from the shell of various operating systems. Through a simple command, you can enlarge the number of web and worker dynos, or change the dyno type of any number of dynos at once.

Scalability Resources

Scalability resources fall into two broad categories: horizontal and vertical. Additionally, Heroku offers a third type called autoscaling. 

Scaling horizontally: adding more dynos

Adding more dynos of a given dyno process type scales your application horizontally. For example, adding more web dynos lets Heroku route incoming HTTP requests across more running instances of your web servers, which will typically improve performance for a higher traffic volume. 

Also, adding more worker dynos allows your app to process more jobs in parallel and handle a larger volume of jobs. There are some cases where scaling horizontally won’t help, such as bottlenecks on the backend services and long requests or jobs.

Scaling vertically: upgrading to larger dynos

Upgrading dynos to larger dyno types will provide your app with more memory and CPU resources. 

All the dynos are isolated. But, apps running on Free, Hobby, and Standard dynos may share an essential compute instance —they are multi-tenant—and consequently may encounter some degree of performance variance. Performance dynos and those that run in Heroku Private Spaces do not share an underlying compute instance with other dynos, so they experience low variability in performance.

Autoscaling

Heroku enables you to automatically increase the number of web dynos needed to meet the specified 95% response time threshold. Based on your app’s existing throughput, the autoscaling feature removes the need to anticipate traffic spikes. Autoscaling is included for free on Performance and Private dynos.

Heroku makes it super easy for developers to scale any number of device integrations individually. Developers can simply provision more dynos to handle increased traffic coming in from a specific device.

If Autoscaling doesn’t cover your needs or is not working as expected for your apps, Heroku recommends trying the Rails Auto Scale add-on or Adept Scale add-on.

Scalability Simplified, with Examples

Horizontal Scalability

If you have a store that serves clients and you expect 10 clients at the time, you will hire 2 employees to provide customer service. Suddenly, your store becomes popular and 100 clients arrive at the same time. Those 2 employees won’t be enough to meet their needs. You will need to scale horizontally, employing more people to serve more clients. 

The store works like your app, website, mobile application, system, etc. The site was prepared for 10 users connected at the time working with 2 web dynos. Suddenly, your site has 100 users loading the site at the same time. To scale horizontally in Heroku, you can add more web dynos. The incoming HTTP requests can be linked to more clients arriving at the store, waiting to be served. 

If your store is a restaurant, the people serving the clients would be the waitress. However, restaurants not only can satisfy customer needs only with waitresses; there are also employees working behind the counter in the kitchen. Even if you hire 100 waitresses, if you have only one person cooking, that person won’t be able to cook for 100 people. You will need more people working in the kitchen. 

Kitchen employees are the worker dynos in Heroku, they are in charge of doing background jobs. If you have more, they can cook in parallel. The same happens with worker dynos

Vertical Scalability

Horizontal scalability might not always be enough. Continuing with the restaurant example, if the restaurant premises are too small, even if you hire 100 waitresses and 10 people in the kitchen, you won’t be able to fit enough tables. You will need to increase your capacity. You will need to scale vertically

Another example that can be related to Heroku would be if your chef only knows how to prepare juices or if your waitress only speaks one language. Those cooks won’t be able to add more things to your menu and that waitress won’t allow you to serve clients that speak other languages. In this case, the issue won’t be solved by adding more waitresses or cooks, you will need to employ people that have the skills that you need. In this case, you will need to scale vertically.

Autoscaling

So, what would happen if the demand in your restaurant is variable? 

It wouldn’t be cost-effective to pay 100 waitresses full-time. However, you will need employees who can be hired with short notice when more people arrive at the restaurant. You will need full-time employees and people you call in emergencies. This is what Heroku offers with its autoscaling system. Developers can set up 10 dynos, and add additional dynos when the response time is slow. When the workload increases, Heroku automatically provides the extra dynos needed to cope with the demand. Once the demand decreases, it automatically disables it, allowing you to save money. 

Heroku offers a practical step-by-step guide showing you how to scale your dyno formation easily. If you want to learn more about Heroku, click here, you will find useful information and three ways it enhances cloud infrastructure.