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arrowpointe @ dreamforce

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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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Arrowpointe’s Aloha Apps

Salesforce just announced an update to AppExchange where they designate apps as “Aloha Apps”.  Aloha Apps are a new “all-you-can-app” category of apps that don’t count against customer org limits (apps/tabs/objects), no matter which salesforce.com edition you’re using.

A number of Arrowpointe applications are in the Aloha category.

  • Arrowpointe Maps – map your Salesforce data!
  • Auto vCard – Import a record (e.g. lead or contact) into your local address book with 1 click.
  • Spam Check – Stop Spam from entering your Salesforce system and wasting your users’ time.

If you install any of the above apps, they will not count towards your app/object/tab limits:

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Auto vCard Named Best Productivity App of 2008

best-of-2008
Salesforce has announced the Best Apps of 2008 and I am pleased to report that Auto vCard was named Best Productivity Application!  The “Best App” honor is given to the application in each AppExchange category receiving the most 4 and 5 star reviews.

In case you didn’t hear, Auto vCard 2.0 was released.  This is a major improvement to the app, allowing for total flexibilty and configurability in the creation of vCards from Salesforce data.  In fact, you can now create vCards from any object, pass any field through, use International characters and it all runs on the force.com platform!

To learn more…

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Best Thing about the Salesforce-Google Toolkit

As you probably know, Salesforce announced the Google Data API Toolkit on Monday.  Per the site,

The new Force.com Toolkit for Google Data APIs provides a free and open-source set of tools and services that developers can use to take advantage of Google Data APIs from within Force.com.

The end result for developers is a set of classes, written by Salesforce, that allow you to easily communicate with Google services.  For example, suppose you want to create an entry in Google Calendar, the following code does it.

GoogleData.Calendar cal = service.getCalendarByTitle('MyCalendar');
event newEvent = new Event(
subject = 'Tennis with Beth',
description = 'Meet for a quick lesson.',
ActivityDateTime = system.now(),
DurationInMinutes = 60);

That is actually just 2 lines of code (line #2 was broken into 5 lines for easier reading). The reason you can do this in 2 lines is because of the toolkit.  The toolkit does the “heavy lifting” for you to communicate with Google.

From a developer standpoint, the best thing about this is that, to do this, there is no dependency on changes to the Salesforce platform.  The Google Toolkit was created by the Developer Marketing Team at Salesforce, not the folks building the platform.  Apex Code is already part of the platform. The toolkit uses what Apex Code already offers.  What you get with the toolkit is a set of pre-written Apex classes that do the heavy lifting for you on talking to Google.  Much like the Salesforce Java/PHP/.NET/Ajax/Perl toolkits do the heavy lifting of talking to the SOAP API for you on those programming platforms.

There is no reason that the developer community cannot create similar toolkits.  I am sure Salesforce has some more up their sleeve and did the community a service by building some foundational ones for us to use as working/useful examples.

This is open source at work.  To make an analogy… one thing I love about PHP is that these types of toolkits are prevalent and have made my life much easier. For example, when I wanted to build Auto vCard, I Googled for PHP classes that created files in the vCard spec.  I found many and chose 1.  Similarly with the Web to Lead Spam Check I built.  I chose Akismet as the spam checking service because I was familiar with it and trusted it and I found a PHP5 toolkit that took care of the hard part of communicating with Akismet from PHP.  Same thing with my old Google Maps mashup. There are PHP classes that do the hard part of talking to Google Maps.  Having these classes at my disposal gave me the ability to focus on adding the business value of tying functionality into a Salesforce-related use case.  If these PHP classes didn’t already exist, I never would have created any those apps.

If you are a developer looking to create something similar to what Salesforce did, I suggest you:

  • Visit Programmable Web to identify useful services that could be connected to and learn about their APIs
  • Build your class(es) (Look at the XMLDom class that’s part of the Google toolkit to handle the complicated XML parsing you might need to do)
  • Publish it open source and let the community react/improve it
  • Offer up some example code for how the class can be used to help people implement a use case of it.
  • Become a star

Some services that I think are ripe for developers to concentrate on (that are very applicable to businesses):

  • Google Checkout
  • PayPal
  • Authorize.net
  • Freshbooks
  • Google (Apps) Mail
  • Google Charts (with tie into Visual Force)
  • Blog Services
  • UPS
  • FedEx
  • Google Search
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Open Social

There are countless others.  Get cracking!

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Benioff Interviewed by Scoble

Continuing on from Mark’s post, Robert Scoble’s interview with Marc Benioff was published today. It’s embedded below.

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