This is my first blog post since Dreamforce 2008, and I had an amazing time. Hello to everyone I met, and hello to all the people that I said I’d meet – but couldn’t. I left Dreamforce and came to Sydney to visit my family, and am writing this blog post sitting on a deck chair under a setting sun, listening to my niece and nephew play nicely.
This blog post is partly an announcement of X-Squared’s upcoming plans and projects, and partly a way to hold myself to my word. It is said that while managing the Yankees, Joe Torre tried to quit many times, until someone bet him $1000 that he couldn’t quit… and told everyone he knew about the bet. Clearly, $1000 is small change to Torre, but the pressure of the whole world knowing his plan to quit helped him quite a bit. So here is X-Squared On Demand’s list of projects and plans (outside of the standard billing work for our amazing clients):
Jon Mountjoy suggested that I pick one Salesforce development feature and learn it completely instead of making the mistake of trying to learn everything and doing it all poorly. I chose Visualforce. All my side projects from now on will involve Visualforce to some degree.
- Lookup to Picklist: I’ve always been interested in lookup fields and have written some interesting implementations that use error messages and custom buttons to simplify and focus allowed values for lookups. Here, I plan to present the user with a list of all the target records available and to present them in a picklist. (Of course, if there are more than 50 records, I will leave the field as a lookup.)
- Filtered Lookup: I have the code for a filtered lookup that utilizes a three-page wizard to choose the proper record for a lookup, but I want to simplify this to allow an administrator to limit a lookup to one Record Type or any other hard-coded filter. Then I’ll use a simplified wizard to enhance that feature, which would basically be like using the lookup filters in Enhanced Lookups currently available in the standard UI.
- NonProfit EventForce using Google Sites: We started this project at Dreamforce 2008, and I have a non-profit client who would like a tool to allow registration for various kinds of events. This is a super opportunity to expand upon this hackathon project. Colin Loretz has agreed to help on this, and Steve Wright of Salesforce.com Foundation has offered to provide a salesforce.com technical resource if we make the code open-source. I told Steve that in my mind I was writing the code for the Foundation, and that the Foundation could do whatever it wanted with the code. So keep an eye out for this in the next month or two.
- Airport Codes to Full Name of the airport when entered into a field, using Visualforce.
- SIC to NAICS: I have NO idea why Salesforce CRM is so attached to SIC codes–after all, the government has completed its changeover to NAICS codes. I plan to use the existing conversion charts provided by the government to allow orgs to convert their data from SIC to NAICS.
- Google Maps as a Data Enrichment Tool: Input the ZIP Code, and Google Maps will return a city/state. Or input the Street and City/State, and Google Maps will return the ZIP Code. Sorry, DemandTools and Postcode Anywhere, this might cut into your profit margin.
- Drop.io for AppExchange: I love drop.io as a file sharing and storage tool, and with the release of their API–and Ron Hess’s explanation of his XMLDom Apex Class, it may be time to create a nice app allowing 100MB of storage per record in Salesforce CRM. It might require a couple of hacks before it can be used for more than standard objects, but this will likely be my ongoing work in progress.
- Use Amazon EC2 Windows to put the Workbench in the Cloud.
- And finally, I will spend the next year making a list of everyone I want to meet at Dreamforce 2009, and will find a way to see everyone there!
There are probably many more ideas sketched on napkins and pads of paper around my office, but this is a beginning list of projects I’m most passionate about. If anyone would like to help with any, please let me know!