Nautilus Notes Episode #1: Salesforce App Tips and Lessons Learned
If you’re not yet familiar with our Nautilus Notes, the first video is a great place to start. In this monthly series, we make company announcements, then switch over to celebrating our users with a quote of the month, dive into highlighting new product features, divulge our expert Salesforce app tips, and share valuable lessons others have learned using Skuid. We include an interactive Q&A section, so you can ask questions as they come up. It’s your one-stop shop to learn a lot about app development in a quick segment.
In case you missed it, here’s a recap of our first Nautilus Notes episode.
Skuid Basics for New Users
We recently launched 17 videos about Skuid Basics, covering everything a new user needs to know about getting started with our low-code platform. These videos are designed to replace our 2-3 day professional training services, so you can get all of the key information on your own time and at your own pace. From there you can develop the solutions that meet your unique needs, which leads us to…
Quote of the Month
“We don’t know what our product does until we know how our customers use it.”
—Skuid Customer Success Representative
We have a lot of dreams about what Skuid can do, but whenever we release new features, we always have unexpected realizations about how people use them and what they need them for most. This is what we’re here to learn: how we can deliver the solutions people really need. One of those solutions is DataSource Objects.
Contributor’s Choice: DataSource Objects
Skuid co-creator Ben Hubbard shared some insights about DataSource objects (DSOs), which are related to SQL data sources. In Skuid you can set up a data source through a variety of SQL types on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, or Google Cloud. Using DSOs is like unlocking a secret room that you never knew was there, and it lets you configure metadata, which is data about your data. In Skuid, that includes what objects are available for you to use, what fields those objects have, and what types of fields they are.
When Skuid connects to Salesforce or OData, it reads the metadata at runtime. When it comes to DSOs, we wanted to create a place in Skuid where you own the metadata about your data at config time. This speeds up the inspection of metadata from your databases, because Skuid stores the metadata at config time and accesses it from a fast cache at runtime. You can also augment the data by changing the way fields behave in your Skuid UI. The data source type we rolled out first was the SQL data type, and we are planning to add other data source types behind the DSO interface.
Now that you know more about that handy feature, let’s jump to some of the lessons we have learned about Skuid V2.
Skuid V2 Lessons Learned
Skuid V2 adds whole new areas of functionality, including the Design System Studio and the Ink Component Library. It’s all still pretty new technology, so we want to share some of the lessons our users have learned so far.
The Design System Studio, which is the evolution of the Theme Builder, lets you create a style guide for your UI, so when you update one element, others in the same category will also update. One best practice is creating a “kitchen sink” page where you can see all of the style components in the design framework, so that designers can see what’s possible. V2 also includes design variants so you can create different button styles for various use cases, including round buttons for mobile development. You can also now render pages based on screen size so you can quickly see your work in action.
Pro tip: We’ve already done a ton of work in the Design System Studio. All you have to do is install the sample pages we have already built onto your Skuid site to use or adapt the designs we have created.
Merging Variables and Syntax
Skuid goes beyond just components. There’s a whole realm of markup that allows you to reach into the data stream to pull in merge variables. You can do a lot of cool things with it, especially with UI-only fields and formulas. (For more on that, start with this Skuid Basics video on UI-only fields.)
Here’s one more use case just for fun. You can use the record to show the position of a row in relation to its siblings. If you want to know if you’re on the first or last row on the data model, you can do that with merge syntax. You can also get the row’s relative position using the index syntax. You might want to do this to compare data to the previous or next row, or use a formula to multiply the quantity in a previous row.
If you want to learn everything there is to know about merge syntax, check out our documentation, or just try it for yourself.
Skuid Labs Highlight: Custom Formulas
To show you what we mean, Skuid Solutions Engineer, Matt Davis shared some pro tips about adding custom formulas to a page. Skuid has a lot of built-in functions for UI-only fields that are very useful, but sometimes you want to do something custom. For example, Excel-type formulas or filters can be added to show KPIs based on the data being displayed on a page. This allows users to get a quick analysis of a data subset without having to do any additional work.
Remember that quote of the month about how our customers light the way? This is a great example of how one Skuid user unexpectedly tapped our tools:. they used the Skuid toolkitto create a mobile app for a manufacturing company. Originally this company started using Skuid for a CPT use case, and eventually they wanted to create a solution for their field service team.
This team visits factories to inspect and service multi-million dollar machines. To do this, they take screenshots, collaborate with engineers, log time, and get signatures to approve billable time. They used Skuid to create a mobile field service application to do all of that work in one place, so they could move away from paper and onto a mobile app that didn’t depend on an internet connection. Some of the lessons learned while building Skuid mobile pages were that decks scale much better than tables, and sliding panels are more user-friendly than popups.
Red Flag: Searcher Beware
The above story is a perfect example of a simple solution to a fairly straightforward problem. However, sometimes a stakeholder asks for something that seems simple without realizing just how complex it is. We call these red flags, and this month we’re talking about the term “search.” When you hear that word, be prepared to think about how the end user plans to use the results, what the data source limitations are, and the search logic that will most likely be employed. Find out what problems need to be solved and build your search function from there. With Skuid, you can utilize our built-in search component, filters, or even build your own from scratch.
That wraps up this month’s edition of Nautilus Notes. In addition to these videos, you can learn more about Skuid features and news by watching our on-demand webinars for more features, stories, and Salesforce app tips.