About a month ago I became a co-maintainer of the Salesforce Suite module for Drupal. The Suite offers robust integration with Salesforce.com, the popular enterprise cloud computing company, best known for its sales and customer service (also known as customer relationship management or CRM) application. I wanted to write a few words about the Salesforce suite modules and encourage developers and users to check it out.
Custom Drupal Salesforce integration
At DesignHammer, our first major Drupal / Salesforce integration project was about 18 months ago for Proteus Networks. That project used the latest Salesforce API 2.x-dev release and FeedAPI with a Salesforce parser plugin. Like many other shops that have worked with Salesforce Suite, we ended up modifying Salesforce API and some of the sub-modules in the Suite without contributing back to the project. While the integration is stable and tailored perfectly to the client's needs, our custom work didn't benefit the community. (Although later on we did contribute a port of the Salesforce parser plugin, which we now maintain under the name Salesforce Feeds.)
Contributing to the Drupal community
More recently, we began work to overhaul an existing Salesforce / Drupal integration for a client. Their site was using an old hacked-up version of Salesforce 6.x-2.x-dev and some custom integration code. Rather than continuing the approach of modifying the code, we opted to put our resources and efforts into improving the stability and performance of the Salesforce Suite. This way, the client benefits in using a base of code that is widely used by others, and gets any improvements made by other developers to the same code base. The trade off is that we spend a little more time submitting patches and working through the issue queue, but it's well worth the effort. We've since reviewed and tested dozens of issues, and provided patches to help improve the Salesforce Suite. There are also many other developers and Drupal shops that are actively contributing to improve the Salesforce Suite, none more so than the lead maintainer @aaronbauman.
Drupal Salesforce integration improved by community involvement
All this is to say that if you looked at the Salesforce Suite a year ago and were unsure about its stability, it's worth looking again, especially as we move closer to releasing a new beta version of the module in the coming weeks. Salesforce offers a product donation and discount program for eligible nonprofits so it's a great option for advocacy groups that need the complexity it offers. The Salesforce Suite offers some powerful possibilities for tightly integrating nodes, users and other entities with Salesforce objects. The Salesforce Notifications sub-module allows you to integrate with Salesforce Outbound Messages, and the latest work on the Salesforce Import module allows for regular scheduled imports. The Salesforce API module makes it easy for developers to implement their own customizations and overrides without having to hack any of the core module code. There's much more to highlight, and much more work to be done, but you should judge for yourself. Head on over to the Salesforce Suite project page and let us know what you think!