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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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AppExchange Best of ’09 Awards

Salesforce is currently running their Best of ’09 AppExchange awards.  The awards are solely based upon 2009 4-star and 5-star reviews.  If you use an Arrowpointe application, I encourage you to leave a review.  In addition to helping with awards, it’s the best way to give me your feedback and to help fellow Salesforce users know what’s quality and what is not.

Links to the Arrowpointe AppExchange listings are below:

Thank you for your feedback!

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Free AppExchange Apps (presentation from SD User Group)

I had the privilege of being asked to present to the San Diego Salesforce User Group this past Friday.  The topic for the day was Appexchange Applications, Tools, and Components that you can download for Free!

I presented on a number of Arrowpointe Products as well as some 3rd party ones that, over the years, I have come to really appreciate.  I included apps that are both free and ones I consider well worth the money.  The list is not exhaustive and there are lots of good candidates.  For 3rd party apps, I tried to pick ones that were useful to all Salesforce Customers and not ones that were focused on specific business processes or technologies to be integrated with.  That pares down the list quite a bit.

If you are interested, you can download my slides.  For each app I presented on, there are links on the slides to learn more about them.

Thank you San Diego User Group for being a great group to present to and I hope to make it down that way again soon!

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Info Center v1.0

The latest version of the Info Center is up on AppExchange.

The only change in this version is that it utilizes the production version of the AJAX Toolkit, which should improve the performance for you.

If you have Info Center installed already

The Info Center is an unmanaged package, meaning it requires you to uninstall/reinstall it to get the new version. Uninstalling it deletes all of the custom objects and your data will get deleted! If you already have the Info Center installed in your org, I have created a different package for you, Info Center (s-Control Only) 1.0. As the name implies, this package only contains the new s-Control code. If you have Info Center installed and want to only upgrade the code, do the following:

  1. Copy your current “IC Web Tab” s-Control code to a document just in case something goes wrong.
  2. Install the Info Center (s-Control Only) 1.0 package.
  3. Copy the “IC Web Tab 06072007” s-Control code to your clipboard.
  4. Edit the “IC Web Tab” s-Control. Select all the existing code and delete it. Paste the code from your clipboard to this s-Control. Click Save.
  5. Go to the Info Center tab and make sure the page renders nicely. If you have an issue, revert the “IC Web Tab” s-Control to the code from your document in step 1. You can contact me if you have an issue or add a comment to this post.
  6. If all is good, then you can uninstall the Info Center (s-Control Only). You don’t have to uninstall it, but it isn’t providing a function for you anymore.
  7. Enjoy! Hopefully performance will be improved for you

I haven’t been planning on making Info Center a managed package because it is meant to be a proof of concept and something that, hopefully, people will modify and make better. If it’s managed, then even the objects are locked down and you won’t be able to make any changes. Thus, it is staying unmanaged. There are arguments to be made on either side whether to make it a managed or unmanaged package. If you feel strongly about it, feel free to leave a comment.

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Info Center is live

The Info Center is now listed on AppExchange.

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Feel free to leave me a review on the listing.

As I have mentioned in previous posts

The Info Center was developed to fill a common need. During a rollout, users typically go through well constructed training sessions and will usually walk away with training materials, quick reference guides, etc. However, once the system has been in production for a while, people rarely ever reference that material again. When people have questions, the answers can be hard to find in the training materials. Training materials are typically not organized to answer specific questions that arise.

Why not have a place where you can publish the answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)? You could do this on your company intranet or in a document, but why not use Salesforce.com and allow the business the ability to manage the content themselves? Enter the Info Center.

If you are a developer, the Info Center would be a good reference for s-Control development using the AJAX toolkit. The reason I went and created this application in the first place was to teach myself how to develop s-Controls using the AJAX toolkit. I needed a purpose otherwise I’d never really learn it, so I came up with the Info Center.

Next up, APEX code! :)

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