Salesforce and Force.com in general are attracting increasing numbers of users, and therefore more and more administrators and developers are cutting their teeth on the platform and many have been using it for many years already.

Due to the nature of the platform, development can range from configuration (declarative development) which requires no code to be written, through to custom webservices, pages, and database triggers. Nearly all complex solutions require a mixture of the two styles, and even working out where the line is can be part of the challenge. Because of the two distinct areas of development I believe a Salesforce exchange site would be beneficial for many people because the questions don't really fit in at stackoverflow.com every time.

For instance, today I answered this question:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/8754706/regarding-not-logged-in-user-in-customer-portal-site/8754742#8754742

which could relate to code, but if the requirement is just that a report is needed then no code is needed, making it a bad fit for the site but not leaving the asker anywhere sensible to turn. Granted code based questions would potentially belong on stack overflow, but a lot of the time the asker may be an administrator, and part of the skill set is knowing if code is required, and avoiding it where possible!

Proposal: Salesforce

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3 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

With the posting of Devs Unite! on the Force.com blog today, this board definitely has a chance for success. Having the support of salesforce.com is an extremely good thing, not just for the exposure, but for the fact that they are tacitly condoning a direct relationship between the Force.com community and the Stack Exchange - rather than insisting that all direct questions should be routed through their forums.

Having this blessing is a real game changer, since the Force.com community is enormous yet segmented. This is not about "diluting" or stealing from Stack Overflow, but rather it represents the potential to increase the existing Stack Exchange user base by signaling this as an approved destination for Salesforce questions in general.

As you may have heard, Salesforce recently changed their support structure such that standard dev orgs are no longer able to receive developer support directly. Therefore, the need for this board has increased. And coupled with their vote of support today, perhaps it can finally happen!?!?

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There should be a broader "CRM" SE proposed instead, if at all. So there will be not just Salesforce but all the others on it too. I'd join that!

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It depends if the goal of the Salesforce SE is mostly geared toward developers or more geared toward "CRM usage" in general. –  GuiSim Jul 26 '12 at 19:12
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I must respectfully decline and I think this might not actually be such a great idea for several reasons, first of which being that it will dilute SO and that the subject matter handled by site is too narrow (and limited to one vendor) for a site.

When I search for

[salesforce] -[visualforce] -[apex-code] -[soap] -[api] -[c#] -[java] -[php]

i see a total of <400 question and even of those just a handful are non-code related and they are spaced days of not weeks apart. I fear that the site would just be forced to "steal" the thunder from SO just to avoid being a ghost town.

Imho, the missing piece for pure SF admins can be better solved by simply creating a salesforce tag (or salesforce-* tags) in one of the existing sites, for example in ServerFault which already houses tags for other cloud service vendors.

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If I could add a counterpoint, SE is full of otherwise narow focus boards. For instance, the Smug Mug exchange board is a very similar use case. It is a single vendor and probably could end up on the Web Apps board. SharePoint is a single product for a single vendor and could possibly end up in ServerFault or even a new board encompassing all Office apps or MS products. –  Bob Roberts Feb 20 '12 at 15:15
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I agree with your assessment, I just find it counter productive to diversify into oblivion because it splits the audience. I am a super-moderator on one of the national tech boards and I've seen situations like these before, the reasoning always favoring the wrong question, For example, is salesforce deserving of a site (being so awesome)? Or do existing questions fit perfectly with where they are now? Imho, the main reasoning should be along the lines of securing the widest audience and best possible community answer for a particular problem. Narrow focus boards kill that. –  mmix Feb 20 '12 at 15:43
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Hi mmix, I can see where you're coming from with that but in my view force.com the platform and Salesforce are complex enough that most solutions require consideration from a declarative and coding point of view. To create the best possible resource we need to pull developers, consultants, administrators and power users together into one place, this is what's lacking with other resource so far. I disagree that there are people who are 'pure admins' on this platform, any Salesforce admin should know about how to leverage apex and visualforce to best serve their users. –  LaceySnr Feb 20 '12 at 22:37
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Should and is are two different categories. I myself and my wallet are direct proof of that since none of my clients code. They are business people and they pay me for my consult on the matter. That doesn't make them less worthy, just focused on different things. On the other hand, I only hang out at SO because of non-SF stuff, answering on salesforce tag is mostly out of my desire to help while I satisfy my interest in other areas such as c# (and while I wait SF to run my tests :)). –  mmix Feb 21 '12 at 10:49
    
I would best compare this to WCF in C#, yes its a coding tech but on occasion it involves problems related to networking, administration, heck even wiring. Giving a site to salesforce on account of would be pretty much like giving WCF its own SE site expecting that all c# users will follow it in addition to win admins and cisco guys. Not gonna happen, questions will keep coming to SO sicne ajority are code related and thats where the coders are and you and mods will spend a lot of effort convincing people to go to specialized site with little effect. –  mmix Feb 21 '12 at 10:54
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I'm definitely with @LaceySnr on this one. If you actually skim through the example questions on this proposal (area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/37589/…), many of them would not be appropriate on SO, and don't currently have a good place to be discussed. As a regular visitor of the SF discussion boards, they really don't cut it. –  Benj Jul 12 '12 at 4:12
    
I would say definately we needed the salesforce stack .Its an expanding technology and as its getting deeper we need some help from experts and an individual can never be expert .Separating force.com from overflow is very helpful –  Mohith Kumar Jan 16 '13 at 13:13
    
well, you got it, enjoy... –  mmix Jan 22 '13 at 10:07
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