The Worst Nightmare of a Salesforce Developer
When you decide to take a break from trick-or-treating, or other festive activities, here's a spooky story from The Welkin Suite.
Happy Halloween - and have fun reading!
Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep!
6:00 AM. 6:15 AM. 6:30 AM. 6:45 AM.
The alarm clock went on and on, but Ralph paid no attention to it. If humans had superpowers, his would be sleeping so soundly that you could land a full sized Boeing 747 next to his bed without causing him even a twitch.
When he finally opened his eyes, Ralph realized he was hopelessly late for his work. There wasn’t such a power on Earth that would take him back in time far enough to get to the office by 9 AM. Neither there was a slightest chance that his Project Manager would arrive after 12, which could have given him another 40 minutes to get to his cubicle.
Ralph had no choice but to sigh and start his morning - or even almost-afternoon - routine. After all - and he was confident about the fact that - they had finished up their work on the largest and the most profitable project a few days ago, and the customer seemed quite happy about it. That left him with a whole world of Salesforce dev tasks ahead - but, thankfully, none of them were urgent. So he could still make it home early today to pick up his kids and go trick-or-treating. He even borrowed the Trailhead Bear costume for that - here goes a night of fun!
The office greeted Ralph with an unusual buzz and ado. People were slamming on the keyboards frantically, getting off their seats and running towards each other’s desks, and jabbering, bickering, yelling. Ralph could barely hear his own thoughts over this cacophony, while trying to make his way to the desk.
Something was utterly, fundamentally not right about all of this.
And then it all suddenly became clear, as Spencer, his Project Manager, came running into their open space with a phone in his hand, his face so angry and tomato-red it seemed he was about to start boiling like a kettle, steam nearly coming out of his ears.
And there was a voice coming out of the phone that overlapped all of the surrounding clamor.
‘Are you out of your mind there? I have paid you a truckload of money, and what did I get? An application that does not work?! I am going to sue all of you if this doesn’t get fixed IMMEDIATELY! We are talking about MILLIONS I am losing every second!!!’
The voice on the phone went on and on, and Ralph found himself terrified , as Spencer quickly approached him, his face now twisted with rage, and dragged Ralph by the scruff of his net to his office of torture..
With each word Spencer said, Ralph grew more and more still, cold sweat coming down his back.
No, he wasn’t in trouble. He was beyond that. He was dead. Probably twice, as now he finally understood what his Paramedic friend meant once by there being different levels of dead: dead, deader, and deadest! He feared “Deadest”.
There had been a huge production error, so now the client’s business application was blocked. The Salesforce project Ralph had been working on for the last few months was quickly going down the hole, unless he finds a solution. And so was his career - Spencer made that exceptionally clear. Had he come to the office on time - they might have avoided it, who knows? But now these were mere shots in the dark.
Ralph stormed out of the boss’ office, fueled by panic, frustration and fear. As luck would have it, the development application he was working in took forever to launch, and during that time Ralph saw Spencer rush by him, mumbling apologies into the phone, and throwing a vicious glance at Ralph.
That’s right, he was responsible for the job. Now he had to quickly fix it, and he did not know where to start.
After a few hours of thorough examination, Ralph realized that there was no scale in this world big enough to measure his despair. The problem could not be replicated from his side - and he tried every approach possible. Every. Approach.
Asking the client to provide the logs only added to the pool of Ralph’s anguish - given that this pool was bottomless. He received a log file with so much data that it would have taken him days to locate the error, let alone solve it. Ralph didn’t even have minutes.
He no longer thought about making it home on time. His wife would kill him, and his kids would probably be beyond mad at him for a missed trick-or-treating opportunity. For the last few months he was working on this project his family barely saw him at home - and Halloween was among his last chances to regain his face.
Not anymore. Now all he faced was being without a job, divorced, despised by his kids, and probably ending up paying “doggy support” payments, for his dog would pack his bags and leave him.
Adding more guys to researching the problem didn’t help. By the time Ralph had any theories as to what could have possibly been wrong, Spencer showed up by his desk and violently gagged into his trash can after his last conversation with the client. Everything was going wrong!!!
‘My office. Three minutes. Drop everything you are doing.’
Ralph grew cold and still inside. He almost forgot how to breathe, as his feet were somehow leading him to the hallway, at the end of which Ralph saw Spencer at his desk, some papers in his hand, and a pen held out for Ralph to grab…
Ralph rubbed his head perplexedly, feeling a goose egg starting to grow at the top, and tried to focus his eyes. He was in his bed, and it was 4 AM, October 31st - or at least, that’s what his clock told him.
He had just been at the office, on his way to talk to Spencer and probably get fired, and now… Turns out it was a dream?
It was just a dream!!!
Ralph found himself happy as a lark. All was well, and there was nothing to worry about. Or was there?
He quickly turned his computer on - the sleep had long gone anyway - and browsed through the inbox. And then he got stupefied. There it was, an email from the client, yet-calmly telling the developers that there was something wrong with the application, and that some of the team members should contact them asap, before the problem starts affecting their business on a large scale. Phone number attached.
Ralph quickly grabbed his cellphone and dialed the number as sweat dripped from his forehead, some part of him refusing to believe all of this was real.
A few minutes later he received the exact same explanation and the log file, except this time no one was yelling. Yet.
He still did not know what caused the issue, and what should he do.
And it did not reproduce either, so he was starting to wish he had a trash can in his bedroom.
Ralph took a deep breath and opened his IDE. Or at least he tried to, as the process again took longer than forever.
And then it occurred to him. What if he tried another tool? He remembered one of his colleagues mentioning some newborn IDE that provided a bunch of handy options - including convenient work with Log files - and he even promised himself to give it a try, but then something urgent came up, and he shamefully forgot.
Ralph scrolled up the history in his messenger - and there it was. The Welkin Suite IDE.
A few minutes later he was already entering his Salesforce project credentials into the program - to see it opened within seconds.
To his surprise, mastering the program did not take too much of his time. In addition to the documentation, which clearly introduced the work with the log files he was interested in, he found a video that gave him the essential understanding where to begin. What impressed him most was the fact that Salesforce log levelling seemed to no longer be an issue, with a special debugger at hand.
What took Ralph hours in his dream - going through the lines and lines of log entries - could now be completed within minutes with the help of the possibilities granted by The Welkin Suite’s Debugger.
The navigation was amazing, and what helped him most was the option to only show the error messages, which not only were highlighted in red - a color that screams that something is not right per se - but also allowed him to go to the sections of source code right from the log.
The work was going with a swing. Saying that Ralph was delighted was an understatement.
The client’s problem was well beneath the surface, and yet he still managed to fish it out. It was the triggers - their logic caused entries data deletion, which had led to the apocalypse Ralph had witnessed in his dream. It would have probably taken him his entire eternal afterlife to figure out the reason behind the problem otherwise: after all, the client’s rageful comments over the phone combined with over 25,000 strings in the Debug log file were equally non-informative when it came to instantaneous problem-solving.
And there was The Welkin Suite, his Ariadne's thread that led him out of the depths of… well, out of the extremely troublesome situation.
Hallowed be the Retrospective Debugger!
Fixing the problem was a piece of cake, now that Ralph knew what caused it and where it was. By 8 AM his job was done, and the application was working without a hitch.
When Ralph arrived at the office a few hours later, no one seemed to have noticed there had been a problem in the first place. Spencer greeted him with a quizzical smile - he had just received a call from the client, who was so happy that the problem was fixed this quickly that he offered them a bonus - along with a contract to complete another project.
Half an hour later Ralph was explaining Spencer what he managed to do - and showing The Welkin Suite IDE, which took the weight of the most time-consuming and scrupulous work on its metaphorical shoulders. It looked like the tool was about to become one of their team’s most frequently used desktop applications.
And now Spencer was waving some papers and holding out a pen again - but this time, the text of the document had something to do with a raise. Needless to say, this pleasant twist completely fit into Ralph’s plan for the future.
The entire work day was colored in orange and black - the colors that invoked absolutely no disturbing associations in Ralph’s worldview.
Unless you count the hordes of ghosts, ghouls, witches, and all sorts of the undead he met on the streets in his Trailhead Bear costume. But tonight no other company could be more warm and welcoming.
Ralph returned home loaded with several bags full of candy - which his kids immediately started splitting, laughing and hooting. At the end, his share was loaded into a giant bowl. It was nearly full with candy corn, which Ralph sheerly and utterly hated.
But somehow that did not bother him at all.