Lightning Connect – Creating External Data Sources and External Objects

Salesforce Connect enables you to connect Salesforce to external legacy systems like Oracle, SAP, DB2, Microsoft SharePoint in real-time, without making copy/duplicate of any single record in the Salesforce org itself. Instead of copying the data directly into your org, you can use external objects to access the data in real-time via web service callouts, without any single line of code.

You get a view of the data you need on-demand and fast.

It maps data tables in external systems to external objects in your Salesforce org.

Like standard objects, you can access external objects via list views, detail pages, record feeds, custom tabs and page layouts.

Relationships can be built between external objects and standard or custom objects in order to fetch data from different sources.

 

Before Salesforce Connect Set up

 

After Salesforce Connect Set up

 

Do you want to integrate data from external legacy systems in your Salesforce organization without storing it? In most cases integration with Salesforce is done with middleware tools known as ETL’s, ESB or Cloud integration platforms. These tools extract data from homogeneous or heterogeneous data sources, transform the data and duplicate it in Salesforce.At ABSI we use middleware tools like Dell Boomi, Actian Data Integrator, APEX Data Loader and Jitterbit. These are used for complex data integration.

In case you have just a couple of data flows, there is one technology for seamless integration that is easy and fast to use: Salesforce Connect.

With Salesforce Connect, no middleware is needed, it is a point-and-click set up, and it integrates the data in real-time. You can integrate tables from SAP® NetWeaver Gateway, Microsoft Dynamics® NAV, MS SharePoint and many other data sources in real time without writing a single line of code.

Let’s see the different type of external data sources one can configure using Salesforce Connect.

Let’s now take a simple example to further understand Salesforce Connect.

In this example, we will see how one can configure Heroku Objects and Salesforce External Objects.

As a prerequisite, you need to provision the Heroku Connect add-on. Using Heroku Connect to sync data with Salesforce is optional: if you’re only interested in Heroku External Objects, you can skip the step that asks you to authorize your connection with Salesforce.

If it’s your first time using Heroku External Objects, you’ll be prompted to create the OData service’s login credentials. Once you’ve completed this step, you can view and manage the login credentials at any time from the dashboard.

Note the OData 4.0 service URL:

To complete the setup, you need to choose the tables and/or views to expose. All schema within your Heroku Postgres database will be available, including those schemas not actively managed by Heroku Connect.

Now we can set up the OData service as an External Data Source in your Salesforce org. In the Salesforce setup menu, type “External” into the quick find box and choose “External Data Sources”. The interface for creating a new external data source looks like this:

Be sure to select “Writable External Objects” if you’d like to use the read/write capabilities of OData 4.0.

Since we use a single password, you need to choose “Named Principal” as the Identity Type and “Password Authentication” as the Authentication Protocol. Your username and password are available from the Heroku External Objects dashboard.

After saving your External Data Source, click on “Validate and Sync” to check the connection and synchronize its schema.

Each table you select will be an External Object. Initially their names will have $ characters instead of periods, but you can edit the labels.

We’ll call ours “External Customer”.

 

Like any other object, you can create custom object tabs and customize layouts for External Objects.

We can also make SOQL queries against our external object, which has the API name public_customer__x.

Sample Query:

SELECT Contact__c, first_name__c, last_name__c FROM public_customer__x

And since we enabled writes, any create/update/delete operations are written to the Heroku Postgres database.

Bingo!!!! We have successfully linked HEROKU with SALESFORCE using Lightning Connect……….

 

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