Archive for April, 2006

Reporting on Test Drive Login History

If you have an application on the AppExchange and have setup a test drive, you were supplied 2 usernames: an admin user and a eval user. The admin user allows you to configure the system for your test drive and the eval user is the one that your test drive runs as.

How can you measure important metrics such as:

  • How many people have downloaded my application?
  • How many people are test driving my application?

I cannot help you with the first question (can Salesforce?), but you can get some information on the second question without asking Salesforce for the information.

To do so, log into Salesforce as the Admin user and navigate to the Setup | Manage Users | Users screen. Click on the Evaluation User record that you use to run the Test Drive as. Scroll down and you have a Login History listed there.


From that list, you have an option of downloading the Login History. One nice thing about this is that the IP address is listed. If you wanted to, you could use this information to append data to the records and report on usage by region. If anyone has suggestions on a good way to append this information en masse, please comment here.

Add a little Excel magic to the downloaded file using a Pivot Chart and you can get a nice graph on the Test Drive usage. Below is a graph of the Test Drive Usage for my User Adoption Dashboard as of today. Once I downloaded the file, it took me about 5-10 minutes to get this chart the way I wanted. This requires some knowledge of Pivot Tables/Charts and Excel formulas.


This only answers the question of how often your application is being Test Driven and is not a complete measure of success. It’s a start. Other uses for this data include.

  • Measuring how often the same IP address is test driving the application
  • If you are appending region or network name information to your file, you can measure how often members of a specific Network Location are accessing your Test Drive
  • Did the number of Test Drives increase in line with various marketing activities you have going on to promote your product/service?

While writing this post, I received an email from Salesforce about the Lead Service from AppExchange. This answers the questions I raised at the beginning of this post. It provides a mechanism to populate your own Salesforce instance with information on who is performing Test Drives or downloading your app. They do this by having the user (optionally) complete a Web-To-Lead form that maps to your own Org. This is great news and is the best way to report on Test Drive and Download usage. I just learned about this and have not enabled this on my Test Drives. It does not appear that they will be passing IP Address, Browser or Platform information in this service. That is only available in the Login History.

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Adoption Dashboards by

Salesforce one-upped me and published some Adoption dashboards of their own. They look nice and measure things in ways that are different from my User Adoption Dashboard. I suggest checking this out if you are looking for more adoption dashboards. You can never have enough as an Admin!

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User Adoption Dashboard is live on AppExchange


The User Adoption Dashboard I created earlier this month is now live on the AppExchange. Click the image below to get to the Dashboard page or search for it on AppExchange.


I have received very positive feedback about the dashboard and I understand it is being used by during AppExchange seminars, which is very nice to hear.

I would really appreciate additional feedback about the dashboard as a comment on this post and/or on the AppExchange page as a review. Also, please let me know how the dashboard can be improved or additional dashboards that would be helpful to have on AppExchange.

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Spanning Salesforce 3.0

Company: Spanning Partners (website)
Product: Spanning Salesforce 3.0
Product Page

Spanning Salesforce is a service that allows you to subscribe to various data queries via RSS. It is a one of a kind service for customers. I originally learned about what Spanning Partners was doing back in June 2005 and have been following the evolution of the service ever since. Spanning Partners specializes in RSS and is an advocate and thought leader in RSS In The Enterprise. If you are interested in tracking RSS in the Enterprise topics, I suggest subscribing to Charlie Wood’s (founder of Spanning Partners) Moonwatcher Blog feed-icon-16x16.png.

Per the Spanning Salesforce web site:

Spanning Salesforce lets you track your most important information—including leads, opportunities, contacts, events, tasks, documents, and more—using RSS. And by using the same technology that powers podcasting, Spanning Salesforce delivers price lists, collateral, and other documents stored in right to your laptop, desktop, or mobile device.


The number of feeds is growing every day. At the time of writing this review, the number of feeds totaled 26. In a March 15 post on Spanning Salesforce, the feed count was only 14. 12 new feeds were setup in less than a month. This goes to show that a) the ability for new feeds to be created is pretty easy for them, b) They are listening to user requests for new feeds and c) There are likely to be many more feeds in the future that are automatically included with your subscription.

One particularly unique feed, New Attachments, allows you to monitor file attachments as they get uploaded. does not currently have any reports to obtain this information. It is only accessible through the API. This feed can be very helpful for administrators to keep real-time tabs on file usage. It could also be used to invoke back office processes when, for example, a final contract is uploaded.

Spanning Partners made a number of architectural improvements that provide better performance on their back-end and also gives them the ability to setup new feeds very quickly.

Custom fields are now supported. This is fantastic and makes the value of the feeds so much greater. The custom fields are located at the end of each feed item after the Created/Last Updated information.

One thing that is required to use this service is a feed reader that supports secure feeds. Popular choices include FeedDemon for Windows, Attensa for Outlook, NetNewsWire for OS X, and Newsclip and FreeNews for mobile devices.

You can see how the feeds render in these readers by going to the Screenshots page.


One of the changes in the move to 3.0 is that the feeds are no longer free. You get a free 30 day trial and then can signup at a monthly rate of $12.95 for all feeds or a yearly rate of $129.95. The yearly rate is the price of 10 months, so you are getting 2 months free. It’s a simple model where your subscription gives you access to every public feed available, present and future.

I signed up for a trial and it was a piece of cake. Purchases are made through PayPal only right now. If you are a company purchasing on behalf of many people, you can contact Spanning Partners to work out other billing arrangements.

Getting Setup

Once you are signed up, you have a few options for getting your feeds. I tried it both ways and they were equally simple. You can either subscribe to each feed one at a time if you only care about a few of them. Alternatively, you can import the OPML file located on the Spanning Partners site and have all of the feeds download to your reader. The OPML file is pre-organized with several folders containing the feeds. It also included a subscription to the Spanning Partners blog feed-icon-16x16.png so you can keep up to date on any announcements they make.


View of Subscription Folders in FeedDemon

I preferred starting with the full feed set in the OPML file. Once you have the feeds in your reader, it is easy to delete the ones that are not needed or seem redundant. However, get them all and give them some time to work so you can see what is most relevant to your needs.


Spanning Salesforce is a very well built and user friendly service. A very positive sign about Spanning Partners is that things outside the service itself (for example, the signup process) were well thought out and provide a good user experience. This is a good sign that Spanning Partners is very knowledgeable about the technology and also very cognizant of the user experience, which is key. Those types of companies have a tendency to succeed. If you follow the Moonwatcher Blog, you will quickly learn that Charlie is on the leading edge of RSS in the Enterprise and the service will be quick to adopt new standards as they develop.

Spanning Salesforce is great for any RSS savvy user: sales, support and admin users. Spanning Salesforce is aimed directly at the end user. The end user signs up directly for the service. Utilizing this service requires no involvement from the Administrator of your Salesforce application. This is different than most other AppExchange applications that require installation administratively.

As RSS adoption increases and the functionality starts getting embedded in everyday applications like IE7 and Outlook, look for Spanning Salesforce to become even more popular with Salesforce users. For now, it’ll probably sell mostly to the early adopter crowd. If you are among them, rely on your Salesforce information regularly and are not tethered to your computer all day, I would suggest signing up for a trial.

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Developers’ Sidekick for

Company: Upside Outcomes Ltd (website)
Product: Developers’ Sidekick for
Product Page
On AppExchange

Developers’ Sidekick for is a nice little item to have in your quiver. It’s a free application for download (my license defaulted to 1 year of activation) that provides you a quick look at your Salesforce objects, references to those objects and, for picklist fields, available values. Per the website:

Developers’ Sidekick for is a free client application that displays objects and their fields, their properties and parameters, including pick-list values. Developers’ Sidekick provides a handy instant reference for people developing custom apps or designing reports.

Upside Outcomes Ltd, the maker of this tool, has other related tools, most of which are in development. I have not had a chance to check them out yet.

In order to use the application, you need to complete a contact information form with, at a minimum, an accurate email address. A serial number will be emailed to you to enter into the application for activation.

Once you enter your login credentials, the application imports all of the information about your environment. This makes the navigation of the app very fast since all of the data is cached. I didn’t test it too much, but I assume you’ll need to logout and login again in order to refresh the schema.

The Schema Browser (image below) provides you a quick look at an object. As you can see, I have selected the Account object. Within the “Object” frame, I can see other objects that related to the Account object and the properties of the Account object. Within the “Attribute” frame, I can see all of the fields related to my selected object. Once I select a field, I can see other information such as the object it references (for lookup fields), picklist values (for picklist fields) and the properties of the attribute.


The Developer’s Helper screen puts field information into a text box for easy cutting and pasting into your code. Each object is listed along the left. Once selected, all of the fields are listed. You can then “dress the text” to have the app quickly setup the fields so you can cut and paste the text for various purposes.


This app seems pretty handy. You can actually get most of the same information from sForce Explorer with the addition of things like an SOQL tester and syntax helper. Also, sForceHerder provides another type of look at this same information. Sidekick just has a different UI and does a few things differently. I recommend having all 3 in your quiver and using the one that works best for you as you need it. The installs are all pretty light.

One thing I don’t know is what information, if any, is being sent to the vendor’s servers. I assume they are only collecting your contact information when you sign up and then associate the serial number from your registration to your record. Beyond that, it’s between you and the API.

This, and their other tools, will eventually be listed on the App Exchange.

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