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"Mash-ups" may be the buzzword of the year, but having your company's CRM and financial data securely available on the Internet presents serious, and often previously impossible, opportunities for instantaneous analysis, organization and actioning of information, which in the past would have been locked away deep in your accounts package. This might be just what you need in today's turbulent economic times.
Here, our developers explore, experiment and generally knock together various bits of internet technology and cloud-based APIs, with the aim of opening up brand new possibilities for accountants everywhere.
Our developers managed to find some time to explore the Google Wave API and how to hook it up with Salesforce CRM accounts.
These are the same accounts the FinancialForce application uses, since our product is fully integrated with Salesforce CRM and uses the accounts that drive it. So no interfacing or separate databases for us - one of the key benefits we get by building natively on the Salesforce Platform.
The FinancialForce API is available in both Web Service and Apex forms, allowing for seamless integrations such as this one between Basecamp , the popular cloud-based project management system, and FinancialForce Accounting.
In this PoC we utilize a general Apex wrapper we have written around the Basecamp API, to deliver a wizard that allows the user to import work items and time-sheet entries recorded in Basecamp. The mash-up allows information to be used in conjunction with the FinancialForce API to generate Invoices to bill the customer!
- — Take a look at the source code
- — If you want to test drive it yourself, you can install via the listing on developer.force.com.
Please note: This is a proof of concept only and has to be installed into an org with FinancialForce 2.0 SP1 or above.
- — Update 23/11/2009: The latest version of this integration, utilises the new v3.0 bulk API for Dimensions. See class CODABasecampWizardController.cls for an example.
Our experience of producing finance software over decades is that accountants love manipulating transactions in spreadsheets! Our customers have been very enthusiastic about FinancialForce XL, our Microsoft® Excel® add-in, and now, for the on-demand world, we have produced an equivalent solution that uses Google Spreadsheets and the Salesforce Platform.
The Google Apps API offers developers the opportunity to integrate their application’s data with cloud-based Google Docs. Using a Google Gadget, Apex code and Visualforce we’ve done this for FinancialForce Accounting and Google Spreadsheets, and the result has got us and everyone we demonstrated it to very excited about the possibilities this proof of concept opens up.
The initial prototype can be used to perform a Cost Allocation over extracted transaction details from the FinancialForce application. The user can then apportion new values by editing the cells used by formulas in the spreadsheet; we then post back the results in the form of a journal back into FinancialForce Accounting from within the Google Spreadsheet user interface via a Visualforce-powered Google Gadget! (See the illustration on the right).
Illustration: Posting a cost allocation, after editing in Google Spreadsheets, back into FinancialForce Accounting, via a Visualforce-powered Google Gadget
Facebook & PayPal
This integration shows how Salesforce Platform sites can be used to surface Invoices from FinancialForce Billing into a users own Facebook account via a FinancialForce Facebook application, complete with Invoice notifications!
The Force.com Facebook Toolkit was also used to perform seamless login between the users Facebook login and their Salesforce Platform Portal User login.
As an additional benefit, FinancialForce has utilised a new toolkit on the Salesforce Platform to perform integration with PayPal via the recently announced PayPal Adaptive Payments API. Allowing Facebook users to immediately pay the invoices visible through the integration as well.