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Just last month, David Glick announced some great news in the Plone-salesforce integration world. salesforcepfgadapter 1.6b2 has been released!

Some Background

salesforcepfgadapter = Salesforce.com + PloneFormGen

The adapter is the glue lets you take your forms made using the point-and-click easy to make forms killer Plone app (aka PloneFormGen) and integrate them with Salesforce.com via the API. It’s awesome – build forms and then make one or many things in your database of relationship, whether it’s a simple lead or tie together multiple objects from one form (account + contact + opportunity). Real world use case – you want someone to sign up for your newsletter on your website. The form creates a lead record for them and adds them to your newsletter campaign. Next time you send the newsletter, you’ve got it all right there without any extra effort!

What’s New?

This integration has been around for a while (4-ish years, I think), so why are we all excited you might ask? It’s all about the upsert!

While it’s always been easy to send new records into salesforce.com from the PFG form, what about the case where you want to let a user update their contact info? Or even more generally, what about creating a form that lets people with an existing record in your database update their record and those that are new to create a new record? This is the mythical upsert (update + insert) we’ve been waiting for! And, as David said, “You might say this release puts the RU in CRUD ;)”

That’s a Solid Beta

Back in the fall, we started poking around and asking questions about the upsert branch that had some work done and was mostly functional even. ifPeople ran that code through some rigorous work for a project, did some testing, provided some patches, and filed a few bugs. Seems that David (Groundwire) was also busy on the code base and got some help from others in the community (Alex Tokar from Web Collective, Jesse Snyder from NPower Seattle, Emanuel Sartor with ifPeople)  to get that branch code from the branch to a releaseable version. We’re glad to see it come to completion and grateful for the release management by David and Groundwire!

While this is released as a beta, this version has had some serious testing and work going into it. We’ve already got it in a production site that handles almost 2,000 users and ran load testing on the integration before launching that app.

What Else?

Ok, so it’s not just about the upsert…there were several bugs squashed in this release! There is a now a better way to configure hardcoded values that should always get passed to a particular field in Salesforce (e.g. a Lead Source). Other goodies:

  • read-only fields are no longer shown as options in the field mapping UI.
  • Info on the mapping of filenames and mimetype of file uploads (probably from an attachment object) sent directly to fields in Salesforce.com, in addition to the data itself. This should improve uploading files from the form to salesforce.com.
  • A new ‘Preset field values’ setting so that hardcoded values can be mapped to Salesforce fields, eliminating the need to create a hidden form field.
  • Plone 2.5 compatibility was restored and Plone 4 compatibility added.

Want more?

If you’d like a demo of how this integration works in live sites, please sign up for one of our upcoming free webinars!

For more on how to use these features and to download the latest, see the product page on plone.org.

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This past week I had the chance to present, with Jon Stahl and Steve Andersen of One/Northwest, about the work we have done on integrating Plone and salesforce.com with a suite of tools to create an integrated communications platform. We featured the evolution software is making from large, limited flexibility systems to integrated, specialized systems. We also had a series of 4 demos on how to integrate your Plone-based website with salesforce.com. The demo-driven presentation concluded with reflection on the real world challenges of using these systems and some pointers on making it real. (if the presentation doesn’t appear below, click on the link to be taken to it on slideshare.net)

Here’s a comment from the twittersphere on our presentation:

ehrenfoss: “Very impressed with One Northwest & IfPeople – articulating some very deep lessons of consulting in NPTech space. #09NTC”

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Later this month will be the largest nonprofit technology convergence in the country, the NTEN Nonprofit Technology Conference. This year’s event is held in San Francisco, CA April 26-28. Last I heard it was already over 1100 attendees and approaching sold out!

I’m excited to be sharing some of the work and technologies ifPeople has been using at this year’s conference! I’m giving a session jointly with Jon Stahl and Steve Andersen of One/Northwest. Here’s what we will be talking about:

An Open Civic Engagement Platform: Plone, Salesforce and Friends

A quiet revolution is happening in how software is built and delivered. No, we’re not talking about “Web 2.0”, but about a more profound change towards software that is built from the ground up to talk to other software. The world is moving strongly towards “Open APIs,” and software systems that are flexible enough to accommodate both for-profit and nonprofit needs. A new breed of software is emerging from this sea of innovation: an “Open Civic Engagement Platform” that knits together low-cost, high-quality solutions for content management, email broadcasting, relationship management, online activism, e-commerce and more. Key players in this new software ecosystem include:

* Salesforce.com and their game-changing software + services donation program

* Plone, a powerful and user-friendly open-source content management system

* Salsa/Democracy In Action, an online advocacy and donation system

* Vertical Response: a powerful email broadcasting tool In this workshop, we’ll explain how software development is evolving, and demonstrate some of what’s possible with this leading edge set of tools.

Takeaways:

1. Understand why “nonprofit software” is now a mostly-obsolete concept
2. What the new age of open, connected, software flexible enough to meet nonprofit needs looks like
3. Real-world demonstrations of production-quality integration between best-of-breed systems like Plone, Salesforce, Salsa/Democracy In Action and Vertical Response.

If you’re planning to be there, our session is April 27, at 1:30pm. Check out session details. Hope you can join us! Slides will be posted online following conference if you can’t make it.

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