Salesforce is the number one CRM platform in the world. Its software is cloud-based, which is why an expert IT team isn't needed to configure or manage it. Just log into your session and you're good to go.
Many businesses wish they could develop information systems which consume and modify Salesforce data. Although this may seem like too complex a task, Salesforce does offer a REST or SOAP API which allows you to interact with said CRM. This API lets you consume the data from Salesforce and then display them through a new user interface on your system. It also makes it possible to save and update information inside the CRM's database.
The REST API: it is a simple and efficient web service based upon the RESTful principles. It exposes Salesforce's functionality types through REST resources and HTTP methods.
This makes it possible to perform different tasks:
- Create, read, update and delete records
- Search or consult its data
- Recover an object's data and structures
This REST API is compatible with JSON and XML. Given the REST API's ease of use, it proves to be an outstanding tool for web and mobile app development.
The SOAP API: it is an efficient service with great capacity based upon its homonymous standard industry protocol. It uses a WSDL file to strictly define the parameters for accessing the data through the API. The SOAP API is only compatible with XML. Most of the SOAP API's functionality is also available in the REST API.
Since the SOAP API uses the WSDL file as a formal contract between the API and the consumer, it is an excellent tool to develop server-to-server integrations.
In a wide-scope Salesforce integration project, the effort of using a REST or SOAP API can be very significant, affecting both time and budget. So let's introduce and look into a new tool created by Heroku to integrate and synchronize with Salesforce's database.
A product launched by Heroku, called Heroku Connect, allows you to synchronize the Salesforce database with your Postgres database, making it possible for the synchronization to be done in a unidirectional or bi-directional way, thus allowing you to read the data saved in Salesforce and maintain your Postgres database updated, as well as save and update directly in your Postgres database and synchronize this data with Salesforce.
Through the bi-directional synchronization between Salesforce and the Postgres database in Heroku, Heroku Connect unifies the data in its Postgres database with the contacts, accounts and other customized objects in the Salesforce database.
With Heroku Connect, you can create applications in Heroku which easily integrate the Salesforce data. Apps created with standard open-source languages like Rails, Node.js and Python, among others, connect natively to Postgres and, through Heroku Connect, they connect directly to Salesforce.
You can connect directly to Salesforce using standard SQL statements, which makes it possible for more developers to be able to consume Salesforce's information without the need to use an API.
To be able to use Heroku Connect you must create an account in Heroku and pay for a private space inside Heroku. This tool will be able to speed up all your development efforts and improve your productivity when integrating with Salesforce.
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