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Salesforce Heretic

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.

April 3, 2006

Homepage and Dashboard Auto-Refresh

Filed under: Howto, Code, Salesforce.com — heretic @ 11:56 pm

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The Salesforce.com customer forums has some interesting discussions from time to time. Back in December Salesforce.com user jay07 posted a thread entitled “Favorite Home Page Elements.” In it some nice home page components were disccused. I offered my personal favorite - the homepage auto-refresh.

My placing an HTML META refresh tag inside the “Messages and Alerts” homepage component you can cause the home page to reload at certain intervals. The upside to this change is that users who leave their homepage acive in the background of their PC will never be logged out of the system. It’s also a significant drawback too.

A user replied asking if there was a way to have the dashboard automatically refresh too. Unfortunately at the time while there was a way to do it, it wasn’t very pretty. With the new UI in the Winter ‘06 release this became alot simpler. (more…)

April 1, 2006

Heretic? Blog? Uh oh…

Filed under: The Heretic — heretic @ 11:38 am

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The Salesforce.com (SFDC) Heretic was born out of a post on the SFDC Developer forums by SFDC employee Dave Carrol (DevAngel) who in this post wrote:

Now, Daroz has been preaching heresy (def: A person who holds controversial opinions, especially one who publicly dissents from the officially accepted dogma of the Roman Catholic Church Salesforce.com.) about injecting script into various objects.

Over the last few months the volume of email I have received from various other Salesforce.com customers has risen steadily. While I truely believe that the Salesforce.com platform is one of, if not the most customizable CRM packages going, sometimes (ok, most of the time) I tend to push it past it’s limits. From time to time this has put me quite at odds with the developers and engineers at SFDC as I exploit hidden links and inject script onto their pages, all in an effort at making things easier or achieving more functionality. Several friends of mine have been prodding me to start a blog to post some thoughts and ideas, things that you’d never see on the AppXchange. That coupled with my increasing volume of mail, and increase in workload from other projects finally kicked me to start up this blog.

Most of what I intend to post will be technical in nature, ideas and methods to do various things on the platform. From time to time I will, as I have in the past, opine on the state of the platform, development, or industry. I may throw up a news bit or two, but for the most part I’ll leave that to Mark over at SalesForceWatch.com.