Extension Pointers: A way to sort through the stack and find a solution that works for you

Extension Pointers: A way to sort through the stack and find a solution that works for you

Throughout the 'Extension Pointers' series, we've seen the features available in Zoho Developer platform that are helpful in building extensions for business needs. In this post, we've listed all of them for your quick reference. This will serve as a guide featuring a map between the need for a desired outcome and an approachable solution to achieve it. 

Let's say you're planning to customize your Zoho CRM account by adding new features and functionalities that are unique to your business process. How can you build and deliver the enhancements as an installable component when needed?

Extensions are applications designed to enhance the features of the existing Zoho products, or to integrate a third-party application with Zoho software for different enterprise needs. If you want to develop additional features to enhance the existing Zoho CRM functionality set, you can do so by building extensions. The scope of each extension lies within the different use cases that are handled during its development.

Sigma is the unified Zoho Developer platform available for developers to build and host extensions for different Zoho applications. Depending on your business needs as a developer, you can choose to create an extension using Sigma that acts as one of the following:
  • An extension which adds to the core functionality of a Zoho product
  • An integration between a third-party application and a Zoho product

Are you looking to establish connections with third-party applications for seamless data integration with Zoho CRM? Learn the possibilities provided in the platform

You can integrate with third-party applications using either connectors or the custom variables option depending on the user authentication method supported by the third-party app.
  • If the third-party application supports OAuth mode for user authentication, connection can be established via connectors. Learn more about connectors with an example.
  • If the third-party application supports the API key for user authentication, connection can be established via custom variables. Learn in detail about custom variables with an example.
A Custom UI helps portraying information in a personalized manner. How can you create a customized UI for your extension?

The creation of a customized UI can be achieved in the Zoho Developer platform using the Connected App feature. You can build a widget and associate it with your extension as a connected app. The connected app can be embedded either as a custom button, a related list, or a web tab in Zoho CRM, depending on your needs.

Take a look at the Widget posts (Part-1 and Part-2) to understand the steps involved in creating a widget.

Zoho CRM APIs supported in JS SDK helps to interact with third-party applications. Using these APIs, we can invoke connectors and GET APIs accordingly by constructing the required parameters. Refer to the example on how to invoke connector through API while building a widget. Similarly, take a look at building third-party integrations by incorporating Custom variables into widgets.

Say you want to get real-time data updates from a third-party application integrated with your Zoho CRM account and take action based on the updated data collected from the application. What might be useful in this scenario?

Webhook plays an integral role in connecting two applications. Whenever an event occurs in a source application, a web callback occurs, and the webhook posts the real-time data to the required application. Learn the detailed steps involved in handling real-time updates between Zoho CRM and third-party applications using webhooks.

In addition to fetching and processing real-time data from an application, you may also want to receive real-time notifications that alert you on the occurrence of an event and help you act accordingly in your Zoho CRM account. How can you receive these customized real-time notifications in your Zoho CRM?

The Signals feature enables an efficient and smooth customer interaction experience through the provision of real-time notifications. This helps you keep track of all your customer interactions from different channels in a single platform. It also supports actionable alerts and allows you to customize notifications for different events.

Check out the post on defining and raising a signal to receive timely notifications for a working example to help your understanding.

Say you want to test the functionality of your extension that you built before you publish it. How can you test your extension locally?

The platform offers an isolated sandbox environment that allows you to test your extension functionality locally. Once you have finished building the extension, click the Test Your Extension button to test the extension in the sandbox environment. You can make changes and test the extension as many times as you want until you get your functionality right.

Have you finished building the extension to meet your needs? What could be done next to make this available to others?

You can choose to publish your extension as either a private extension or a public extension.

Private Extension: Extensions built for personal or specific organizational purposes. When you publish a private extension, a hashed URL link is made available, which can be privately shared to the users to install the extension.

Public Extension: Extensions listed in Zoho Marketplace. They are available to all Zoho users for installation and use.

We hope this post has helped you gain a better understanding of the features available in Developer Platform that you can use in various scenarios.Please refer to the links provided for an in-depth study of the concepts with the help of a working example.

Trying to understand more about the Developer Platform's ability to develop extensions, stay tuned and follow this space.

See Also:

                        Zoho Marketing Automation

                                Manage your brands on social media

                                        Zoho TeamInbox Resources

                                          Zoho DataPrep Resources

                                            Zoho CRM Plus Resources

                                              Zoho Books Resources

                                                Zoho Subscriptions Resources

                                                  Zoho Desk Resources

                                                    Zoho Projects Resources

                                                      Zoho Sprints Resources

                                                        Qntrl Resources

                                                          Zoho Creator Resources

                                                            Zoho WorkDrive Resources

                                                              Zoho Campaigns Resources

                                                                Zoho CRM Resources

                                                                • CRM Community Learning Series

                                                                  CRM Community Learning Series

                                                                • Tips


                                                                • Functions


                                                                • Meetups


                                                                • Kbase


                                                                • Resources


                                                                • Digest


                                                                • CRM Marketplace

                                                                  CRM Marketplace

                                                                • MVP Corner

                                                                  MVP Corner

                                                                • Word of the Day

                                                                  Word of the Day

                                                                        Design. Discuss. Deliver.

                                                                        Create visually engaging stories with Zoho Show.

                                                                        Get Started Now