Salesforce/Drupal Integration?

I’ve been investigating the possibilty of using Salesforce.com as a CRM backend to a Drupal CMS website. Drupal is one of the more mature, community-centric platforms available and has a strong ecosystem of developers. Salesforce has an equally strong network and also highly extensible through its open API.

Currently, the only Salesforce/Drupal module I’ve found doesn’t quite meet our needs. However, I was exploring the AppExchange and found a free product called Apatar. This Windows-based tool provides a very easy visual interface for creating ETL (Execute Transform Load) connections between Salesforce and other databases; Oracle, SQL, MySQL, etc . This is a very techno-speak way to say it can create a bridge for data between two apps.

Since Apatar supports Salesforce and MySQL, the db behind Drupal, perhaps an integration need only exist in the background data transfer between the exisiting databases. Meaning no coding or module creation in Drupal or Salesforce. This would also means less money speant on development.

Given that I don’t know Drupal’s database schema very well, I went searching for documentation or even an ERD (Entity Relationship Diagram). Zilch on Drupal’s site, but a very enterprising fellow used another open source tool called SchemaSpy to create an ERD for the 5.0.21 version of Drupal. (Note to self: write an open source application.)

Armed with this information and ETL tool, I have what I need to see how viable an idea this could be. The first step is to define the scope of this "integration". At first blush, I think it is possible to synchronize the name, email, and password feilds between SFDC Contacts and the Users table in Drupal. Will it work? Wait and see. 

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6 Responses to Salesforce/Drupal Integration?

  1. David Cooper says:

    Hi Eric,
    How is the Apatar to MySQL going? I’ve been testing this for the past couple of days, but the lack of documentation on Apatar has truely made this a trial and error expercise. Sometimes it loads 999 records, othertimes i’ve gotten some odd number above 1,000. I’ve got it to load data from SF to MySQL, but it does seem hit and miss. I think the only problem is lack of messaging on what the program is actually doing and my lack of patient to let it run its course.

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  2. I’m sorry to report not much progress has been made on this front beyond the conceptual stage. At one point I also considered Jitterbit (http://www.jitterbit.com/) which, like apatar, is also an ETL tool that has a Salesforce component (http://www.salesforce.com/appexchange/detail_overview.jsp?id=a03300000022WwoAAE)

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  3. Khadijah says:

    Hi Eric,
    First time on your blog, but I’ve seen your posts to NTEN — good stuff, here!
    Have you contacted Anu_G on the Salesforce community board: (http://community.salesforce.com/sforce/board/message?board.id=PerlDevelopment&message.id=2260)
    to ask about the progress there?
    Also, Steve McKenzie developed a module that he was working on for a while (http://community.salesforce.com/sforce/board/message?board.id=PerlDevelopment&message.id=1771) but has passed off to Victor Kane (http://drupal.org/project/salesforce), whose site (http://awebfactory.com.ar) has updates on his progress. He and I have been in touch — I’m happy to beta-test for any and all of you, as this is a mission-critical integration for our nonprofit.
    Hope this finds you well, and that the answers come with relative ease!
    -Khadijah Britton
    Membership and Communications (aka accidental techie)
    Mass. Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health

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  4. Khadijah says:

    Sorry, it cut off the entire post thread address, but Anu_g can be sent a private message through his developer profile: (http://community.salesforce.com/sforce/view_profile?user.id=19664)
    if you’re interested in poking around for answers.

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  5. Ditto on Khadijah’s offer to beta-test. I too am an accidental techie (though a true geek at heart) as the Salesforce admin for our small non-profit. We’re looking for a way to have all of our data in Salesforce be accessible through a search form on our currently-being-developed new drupal-based website.
    -Marisol Thomer
    Outreach Coordinator
    Progressive States Network

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  6. Bevan Rudge says:

    Since this blog was written a new salesforce module has emerged; http://drupal.org/project/salesforce
    It is very powerful. It allows side builders to create field-mappings from Drupal objects to Salesforce objects. E.g. Drupal Users to Salesforce Contacts, or Drupal Nodes to Salesforce Leads.
    It isn’t quite stable yet, but some more time, patches and bug fixes will get it there.
    Bevan/
    http://Drupal.geek.nz

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