Interview with Paul Battisson

Paul Battisson is the author of Mastering Apex Programming, we got the chance to sit down with him and find out more about his experience of writing with Packt.

Q: What is/are your specialist tech area(s)?

Paul: Salesforce

Q: How did you become an author for Packt? Tell us about your journey. What was your motivation for writing this book?

Paul: I was part way through writing a beginners book on Apex development and reached out to the Packt team to see if they would be interested in collaborating on another project around more advanced material, which they were. I wanted to write a book to help Salesforce developers understand the options available to them and how to use these to transition from an intermediate through to an advanced developer.

Q: What kind of research did you do, and how long did you spend researching before beginning the book?

Paul: I have been working with Salesforce for over a decade, I am a Salesforce MVP and spoken at many conferences so I know the material I was looking at had an audience and what roughly should be in there. I took a few weeks to plan the book in detail and prepare a coherent narrative but the real research was over 10 years of experience.

Q: Did you face any challenges during the writing process? How did you overcome them?

Paul: The biggest challenge is always time. Most authors are also working a 9-5 job with clients. I am the Chief Operating Officer of a Salesforce Partner, plus also doing client work so sometimes it was a lot to juggle. I was lucky that due to lockdown it was easy to get into a routine to help me write daily.

Q: What’s your take on the technologies discussed in the book? Where do you see these technologies heading in the future?

Paul: Salesforce has gone from a pure SaaS CRM to now one of the broadest PaaS providers out there, and I don’t see this slowing down. In particular, I think the integration between different parts of the platform will get easier and allow more complex and interoperating applications that are event driven.

Q. Why should readers choose this book over others already on the market? How would you differentiate your book from its competition?

Paul: My aim for the book was to help guide people to mastering and cover items they may not have worked with. It is not a beginners guide to items and requires you to have knowledge of Apex, but I try to ease into things. I cover areas such as performance in a way different to how others have looked at it before, as well as looking more deeply at why you should use different asynchronous tools, including some that are not generally covered.

Q. What are the key takeaways you want readers to come away from the book with?

Paul: The biggest thing would be an appreciation of what tools are available and when to consider them. I am a big believer that people should not stick blindly to rules they don’t appreciate or understand so hopefully they will come away with a deeper knowledge of some areas of the Apex language to help them understand the why behind taking certain actions and best practices.

Q. What advice would you give to readers learning tech? Do you have any top tips?

Paul: Play with stuff, break it, and always try and figure out why it broke and is fixed. If you cannot explain back how and why something is working then you don’t understand it.

Q. Do you have a blog that readers can follow?

Paul: Yes, visit the following pages: paulbattisson.com and cloudbites.tv

Q. Can you share any blogs, websites and forums to help readers gain a holistic view of the tech they are learning?

Paul: developer.salesforce.com is the official site and people like Xi have great curated lists like https://salesforceway.com/blog/best-salesforce-developer-blogs/

Q. How would you describe your author journey with Packt? Would you recommend Packt to aspiring authors?

Paul: Packt have been very helpful and supportive throughout the process and I would recommend them as a great place for new authors who are wanting good guidance.

Q. Do you belong to any tech community groups?

Paul: I co-run the Leeds Salesforce Developer Group but I am often found speaking at other groups.

Q. What are your favorite tech journals? How do you keep yourself up to date on tech?

Paul: Twitter and Hacker News are my go to sources, although for Salesforce it is the developer.salesforce.com blog and release notes

Q. How did you organize, plan, and prioritize your work and write the book?

Paul: I made sure I had a clear flow and narrative so that chapters built on each other and made sense as an overall flow. In terms of organizing and prioritizing it was mainly around keeping a schedule and rhythm.

Q. What is that one writing tip that you found most crucial and would like to share with aspiring authors?

Paul: Set a target number of words every day and make sure you do them. They don’t have to be perfect, you can always edit, but doing them is important.

You can find Paul’s book on Amazon by following this link: Please click here

Mastering Apex Programming – Available on Amazon.com

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