Archive for December, 2010

Want to help with Info Center?

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The short story…

I’d like an independent developer to “co-own” the Info Center app with Arrowpointe.  This dev will help take it to the next level.  This dev will do this in the name of getting some exposure for themselves and also as a way to learn force.com technologies.  The result is a publicly facing deliverable.  Info Center will remain free.

The dev should consider this a side project (i.e. no pay) done in the interest of proving an app to the community and learning some things along the way.  If you are a developer and have wanted to get out there and do something on AppExchange, this is a good opportunity to get some experience for very little risk (you are only spending time).

The longer story…

Info Center is an app I created back in 2006.  To use it, an admin works in objects called Messages, FAQs and Links adding data for the purpose of communicating it to end users.  It was originally created for consulting projects I worked on as a place where the admin could answer FAQs for users as the deployment took off.  End users are given the “Info Center” tab, which renders all this data for them in a nice, easy to read format.

It has not changed in function or technology since 2006 and it could use an update.  For example, the Info Center tab below currently uses a S-Control to render it.

My focus is now on Geopointe and I have no time to work on Info Center.  I’ve been meaning to update it for a while now, but never got around to it.  Therefore, I wanted to see if anyone in the community (ideally an independent developer) wants to take on Info Center 2.0 and we’ll see what comes of it.

It still gets 10-20 installs per month and will provide a good way for someone trying to “make it” in the force.com world to gain some credibility. May as well help with an app that has a bit of momentum already, right?

Info Center was a project I assigned myself in 2006 in order to learn s-Controls and the API.  Having my deliverable be public facing went a long way towards making it polished, teaching me about the AppExchange and the nuances of delivering a app for others to use. I’d like to pass that experience along to someone else.

There is no timeline for this.  I am first looking for the right person who’d like to take this on.  If it takes months to complete, that’s fine.  As long as the person is committed to the task at hand.

At its simplest, I’d at least like to have the Info Center tab render using Visualforce.  I could envision a mix of Visualforce, Apex and jQuery being the technologies used. If delivering these technologies in an AppExchange app appeals to you, consider taking this on.

If interested, comment on this post and we’ll take it from there.  Please only comment if you are genuinely interested and feel you’d be able to see it through to the finish.  If you want to contact me privately, you can do so here.

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Using a colon in the Report Name

I posted this in the Dreamforce Chatter app and it got a nice response, so I thought I’d blog about it here too.

It’s subtle tip for you perfectionists out there that makes reports look just a tad more professional. If you add a colon (e.g. Orders: Aging) to your report name, it will display the report name on 2 separate lines when viewing the report. Use this to create a naming convention for your reports like (category: detailed description) or for long report names so they display nicely.

I don’t think this is an actual, documented feature from Salesforce, but it’s been this way for years.

Look at the difference between naming a report “Orders – Aging” and “Orders: Aging”. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s something I use regularly and thought I’d pass along.

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arrowpointe @ dreamforce

Dreamforce is just around the corner and Arrowpointe will be there.  There are a number of ways to learn about Arrowpointe’s apps and also to contact Scott Hemmeter.

  • Arrowpointe has a Dreamforce booth in the Expo.  Find it at…

  • Scott is presenting in the “Advanced Force.com Code (Apex) Development and Performance Considerations” session. Several opportunities to attend.
    • 1:15pm on Monday, December 6 at Cloudstock (Moscone West)
    • 3:45pm on Tuesday, December 7 at Dreamforce (Moscone West 2003) (follow in DF Chatter App)
    • 11:00am on Thursday, December 9 at Dreamforce (Moscone West 2004) (follow in DF Chatter App)
  • Follow Scott Hemmeter in the Dreamforce Chatter App
  • Follow Arrowpointe in the Dreamforce Chatter App
  • Follow @arrowpointe on Twitter

Dreamforce looks to be very exciting and full of good information.  Whether you are a customer, developer, partner, prospective customer, journalist or just a techie at heart, there is content for you at Dreamforce.

If you are attending the show and have not yet gotten involved in the Dreamforce Chatter app, be sure and participate in that.  It has already changed the pre-conference experience and added to the excitement significantly.

See you there!

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Geopointe 1.6

Geopointe 1.6 has been released on AppExchange.  The Update History page has the full list of changes in this release.  Below are highlights of the major changes, especially those that will impact end users’ experience with the application.  You should make your users aware of these changes.

Ad-Hoc Filtering

You can now apply filters to your queries from the Map page. You are no longer required to create and save a data set to get a filtered look at your data. You can still create and use Data Sets like before and this filter feature on the map page is a way to apply additional filters to the query. This feature should significantly reduce the number of data sets you require to have pre-created.

Coloring Markers

A new option called “Color Markers By” is available when mapping. This drop-down will list the fields you have available on the object. Selecting a field prior to clicking the map button tells Geopointe to ensure unique values from that field are put into a unique color. There are 20 pre-defined colors right now and they are the same colors used in Salesforce Dashboards.

Child Object Filters

You have always been able to filter on parent records (e.g. show Opportunities linked to Accounts with an Account Type = Customer).  Now you can use Child Relationships to filter parent objects.  For example, the image below is for an Account data set and is filters for Accounts with:

  • Account Type starting with “Customer”
  • Opportunities that have been Won and are of an Amount > 10,000

Enhanced Data Tables

The table below the map was significantly enhanced to allow pagination, searching, improved sorting and better rendering of values based upon data type.

Numbered Map Markers

This feature can be enabled via a User Preference on the My Settings page. It will add a number of each pin on the map and the same icon will display in the table so you can easily see the relationship between the table and the map.

Draggable MapQuest Routes

MapQuest routes are now draggable.  Once you generate a route, drag the route line around the page to tell it you want to go a different way.

View State Issue Is Gone!

Previous versions could throw an error regarding “View State” if too many records were added to the map.  This issue has been eliminated.  As a result of this, performance on the page should also be greatly improved.

Additional Items

  • Added a user preference to hide the Salesforce Sidebar from the Map & Visualize page. By default, the sidebar is displayed.
  • Many performance and optimizations enhancements

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