My Favorite Salesforce Tools

Last year I came across a post by Sharif Shaalan on his blog Salesforce.com Tips, Tricks, Solutions, and Thoughts talking about his favorite Salesforce Tools he uses quite often and I really enjoyed his posting, so I thought I would share my favorite tools. Salesforce.com prides it’s self as a “No Software” company meaning everything you need to get up and running is in the product and platform. Well you may not need software to get up and running on Salesforce but it takes great tools to keep to running smooth and efficient. This week I wanted to share with you my favorite tools that make my daily Salesforce administration and development easy. 

Force.com Explorer

When i first dicovered Force.com Explorer my eyes lit up with joy. As a SQL user for years this was something I understood quite well. Force.com Explorer is the SOQL viewer similar to Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio but slimmed down. I use it quite often to track down variables in rows or to run a quick query to export some data for a requestor. It has the ability to  execute update statements from it but i don’t use that functionality.     (Adobe Air)

Data Loader

If you’ve ever needed to upload data to salesforce you’ve used this tool or at least seen it. It’s a must have when your learning how to push data to salesforce. Data Loader is a work horse desktop apps for uploading massive amounts of data to an object at once using CSV file or a ODBC connection. Since it was created by Salesforce it’s the tool Salesforce talks about in Salesforce documentation  (Cross Platform)

Salesforce.com

Yeah no not the website but the extension for chrome. I know it’s a weird name and not very descriptive but this is a Google chrome extension that puts a shortcut on your google chrome apps page. It give you the ability to have one click to the salesforce login page at a touch of a button.  This is probably one my most used chrome extensions.  (Chrome Based)

MassUpdate 

 

Great tool only designed for updating and deleting records. Massupdate is a very gritty application and very lite on resource usage. Massupdate allows for you modify hundreds of thousands of records at once using just SOQL syntax For example changing records country from US or USA to United States in a country column. (Cross Platform)

Chatter Monitor

Replaces the main functionality for chatter desktop for me. Chatter Monitor is an extension for chrome  that allows me to monitors my chatter feed of items i follow on chatter as well as post to chatter. Where this tool excels beyond chatter desktop is it allows for you to do this across multiple orgs. The only thing you can’t do through the extension is send out polls or post files to chatter. Chatter Monitor is one of my most used tools  (Chrome Based).

I love automation software so the next two are cloud based services that allow automating of cloud to cloud.

Ifttt is a very simple to set up API integration tool. IFTTT stands for If This Then That. Basically an action occurs on one of the supported services and you trigger a result to occur somewhere else.  Say you want to feed data from twitter to facebook this where IFTTT comes in handy or feed data from instagram to chatter. Which I find very useful but weird since Chatter is free but more of a private social network. I’m always a fan of automated tools that make doing things simpler. Especially when there free!!!! (Web based) 

IFTTT Recipe: Instagram to Chatter connects instagram to salesforce-chatter

Zapier  is another API integration based tool and is one of the best in the world. Zapier is free but they also offer a paid version takes the functionality to the next level. The difference between Zapier and IFTTT is that Zapier focuses on integrating private clouds, say for example you want to feed leads from Salesforce to Zoho CRM then this is tool or you want to feed salesforce to SQL Azure. (Web based) 
 

My Experience with Freedompop

I live outside of Chicago so there are a lot of options for mobile high speed internet. My cellular carrier is Sprint which has amazing LTE service and I’m getting on average 24Mbps down but there tethering plan is not worth the monthly cost for my usage. I first heard about Freedompop via a podcast called Tech News Today a couple of years ago so I started to get familiar with it back then but really didn’t have a need for it at the time. I would use mobile internet when I need too, which is mainly during commute to and from work to work while on the local rail service. I tried tethered to my phone in the beginning but founded it stupid to pay so much to use so little of my mobile data plan. I tried did from November until January and then I figured I would pick up a Freedompop online for a great deal. I was leery at first with the fact that runs on the Sprint WIMAX network which use to be owned by Clear Wireless but I figured let’s give it a ride and see it was a small investment oppose to keeping on paying Sprint. The cost of hardware was 25 bucks which included shipping, first month of service, what they call Freedompop premier, and 2GB of data for the plan. After that all that would cost me 20 bucks. But I figure I would cancel and drop down to the free plan of 500mb of data after the first month. The first thing that impressed with the quick time to delivery, I ordered my unit on a Monday afternoon and received it by Thursday via FedEx oppose to UPS Mail Innovation or UPS Sure post or some other hybrid with the USPS.

The first time I used the service was that weekend while on a road trip to southern Illinois along I-55. I needed to download some information and figured I would give it a try and was shocked it worked and the speeds were pretty good out in the middle of nowhere. That following week while on the train heading home from work we struck a pedestrian I broke it out again and got really good up and down speeds. I was able to work via a VPN connection on my laptop while streaming the White sox game with a solid connection for about two while the police investigated and did their thing and then continued along my journey home. Toward the end of the month I had about 60mb left of usage so I figure let’s keep on this plan. This where the Freedompop premier which is an extra 8.99 kicks in it’s a bundle of all their a la carte services such replacement for the device if it broke, unused data rollover, data limit monitoring and some other stuff I can’t remember right now. I didn’t really use it February and I forgot to cancel so my unused data rolled over again and then in March I worked late a lot and took a slower train home and watch a lot of Hulu and the NCAA basketball tournament during the ride home. Shockingly I still didn’t go over my data limit but I came mighty close to it.

So I’m hitting the 6 month mark with the service it’s been good times with a few hiccups.  For example I find it annoying I’m not being able to get service everywhere but I know it’s because it’s on WiMAX. If you’re considering Freedompop go to this web address http://fpop.co/e4JT and will both get extra free data when you sign up.

 

 

 

Monitor Your Salesforce Instance Via An Automated Email

salesforce

One of the challenges I face within Salesforce is noticing performance issues before my users do. It doesn’t happen to often but when it does my users notice. Like any other system Salesforce is only as weak as its weakest link. To help me stay ahead without constantly having to look at trust.salesforce.com I’ve created a zap using Zapier to monitor the rss feed for my server and send me a email when an incident is reported though the rss feed. Check out my zap below.