Posts filed under ‘AppExchange’ Rival Buys Business Objects

Salesforce Rival SAP has announced a $6.3 billion buyout of Business Objects.  It will be interesting to see how this will impact the products they have integrated into the Salesforce appexchange, namely crystal reports.  One has to think they will cut off ties with Salesforce and incorporate the Business Objects products into their recently announced on demand CRM product.


October 7, 2007 at 10:07 pm Leave a comment

Salesforce AppBar vs. Firefox Plugin

I’ve been using the Salesforce Firefox Plugin for more than a year now and its been absolutely fantastic. I was just browsing some applications on the exchange and noticed a listing for The AppBar, which is a browser toolbar specifically for I’m not normally a fan of browser toolbars simply because of the amount of space they take up, but I think this one might really be a winner for Salesforce users.

The Firefox Plugin is really simple – once installed it adds a searchbox inside your browser and lets you perform an advanced search across any object in your organization. It actually works better than the default search on the homepage since it uses the “advanced” search, not a standard search.


The new Appbar developed by 3 Salesforce employees (although it doesn’t see to be an official Salesfoce app) goes way beyond the simple search functionality and creates a bunch of shortcuts into your application. When you complete a search you can choose from several options, even searching the appexchange. One of the big time savers should be the ability to directly link to add accounts, contacts, tasks, etc. The next big time saver are the views buttons. Each of these buttons lets you instantly link to any of your pre-formatted views, saving at least a few clicks each time.




I’m definitely going to try this out a bit longer to see if I hit any snags, but so far the only drawback seems to be the real estate I lose at the top of my browser.

I highly recommend trying out both of these if you haven’t already. If you’re stuck using IE as your only choice of browser, well then I really feel sorry for you….

October 1, 2007 at 9:00 am 4 comments

Timeline S-Control Is Very Cool – Too Bad I Can’t Use It.

Salesforce Labs just came out with the Timeline S-Control application that is incredibly easy to install and has some great functionality.  It allows you to place a visual timeline on any of your Accounts, Opportunities, Contacts, or Cases and quickly scroll through all of the items in a rich visual format.  The original application came out of MIT and is called Simile.  I was really excited by some of the examples and began to implement the application until I realized it is only for Enterprise editions and higher.  I really need to beg Salesforce to open up the API in some other pricing format.  It is still not practical for my company to invest thousands of dollars per year extra for EE when the only functionality I need is the API.  If you’re a professional edition user like me and want to cast your vote for API access please vote here or here
SF Timeline

January 31, 2007 at 1:28 pm 1 comment

Mapquest for – Free Integrated Mapping

When I first saw Arrowpointe’s Google Maps Mashup for, I was drooling over the functionality but I lack the technical skills to pull this kind of implementation off. When I met the folks from Mapquest at Dreamforce 2006, they promised a free and easy to install application that would give me the ability to map a contact or account and see others that are nearby.

While I don’t really “need” this functionality it sounded cool and I knew I wanted to give it a try. The application launched a couple of days ago so I sat down today to install it and see what it had to offer. After downloading the app from the exchange I didn’t see any of the buttons or functionality – what I didn’t realize is that there is a customization document with some instructions that you need to follow before this will work. At first the 37 page PDF was a little intimidating, but its filled with tons of easy to follow screen-shots (trust me – if I can do it anyone can). The only hiccup I had was when the instructions stated to copy and paste the code for the custom formula but the formula had some extra spaces in it that need to be removed first. When it wasn’t working for me I emailed their support and got an immediate response with how to correct it. Once you’ve created your custom formulas you’re pretty much ready to go. I think this would take most folks less than 15 minutes to get up and running.

Once you install the functionality you can let the fun begin. Go to any account or contact and you now have a Mapquest button that you can click to pull up a map of their area. Hover over the “dot” that represents your account and a callout flag pops up with the account information and links to show the details of that record, nearby accounts and contacts for that account. Click on the “nearby accounts” link and other “dots show up that you view by hovering over them. At this point you can see all of your accounts within the specified radius along with quick links to view their information.

Mapquest screenshot

Mapquest 2

For a non-techie like me, this is cool functionality that I never would have been able to develop on my own.  Some suggestions to make a good idea even better:

  1. Extend the mapping ability to leads
  2. Give users the ability to type in an address or zipcode and pull up accounts / contacts within the proximity rather than having to find the account first
  3.  Let users set a default address and add a link to directions to or from the specified account.

November 7, 2006 at 10:09 pm 25 comments

Excel Collaboration Tool Launches on AppExchange

Collaborall launched an application on the exchange last week called Excellory that lets teams of people use and edit Excel spreadsheets within the SFDC environmnent. Different than Google Spreadsheets, Excellory actually uses Excel, a format most people are already comfortable with. Pricing starts at $1 per user / per month for 25+ users or $3 per user / per month for 5 users. It looks like the standard “non-salesforce” version is free on their website. Several collaborative spreadsheet products are already on the market, but this is the first to work within the SFDC framework. Look for someone to build a Google Spreadsheets for Salesforce once the API becomes available.

Excellory for Salesforce

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November 5, 2006 at 8:33 pm 4 comments

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’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 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.

October 26, 2006 at 9:32 am 1 comment

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 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.


October 20, 2006 at 7:34 am 7 comments

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