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Static Maps in Visualforce

Geopointe includes a Visualforce Component that allows you to create Static Maps on your Visualforce Pages.  A Static Map results in an image file (png, jpg or gif) that you can configure and place on your Visualforce Pages or embedded in Page Layouts.  The nice thing about Static Maps is that they do not slow down your pages from loading.  Rather, you are using the component to intelligently build an image URL.

Geopointe comes with some examples with the “embeddedMap…” pages.  These are pre-configured Visualforce Pages using the static map component to show you the location of a record.

We added a Static Map page on the website to act as the official documentation home for this functionality.  With Geopointe installed, you also get a documentation in your Component Reference regarding the geopointe:staticMap component.

Below are some examples showing off the functionality.

<geopointe:StaticMap mapProvider=”goog” width=”500″ height=”300″ useIconLabels=”true” iconColor=”green” locationIDs=”a07A000000ATQjhIAH,a07A0000006O0qc,a07A0000006NKq2,Evanston|IL,OakPark|IL”/>

<geopointe:StaticMap mapProvider=”mq” width=”800″ height=”200″ useIconLabels=”true” iconColor=”purple” locationIDs=”a07A000000ATQjhIAH,a07A0000006O0qc,a07A0000006NKq2,Evanston|IL,OakPark|IL” mapType=”hyb”/>

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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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Convert 15-char to 18-char IDs in Apex

I was working with someone recently who saw how I converted 15 character IDs to 18 character IDs in Apex and thought it was clever. I always thought it was something everyone knew, but just in case, I’m posting it.

All I am doing is using the ID datatype, which does it for you automatically. You just have to trap the StringException in case you get passed a string that isn’t an ID. Anyone else do it another way?

string s = '0013000000K7WW2';
   ID sID = s;
   // if we get here, it's a valid ID and the sID field is an 18 character one
} catch (System.StringException e){
   // if it goes here, it's not an ID. Do something if you need to.

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The Workbench is a very handy thing to use when you need quick access to an org and want to see meta data or do some ad-hoc querying. It’s PHP code that you can run on your own web server and it describes itself as:

Workbench is a powerful, web-based suite of tools designed for adminstrators and developers to interact with organizations via the APIs. Workbench includes robust support for the Partner, Bulk, Metadata, and Apex APIs that allows users to describe, query, manipulate, and migrate both data and metadata in organizations directly in their web browser with a simple and intuitive user interface. Workbench also provides many advanced features for testing and troubleshooting the APIs, such as customizable SOAP headers, debug logs for API traffic, backward compatibility testing with previous API versions, and single sign-on integration within the Salesforce application.

I would highly recommend it.  You can download it from its Google Code site.  If you want to see it in action now, I always keep the latest version running on the domain at  You are welcome to use it there if you’d like to.

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Map as Lookup Field

This was also posted to the new Arrowpointe Product blog. We are moving all product specific information to that new blog and keeping this blog focused on developer related information. Please subscribe (rss, email)

Geopointe has a number of under-the-cover features (and more to come) that allow you to integrate with the application.  One such feature is the ability to use the map as a means of populating a Lookup field.

Below is a video showing this feature in action.

(for best results, choose an HD viewing option after starting the video and use full-screen mode)

Enabling the Feature

The feature is enabled through the use of a Custom Button that simply passes additional parameters across in the URL.  The URL in the video example is:

&wbButtonText={!URLENCODE("Relate This Account to " & Account.Name)}

Let’s break it down


The above is the URL from the button included with the application. It is required to sent the user to the proper page in the proper context.


wbRecordId is the ID of the record we will be writing back to.


wbField is the field on that record we will be populating.


wbLookupObject is the object type that we will be searching for and populating the lookup field for.

&wbButtonText={!URLENCODE("Relate This Account to " & Account.Name)}

wbButtonText is optional, but can be included if you want to customize the button’s text. It is recommended to use the URLENCODE function when specifying your text, especially if you are merging in data from the system.

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