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.