Archive for the ‘IdeaExchange’ Category

Salesforce IdeaExchange Contributors Group formed on LinkedIn

A few of us die-hard Salesforce and IdeaExchange users and avid fans have formed a LinkedIn Group to enable us to get better acquainted in “real life”, and we would love to have you join us if you are also a user and contributor to the Salesforce IdeaExchange. Here is the link to request access to the group:

http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=2177139

The only thing that we ask is that you send us a link to your IdeaExchange profile/Salesforce Community profile, which would look something like this (updated for the new SFDC Community):

https://sites.secure.force.com/ideaexchange/ideaProfileList?c=09a30000000D9xt&u=00530000003HtZTAA0

You can get to your profile by logging into the IdeaExchange and going to the “My Profile” tab just below the big red “Search” button.

We’ve already started some fascinating and informative discussions in the LinkedIn Group around how & why we participate in the IdeaExchange, and ways that we can improve the community and the Salesforce.com/Force.com platform together.

Hope to see you there!

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Return the Account Merge wizard to beginning upon completion

A while ago there was an Idea on the IdeaExchange asking if the Account Merge wizard could be returned to the beginning. I responded with a simple workaround, but the comment function of the IdeaExchange wasn’t really suited for providing the solution, so I decided to blog the solution here to make it a little easier to read and find, and also provide a new way to implement the solution.

Basically, the solution is just a simple modification to the URL used to access the Account Merge wizard. Most URLs in Salesforce.com accept a “retURL” querystring parameter that tells the page where to return the user once the operation on the current page (or series of pages) is complete. So, the URL that I came up with for this solution is:

/merge/accmergewizard.jsp?retURL=%2Fmerge%2Faccmergewizard.jsp

The URL lacks any “http://…” because it needs to be relative to your particular Salesforce.com datacenter pod (NA1, NA2, Na3, etc.). Now, the only thing that you really need to do is to take this URL and make a custom link somewhere in your Salesforce org, perhaps on the sidebar or on a page layout, and you’ll have a way to launch the Account Merge wizard set to return to the beginning upon completion. 

However, you’ll probably want to make this solution a little bit more robust and create a custom tab to launch the modified Account Merge wizard. You can create Custom Web Tabs that reference a URL, but if you do this with the URL above you’ll get a second copy of the Salesforce header (tabs, application menu, etc.) under the custom tab. That isn’t very good use of screen real estate (and it is rather confusing to users), so we need to use a little bit of JavaScript magic to redirect the entire browser window to the URL that we’ve created. We can do this by creating an HTML S-control that contains the following code:


<script language="JavaScript">

function redirect()

    {

        parent.parent.frames.location.replace('/merge/accmergewizard.jsp?retURL=%2Fmerge%2Faccmergewizard.jsp');

    }

redirect();

</script>  

Next, create your Custom Web Tab (Setup > Create > Tabs), and choose the “Custom S-Control” Tab Type, and associate it with the Custom S-Control that you created containing the code above. Make the tab visible to the appropriate profiles, and now you have an easily accessible Account Merge Wizard that will cycle back to the beginning upon completion.

For those who want to implement a more future-proof solution (Salesforce is in the process of phasing out S-Controls over the next few years), you can easily implement a VisualForce page that accomplishes the same thing using the following code:


<apex:page >

<script language="JavaScript">

function redirect()

    {

        parent.parent.frames.location.replace('/merge/accmergewizard.jsp?retURL=%2Fmerge%2Faccmergewizard.jsp');

    }

redirect();

</script>

</apex:page>

Then create a VisualForce Tab that references the page you created, and it will work just like the S-control solution above.

This is just one example of how you can use the parameters of the Salesforce URLs (and a little bit of JavaScript magic) to make some helpful modifications to the basic Salesforce functionality. Perhaps in later posts I’ll demonstrate some of the other neat little tricks that you can do with Salesforce URLs, custom links & buttons, and other simple tools.

(My JavaScript in the code above may not be bulletproof, so if you have any issues with the code please let me know and I’ll see if I can find a workaround.)

Why I love Salesforce and the IdeaExchange

Some have asked me why I love Salesforce so much, and why I spend such a great deal of time submitting, commenting, and voting on Ideas on the IdeaExchange.  Here is a list of the primary reasons that motivate me to invest so much in this community:

  • To me, Salesforce.com is one of the most revolutionary platforms ever to come into the information technology marketplace. The power that it gives average users to structure, capture, and analyze data is trule remarkable. It is something that I haven’t seen anyone else match or beat to date.  With every release, the need for writing code to build robust applications is remarkably diminished, and the efficiency with which custom applications can be deployed is also remarkable and unmatched in my experience. I want to help this great platform become even better, and eliminate any obstacles to adoption that I uncover.
  • The IdeaExchange was the first community I ever encountered where it was clearly accessible and encouraged to submit concepts for product improvement to an organization, and easily share those concepts with your peers in the community so that they could promote them as well. I had been looking for an outlet like this for many products that I was passionate about, and discovering the IdeaExchange was tremendously exciting. Salesforce was the first company that I know of to offer a product focused on this amazingly simple but powerful paradigm, and has been the most successful by far in helping other companies implement this model. 
  • I have been privileged to consult with a large number of Salesforce customers, users, and administrators, so I hear a number of unique feature and enhancement requests for the Salesforce.com platform. Most of these people are not ready or interested in participating in the IdeaExchange, so I feel a responsibility to make sure that their Ideas are heard and promoted. Because I spend so much time on the IdeaExchange, I can also give customers and users some insight about what Ideas have already been submitted, and the likelihood or timeframe in which those Ideas might be implemented.
  • Participating in the IdeaExchange (or any Ideas community that has such positive momentum) is increasingly rewarding, as it enables you to connect directly with other users, partners, and product owners that you would likely have never interacted with in other types of communitites. It also gives you a greater sense of ownership in the community, because you are contributing something that the group can objectively identify as valuable. 

I’ve really been amazed at how rapidly the IdeaExchange community has grown and the amount of impact that it has had on the Salesforce.com/Force.com platform. I’m looking forward to seeing how it continues to evolve!