Friday, November 22, 2013

Dreamforce 2013 Developer Keynote Highlights

Just finished watching the developer keynote from this years dreamforce..

here are some of the key highlights that i noted down from this hour long video.. Command Line Interface (CLI)
its an open source tool to help developers access the salesforce instance and all of the objects (standard, custom), run soql queries, import & export of metadata, etc..


Some more details

source code and setup

API.. API.. API.. API...
one of the buzzword througout this dreamforce is API.. most of the stuff in salesforce platform is now API enabled.. this will be the base for cross platform, device independent, application development.
since most of the integration with API's happens over http, xml & json, there are not client libraries to ease the integration. couple of libraries highlighted are

Ruby Client for REST api

Node.js REST api wrapper for

d3.js - to visualise & chart the data from analytics api
example -

This is probably the biggest anouncement for developers this year... its a complete rebranding and futurisitc strategy to put the platform as mobile first & api driven.. this is an umbreall of, heroku and exact target and other supporting components put together. we now have a new developer site for the salesforce1 platform.. which has a good collection of documentation & other resources around the platform and api's..

Mobile packs and Mobile SDK
these are already released in phases over the period and got a special mention in the keynote to hightlight how it fits in the Salesforce1 platform. the mobile packs covers the development with existing client side web technologies like HTML5 with javascript libraries like Angular, Knockout, jQuery, etc.. and the Mobile SDK covers the iOS and Android based development

Heroku Connect
if you have any of your apps running in heroku and interfaces with salesforce, then this will be a handy app to sync the data between your postgres database and salesforce data. you can create mapping between these 2 databases and enable syncing (uni directional or bi directional)

you can try heroku connect by logging in here

you can find more details on this here

Demo Time
some of the cool stuff shown in the demo in keynote are

  • Mobile Cards in page layouts
  • creating a simple chart with analytics api, add it to object page layout, show it in mobile devices
  • Enhanced Lookups in page layouts
  • Flexi pages
  • creating Quick actions (publisher actions) and using it in Salesforce1 mobile app

Finaly you can watch the developer keynote video here

will try to cover more on the Salesforce1 platform in future blog posts.. lets learn this together :-)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Salesforce1 and SalesforceA apps (iPhone,iPad,Android) initial look and review

I recently updated Salesforce1 app in my iPad,iPhone and HTCOne Andriod phone and played around with the apps for a while... Here's my initial feedback on it..

For beginners, note
  • Salesforce1 is not a new app.. Its an upgrade of an existing app "Salesforce Chatter Mobile" which was there close to 3 years and got matured over the period..
  • Salesforce1 is not just a new glossy mobile app... its part of a platform/framework 
  • Its a collection of a set of development tools including our existing tools, emerging mobile sdk, heroku tools, newly aquired ExactTarget stuff,
  • it has lots of focus on API based development, ability to integrate/communicate with any app/platform/device
  • setting up new direction in salesforce app development 

Its too early to write anything on the entire platform.. so i m just focusing on the mobile/tablet app here

So whats new or different from previous apps/versions ..

here's the list of new features listed in the app 

  • Improvised search - ability to search across the feeds including records, people, groups & conversations
  • Make use of publisher actions that you created in your org from any device with this app
  • Custom list views - now you will be able to see your custom list views not just the recently viewed records
  • Access all your objects (standard, custom, apps)
  • notifications pane on the right
  • ability to mobile optimized access appexchange apps 
  • ability to create new records from the list view 

after going thru the listed features, few things that I expected but couldn't find..

  • We cannot edit our own user details (name, photo, etc.. ) - need to use the SalesforceA app for this 
  • Not possible to edit groups even if we own it
  • thou it says we can access apps and objects, I found only objects. - to get additional stuff we need the customize the navigation menu by logging into the desktop site and changing the settings under Setup ->  Administration -> Mobile Administration -> Mobile Navigation.
  • List views are restricted. As usual by default it shows the recently viewed records with option to select custom list views. and just below recently viewed, you will see the custom list view names.
  • The custom list views shows the records in "Google Now" style mini post cards - but we cant change the number of records showing up, what fields to display on the cards, the sort order, etc..
  • When the navigation pane is opened, you cannot scroll thru the main pane.. It jus freezes..
This app is an admin friendly app that goes along with Salesforce1 app - 

  • primarily to manage users 
  • edit, unlock, freeze, deactivate user accounts
  • reset passwords
  • manage permission sets
We have a Rocket Launcher at the bottom of this app.. that takes us to the community page of ideas, answers, events, user groups .. not sure what the actual intent is but its adds a fun/game element to the app..

Rest of the Apps
So what happens to Salesforce Classic, Salesforce Touch, old version of Chatter Mobile... not sure.. need to wait and watch

Bottom Line
I can see the direction of getting into a unified app experience with the vision of customer engagement and better experience which is good... but the current set of multiple apps from salesforce to do different things is a killer..