This post fangirls Declarative Lookup Rollup Summary, DLRS, pronounced duh-LOR-us, sort of like your old aunt Dolores. DLRS is a community-resourced app that extends functionality in Salesforce to have more “roll up” or min/max/count/average type fields, respecting relationships between objects. Learn more about DLRS here.

Far before the provocative 2021 film, Don’t Look Up, Salesforce seemed to parrot the “same” refrain. While you can build “lookup” fields here, there, and everywhere, summarizing the data between those related records can be difficult or damn near impossible. So, you might as well just not #LookUp at all.

Rollup Fields are like toppings at a fro-yo bar (we want as many as possible!), but Salesforce serves them up like pizza toppings. You only get a few, and then they become very costly, very quickly.

  • First, there’s the 25 roll-up field limit per object (which can be increased to 40, but that’s IT)
  • Then, there’s the limitation of only allowing roll-up summaries between objects linked by a special field type
  • Finally, there are a limited number of functions that standard, off-the-shelf Roll Up Summary fields let you do

For a platform as broad and powerful as Salesforce, the limitations on Roll Ups are frustratingly cruel. Ever time we (the community) bring it up, the answer is pretty much….

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Thousands of people have voted for this Idea and 10’s of thousands have downloaded alternative apps to extend the Salesforce roll up functionality. Rogue formulations for getting around Rollup Limits abound, from new objects, to costly apps, to excessive use of code. Perhaps saddest of all, people just give up on having that key rollup (or calculate it offline) rather than stare into the Roll Up void. Nonprofits lucked out – the smarty pants developers behind the Nonprofit Success Pack released a Customizable Rollup feature a few years ago, which elegantly avoids some of the biggest roll up pitfalls. However, it only touches a narrow array of objects, and the ways we want to count, min, max, sum, average, etc our data are limitless!

For years, we have bemoaned the lack of progress on delivering the Roll Up fields. Meanwhile, open source contributors were rolling up their sleeves and building a free Roll Up generator – the answer to our prayers, and now better than ever. Hopefully we learned our lesson from Don’t Look Up and *waves hands* chaos everywhere – listen to the [data] scientists!

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All this to say, there’s a big gaping void in the Salesforce platform where a Roll Up calculation engine should be, and the community has risen to the occasion to FILL and MAINTAIN THE FILLING of said void. We have so much to celebrate in the latest release of DLRS – Declarative Lookup Rollup Summary!!!

But first, some history:

DLRS was originally built by Andrew Fawcett — AKA Andy in the Cloud — in 2013, years before he joined Salesforce as VP of Product Management on the platform team. DLRS has since grown into a well-loved solution for all types of organizations with over 16,000 subscribers. In 2021 Andy decided to bring DLRS to the Open Source Commons (“The Commons”) program in order to expand the tool’s capabilities, and ensure its future as a trusted reliable solution.

Since DLRS joined the Open Source Commons family of apps (including Ombusman Cloud Care, Snowfakery, Grassroots Mobile Survey App, and Summit Events), I’ve been on the edge of my seat, waiting to see and celebrate the goodness that was coming our way. But y’all, this release is better than even my wildest dreams!

Installation is a breeze

Which may also be because I was on an embarrassingly out-of-date version. No time like the present to fix that – especially with the new, super slick installer!

  • Love the success message and installation percentage
  • Love the easy way to switch to my sandbox (always test in a sandbox!)
  • Love the easy peasy button to open my target org
  • Love the hyperlink to the Community Group for support

Documentation is a dream

OMG, these volunteers (YES volunteers) really know the way to this tender lil admin’s heart with a dedicated DOCUMENTATION SITE for the DLRS tool. And a clear path for how we can contribute DLRS “recipes” to the “cookbook.” This is great inspo if you are thinking about how you can use DLRS in your org!

Doc writing is so, so important and unglamorous work. I applaud the DLRS team for making this incredible resource!

Is that all?

“Wizard” is appropriate name bc the new DLRS Wizard is magical

Creating new DLRS’s used to be such a chore and required copying and pasting fields from different tabs and checking my data dictionary a zillion times to make sure I wasn’t messing up. The new Wizard takes me through a series of steps, first I pick my objects, then I pick my fields, etc etc etc, in a way that felt completely natural and easy for me, a real person who had no influence over the requirements or fulfillment of this feature.

Release is packed with goodies

Just check out this list to see what else the DLRS team has been cooking up! Which deliverable is your favorite?

I think mine is the List View tab for seeing all of my DLRS’s (is that we call them?) at once. Now… to fix that naming convention…

Seriously, DO look up

Every day, I talk with people who are putting all of their creative energy into campaigns like mitigating climate change, ending the digital divide, cancelling student debt, ending racism, winning just housing policy (I could go on…). These conversations leave me inspired and excited and hopeful. And yet, sometimes I feel like

about the technology needed to meet the mandate of our missions. Roll Up Summaries are one of those tools. It’s hard to see how we can build a base of donors, volunteers, policy makers, students, without being able to count and summarize all of that information in all sorts of ways, without starting a new spreadsheet every time. A free and open source app like DLRS puts this power into our social justice fingertips! Now all we need to do is rise to the occasion and take advantage of it!

Thank a DLRS volunteer with the hashtag, I #LookUp to You!

I’m trying to make this a bit more popular in my Twitter circles, will you join me?

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