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Salesforce Heretic » 2006 » April

April 28, 2006

Salesforce.com Mail Merge, Part V: Where Movie Sequels Fear to Tread…

Filed under: Howto, Code, Salesforce.com, Mail Merge — heretic @ 7:20 pm

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In our 5th part of our 4,323,412 part series on building our own Mail Merge tool for Salesforce.com we take a look at downloading the mail merge template file, and getting Word to perform the merge. (more…)

April 27, 2006

“Inside The Force” - No, really, it’s not me.

Filed under: The Heretic, Salesforce.com, The Soapbox — heretic @ 3:18 pm

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I tend to try to keep in touch with the news, buzz, whatnot, that surrounds Salesforce.com, and I’ve been keeping a close eye on a new blog, Inside The Force allegedly written by a SFDC employee calling him/serself Omega.

For the record - it’s not me. And, in a Steven Colbert (sarcastic) kind of way, I’m getting pissed that he/she’s taking all my ideas and material. The last entry really got my blood racing, regarding a quote from Marc Benioff in a BusinessWeek article:

Wait a second…
So as a public company, the company’s primary mission is to increase share value…
and if sales leads spike when we have outages…
and more leads lead to more sales…
and more sales improves share value…
Shouldn’t we have more outages?

Seriously, who the hell is this guy? I read that article earlier today as well and was halfway through an email to Marc Benioff myself on the exact same topic and I read that post in my feed reader.

Now this isn’t the first time this guy/gal hijacked one of my thoughts / ideas… In this post about trust.salesforce.com he/she writes:

Here’s what my dream list includes for trust.salesforce.com…
1) Uptime stats for the last 7, 30, 90, 180, and 365 days.
2) Average speed stats for the last 7, 30, 90, 180, 365 days.
3) Maximum and minimum average speed time on a daily basis

Hey bud, get your own ideas and stop stealing mine. You’re an SFDC employee, you’re ‘inside the bubble’ and if you’ve been working there any amount of time you should be thinking like everyone else. Go watch THX-1138 and remember to take your pills.

All sarcasm aside….

Whoever the hell you are - you need a promotion. Not one of those, “promote him out of harms way” ones either… Disesention and healthy debate are good things now and again, through them a working understanding of the other side of the coin can be learned, and it benefits us all. Keep up the good work.

April 25, 2006

Salesforce.com Mail Merge - Part IV:

Filed under: Code, Salesforce.com, Mail Merge — heretic @ 10:55 am

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If you haven’t read them, parts I, II, and III get into how were going to do the merge, as well as how we’re going to get the data. At this point we’ve settled on using the XML merge feed from the Salesforce.com UI, and we’re going to generate CSV data to get fed into Word. (more…)



April 23, 2006

What is a “Best Practice”?

Filed under: The Soapbox — heretic @ 10:36 am

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So here I am sitting back, enjoying a nice brunch, catching up on some email (you know, those chain letter jokes, huge video attachments, etc…), reading some forums and generally being a lazy bastard for a change. I came across a post from an Salesforce.com employee on the customer forums offering some Best Practices. (Note: I’m not linking the message, it’s not specifically pertinent to the discussion, and the employee was trying to help, no harm no foul.)

But something just seemed to rub me the wrong way… What exactly do you call a Best Practice? And who’s is it? (more…)

April 21, 2006

Salesforce.com and Google OneBox

Filed under: The Heretic, Salesforce.com, Google OneBox — heretic @ 11:44 am

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Over on SalesForceWatch.com Mark posted the following news piece about the Google OneBox integration:

As noted yesterday, Google will be announcing Google OneBox today, a new feature for the Google Search Appliance making it easier for users to find data in corporate applications.’ Using Salesforce OneBox modules, users will be able to search across the entire enterprise, including Salesforce.com, for data.

I’m very interested to hear from any Google Appliance customers (sorry, Google Mini doesn’t count) if you’ve gotten this working. Drop a comment, or send me an email.

(Yes, the open API for the OneBox stuff is very intregueing but the module definitions seem to be ‘missing’ something… Of course it could be me…)

Salesforce.com Mail Merge, Part III: “Spaulding, this calls for the ole Billy Barule…”

Filed under: Salesforce.com, Mail Merge — heretic @ 11:30 am

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So, in a quick recap, we’ve already laid down, in general terms anyway, why we’re doing this, and generally how we’re going to do the merge. Now it’s time to get the data.

So if you’re a Salesforce.com customer with access to the API you might think to yourself, “Oh, this is easy… Just query the object I need, wham boom bang, vola!”. Good luck with that. (more…)

April 18, 2006

Salesforce.com Mail Merge, Part II: “Word made me do it…”

Filed under: Salesforce.com, Mail Merge — heretic @ 12:48 pm

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This post best read with Twisted Sister, We’re Not Gonna Take It playing in the background…

Back in our introduction to this series, I elaborated on some of the issues surronding Mail Merges in Salesforce.com. In this part we’re going to look at how Word handles a Mail Merge, and figure out how we’ll get our data ready to be merged. (more…)

April 14, 2006

Mail Merge - The Third Rail of Salesforce.com

Filed under: Salesforce.com, Mail Merge — heretic @ 5:22 pm

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Mail Merge — What I’m sure is one of the most used extensions to Salesforce.com, is also one of my most hated things. In fact, every time I hear it come up I cringe, because I know it’s not going to be good. I’ve gone as far as to label it The Third Rail of Salesforce.com. (Ok, so I kinda stole the thrid rail bit from Social Secuirty and Politics, but it fits…)

When one of my clients was evaluating new CRM packages circa July/August 2004 we ran Salesforce.com through it’s paces. We tested the security model, custom fields, even ran a quick test mail merge… We knew we’d find some limitations, no surprise to anyone really, but everything seemed ok. The client migrated all his data and went live Oct 1st, 2004. And woah did we miss something with Mail Merge… (more…)

April 10, 2006

Progmatic Access to Salesforce.com Reports

Filed under: Howto, Salesforce.com — heretic @ 8:51 am

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Every once in awhile the topic gets broached on the Salesforce.com forums about getting access to reports via the API. Still no dice on that though, but there are a few tips and tricks you can use to get your data — if you’re willing to work for it. (more…)

April 5, 2006

The Elusive Five 9’s

Filed under: Salesforce.com — heretic @ 8:58 pm

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The Salesforce.com marketing machine went into hyperdrive today with this press release, quoted in part below, emphasis mine:

SAN FRANCISCO, April 5 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Salesforce.com (NYSE: CRM - News), the technology and market leader in on-demand customer relationship management (CRM), today announced it has delivered 99.999% planned uptime and availability on its service to its customers over the past month.

Before I get into the point I wish to make, I thought I’d mention I’ve really found myself becoming a fan of Steven Colbert’s new show, The Colbert Report. Nevermind The Daily Show, both with season passes on my TiVo… After reading that press release I feel like ‘borrowing’ Steven’s “Tip of My Hat, Wag of My Finger” segment…

First, a Tip of My Hat to the Salesforce.com team for pulling off the five 9’s feat. Clearly an about-face from where things were in late Janurary. A Wag of My Finger for having needed to put the word “planned” in the press release at all. Five 9’s is truly an impressive feat, until you look at the platform availability including the nearly-every-weekend maintenance windows. Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics. (Note: For those non-customers, just because there have been maintenance windows does not mean the service was unavilable for the entire window, if at all.)

I understand, and can appreciate, how many customers are more or less 9 to 5 shops. But with Customer Self-Service, and some SFDC orgs running 24/7/364 (or more), every Saturday maintenance tends to get tiring. In fact, I end up spending a good amount of time on Friday making sure offline clients are synched and my client’s disaster recovery plans are in place for an extended outage. Here’s to hoping there’s an end in sight, and the next uptime press release doesn’t have that word in it.