So now that Dreamforce is over, my focus can shift back to the daily grind of tasks and responsibilities. Wait, what was that again? I got lost in the black hole that is Dreamforce and can’t remember life before it…

Now I remember! On September 12, 2012, Dave Carroll and I delivered the Winter ’13 Developer Preview webinar. We introduced a lot of cool stuff coming in winter, but you can also play with these features now in a pre-release org. While we didn’t have time to go over everything in the release notes, we did cover quite a bit including:

  • Visualforce Enhancements: Charting has gone GA and can be customized both visually and functionally using advanced rendering control. Other Visualforce enhancements include: pass through attributes, inline editing for picklists, dynamic references, and more!
  • Geolocation (beta): Now you can create geolocation custom fields and use them in your SOQL queries and formula functions to figure out distance between points.
  • Canvas Framework (pilot): The framework allows you to take an existing web application, embed it inside of the Salesforce UI, and allow it to communicate with your data through the platform.
  • Developer Console Updates: The developer console gains several new tools including a tests tool for executing unit tests, query editor for querying and manipulating records, and command line tool to execute anonymous Apex and be able to search the logs. You can even modify the layout using perspectives.
  • Apex Enhancements: New string methods were added (seriously, this list is pages long) making it even easier to parse or evaluate strings. Other enhancements include the ability to load test data from a static resource, HTTP callouts for REST services and SOAP callouts, and additional JSON Support.

How does this tie into Dreamforce?

In addition to many other platform and product reveals, there are a couple hot topics that arose at Dreamforce related to Winter ’13. Highlighted below some key features I wanted to mention. More to come in the future as they become available!

Salesforce Identity

Salesforce Identity will eliminate information silos within your enterprise by enabling you to build applications that access a common user context across your various apps. Identity will allow you to connect to your backend systems and/or your social apps from within your Salesforce instance and leverage a common identity across them.
This concept will elevate the apps related to Canvas Framework. With Canvas, you can develop Salesforce apps in any language on Heroku, and then create and deploy a context aware Heroku app from Identity will enable user access to the Salesforce data. There was a great demo of Identity & Canvas in in the developer keynote that I would recommend checking out.

Tooling API and Next Generation Debugging

In addition to demonstrating the new features highlighted in the winter webinar and what currently exists for debugging tools, Josh Kaplan (Product Manager for Apex and Platform Developer Tools) along with Thomas Dvornik and Brian Matthews went over what was on the roadmap for development and debugging.
In the near future, we will expose a public tooling API that currently is leveraged by the Developer Console.  Once the API is finished, Eclipse will be the next line item. The goal is to refactor the plugin using the tooling API, but also make it open source for other developers to utilize however they want.

So what do I do now?

If you want to learn about anything related to Winter ’13, check out the winter release landing page as your one stop shop to related content. Also, if you want to check out the recordings of the Dreamforce developer sessions, check out this playlist on our YouTube channel. We’ll be adding videos to this playlist as they become available, so please subscribe to the channel if you want to be notified about these additions as they become available!

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