Salesforce.com Nostalgia – No API, No Problem

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This morning I was “cleaning up” some very old folders and files. I came across a 2002 document for a salesforce.com implementation that I was involved in.  For those that haven’t been around salesforce.com that long, which is by far most of you, salesforce.com was a bit different back then. Salesforce.com has grown incredibly. Back in 2002 there was no API. No workflow. No formula fields. I won’t go into all that stuff, at least in this post. This one is a bit different.

Since you couldn’t do all the fun stuff in salesforce.com back then that you can do today you had to get a bit creative. Sometimes you had to “break the rules”. What we did salesforce.com wouldn’t have liked much at the time at all.

Not to get into detail but the customer we working with wanted to do what we could consider today formula fields. They wanted to also store this data, not just display on the screen what the ending value would be. So (*gasp*) we created our own dynamic web page that used a few technologies of the olden days that would basically do some formula’s and some other “stuff”. We loaded salesforce.com in a frame, with the main page being our own web page (and invisible basically) and that page would load salesforce.com in the bottom frame. This allowed us to read data from the salesforce.com page, do what we needed (calculations, etc…), and inject data back into the salesforce.com page (using form label names).

The above was risky, as salesforce.com could have easily changed things on us any day. But the only way the customer would use salesforce.com is if they had the ability to do the calculations. It was also risky because we knew salesforce.com would not be “happy” if they knew we were doing this. But that was over 11 years ago, so hopefully they won’t mind now.  🙂

So everyone out there that is using the API, formula fields, workflow, and all the other “fun stuff” know at one day us old guys didn’t have all these fun stuff way back when. I wanted to show how far salesforce.com has come. Enjoy what you have now…and buy all us good guys some drinks at Dreamforce since we 1) we stuck around when we didn’t have all the fun tools and 2) well, we are a bunch of old salesforce.com guys and you should respect us.

For those interested here is the documentation for version 2.o of the salesforce.com API – http://www.salesforce.com/assets/pdf/misc/sforce_API_reference_manual.pdf .  2003. If I remember correctly there was no 1.0 released, so I think this is the first version. You should see just by this document how much things have changed.

I will continue to post nostalgia, pointing out the good ole’ days (like no custom objects and 10 custom fields).

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