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Facebook Toolkit

We’re going to be extending the current postings for the Force for Facebook Toolkit with a few sample postings. First, I’m going to just reiterate some of the steps in the installation process.

After you’ve installed the toolkit, identify an existing project (with Force.com nature) in your Eclipse environment where’d you like the toolkit to be added. Change your perspective to the SVN Repository Exploring perspective. Select Export from the context menu of the src folder in the Force4Facebook trunk.

Salesforce Toolkit

Click the Browse button in the dialog window that opens and navigate to the project’s main directory in your Eclipse folder (child directory of Workspace, usually). Click the Choose button. Here’s the underwhelming part. Eclipse appears to do absolutely nothing here. The screen just returns to the default SVN perspective. However, in the background, your source files were copied to the project directory and the Force.com nature of the project auto-saved them back to your SFDC org (assuming it’s an org that allows that). Switch perspectives back to Force.com to verify that the classes are present. Look for more tips and tricks on the Force for Facebook toolkit in future posts.

Kyle Roche - Appirio

Why APEX, and why not Java, C#, VB.NET, PHP, Ruby, etc. etc.?

Stuck on the Apex?
Dog Precariously Perched on Apex
Photo by hangdog

I understand from Investor’s Business Daily via SalesforceWatch that Salesforce.com’s new secret sauce is a programming language called "Apex."  My question is, "Why create YAPL?" (Yet Another Programming Language)  Why not leverage one of the many excellent programming languages that already exist? 

Why create the need to learn a whole new language when they could have leveraged one that already exists?  After all, most of the functionality is in the class library; why not just create a class library for Java or C#/VB.NET or PHP or Ruby instead of an entire new language?  Or why not buy Delphi for god’s sake?!?

Naybe Saleforce.com is just trying to increase revenues by planning to charge for training and certification?!?  There goes me not trusting Salesforce.com’s motivations again. Or maybe it is just arrogance and/or delusions of grandeur on their part?

But bottom line this is a foolish strategy. Clearly Salesforce.com wants to see more apps developed for AppExchange but going this route means significant increasing the friction required. And as most of the successful Web 2.0 companies have show, the more you reduce friction, the most quickly you are able to harness collective intelligence.

Before I close, let me point out that I founded and then ran for over a decade an Inc 500-recognized company that sold components for Visual Basic and later to .NET developers. I understand programming languages and I can program in more languages than I have fingers (and I’ve got all ten, thank you very much.) I also understand third party markets like AppExchange extremely well as that’s exactly what I focused on; reselling third party components and tools to developers. So I think I have the authority to comment on this. This strategy of launching a new programming language, though they may eventually be able to tuff it out over the long term to make it look successful is, IMO, just plain dumb.

P.S. Even after bitching about this, I’ll probably still learn Apex. Assuming they don’t limit it to just Enterprise and Universal edition customers, DOH!

SalesForce buying Borland’s IDE Tools Business?

I think SalesForce.com would be a perfect buyer for Borland IDE Tools business, don’t you?  Click the link to read more.

Integration *is* the killer app for SaaS

J.Ja comments on "Benioff: Customers want integration, customization" by saying (emphasis mine):

How can any CEO seriously consider adding a single new feature when the core product is a broken pile of junk? Based on Salesforce.com’s track record, I am surprised that anyone would consider them as a choice, without some serious price concessions. Given that they are more focused on adding new gee-gaws like integration (hello? it’s a web-app, what will you integrate it with?) instead of reliability, I’m surprised that anyone would consider signing a contract with them at all.

Although I agree with J.Ja that reliability it essential, he/she absolutely does not get it when he asks "Hello? What will you integrate it with?"  I would instead ask "HELLO?!? What won’t you integrate it with?"  I currently am integrating and/or want to integrate SalesForce.com with Outlook, Word, Excel, my local SQL Server databases, other web apps I use, my website, and more.

As far as I am concerned Integration is the "killer app" for Software as a Service.  That is why is infuriates me so much that Marc Benioff and friends don’t allow Professional (and Team) Edition customers to use the API except in very limited indirect cases.

Does Benioff believe his own Propaganda?

I just read Phil Wainewright’s blog post about SalesForce entitled "Benioff: Customers want integration, customization" where Marc Benioff boasts:

"Well, you know, it’s very customer driven…companies…asked us for integration support…. We’ve invested a great deal…in our web services APIs…"

It appears Benioff doesn’t believe his own propaganda.  If he did, he would know that limiting the API to only Enterprise Edition customers is leaving their Professional and Team Edition customers out in the cold

Let me guess Marc?  Professional and Team Edition customers don’t need access to the API, right Marc?!?  Bzzzt: Wrong answer!

They hate Professional and Team Edition Customers

Okay, the title of this post is deliberately provacative. And no, I don’t actually think SalesForce.com actually hates its Professional Edition and Team Edition customers. But I do think they treat Professional and Team as second class customers whose real needs are not worthy of their consideration.  Let me explain.

By creating three editions: Enterprise, Professional, and Team, and it appears SaleForce.com did so for market segmentation which would have been a great strategy.  Companies that provide products and services to meet the needs of different market segments can engender great customer loyalty, and produce excellent profits if they execute well.  But that is not what SalesForce.com did.

No, SalesForce.com only really cares about it’s Enterprise Edition customers as it’s Professional Edition and Team Edition customers are just afterthoughts. 

SalesForce.com has not really tried to craft solutions that actually meet the needs of smaller companies.

Instead, SalesForce.com has simply lopped off features from the Enterprise Edition so that they could charge less and hopefully reach a lesser marketplace.

There are a few features that are as essential to Professional and Team customers as they are to Enterprise yet SalesForce.com has decided only Enterprise Edition customers can access those features.

It’s as if BMW sold three levels of cars but only provided seat belts and a hand brake with the most expensive level of car.

What’s more, it’s as if BMW programmed their fuel injection to quit working if you tried to retrofit those features to one of their lesser expensive cars yourself.

In future posts I’ll discuss the features to which I refer, and I’ll also explain why I believe SaleForce.com to be incredibly short-sighted because of it.