Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Google Apps integration to Act!

As more and more businesses move to the cloud for email, document storage and other key business functions there is an increasing desire to improve the way that Act! talks to online applications.

At Xact Software we have long been aware that integration to Act! needs to be simpler; this was one of the motivations for building the XData API which was released back in June 2011.

One of the key functions of XData is to enable Act! to connect to third party, cloud-based applications, and today we want to show you that it is possible using a few snippets of code to integrate Google Apps with Act! using Google Scripts and XData. Google scripts is a development platform that enables you to utilize Google services (Docs, Gmail, Calendar etc) and access data stored in Google. By simply creating a Google Script and adding some intelligence we are able to trigger XData functions.

At the end of the day the more complex the function, the more complex the code. Given this, we mocked up three simple integrations to give you an idea of what can be done. The code is all real, just not refined for end-user consumption.

Our three examples are as follows:
  1. Create a new contact in Act! using data collected from a Google Form in real time 
  2. Import your Act! contact list to a Google Spreadsheet in real time 
  3. Attach an email, sent from Gmail, to Act! History in real time 

Take a look at our Tech Demo to see the integration in action!

As we've mentioned these are just to give you a taste of what can be done. In addition to this we know that there is much more functionality that you can add including:
  • Attach an inbound email from Gmail to Act! History - plus have options for creating new records if the email address cannot be found, or updating existing records for example if someone has emailed you from a new email address 
  • Attach an email from Gmail including all of its attachments to Act! History 
Google scripts work with most of the common Google services and new functionality is being added (from Google’s end) all the time so watch this space!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Microsoft Office & Act!

There has been a lot of discussion recently about ACT!’s compatibility with some of the latest Microsoft Office applications, specifically Office 2013 (refer this Act! Community post), so we thought we'd provide some clarification based on what we know.

Let's start with the facts:
  • Microsoft offers Office 365 and Office 2013
  • Office 365 is available as a web only or a web + desktop solution (aka "Office 365 Small Business Premium")
  • Office 2013 is desktop only but is available as a full download or as a click-to-run (CTR) application
  • Office 365 on the desktop is not the same as Office 2013 (full download or CTR)
  • According to the Act! 2013 system requirements neither Office 365 or Office 2013 is supported

Now let's look at the issues:
  • Based on feedback from the ACT! Community groups most people are not able to satisfactorily run Office 2013 (full download or CTR) with ACT! 2013
  • The issues and environments that people are reporting are varied and the ACT! Support Team are having difficulty replicating the issues - making it difficult to pinpoint the problem (funny enough they seem to have Office 2013 working with ACT! 2013)
  • From what we understand no one seems to have successfully run Office 365 (desktop install) with ACT! 2013

What next
Our advice is that it is best to avoid upgrading to Office 365 or Office 2013 at this stage as neither of these will be supported in the next release of Act! (2014). Swiftpage (the owners of Act!) is aware that there is a problem and is working to resolve it. 

Always check your system requirements before upgrading any software/application.