Extensions 101: Build Extensions for Zoho Finance suite

Extensions 101: Build Extensions for Zoho Finance suite

Hello Developers!

We are thrilled to announce our 5-day webinar series on building extensions for Zoho Finance Suite products.

Our first session was a resounding success, introducing Extensions, Zoho Developer, Zoho Marketplace, and the Zoho Books Developer platform. The session was not only informative, but also highly interactive. We look forward to continuing this momentum in our upcoming sessions.

If you missed the first session, you can find the recording below. To participate in our upcoming sessions of this series, you can register here.

As part of our commitment to your learning, we have carefully curated the questions received during the session and provided answers. We understand your questions are crucial to your understanding, and we are here to support you.
  1. Could you help us with more information related to Zoho Platform in general, Zoho Flow, and Zoho Creator.
    You can find the details about the different platform capabilities in the following link. https://www.zoho.com/developer/apps.html. You can also refer to this video, which explains the Zoho Developer platform and the different sections available in it.

  2. How do we make connections work in the test environment?
    The base URL for testing APIs in the developer portal sandbox is https://extension-books.sandbox.zoho.com. The respective team is working on a fix to resolve this, so that "api_root_endpoint" from the Organization map can be used without any issues to test the APIs in the sandbox. We will keep you updated here in this post once the fix is rolled out live.

  3. What are the criteria to be considered while choosing to utilize a Private Extension or performing the customizations on a Zoho Books instance?
    A private extension would be helpful when you need to share a customized feature with multiple Zoho Books instances (orgs or users). Otherwise, you can go with product customization.

  4. Are global variables created in an extension accessible in other extensions/widgets?
    No, global fields can be accessible within the extension in which they were created. If necessary, visibility can be controlled within the extension.

  5. Is it possible to connect WhatsApp business account with Zoho books along with its features?
    No. You cannot directly connect an application with Zoho Books. For any integration with Zoho Books, a secure and valid connection with the respective product must be established. Following that, you need to build the integration based on the use cases you plan to achieve. This implementation will depend upon the platform as well as the products' supported features.

  6. How do I construct data for items, materials, and prices without manually editing items as it consumes more time?
    With widgets and APIs, you can use your own user interface to create the respective module's records.

  7. Can we use global variables to store sensitive information needed for use by the extension/widget? What is the alternative to global variables?
    While reviewing the extension, we don't encourage storing users' sensitive information as per privacy policies. Other than that, if you need some data to be stored securely and used within an extension, global variables would be the best option. Otherwise, you can store it through a widget.

  8. Is the sandbox data retained between tests?
    Yes. The data will be retained.

  9. How do widget and extension share data?
    Similar to how you add various components to your extension, widgets are also added as a component. Unlike the other components, widgets must be embedded into Zoho Books at a specific, customizable location. Consequently, data or values defined within an extension will be accessible from a widget. The visibility and accessibility of the data can be controlled depending on how it is defined.

  10. Can I access the Zoho Developer from my Zoho Books?
    No. Zoho Developer is a free cloud platform that allows users to build different types of apps for Zoho products. You can only develop extensions for Zoho Books using this platform.

  11. Use case: When a contact is linked to a product in Zoho CRM, a new ticket needs to be created in Zoho Desk. To implement this, how can I connect to Zoho Desk to create a ticket?
    To implement your use case, you must create an extension for Zoho CRM with a connector for Zoho Desk. You can invoke the Desk API to create a ticket using that connector.

  12. Is approval from the Zoho Books team required for a private extension?
    Yes. A review of private extensions will be done for the initial phase. Since finance suite extensions involve financial data, the review is mandatory.

  13. Which Zoho Books plan is offered in the developer platform? Also, which plan of Zoho Books is required to test and install an extension?
    The Ultimate plan of the Indian edition is applied by default in the Zoho Books developer platform to build extensions. All the features available as part of the Ultimate plan will be available during your extension development on the developer platform.

    With regard to the plan required to test an extension, a 14-day trial plan should suffice. However, if you already have a paid org, it's recommended to have a Premium or above plan to test and install the extension. If you're using other paid plans, the suitability depends on the component's limits. Please refer to this link for more details: https://www.zoho.com/in/books/pricing/pricing-comparison.html?highlight=professional#:~:text=Customization%20and%20automation

  14. Should we post in the developer forum or write directly to the support email for suggestions and help.
    If your query is a support question related to a Zoho product, you can email the respective Zoho product's support email address. However, the developer forum is ideal if you want to validate your thoughts from other Zoho users. There are 100+ million users in the forum. The challenge you face could have already been shared and discussed by other users. Hence, the Zoho Cliq developer forum is an efficient mode of quick exchange of thoughts.

  15. When will the comments in threads be accessible to Cliq channel users in EU data center?
    We love for all customers across the world to come together, exchange knowledge, and grow together. Our Cliq team is working to address some bottlenecks, like checking the thread, regardless of your DC. We will be the first to update you once the feature is ready.

  16. How can I use the request method within a widget?
    We have SDKs for widgets to communicate with Zoho Books. The ZFAPPS.request() method will help you to make a network request. You can learn more here.

  17. Will there be support for SDK methods for package module in future?
    We have currently supported SDK methods for limited modules. We will add the missing modules in future updates.

  18. Does the get method work only when we are on a particular module?
    The get method helps you to get records' data only on specific locations. For example, consider that you are on the sales order page; you can get the 'salesorder' data only. If you require other details, you have to use the request method to initiate an API call.

  19. What is the difference between Integration and extension?
    The terms integration and extension are almost similar. Integrations include both API-built apps as well as platform-built apps.

    Extensions: We use this term to the apps that are built using the Sigma platform, wherein you can make enhancements to extend the existing functionality of a Zoho product by customising the product or connecting with other applications.

    API-built apps: These apps could be built in any development environment of your choice, and you would consume the respective Zoho product REST APIs to implement your use case. In these types of apps, you would be operating more on the data of the respective apps.

  20. What's an example of a web tab?
    Say you've created a Zoho Creator application to manage the manufacturing process, POS, or a specific aspect of your business. You can copy the embed URL and create a web tab for it. Now, you’ll be able to access this Zoho Creator application within Zoho Books instead of opening it in a separate browser tab.

  21. Can we have a Zoho Books web tab directly inside Zoho CRM? Finance is available, but it is limited in its functionality.
    No, the entire Zoho Books product cannot be constructed as a web tab inside Zoho CRM. In general, a web tab is used to embed a page inside the product. However, Zoho finance inside the Zoho CRM is an integration with additional functionalities.

  22. What happens if an extension is not approved after review? Can it not be published on the Marketplace, or can I not use it as well?
    An approved extension can only be deployed in the Zoho marketplace. If it is not approved, you can make the necessary changes and send it again for review. Until then, you can use the extension locally and share it privately with your customers.

  23. What is the size limit for data storage in the Zoho Books widget?
    Up to 10000 characters can be stored.

  24. For third-party integrations, can you host the API pull request on Sigma?
    Yes. To invoke third-party APIs, you can use the request SDK method. These topics will be covered in our upcoming sessions. Stay tuned :)

  25. Is there any charge for building and listing extensions?
    No, the Zoho Developer platform is free, and hence, there is no charge for building extensions or listing them in the Zoho Marketplace.

  26. Can we create extensions using trial account also? I am unable to create extensions for CRM in my trial account.
    In general, trial accounts can be used to test product functionalities. Since Zoho Developer is a free cloud platform, you can sign up for a Zoho Developer account and directly start with extension development. Also, the extensions for Zoho CRM can be developed using a Zoho Developer account in the U.S. DC only.

  27. In the Zoho Books widget, is there any method to retrieve records from another module without using the request method, perhaps through any SDK methods?
    Sorry, this is not possible right now.

  28. As an individual developer and not a company, is it possible for me to create extensions?
    Yes, you can go ahead and create extensions if you have a Zoho Developer account.

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