Title: Store, retrieve, and access entity-specific data in widgets using | Community | Zoho Projects

Title: Store, retrieve, and access entity-specific data in widgets using | Community | Zoho Projects

Data storage - Overview

Storing data related to the extension you are working on is essential. It can be saved as key-value pairs for an entity or extension, known as entity and extension properties, respectively. Data can be saved for the following entities using entity properties: projects, tasks, issues, and milestones. Similarly, using extension properties, data can be recorded for an app and stored for the extension.

Support and Limitations

The entity properties allow you to store, retrieve, update, and delete data for an entity, while the extension properties allow you to do the same with an extension. Learn more about data storage functions that can be performed using entity and extension properties.

The data stored for an entity using entity property will be retained if the extension is uninstalled. However, when an extension is uninstalled, any data stored using the extension property is lost. You can refer to the limitations of entity properties and limitations of extension properties for additional details.

Scenario

A manufacturing firm uses Zoho CRM to manage its production and sales units, and also uses Zoho Projects for task management. Customers of the firm may raise cases of the"feature request" type to the solution experts for an enhancement or a request for a new feature for the existing products. The solution expert logs these requests as cases in Zoho CRM and begins working on the feature request through a task in Zoho Projects. In this way, the Zoho CRM solution expert who is the task owner in Zoho Projects can handle and manage the development-related activities to provide the feature as a solution to the customer through the Zoho Projects task.

Additionally, multiple customers may request the same feature for a product. In this scenario, it would be easier for the task owner or solution expert to keep track of all their CRM cases related to a feature request in one space, so that whenever a requested feature is completed, this can be communicated with customers of these tracked cases.

What can be done to ease the solution expert/task owner work?

The task owner would benefit from viewing a list of all their open Zoho CRM cases from inside the Zoho Projects task tab. This would allow them to view and associate the cases related to the feature request they are working on from within the task.
Once they have completed the feature enhancement and come up with a solution for the request, they can simply preview all of the Zoho CRM cases related to that feature request from within the task itself and offer an update to the customers.

Goal: Ease user experience by allowing them to view and associate Zoho CRM cases within the task details tab.

Solution

To accomplish this goal, we are going to use data storage along with a few other features in our extension.
  • First, allow the task owner to view case-specific details from the list of CRM cases. For this, we can create a task details tab widget named "CRM Cases". In this widget, we can include a drop-down menu and select a case to access case-specific details. This can be accomplished using the widgets approach explained earlier in this post.
  • Using the data storage concept, store the associated case for the task entity, allowing the task owner to view it as "Associated CRM Cases" alongside the drop-down selection the next time the widget loads. This enables the task owner to associate several cases with the task and view them all in a single widget.                                                              

Required components
  • A connection between Zoho Projects and Zoho CRM needs to be established to establish a secure integration between the products.
  • An extension configuration process includes:
  1. Creating an extension.
  2. Configuring the plugin manifest.
  3. Setting up the widget code.
  • Display all open Zoho CRM cases of the task owner as a drop-down list in a task details widget tab called "CRM Cases", and thereby allow the task owner to choose a case for which they want to view further details.
  • Implement the modal box feature to display case-specific details of the chosen case and also allow the task owner to associate the case to the task through a button in the modal box
  • Store the associated case for the task using the data storage concept (entity.store) in the modal box.
  • Display the associated cases by retrieving (entity.retrieve) it from the stored data and having them displayed as part of the widget along with the drop-down that displays the open cases.
Let's explore these components now.

Connection

We have created a connection to establish a secure integration between Zoho Projects and Zoho CRM. You can refer to this post for detailed guidance on establishing a connection.
                                                                  
                                     

Extension configuration

Extension creation: We have created a new extension for Zoho Projects. Learn more about the steps to create an extension

                                      

Plugin-manifest.json configuration: Once the extension was created, we configured the plugin-manifest.json file to include the created connection and a widget. For detailed understanding on configuring the plugin-manifest.json file, refer to our earlier post.
For our extension use case, the plugin-manifest.json file is configured as shown in the below screenshot.
                                     
                                                                  
Setting up the widget code

Now that we've set up the other components, let's move on to writing our widget code and incorporating the data storage and modal box feature.
Displaying CRM cases in "CRM Cases" task tabPlease find the index.html code snippet attached in the post.
  • In the code snippet, the current Zoho Projects user's email is retrieved using the current_user instance of zohoprojects.get JS SDK method and saved in a variable called "currentuseremail".
  • The user's CRM org ID and their CRM cases are then fetched by invoking the Get Organization Details and Get Records APIs, respectively, using the Zoho Projects request JS SDK method. Certain mandatory parameters must be passed to the SDK method to invoke the mentioned CRM APIs, such as the third-party URL, data object, and connection. If you require further details on how the Zoho Projects Request method works, you can refer to our earlier post, which explains the working and the required parameters for invoking this method in detail.
  • From the Zoho CRM get records API response, a drop-down list is generated in the widget, with the Zoho Projects task owner's open CRM cases.
  • The end-user can select a value from the drop-down list to view the case-related details. This selected value (the selected case) is then fetched. When the Get Case Details button is clicked, a modal box instance is created and opened using the modal.create and instance methods. When the modal box opens, the selected case ID value is emitted using the emit method and the keyword "stored-files".
  • Using the emitted values, the case details is populated in a modal box, and if the solution expert finds that the case is related to the feature request handled in the Projects task, the case ID is saved using the entity.store method and associated with the current task. (This is addressed in the casedetails.html code in the next section).
  • The associated value stored in the modal box using the entity.store method is then retrieved in the index.html page using the entity.retrieve method. Using the retrieved associated case ID, when the widget loads, the Zoho CRM Get Records API is invoked again. From the response, the unclosed cases and the cases which have the email ID as that of the current Zoho Projects user's email address (fetched earlier and saved in variable currentuseremail) are filtered and displayed as the "Associated CRM cases" in the widget.

Modal box to display the details of the chosen case - Please check casedetails.html code snippet attached in this post
  • In the code snippet, the value emitted from the index.html, using the emit method for the keyword "stored-files" is received by the on method in the modal box UI. Using the received value, a hit is made to the Zoho CRM Get Records APIs using the Zoho Projects Request Method again.
  • The essential details are retrieved from the case-specific details returned by the Zoho CRM Get Records API and displayed to the task owner for reference. These details allow them to check on the case and associate it with the current Zoho Projects task if it is related to the feature request.
  • If the case is associated, the associated case value ID is saved with the entity.store property.
  • This stored and associated value is then received and retrieved using the entity.retrieve in index.html, from which the Associated CRM cases value are populated in the widget as mentioned earlier. This is addressed in the index.html code in the previous section.
Now that we have completed the setup and have all the extension components ready, let's go ahead and see the output.

Sample output: 

                                     

In this example, we used the data storage for an entity feature to save task-related data and retrieve it when needed. Similarly, we can store data for an app to perform various storage functions such as save, retrieve, update, and delete. We hope you found this information useful. Keep following this space for more insights!

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