A First-Hand Look at Data Recovery for an Offline-First Mobile App

Anyone with experience working with Salesforce mobile applications will know that, even at the best of times, data can occasionally struggle to find its way from the device to the platform. But when the mobile app in use is something an employee depends on as a critical tool to do their job, this sort of setback simply cannot be allowed to have a significant impact. Here we discuss a recent data synchronisation issue which arose with one of our customers, running an offline-first mobile app in a critical line-of-business function, and we offer some advice for recovery for anyone in similar situations.

Mobile apps: Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

One of the primary benefits of a comprehensive solution such as MobileCaddy – which doesn’t just focus on the development of its apps up until the deployment, but also has an equal focus on post-deployment support – is that a built-in monitoring system is working around the clock to identify issues or problems which may affect anyone using our apps. The point of this? So we can either prevent these issues, or fix them as quickly as possible, of course!

We were recently alerted that one of our clients, with an app deployed throughout a large team of field sales workers, had two users experiencing a problem with the synchronisation of their records to the Salesforce platform. The users in question noticed that certain records were repeatedly getting stuck in their outboxes when all other data was being synced as expected. Within the MobileCaddy system, Mobile Logs and Connection Sessions are kept stored to allow the administrators to have visibility into these kind of issues, and to provide our technical team with the best chance of resolving them.

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What Data Have Your Mobile Users got on Their Devices?

Visibility is key. When building, testing, and beyond into production, just having insight into what is going on with mobile users who may be thousand of miles away in different time zones, or developers working under pressure to strict deadlines, understanding the actual data which is being processed can be a lifesaver.

For every user/device (or emulated ‘devices’ for developers or testers using a CodeFlow Emulator or a Platform Emulator), you can see exactly what data was requested by each synchronisation, either at a table-by-table or record-by-record level.

To do this, navigate to the Connection Session tab and locate the Connection Session record which pertains to your user/device and for the Mobile Table you want to inspect.

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MobileCaddy Apps for Desktop: Delivering Salesforce on Windows 10

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With approximately 80% of the global workforce performing deskless work daily, the demand for the right technology, in the right place and at the right time, has reached critical mass. For Salesforce users, this means seamless access to critical systems and data on any device, regardless of location or connection. To accommodate this, we’ve extended our MobileCaddy offering from iOS and Android applications to deliver Salesforce on Windows 10, making it easier for businesses to enable truly deskless work.

Presenting… MobileCaddy for desktop

It’s with great pleasure that we can officially announce the first desktop support for MobileCaddy applications. This expansion is something we’re extremely proud of, as it marks a significant step in our mission to provide seamless mobile working within the global Salesforce ecosystem, free of any limitations.

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Custom Mobile Apps: Answering the Burning Questions for Salesforce Consultancies

As more and more organisations place a strong emphasis on mobilising processes which are ‘business critical’, Salesforce consultancies tasked with delivering custom mobile apps capable of achieving that are facing a wave of entirely new and unfamiliar challenges. But in order to take advantage of this growing opportunity, consultancies must first be able to meet each of their clients’ mobile-specific requirements. From our experience working closely with the Salesforce partner community, here we address the burning questions which must first be answered in order to successfully provide the class of mobile apps so many businesses are currently demanding.  

 

burning2Some Salesforce partners and consultancies will inevitably feel the only question that really matters is whether the mobile app that will satisfy their client’s specification can be built or not. While this is generally the bottom line when taking on a project, there are a number finer, more intricate details which need to be considered, due to the complexity of the apps which the market is now in desperate need of.

Those details become even more important when a client’s goal is to introduce a mobile app into a workflow or process critical to its business, which is when a new, more advanced, more powerful solution is required to eliminate the possibility of failure once deployed.

This is where an evaluation of the available technology, compared to the necessary features and characteristics of the app, should take place. Within this decision making process, once you reach, and realise you need to go beyond, the limitations of an app built with Salesforce1, it will become abundantly clear that these preliminary considerations are essential to the success of your delivery.

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Salesforce London’s Calling 2017: A MobileCaddy Preview

London's Calling 2017Another year brings another slate of events, conferences, meet-ups, and networking opportunities to attend within the living, breathing, ever-growing Salesforce community.

Boasting the title of Europe’s largest community-led event for Salesforce professionals, London’s Calling 2017 will be the perfect way for anyone working with Salesforce in the UK to expand their knowledge and learn exciting new ways to get the most out of the technology.

MobileCaddy’s own Todd Halfpenny has just been proudly named one of the Top 25 people to meet at the event by Salesforce consultant Phil Walton, and will be giving a presentation on browser developer tools at the event, which takes place this Friday, 10 February.

With more and more of the partners, consultancies, and Salesforce customers we work with embracing the value of using the Salesforce platform to mobilise their employees and their operations, we wanted to take the opportunity to preview London’s Calling with a mobile-centric twist. Here’s what to expect for anyone who’ll be attending…

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Hidden Salesforce Spring ’17 Security Update Could Prove Fatal for Android Apps

Android-AppsThe upcoming Salesforce Spring ‘17 release will include restrictions to its security policy for mobile applications that are submitted to the Google Play Store, something which will affect anyone running Salesforce mobile apps on Android. Read on to learn what has changed, how it may affect your apps, and how it can be fixed.

Pre-release testing uncovers unwelcome updates

An interesting discovery was made last week during a routine pre-release test for Salesforce’s Spring ‘17 update, made by our Salesforce Pre-Release QA Administrator when testing MobileCaddy in the pre-release testing box on an Android device.

This advanced testing, designed to preemptively rectify any potential challenges or unexpected errors well ahead of time, surfaced a problem where MobileCaddy apps within the Google Play Store were failing. From our position as a Salesforce Partner, we use 10 full enterprise pre-release orgs, in varying configurations, to ensure all of our apps continue to function (this includes the Apple App Store, the Google Play store, and the Salesforce App Exchange).

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ATS Compliance is No Longer an Option for Salesforce Mobile Apps

ATSFor anybody working with – whether that’s building, running, or maintaining – mobile apps on the Salesforce platform, forthcoming restrictions to Apple’s ATS security feature will have an impact which must be urgently addressed. 

While Apple has extended its original deadline for this, any apps being submitted to the App Store will eventually be affected. This article details the changes which are occurring, as well as highlighting the different implications for MobileCaddy customers and non-MobileCaddy users. 

So what exactly is ATS?

App Transport Security (ATS) is a security feature introduced by Apple during its 2015 Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC), to improve the security of applications by forcing all connections to use HTTPS instead of HTTP, ensuring connections between applications and web services are encrypted whilst in transit. Any attempts to make connections to web services which aren’t secured will fail and result in an error.

Apple initially specified a deadline of 1 January, 2017 during its 2016 WWDC as the cutoff point for when all apps being submitted to the App Store must comply with the ATS security feature. However, Apple has recently decided to extend this and will release a new deadline at a later date.

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Working with Salesforce Record Types and Offline Mobile Apps

Due to the fact that Salesforce record type IDs can vary between instances, it’s an important consideration to understand the effect of this on your design, development effort, and the potential failures once the app moves to production. As always with MobileCaddy, our aim is to remove this consideration to allow for more rapid and robust mobile apps.

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Salesforce record types

For nearly every object in Salesforce (both standard and custom), you can create multiple record types of the same object. This allows separation of ‘types’ of records. For example, if we had a custom object for ‘assets’ (so Asset__c) we may want to store types of these assets that have shared, similar, and distinctively different attributes.

There’s an excellent video by CertifiedOnDemand which explains the concepts regarding why you would want to use record types, which I’ll refer to here, as our purpose is to look at the implications for our particular use case (here are some Salesforce tips and tricks on record types as well).

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Mobile Apps in the Workplace: The Top 10 Stats of 2016

Mobile-apps-in-the-workplaceWhen looking at the growth and acceptance of mobile apps in the workplace over the past 12 months, it’s clear to see that while priorities are moving in the right direction, some efforts are still lacking to fully accommodate what is an enormous opportunity for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Considering how these apps are delivered, when focusing on the enterprise SaaS market, there was reportedly growth of almost 40% in 2015, and analysts Synergy Group forecasted that it will more than triple in size over the next five years. Within that market, Microsoft, among others, is now challenging for leadership, but is still a way behind long-time leader Salesforce, according to Synergy.

Thanks to this growth, throughout 2016 mobile apps built on the Salesforce platform have become exponentially more capable, affordable, and reliable, and have consequently become critical to the daily running of organisations in many cases.

However, there’s still a large gap in the understanding of what’s required to deliver this more advanced class of apps successfully, which is something we’ve witnessed as a prominent challenge for the wider Salesforce ecosystem this year. Right alongside that is a lack of confidence among decision makers to place mobile apps into such important supporting roles within the core responsibilities of their employees.

Still, there are plenty of positive signs when looking ahead into 2017, as more and more businesses are acknowledging the potential of mobility as more than just a driver of productivity, but as a key competitive differentiator as well.

To highlight this, we’ve pulled together 10 notable statistics from the past 12 months which tell the story of the current state of mobile apps in the workplace, and which also shed some light on what the future may hold for businesses embracing them as a means for success.

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Salesforce Consultancies Face a Whole New Class of Mobile App

Salesforce consultancies are facing a significant demand for mobile apps from prospective clients that, for one reason or another, they’re unable to meet. This article explores the separation of all available enterprise mobile applications into five ‘Classes’, based on their varying complexity and capabilities. This will allow consultancies (and end users) to more accurately assess their needs, from both a technical and a commercial point of view, reducing the rate of failure currently associated with mobile app projects. 

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The need for a new approach

More and more opportunities have been arising in recent years for Salesforce consultancies and solution providers to build enterprise mobile applications. Unfortunately, for various reasons, they’re often either having to turn these prospective clients down, or are taking on the projects and failing – and this is happening far too often.

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