Archive for October, 2006

Chasing the Holy Grail of Software

Jason Kolb wrote a great piece today entitled “The Holy Grail of Software”, and while the first part of the article walks you through the mindset and life-cycle of what he believes to be the typical developer, the part I want to point out is:

“I don’t think one application should run everything, but I do think that they can all work together. I think that in the mess that is the semantic Web there are bits and pieces that can actually work together to be a framework that a standardized application infrastructure can sit on top of. Although I don’t think that it’s possible to write one application and never have to write anything ever again, I DO think it’s possible to write the core functionality of certain pieces of software so that you never have to write CERTAIN PARTS again”

He then goes on to point out that the appexchange is a good example of this, but that it comes along with some baggage, namely having to have your data live inside Salesforce.com’s data centers and not being able to get really deep into the code for ultimate customization. I think SFDC has proven to me that they can be Apex would alleviate those concerns, but I really think Jason is on to something much bigger than even what Salesforce can deliver to the marketplace. Jason continues:

“So here it is, my new Holy Grail of Software: A distributed application infrastructure that sits on top of the Internet as its back-end database. If you read between the lines quite a few of my posts recently have been me thinking out loud about it. And it’s really been quite a fun exercise to try to figure out how it should work, I think it’s very doable and actually not very far down the road.”

There is a tremendous movement going on to bring software applications to the web, and I agree that it seems very doable and is just a matter of time. The question for Salesforce.com is what role will they play and will the proprietary Apex language win out over open source, or how will a player like Google influence the architecture for these future applications.

Through the development and expansion of API’s and WebServices the likelyhood of this connected business web is really close to becoming a reality and I think we’re at a very cool turning point for software and services coming online.

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October 26, 2006 at 9:32 am 1 comment

A Disruption At Dreamforce 2006?

I’m not quite sure I understand it, but I received a letter from Salesforce.com along with a $10 gift card to Starbucks. They write:

“We hope dreamforce was a great experience for you. We note that you attended the session titled “Product Roadmap: Sneak Peek into the Future at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday October 11th. Please accept this Starbucks gift card as our apology for the disruption experienced during this session.”

I attended the session, in fact I wrote about it here but I don’t recall any “disruption”. The only thing I can figure is that because it was such a small crowd that the moderator presented in a more casual setting and just talked to us from the floor rather than from the stage and they were unable to record the session because of it. They must think that since there was no recording the session didn’t take place.

It’s nice to see that if a disruption had actually occurred they cared enough to send an apology. Nice touch – I’m impressed, and thanks for the latte’.

October 21, 2006 at 9:50 am 5 comments

Getting Your App On The Exchange

Brooks Jordan over at SortAnalytics wrote a great piece today about the requirements involved in getting your App on the Exchange. Interesting to note that beginning January 2007, if you charge for your App you’ll need to have your App certified and that certification costs $5k per year. If your App is free, there is no charge. Presumably this is to keep the quality of applications high and keep spam applications out. According to Brooks the certification ensures security standards. One concern I have is that this will have a dramatic impact on the cost of applications. As a small business, there are many applications that are already priced beyond my reach and this $5k fee eventually will be passed along to customers. The other question is what impact this will have on the scale of the AppExchange, and Brooks has an excellent quote:

“The larger question about the AppExchange, of course, is if it’s not an open system like EBay (“the EBay for the business Web”), will it scale? Or will the desire to have quality apps create too much friction? I think what Salesforce.com needs to do is keep the quality and security threshold relatively high, but keep tweaking the certification process until it’s one third as complex. Then, they can drop the certification fee in favor of a small percentage of the transaction between buyer and seller (like EBay), and they’ll have a platform that’s got the goods but is flexible enough to accommodate diversity. And I think that’s what they’ll do.”

Its been a year since Salesforce launched the AppExchange, and it seems like they are at a turning point with the platform. What is the vision for the AppExchange? If Mr. Benioff truly envisions it as the “eBay for the business web”, then they must make it easy and cost effective for people to build and profit from it while also making it compelling for people to consume the applications.

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October 20, 2006 at 7:34 am 7 comments

Salesforce.com and IE7 Don’t Mix

Update:  It seems like this problem may have been corrected, I apologize for any false alarms:

Comment by KT

October 19, 2006 @ 2:57 pm

Salesforce.com fixed the button issue back in March.

If you previously changed your IE6 cache settings from the default (Automatically) and you just upgraded to IE7, the IE6 CSS might be cached.

Try logging in and hiting Ctrl-F5 for a full refresh. Or clear the cache and log in again. Or wait 24 hours. I’m on the latest IE7 release candidate and see the buttons fine.

Also, you can turn off auto updates. Microsoft covered this in the IE blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/default.aspx) and here (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=4516A6F7-5D44-482B-9DBD-869B4A90159C&displaylang=en

Douglas Karr reports problems with Internet Explorer not playing well with Salesforce.com.

Error with IE7 and Salesforce.com

Check out the report here: http://www.douglaskarr.com

This is just one more reason to use Firefox along with the Salesforce plugin

October 19, 2006 at 11:00 am 3 comments

Who is the World’s Most Popular CRM?

Came across these ads in Google – both Oracle and Salesforce.com believe they are “World’s Most Popular”, although Oracle goes another step to quote their massive subscriber number at 4.2 million which is more than 8x the 510,000 that Salesforce promotes on their homepage.

Best CRM - closeup
World’s most popular CRM

October 18, 2006 at 7:20 am 5 comments

Free Subscription to CRM Magazine

CRM Magazine CoverIf you’re a “qualified subscriber” (US only) you can sign up here for a free subscription to CRM magazine. While they don’t explain what a qualified subscriber is, chances are if you’re reading this you’re qualified.

Update: I love free stuff, so I added some free Salesforce.com stuff to the resources page. In the words of my wise father: “If it’s free it’s for me!”.

October 17, 2006 at 4:34 pm 1 comment

Ideas for Salesforce Mashups

In my synopsis of Dreamforce Day 4, I mentioned a breakout session called “Business Mashups” – the video of that session has been posted to the videos page here and also on the successforce blog. At the end of that session someone in the audience asked if there was a place on the web that had a directory of companies that offer webservices and APIs which nobody could recall. I’m not sure if this is what the panelists were thinking of, but I found a great site called ProgrammableWeb.com that has quite a robust directory of APIs and already built mashups. Not surprisingly, Google Maps is leading the pack with the most mashups, and 6 related to Salesforce.com are currently listed.

October 17, 2006 at 7:40 am 1 comment

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