The Silver Lining

Lessons & Learnings from a salesforce certified technical architect.

Posts Tagged ‘Salesforce.com

If This Then Salesforce

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I’ve been enjoying IFTTT for a while now and if you haven’t experimented with it yet then I’m not sure we’ll ever be friends. Essentially it’s a very easy tool that lets you set triggers on a source API e.g. Foursquare and have some information from that API be posted to a target API e.g. Jawbone Up. IFTTT calls these recipes and I’d like to demonstrate some particularly delicious combinations that can be used with Chatter.

Salesforce Org Alerts and Known Issue posted to Chatter

Salesforce makes Instance Alerts e.g. “Perfomance degradation on EU0.” available through an RSS feed so all you need to do is create a recipe (or copy mine) that monitors the appropriate RSS url for changes and posts to a particular Chatter group.

You can do a similar thing with Salesforce Known Issues.

Tweets posted to Chatter

Quite often there are interesting tweets that I want to share with a particular group on Chatter. One of the recipes I’ve created in this class uses the hashtag #tqcd to push a particular tweet to our “Development” Chatter group.

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 15.24.04We also have more than a few Reid Carlberg fans in Tquila so we have a recipe that shares his tweets to a dedicated group in our Org. His tweets are mostly about facial hair at the moment but who am I to judge genius.

Limitations

At this point Chatter can only be used as a target system in any recipe but I’m hoping they’ll change that in future.

Best Practices

So far I’ve established two guidelines:

  • Create a separate Chatter group for recipes that will be executed often. This gives people the option to opt-out of those posts.
  • If possible create a separate Salesforce user to post on Chatter. This will reduce the number of explicit posts you making it easier for others to find information in your feed.

You can find all these recipes on my IFTT profile. There are quite a few other interesting recipes regarding Salesforce on the IFTTT website but I’m hoping that you’ll be inspired to think of new creative ways to use the tool. If you do please let me know in a comment below or on Twitter.

Written by Wes

November 15, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Developing Chrome Extensions for Salesforce

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Get off my case!Chrome extensions are awesome, they provide amazing convenience that is limited only by your imagination. There are some amazing Chrome Extensions for Salesforce already, some of my favourites being:

As a great fan of JavaScript I’ve always wanted to create a Chrome Extension for Salesforce and I’ve finally gotten around to it. The hardest part was figuring out what context the JS executes in (e.g. in the current tabs context, or in some separate context). Let me step through the code to show you how it’s done.

Chrome Extension Structure

A Chrome Extension is made up of a JavaScript, HTML, images and JSON. At its core is a manifest file which contains the metadata describing your application in JSON. There is a lot of documentation about the structure of this file but some of the key elements are shown below.

{
  "name": "Get off my case!",
  "version": "0.8.1",
  "description": "Presents a notification above the favicon with the number of cases assigned to the current user.",
  "manifest_version": 2,
  "icons" : {
               "16": "img/icons/16.png",
               "48": "img/icons/48.png",
               "128": "img/icons/128.png"
             },
  "permissions": [ "tabs", "https://*.force.com/*", "https://*.salesforce.com/*"],
  "update_url": "https://clients2.google.com/service/update2/crx",
  "author": "Wesley Nolte",
  "browser_action": {
     "default_icon": "img/tquila_lozenge.png"
  },
  "content_scripts": [ {
     "js": [  "js/jquery.js",
              "js/forcetk.js",
              "js/tinycon.js",
              "js/contentscript.js" ],
     "matches": [ "https://*.salesforce.com/*", "https://*.force.com/*" ]
  }]
}

This file references all external resources (JavaScript, images etc.), the important parts here being the JavaScript i.e. jquery.js, forcetk.js, tinycon.js and contentscript.js. In short these files represent:

  • jquery.js – the jQuery library
  • forcetk.js – the JavaScript wrapper for the Salesforce.com REST API, but with one modification i.e. the ability to fetch info about the current user
  • tinycon.js – a small library used to create the notification on the tab
  • contentscript.js – the JavaScript file that brings them all together

The JavaScript

The first 3 JavaScript files are libraries that great, but aren’t particularly interesting in the context of this tutorial. The last file is where the magic happens, the code is listed below.

/* Get the cookie values om nom nom */
function getValueFromCookie(b) {
    var a, c, d, e = document.cookie.split(";");
    for (a = 0; a < e.length; a++)
        if (c = e[a].substr(0, e[a].indexOf("=")), d = e[a].substr(e[a].indexOf("=") + 1), c = c.replace(/^\s+|\s+$/g, ""), c == b) return unescape(d)
}

/* Encapsulating code instead of just letting it lay about */
function init() {
	// Get an instance of the REST API client and set the session ID
	var client = new forcetk.Client();
	client.setSessionToken(getValueFromCookie("sid"));

	// Retrieve the data representing the current user
	client.currentUser(function(response){
		var user = response;

		// Find cases that belong to the current user
		client.query("SELECT COUNT() FROM Case WHERE ownerId = '{0}'".replace("{0}",user.id), function(response){
			Tinycon.setBubble(response.totalSize);
		});
	});
}

init();

In short the code gets the session ID from the user’s cookie (the extension works in the context of the current user session for that tab) and uses that to call in using the REST API. Pretty easy huh?

Sourcecode and Extension Install

The sourcecode is on github if you want to experiment with it, and if you’d like to see it in action you can install it from the Chrome Web Store.

Written by Wes

September 14, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Salesforce Certified Technical Architect

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Fall seven times, stand up eight.

– Japanese proverb

Finally, I have this certification. This has been a journey for me, and taken much longer than I anticipated. I did fail the first attempt, but was given a retry (make-up exam) in the sections that I’d failed. I subsequently failed that too. My second, full attempt saw me pass, and in fact I found it quite easy so let me help you learn from my mistakes.

Attempt 1

Late last year I booked in my board review exam. I’m not going to go into the detail of what the board exam entails it’s because this has been discussed in detail here, here and here. I spent a lot of time preparing, and had some ad hoc coaching from the UK SFDC certification team but in the end the hypothetical exam destroyed me. Here’s why:

  • I’d been developing apps for nearly a year and was rusty with regards to various features of the platform used heavily in projects e.g. sharing, roles, content, knowledge
  • I missed the “formal coaching” that SFDC offers for those that pass the board exam, and thought I wouldn’t need it

Together these two things meant that my approach to the hypothetical, and my real-world experience were weak. I knew I’d failed 2 hours into the 4 hour board. Luckily (I suppose) I did very well in the other areas, and my case study was rock-solid so I was given a “make up” exam (2 months later) in my weakest areas.

Attempt 1.1

At this point I’d been back into consulting and oiled my rusty hinges. I also brushed up on any areas of weakness and felt quite prepared. However, the destruction this time around was even worse, I knew I’d failed in the first hour! The reasons here were:

  • I felt the hypothetical here was much more difficult
  • I focussed too much on creating the presentation, and too little on understanding the question
  • I panicked and solved problems that didn’t exist

Attempt 2

Six months after my original attempt I was back in the swing of consulting, working in every role imaginable from sales through to QA and release management. I’d also gone through the “Seed the Partner” official coaching. I honed my approach to the hypothetical and brushed up on Summer 13. And I passed. And it wasn’t that difficult, here’s why:

  • I’d gone through the official coaching with SFDC
  • I’d known the theory all along, but also had the opportunity to flex the old consulting muscles
  • I convinced myself not to panic
  • I read every word of the hypothetical at least twice, focussing on understanding instead of focussing on creating the presentation
  • I drew. I’m not very comfortable with Powerpoint as an architecting tool but for some reason felt compelled to use it in my hypothetical previously. This time around I did what I was comfortable with, telling a story backed by several diagrams drawn in front of the judges as I presented.

I’ve also developed several assets that helped me to study and will be sharing them in a series of posts in the coming weeks.

– Wes Nolte, Force.com MVP, Certified SFDC TA, BBQ Master

Written by Wes

July 24, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Knowledge Tree for Salesforce User Roles

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UX that makes you say things like, "Gee Whizz" and "Cowabunga"

Many moons ago @ratherGeeky was searching for an AppExchange app that would neatly display user roles so that she could be the best admin she could be. I had a poke around and there were a few nice apps out there but nothing with a simple, neat display of user roles.

Since then CloudSpokes was created, and a competition to that effect was released using the concept and tools that I was going to use (@jeffdonthemic smells like turnips btw). The outcome of the competition was a few very cool apps, but nothing that was package-ready so I pressed ahead anyway.

I’m happy to announce that you can now get Knowledge Tree for Roles on the AppExchange for free. It’s definitely a point solution, very specific in the problem it’s trying to solve but I think it does that well. I have a roadmap for the product and will [ever so slowly] be releasing new features e.g. drag and drop will be killer.

If you install the app and like it then please, please, please (please (please)) review it as it helps exposure and will hopefully lead to me getting more time to work on it. If you don’t like it let me know why via email (wes@cloud-corporation.com) and I’ll do my best to turn your frown upside down.

Written by Wes

October 14, 2011 at 11:23 am

Across the Pond with Shannon Hale

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Shannon is Senior Product Manager for Declarative Apps at Salesforce.com

@abhinavguptas and I were curious as to the identity of the creator of the SetupScripter, which is now incorporated into the salesforce.com Org setup menu. I dug around a bit and managed to uncover her real identity – community please meet Shannon Hale, Shannon Hale this is the community. She didn’t just stop with that wonderful piece of UX but has moved onto bigger and better things, but I’ll let her tell you about those.

If you’d like to learn more about the genius that is Shannon or just have a chat with her you can get her on twitter at @shannonsans or @bathtubdreamer. You can also check out her online presence at shannonsansserif.com and bathtubdreamer.com.

Onto the Q&A!

Who is Shannon Hale? How did you get into software development and UX design?

I started out as a writer, but in a different field — I wrote and edited for some independent Canadian music and culture magazines. I started technical writing to help pay the bills, and from there wandered through a series of tech positions: technical training, systems analysis and design, and software development. In 2001 I became obsessed with why a product I was coding was difficult to use, and began to independently study interaction design and user experience.

When I’m not being a complete geek — which I am even at home, I always have personal and volunteer web projects going on — I’m sewing, knitting, or binding books. I’m one of those people who always needs to be doing something with their hands.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Wes

October 14, 2011 at 10:49 am

London Force.com Meetup – 20 October 2011

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Yip it’s that time again and boy do we have some very cool speakers this time around. The gig is at Skillsmatter at 6.30pm on 20 October and is summarised in the info below. Please don’t forget to RSVP. Of course there will the be usual beers and pizza 😉

Hope to see you there!

AMJAD KHAN ON FORCE.COM ERD USING SCHEMASPY

Amjad Khan will give a talk to the SafesForce user group on How to Install and run SchemaSpy on any Salesforce Org to generate an ER diagram. More details…

SIMON GOODYEAR ON MAKING BETTER USE OF INTERFACES ON THE FORCE.COM PLATFORM

Simon Goodyear’s talk for the SalesForce user group will give a quick overview on what interfaces are, how you can make better use of them in APEX, and what we gain from doing so. More details…

TESTING ON THE FORCE.COM PLATFORM

Keir Bowden gives a talk for the SalesForce User Group on Testing on the force.com platform, covering TDD, unit testing, continuous integration and test scripting. More details…

EFFECTIVE B2C MANAGEMENT

Stony Grunow gives a talk for the SalesForce User Group on Effective B2C management for companies using the “Contacts and Organisations” package. More details…

TURNING YOUR ORG INTO A FULLY OPERATIONAL BATTLE STATION USING RUBY AND SELENIUM

Bruce Durling will give a talk for the SalesForce User Group on turning your org into a fully operational battle Station using ruby and selenium More details…

Written by Wes

September 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

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