Behind the Labs: Gift Exchange by Stephanie Ho - - AppExchange
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Behind the Labs: Gift Exchange by Stephanie Ho

The holidays can be a fun and festive time of year, and also one of the best times to see the impact of technology (there an Amazon Prime truck rolling away from my house as I type). And while lots of changes have revolutionized personal gift-giving, the tried-and-true “Secret Santa” method hasn’t updated much. When it came time for her team’s Secret Santa, Stephanie Ho saw an opportunity to spread holiday cheer while building on the Salesforce Platform.


With the free Salesforce Labs app Gift Exchange, you can run your own gift exchange on the Salesforce Platform, which means you can bring the holiday spirit to team members across the globe. With custom objects, workflow, matching algorithms, and reports, this free solution is a wonderful addition to ANY gift exchange — National Guacamole Day is in September, just a heads up.


Based in Chicago and currently a Senior Platform Solution Engineer, Stephanie joined the Salesforce family four years ago. When she’s not building apps on the Salesforce Platform, she spends a lot of time getting to know grapes. For real! She just passed her intro Sommelier exam and will be going for her certification soon (maybe there’s a wine app in her future?). 


Salesforce Platform Solution Engineer Stephanie Ho


We asked Stephanie to share her journey of building this app and what she learned along the way.


What’s the story behind your Labs solution, Gift Exchange?

Stephanie Ho: We wanted to run a secret-Santa style gift exchange for our larger national Solution Engineering team. My manager at the time encouraged me to try to build it on Salesforce, and we ended up building this app. It was an absolute blast to create and run and we'll be doing it again this year. 



How does Gift Exchange work?

SH: You can create and manage multiple secret-Santa style gift exchanges, automatically match Santas to their “Santees”, and also track packages. It's a bit of holiday cheer that also increases employee engagement with the Salesforce Platform! 


What did you learn while creating this Labs app?

SH: I have a whole new appreciation for private messaging systems and other complex permissions on custom objects. 



Tell us your advice for admins looking to build solutions in their Salesforce orgs.

SH: Leverage scratch orgs and sandboxes! I eventually had multiple people building and testing unusual ideas for our object model, and using scratch orgs and DX was a real lifesaver to keep the projects separate until we tested them thoroughly.



What’s next for you? Any new Labs apps in the future?

SH: Maybe an inventory app, or an event planning app — maybe a wine app? [laughs] The possibilities are endless!


Get Stephanie’s solution, Gift Exchange, on AppExchange and find more Salesforce Labs solutions on AppExchange today. 


Behind the Labs is a blog series where we shine the spotlight on Salesforce employees that have built free solutions available on AppExchange. 



Holly Rushton is a Senior Manager, Content Marketing for AppExchange at Salesforce.