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.
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?
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.
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.