So we just finished the second phase of our SalesForce Chatter integration efforts – the displaying of feeds and basic wall-functionality: Posts, Comments, Groups, Tags, and Likes.
Here’s what it looks like:
I described the basic workings of the web part in an earlier article (https://marcrdavis.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/salesforce-chatter-integration-to-sharepoint/) so please check that out for the details. I think it worked out very well. We added the ability to cross-post to your SharePoint profile when updating Chatter, nice. We also added properties to control the number of feed items returned, the cache and refresh timeouts, and options to produce debugging information per-user so we can trace issues in production.
Users who have authorized our intranet on their Chatter profile get the full experience above – they can post, like (or unlike), and comment on items. If they have not done the authorization step yet (or it was revoked), then users will get a read-only view of the All Company feed (which is done by adding a SalesForce API-enabled account in the web part configuration). Read-Only users are invited to authorize the app so they can get the full experience:
Clicking the link starts the authorization process:
The biggest challenge we had with the design was the Chatter API rate-limit of 200 requests per user, per application, per hour. We had to get creative with caching so we would not run over the limit – especially for the read-only view.
The goal here was not to reproduce Chatter or all of the Chatter features – but rather bring the feed data and the basic social experience into our SharePoint Intranet. Links, hashtags, and attachments are redirected to a new browser window that opens to the full Chatter web application. SalesForce has been working on a version of this web part for some time – but it is still in beta and not widely available. The version we tested also had a requirement of SSL on the SharePoint front-end servers. Since we offload SSL on our load-balancers, we could not use their web part properly. Ours does use SSL to talk to SalesForce (so the feed is secure) but we don’t need to have SSL on the web applications. Our web part is also not encumbered by the SalesForce branding – so it fits in perfectly.
The next phase will continue to integrate the platforms further, with indexing Chatter so it can be returned in SharePoint search results. We may also look to embed the wall-experience in the user’s profile page.
That’s it for now – look for more on this soon. Be sure to look for my tweets and blog updates from the SharePoint Connections Conference in March. Take care.