Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wishing Analytic Snapshots Supported Summary Reports

If Analytic Snapshots supported Summary Reports, I could avoid exporting to Excel, replacing a bunch of text and pasting in a bunch of formulas in order to perform the calculations that I need.

I'm not the only one either - vote up the idea: Summary Fields in Analytic Snapshots.

[Update: This idea is going to be implemented as a part of the Spring '09 release!]

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Visualforce Helps Developers Build Interesting Applications Faster

I've written before about how programming in Apex allows developers to be much more productive. Visualforce similarly helps developers avoid writing a lot of boring code.

If Visualforce and Apex were a typical development platform, the canonical way of populating a data bound picklist would be something like this:

Visualforce markup:

<apex:outputLabel value="Category" for="expenseCategory"/>
<apex:selectList multiselect="false" id="expenseCategory" required="true" size="1" value="{!expense.Category__c}">
<apex:selectOptions value="{!ExpenseCategories}"/>

With the following controller code:
public List getExpenseCategories()
Map allObjectTypesMap = Schema.getGlobalDescribe();
Schema.DescribeFieldResult f = Schema.sObjectType.Expense__c.fields.Category__c;
List options = new List();
options.add(new SelectOption('--None--', '--None--'));
for(Schema.PicklistEntry ple : f.getPicklistValues())
options.add(new SelectOption(ple.getValue(), ple.getLabel()));

One of the benefits of developing on the Force.com platform is that it is very data-driven and has native access to your application's metadata. As a result, the code below is equivalent to the code written above and is much less verbose:

<apex:inputField id="expenseCategory" required="true" value="{!expense.Category__c}"/>

As a result, developers can spend their time building really interesting applications and let the Force.com platform worry about the plumbing.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Don't worry about losing your laptop.

I've received two letters in the past year from former employers alerting me that they had lost a computer that contained some of my confidential information. Apparently, I'm not alone - according to a Dell survey, 12,000 laptops are lost at airports alone every week. Over 50% of those laptops are purported to have sensitive corporate data on them. The vast majority of these lost laptops are never reunited with their owners.

I'm surprised that so many corporate Information Security teams place so much faith in the ability of their users to safeguard important corporate information. Individual employees shouldn't be solely responsible for guarding important information. The bulk of that burden should be left to security professionals.

Corporate InfoSec teams should be using SaaS applications to house a lot more of their sensitive data than they are currently. The InfoSec professionals employed by SaaS vendors are much more skilled at protecting data than the average employee is and by using SaaS applications, confidential data isn't stored on individual employee computers and therefore can't be lost. Don't worry about losing your laptop - use SaaS applications instead.