Archive for May, 2006

OEM Edition announced the launch of the OEM Edition yesterday. The OEM Edition allows Salesforce partners to build applications on the platform and offer their products to users. The price per user for the OEM Edition is $25/month.

I think I am interpreting this correctly…

You, as an OEM provider, offer your product/service to both customers and customers not yet on the Salesforce platform. The OEM Edition only applies to the customers not yet on the Salesforce platform. As an OEM vendor, you pay $25/month/user for anyone that takes up a license. It is then up to you to pass through that cost to your customer. The end result is that the customer only has a relationship with you, the OEM vendor. You, in turn, have the relationship with as the platform provider for your product/service. Correct? Please add your comments to help clear this up. It is not totally straight forward in the press release.

This is a step in the right direction, but is not as ideal (IMHO) as the Platform Edition licensing I recommended in April. I feel that another licensing model is still necessary that allows you, as a consumer or corporate purchaser, to buy licenses to the platform only. And to buy them directly from This would be a relationship between you and with no third party involved. You just pay your subscription fee to the platform. From there, you would have the ability to add to it through AppExchange or by building your own apps. This allows for much more flexibility in that you start with the platform and then select/build the apps you want. Like I said, the OEM model is a step in the right direction, but you need to want one of those OEM products before you can get on the platform. The Platform Edition idea is an option to opt-in to the platform first (like buying a computer with only the operating system and then choosing the software you want).

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Use the Skype Web Toolbar for one-click dialing from

Users of Skype can download the Skype Web Toolbar. The Skype Web Toolbar recognizes phone numbers and Skype Names on webpages, so that you can call with one click, through Skype. It works well when using No configuration required. All phone number fields are transformed into clickable links that launch Skype to dial that number.

Skype Web Toolbar

This will work well for non-US users too. The toolbar allows you to select your default country so that a country code is not used when dialing.

Skype Web Toolbar Country Selector

The Skype Web Toolbar is available for both IE & Firefox.

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AppExchange Conference, May 24th

Salesforce is hosting the AppExchange User, Partner & Development Conference on May 24th in San Francisco. There are separate breakout sessions in the afternoon for Customers, Partners and Developers. Each group has its own “track”. The breakout sessions look quite good.

I was very excited when I saw this event was taking place and was excited to be a part of it. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend. I am very interested in hearing about how it goes. If you are blogging the event, add a comment here and point to your blog so I (we) can keep an eye on what comes out of it. Or comment here directly with your updates on the event.

The morning calls for a keynote from Marc Benioff and an “Exclusive Preview of New Applications”. I am interested in seeing what announcements come out of it!

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Open custom links in the same window without creating nested frames

If you use custom links regularly, you know about this issue. It’s an issue when you decide to open custom links in the existing window rather than a popup window. You can get nested frames where the entire application is within the frame where the data should reside like in the screen shot below. For this screen shot, I had a custom link from the Account Page Layout to a specific report. I chose to Open in Salesforce window without sidebar.


If I run the custom link 3 times in a row, my screen now looks like this.


You get the idea.

Because of this issue, many people opt for using pop-up windows instead. This can be somewhat annoying to an end user, though. We have pop-up blockers now because people don’t like this. Why open another window? You can fix this problem, by using a simple S-Control for your custom link rather than using a direct URL. All you need to do is copy the code below. Where it says {URL GOES HERE}, replace that with the same URL you put in your Custom Link.

< script language="JavaScript">

function redirect()
parent.frames.location.replace(“{URL GOES HERE}”);


< /script >

Note: In order for the code to appear on this blog post I had to add a space in the < script> and < /script> tags. You’ll need to remove those spaces too.

Combine this trick with my old post about Auto-creating reports from web links to do some dynamic reporting right from record (e.g. run an Activity History report for a specific account right from the Account page).

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Functionality Wishes (05/2006)

I have been delving into some new areas lately and I keep coming up with more and more functionality wishes. Some bigger than others, but I want to keep documenting them as I collect bunches of them. These are more configuration and development related.

Sorting QueryResultSets

When querying data using SOQL, you cannot perform an ORDER BY. I assume this is to protect system performance, but it’d be great if there was some way to perform sorts on your data in the API. Maybe this is having ORDER BY as a parameter in SOQL. Alternatively, there could be a sort() method that can be called once you actually have your QueryResult in memory. This method should allow you to provide a multi-column sort order.

I have seen some sorting functions on the message boards, but they are a bit over my head. It would be nice to have this built right into the product.

Configuring Partners

I echo Gokubi’s recommendation for the ability to configure the Partners object. It would be great to be able to add additional information regarding the relationship between 2 accounts.

More Description fields when configuring

It would be nice to have more areas to input a description when you are configuring. Also, when there is a description field, it’d be nice to be able to see that when viewing the data in a list. For example,

  • Display the Description when listing the Fields for an object
  • Include a description on the Sharing Rule page and display it when viewing Sharing Rules. Some organizations have 100s of Sharing rules and it’s hard to keep them straight sometimes. Display this field on the Sharing Rule list
  • Display the Description field when listing the Profiles
  • etc.
Utilize Views in more places in the Setup area

Setup Views on pages like Fields, Profiles, Sharing Rules, etc. so you could include any fields you want on there. You might have a view for Formula Fields that shows you all the formulas right there in one page. Or a Profile view that displays the profiles and all of their Tab permissions. Views exist today when Managing Users. Apply the same concept in other areas of the application so we do not have to drill into each record to see details all the time.

Where is this Public Group Used?

Publis Groups can be very useful for administering access to Reports, Dashboards, Documents, etc. However, it is difficult to know where a Public Group is being used unless you click into every folder. It’d be nice to have a view from the Public Group page to see where it is being used.

Picklists in Formula Fields

Right now, you cannot simply grab the value of a picklist field in a formula. You have to know the value you are looking for and use the ISPICKVAL function. Alternatively, you need to create a formula field for the picklist and go through every possible picklist value and output its corresponding text. This can be burdensome. There should be a way to simply reference the picklist field in a formula and use its value.

Formula Field Length

The workaround to the issue with picklist fields is to create a formula field that does an ISPICKVAL function on every possible picklist value and then outputs the equivalent text. The max formula size is 1000 characters, so sometimes you need to create multiple formula fields to accomplish this. If the Picklists in Formula Fields wish isn’t fulfilled, then the max length of a formula field should be increased.

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