Skip to main content


Automating Salesforce Data Imports with Powershell

If you're a programmer and you're doing lots of Salesforce Data Imports, at some point you'll get fed up of messing around with Apex Data Loader and CSV files and look for better options. You might be doing incremental migration and so want to re-run and evolve the migration as the target system evolves. Or you might just want to get the migration automated for scheduling reasons. There are various 'integration' systems that could help with this: JitterBit , Pentaho , TalenD , and so on. But if you're fond of writing code you might want to work with something a bit more low-level where you can write specific code to get the exact transformations you want without learning the vagaries of a new integration package. Salesforce has a Bulk Data API so you might be tempted to look at that. But its quite heavy duty, if you try and use it you'll soon have to deal with batches and async callbacks and you'll essentially end up re-creating quite a lot of the

Remote Desktop on High DPI screens

Scott Hanselman wrote a nice blog post back in January about some of the issues you might face running Windows on a High DPI screen like that of a Surface Pro or Lenova Yoga. I'm kindof mystified that he didn't mention Remote Desktop though because thats been the number one problem for me on High DPI screens. That said, if you remote into very recent Server OS's like Windows Server 2012 R2, then apparently Remote Desktop will sort out the DPI scaling automatically. Perhaps Scott hadn't noticed the Remote Desktop issue because he only remotes into Server 2012 R2. Certainly if I was Scott, I wouldn't remote into anything less than that. But, in practice, I regularly have to remote into Server 2008 machines and yes even Server 2003. If you do that from a high DPI screen, the remote desktop is rendered at regular pixel size, which makes everything tiny. Its hard to show screenshots of High DPI screens that correctly convey the pixel size, so I've photoshoppe

Salesforce User License Transitions

In Salesforce, User License types are tied to Profiles, so to change the User License type of a User, you need to change their Profile. However, only certain types of transitions are allowed: Core Licenses: aka "Salesforce Licences". You can transition users between these six core licenses, but you can't transition from these six to any of the others. That is, you can't convert to Chatter or Community/Portal licenses. Salesforce Salesforce Platform - App Subscription - Free Partner App Subscription Only Chatter Licenses: Chatter Free This license can be changed to any of the six Core Licences listed above - but then you cannot change back Chatter External This license can be changed to Chatter Free or any of the six Core Licences listed above - but then you cannot change back Customer Community Licenses: You can transition users between these four Customer Community type licences, but you can't transition from th

Copying data to Salesforce Sandboxes using TalenD

A common problem with Salesforce Developer Sandboxes is that they are blank. Really you're going to want some data in there, so there are various strategies for copying data from your live instance to the Sandbox. There are some paid-for solutions - SFXOrgData , Salesforce Partial Data Sandboxes - but if you've got a decent ETL tool you can build your own. There are a bunch of free ETL tools for Salesforce: JitterBit Data Loader is good for quick ad-hoc tasks but the free version makes it difficult to manage specific ETL projects or share projects with other users Pentaho Community Edition - an open source edition of the enterprise version Apatar was a free open source Salesforce ETL which still works but development seems to have stopped since 2011 TalenD Open Studio is an open source ETL tool For the task of copying data from live to a Sandbox, either Pentaho or TalenD Open Studio could be used, depending on preference. Here's a good comparison of the dif

Salesforce and Dynamics CRM pricing for Charities

Currently I'm working on two separate projects for two different charities - one of them implementing Dynamics CRM, the other implementing Salesforce. As I've said before , the two systems are surprisingly similar in philosophy and features, but there are some differences. Probably the most important one to discuss is price. Both Salesforce and Dynamics CRM offer steep discounts for Charities and Not-for-Profits. This graph of total cost per month versus no of users sums it up: Broadly this shows that Salesforce is actually cheaper (or free) for small numbers of users, although when you get to more than about 16 or 17 users Dynamics CRM Online works out cheaper. The estimated charity price for the imminent new release of Dynamics CRM Online is also shown, but this has not been confirmed yet (see below). This graph hides a lot of the nuances though, so here's a more thorough discussion Salesforce pricing for Charities Salesforce is very clear about its Charit

A closer look at the Dynamics CRM Process Control

The usefulness of Checklists If you use standard 'flowchart' notation to describe how to make a cup of tea, you'll get something very linear, like this: A lot of space in a standard flowchart is taken up describing what order things should happen in. But actually, for some of the steps, the order is not that important. We certainly have to wait for kettle to boil before pouring the water into the mug, but the order in which we add milk and sugar doesn't matter. If we re-draw the process using a notation that allows for certain steps to happen in any order, we get something like this: If you look at real world business processes, you'll probably find the same thing: although there are certain steps that do have to be ordered, a lot of them can be split into 'stages' and then tackled in any order. In many cases a series of checklists is a much better model for business processes than a classic flowchart. The CRM Process Control Someone at Mic

Video demo of Dynamics CRM 2013 from WPC2013

I wrote a few months ago about the coming changes in Dynamics CRM 2013 (previously codenamed Orion). At the Worldwide Partner Conference a few weeks ago, Reuben Krippner did a good demo of the new features. And this time it was a proper live demo, not just prepared screenshots. Its on YouTube : The actual demo starts at 38:55 , before that its roadmap and scene setting. Around 46:20 Reuben uses a custom process called "Unexpected Baby" to great effect to show the flexibility of the new/improved process features. At 49:23 there is a demo of the Surface app, and at 51:18 there is a demo of the iPad app, wherein Reuben treads a delicate path between showing that Microsoft take the iPad seriously, while also making sure he gets in a few jokes at Apple's expense. And when is this coming to CRM Online customers? This post by PowerObjects says that: Microsoft intends to upgrade all CRM Online customers to CRM 2013 between October and early January 2014. An emai