Why I Wrote the Salesforce Chatter for Twitter Demo

Yesterday I posted a video and demo of a Chatter app running on Google App Engine integrated with Twitter. While I got a lot of positive feedback from other Salesforce.com employees, Dave Carroll gave me the proverbial beat-down on our Appirio Tech Blog. Everything he said was 100% correct. The app could have easily been developed on Force.com if my only intention was to develop a Twitter app. It was not. I used Twitter because everyone loves Twitter and that made the video nice and easy to understand. I've also been doing a lot of OAuth lately and have been working with the Twitter4J API so it was code that I had laying around. I wrote the demo on Google App Engine since roughly 30% of my blog traffic is related to App Engine and GWT. By using Twitter, OAuth and App Engine I was hoping to catch the eye of people that normally don't develop on the Force.com platform and might not see the super-cool possibilities of Chatter.

Perhaps I didn't explain myself very well so I'll try and redeem myself (wish me luck!). One of my favorite things about Chatter is that external apps can send chatter about projects, people, opportunities, etc as well. If you saw our Social PS Enterprise demo at DF09, you should remember how a Google spreadsheet sent Chatter for a project when the hours reported was updated. I hadn't seen much talk about external app sending Chatter so that's why I thought it might be useful and could spark ideas. Here are some ideas where I think my code might come in useful:

  • You have some external apps running on Google App Engine or some other Java stack that you want to have send Chatter when an event occurs.
  • You have some type of Salesforce.com integration that runs externally on a hosted server or EC2 that processes records and attaches the resulting file Chatter for the application.
  • You wrote a Bulk API Java app that runs on a scheduled basis and send Chatter as to the number of records processed.
  • We spin up a Google Site each time we start a new project. Sometimes we have resources that do not have access to our Production org, so it would be nice for them to submit Chatter for the project from the Google Site.

Hopefully the code and/or idea in my blog post will be useful to someone else. Let me know what you think?