Archive for Summer ’08 Category Feed

Cross Object Formulas (wow!)

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Following Steve’s lead, I tried my own cross-object formula using the Summer ’08 pre-release org I get to use as an AppExchange partner.

One of my (and probably your) pressing needs is the ability to display fields from related objects (e.g. show the Account Number on the Opportunity page). Before Summer ’08, you had to either use Workflow to copy a value over, embed an s-Control to pretend the field is actually on your object or tell users to use the hovers.

Cross Object formulas take care of this.  I decided to see how far it went. To start my test, I added a custom Lookup field from Accounts to Cases. I then created a Formula field on the Licenses custom object that I have in my org. My formula traversed the following relationship path:

  1. From License
  2. To Contact
  3. To Account
  4. To Case
  5. To Contact
  6. To Account – finally displaying the City from this Account

It worked! My resulting formula was:

sfLma__Contact__r.Account.Case__r.Contact.Account.BillingCity

I could’ve kept going through more relationships too.  The field selector that’s provided made this simple.  Just click click click and you’re done.

This fills a huge gap in the product.  This simple addition eliminates a big reason for having needed external reporting tools.  This handles the traversing “up” relationships (from detail to master), while the custom Report Types rolled out last release handled the traversing “down” relationships (from master to detail).  Combined, they solve a lot of reporting problems.

I can’t begin to tell you the headaches this bit of functionality will cure.

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Summer ’08 Release Notes

Steve twittered today that the Summer ’08 Release Notes were published. More so than the Summer ’08 Ideas, the Release Notes provide exactly what’s happening in the next release leaving very little to the imagination.

(UPDATE: The Summer 08 Landing Page was published).

I suggest you check it out. Some new functionality that I find particularly intriguing:

Visualforce is Generally Available

Visualforce is now available for all organizations in Group, Professional, Enterprise, Unlimited, and Developer Editions.

This is huge. There is A LOT to learn in this area.

Analytic Snapshots

Analytic snapshots enable users to run a tabular report and save the report results to fields on a custom object … and schedule when to run the report to load the custom object’s fields with the report’s data.

It sounds kind of like exporting the data to Excel, but will instead let you export it to a custom object. This is cool because you can then report on data “at a point in time”.

MultiDay Events

Users can now create events that end more than one day (24 hours) after they start, lasting up to 14 days.

This is a new convenience for end users. Hopefully it syncs well with Outlook calendar.

Enhanced List Views

Inline Editing

If your administrator has enabled inline editing for your organization, you can now edit single records directly from a list view by double-clicking on individual field values. If your administrator has granted you the “Mass Inline Edit from Lists” user profile permission, you can also edit up to 200 records at a time with inline editing.

Custom Paging

You can now change the number of records displayed per page of list results by clicking the record count indicator in the lower left corner of the list and selecting the desired setting.

Drag-and-Drop Customization

You can now change the order in which a column is displayed by dragging the entire column heading with your mouse to the desired position.

Customizable User Object

Finally, we can have page layouts, set field level security and more on the User object.

Cross-Object Formulas

Refer to fields on related objects in your formulas. Even use the formulas to display fields from related objects right on the UI. For example, put the Account Number field on the Opportunity page.

Apex Enhancements

Lots of stuff here. Read the release notes for details.

Many-to-Many Object Relationships

In Summer ’08, you can now create two master-detail relationships on a single junction object to make it easier to represent a many-to-many relationship in your data model.

This will help in development. These junction objects have always been tricky from a user experience standpoint.

Lots of things to digest here. I only captured a handful of things that stood out to me personally. Go see for yourself.

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