• martin1.3878648448343223E12
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Hello everyone,


I am trying to find a way to automatically sync my Outlook 2011 contacts with Salesforce.  What are my options?




I wanted you to know that I was taking part in the mydreamapp.com competition to design (and get developed) the greatest Mac application !
My idea is macForce, salesforce.com on the Mac : the idea is presented here, copied below.

Please cross-post discussions about this idea on the mydreamapp forum.
If you wish to support this idea, please vote for it starting 1/2 september on mydreamapp.com.

So just imagine, now, having salesforce.com on your Mac.

You can use already the salesforce.com OnDemand service online ?
That's true, but here are the drawbacks :
. online : precisely, you have to be online to use salesforce.com
. speed : the reactivity of your web browser, through the internet, is much less good than any Mac app you are used to using locally
. usability : any Mac app, with great user interfaces and integration with your other Mac desktop applications, will be more usable, sexy and productive than salesforce.com through your web browser, even with the best Ajax UI (which salesforce.com does not have).

So what exactly will macForce offer ?

Feature 1 : sync your data between the OnDemand salesforce.com platform and your Mac, locally

You now have all your salesforce.com on your Mac; you can walk away from the net, use the data offline, and sync it back later on. Data is mapped to the MacOSX data model thanks to the introspection features of the salesforce.com API : Accounts and Contacts mapped to AddressBook addresses, Tasks and Events mapped to iCal, Documents stored in the Finder as files, etc.
Are you getting it now ?  You will be able to read, update, create, delete and link all this data offline, on your own Mac, and those actions will be reflected, after the next sync, in salesforce.com
You use several salesforce.com accounts ?  That's OK, macForce will tag your data with your salesforce.com userid, and store your passwords in KeyChain, if you want.
On MacOSX Server, this sync engine will run as a service : that means it will just run on its own, without your assistance - the same is true for the MacOSX client platform, of course.
Just like any sync service, conflicts will be managed and resolved. macForce will used the Mac's SynServices; there is a difficulty here, which is discovering how the "server" value of Client Description type is managed ...
Data is stored locally in a CoreData database. The sync engine will be extended with engine-plugins, developed by third-party partners, to connect to other OnDemand services. They will also be able to develop data-plugins to sync your own salesforce.com custom data objects (e.g. pulled in from the AppExchange).

Feature 2 : macForce integrated with Spotlight

This is not as straightforward as it seems, since Spotlight does not search databases (currently), but only searches file metadata. Depending on the advances of Spotlight in Leopard, we will either implement this feature rather like Delicious Library (i.e. create a small file for each salesforce.com object), or use the hoped-for Leopard feature of Spotlight for CoreData databases.
An API will be standardized around this service, in the first case, so that any Mac developer can developer his own local Mac application to handle your salesforce.com data on the Mac !  In the second case, the API will be simple Leopard CoreData+Spotlight : what could be more simple ?
So just imagine searching through your heap of salesforce.com contacts : they are all there; find them in Spotlight, in Mail, in AddressBook, etc.

Feature 3 : macForce integrates salesforce.com with the Mac

There is currently no Mac client for salesforce.com, because they provide a client component based on .Net which does not run on our favorite platform. No worries; with macForce, you will be using Mac apps !
Send an SMS to a salesforce.com contact from AddressBook; fix a meeting with him in iCal; send him an email and add it to his current Opprotunity from within Mail.app - all this on your Mac, offline : it will all sync up to the salesforce.com OnDemand service later on. macForce will be integrated with Skype for IP-calls, Gmail for storage if necessary, Google Maps and Earth for locations, Growl for notifications, etc., etc. Your imagination is the limit, your data is now on your Mac with macForce.

Feature 4 : macForce comes with its own Mac client apps

(sync) engines are nice, but Mac user interfaces are much nicer. macForce comes with its own client applications for you to update your own salesforce.com data on your Mac : a Sales and a Support console. These are designed like iSale or Delicious Library, and integrate all the possible operations on your standard salesforce.com data : Opportunity, Product, Solution, Contract, Campaign, as well as Document in Finder, Account and Contact in AB, Task and Event in iCal.
Your favorite Mac developer will also be able to add specific plugins into macForce to develop the perfect GUI (graphical user interface) to handle your own custom data from salesforce.com.

Feature 5 : macForce syncs your salesforce.com data with .Mac

A second sync engine keeps all your data synced with .Mac : your Accounts and Contacts data will sync with the rest of your AddressBook data, salesforce.com Events and Tasks will go with your iCal data, salesforce.com Documents (files) will go on iDisk, and all the rest will be synced as a new SalesForce.com data class in .Mac

So now, you can access all that business data from all your Macs : at home, at work, on your MacBook pro you want to take to the beach, etc.

Finally, a bit about this competition. How will judges evaluate macForce ?

A) Innovation and Creativity : ***** (5/5)?

This has never been done. I have been waiting for this app for 2 years, and not seen anyone mention anything like it. That is why I have started prototyping it, spending most of my time looking out for the technologies (now available) to implement it with.

B) Use of OS X and Leopard technologies : ****. (4.5/5)

Integrated with many desktop mac applictions, macForce will also rely on lower-level Tiger and Leopard technologies like Spotlight, CoreData, TimeMachine, etc.

C) Feasibility of Development : ****. (4.5/5)

This has already been prototyped - e.g. for calling the salesforce.com API, have a look at ActiveSalesforce which I run with client-only RubyOnRails.

D) Mass-Market Appeal : ***** (5/5)

I hope that macForce will simply be the Trojan Horse we have been waiting for to introduce the Mac massively into the entreprise : that is what I have been waiting for for 2 years now.

Beyond bringing valuable on-demand services right to your Mac, the "sync to on-demand" concept of macForce is the door open to a stream of Mac apps working locally with seamlessly-synced business services data and turns the salesforce.com service platform into an extension of the Mac and its .Mac/iDisk sync model.

  • August 30, 2006
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