It looks like I had some wrong info so decided that taking down the post was best route. I am working with Salesforce.com to share what will be changing. As this is confirmed I will share the accurate details.

UPDATE Fri 31 May: I am excited to share that I have turned this project into an AppExchange app.  It will be released under a new company called Tapply.  The product will be called Chatter Mention More and will support mentioning groups and creating custom tags to reference records. Find out more here.

 

 

Chatter Mention for Groups is an often requested feature.  The idea has 6500 points and heaps of comments.  This video shows how it could work.

Please provide any feedback or questions in the comments below or reach out to me on twitter @andymahood__c

So… how does this work?

For those who are interested in how this works let me explain…  …for those who are not go here.

When a Chatter Group is created there is a trigger to create a new user.  Now dont worry too much we are not using a Standard or Platform licence but one of the 5000 chatter free licences that are given away with every instance of Salesforce.  This user acts as a broker to the Group.  If the new Group we created was called ‘Marketing Analysis’ then the user will be called ‘Marketing Analysis (Group)’.  This is how we get the standard mention functionality to work.  Marke sense so far?

Now when a new post is created we check if the mentioned user is associated to a group, if so we crank out some magic and duplicate the post onto the group feed.  When the post is against an object we add a link to the record (this my need to change as you cant have an image post and a link, or if the original post was a link then we can have both the original link and a the link to reference the record it was posted against).

As we duplicate the post we write a mapping record into a table so if someone comments against either the new post or the original post then we know we should duplicate the comment over to the other post.

Nice, perfect solution eh?  Well there are some issues.

Duplication in the feed: Due to the process of duplicating the post if you are a subscriber of the Group as well as someone who follows the Record or the User then you will see a duplication in your Chatter feed.

We use a licence for every group: Even though the licences we use are free it does eat into your allocation.  Nothing in life is free they are bundled with other licences.  The silver lining is that Salesforce have been known to drop a few more thousand Chatter free licences in an org if you ask nicely and require them.  Also this is why you get the message about the user not being able to view the record – they are Chatter free users so cannot see anything.  On the plus side the warning serves nicely to the fact that there may be people in the Group that cannot see the record.

When you delete a group the user remains, FOREVER!: This is another side (a)(e)ffect of using a User as the broker.  If you decide to delete the group you cannot delete the user so you will always have a certain number of Users sitting around doing nothing just because you used to have a ‘January Gym Club’ chatter group.  Its on the backlog to de-activate the user on deletion to reclaim the licence so that will help.

and thats all I can think of now.

UPDATE Fri 31 May: I am excited to share that I have turned this project into an AppExchange app.  It will be released under a new company called Tapply.  The product will be called Autocomplete Lookups for Salesforce and will allow you to search using any field on the related object and display any field as the label in the search results. Find out more here.

 

A few weeks ago I demoed Autocomplete for Salesforce and showed how it can make lookup fields in Salesforce faster and easier to fill in.  This video shows additional functionality for searching based on fields other then ‘Name’.

'Just found out, Salesforce has Autocomplete'

‘Just found out, Salesforce has Autocomplete’

UPDATE Fri 31 May: I am excited to share that I have turned this project into an AppExchange app.  It will be released under a new company called Tapply.  The product will be called Autocomplete Lookups for Salesforce and will allow you to search using any field on the related object and display any field as the label in the search results. Find out more here.

 

This week I cooked up an Autocomplete component for Salesforce.  Once installed it allows any Lookup field to support autocomplete.

How it works

Autocomplete for Salesforce works by installing a homepage component in the left hand column which finds all the lookup fields on the page ‘autocompletifies’ them.  This means that as you start typing Autocomplete for Salesforce starts suggesting records in a similar way to Google.

How to get it

Autocomplete for Salesforce is very new and only available in BETA.  This means it can currently only be installed in Developer and Sandbox environments.  If you are interested and would like to test this in your Developer or Sandbox environment then you can follow these instructions:

Installing the Managed Package

  • While logged into the Developer or Sandbox environment you would like to install Autocomplete for Salesforce into append the following to the URL[domain eg. na1].salesforce.com/packaging/installPackage.apexp?p0=04tG0000000JXvz
  • Salesforce will guide you through the steps to install the Managed Package into your environment
Example of Autocomplete for Salesforce

Example of Autocomplete for Salesforce

Once installed there are a few steps before you can get going:

  • Autocomplete for Salesforce relies on some smarts concealed within a homepage component in the left hand nav of Salesforce.  To enable this navigate to Setup > Customise > Home > Homepage Layouts then edit each layout selected the ‘Autocomplete’ component
  • Navigate to the User Inserface settings in the setup menu and check that the option ‘Show Custom Sidebar Components on All Pages’ is checked
  • Autocomplete for Salesforce allows you to optionally enable Autocomplete for each object.  to do this navigate to Setup > Develop > Custom Settings then select Manage against the Custom Setting called ‘sObjectMap’.  Select the new button, in the Name field enter the three characters at the start of the records ID (e.g. all Account IDs start with 001).  Then in the API Name field enter the Salesforce API name for the object, in this example its Account.
  • Find an Opportunity and select edit and in the Account lookup field start typing the name of an Account, you should see Autocomplete for Salesforce start to suggest some Accounts for you.

Thats it! Any issues with the steps reach out to me on twitter @andymahood__c

Whats next…

Once I am 80% confident that any major issues are identified and under control Autocomplete for Salesforce will be provided on the AppExchange and then very shortly after open sourced on GitHub.

UPDATE @ Wed 14th Nov 19:45GMT: Updated managed package URL with latest version including error handling and printing query execution time for debugging.

UPDATE @ Wed 14th Nov 20:15GMT: Updated managed package URL with latest version including support for inline edit.

UPDATE @ Fri 11th Jan 15:50GMT: Updated managed package URL with latest version including error reporting.

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