Extension pointers #14: Extend end-user benefits and allow personalization by implementing extensions with custom actions

Extension pointers #14: Extend end-user benefits and allow personalization by implementing extensions with custom actions

From our earlier post on custom actions, we know that we can create templated actions, share them with end users, and allow them to reuse those actions to achieve personalized outcomes. In this post, we'll look at how custom actions make it easy for users to carry out these templated tasks to get customized results.
Consider the following scenario: a hardware company that already uses Zoho CRM then utilizes Zoho Projects to implement and work on the deals they've won. Assume that the Zoho Projects portal has two projects: one for handling smaller revenue deals that require minimum development and less time, and the other for managing larger revenue dealsthat will eventually demand more time and resources for execution.
As an end user processing deals in Zoho CRM, it would be extremely convenient for the company to have the deals automatically fall into the appropriate projects, such as a task based on the expected revenue. Furthermore, it would be ideal to send emails to the customer with whom they have made the deal to request anything needed from their end in order to move forward with the implementation of the deal. Let's see how we can achieve this with the help of custom actions.
We have detailed posts on the steps to create a custom action along with a live example. Now, let's reiterate and go over the steps to achieving the above use case. 

Developer activities 

1. Create a connector for Zoho Projects.
2. Create a custom user interface (widget-connected app) that allows the user to select the project where the deal should be created as a task, as well as add the personalized email subject and body that will be sent to the user. 
3. Create a custom action in the Zoho Developer console. 
  • Associate the custom user interface to the custom action. 
  • Define an action that creates a task in the selected project and also sends an email to the customer based on the values entered by the end user in the custom UI. 

Extension/end-user activities 

4. Create workflows as an end-user (i.e., set criteria on expected revenue; provide personalized values for email subject and body, and choose the project in which the deal fulfilling the set criteria should be created as a task) and assign a custom action to them. 

Developer activities

1. Creating a connector 

  • Create a new connector in your extension for Zoho Projects using the Connectors feature under Utilities in the left panel of the Zoho Developer console. 
Note: Zoho Projects follows the OAuth 2.0 protocol for its authentication mechanism. You can refer to this post to learn more about the steps to register Zoho Projects and retrieve your client credentials.
  • Add the necessary connector APIs for your functionality. 
  • The Zoho Projects REST APIs added for our example are mentioned below.
Connector API Name
Method type
Get Projects
Create project task
Please refer to the Zoho Projects REST API guide for details. 

2. Create a custom user interface: 

1. Create a custom user interface that allows the end user to select the project in which they want to create the deal as a task, as well as enter the email subject and body that should be sent to the contact associated with the deal.
2. You can find the HTML code for the custom UI as an attachment to the post.
  • In the HTML code, we have two text fields to get the user inputs for the email subject and body.
  • We have also invoked the connector API to get projects from a portal. The response is then populated and displayed as a dropdown list to allow the user to select the project in which they want the deal to be created as a task.
  • In the HTML code snippet, we have hard coded a static value for the Zoho Projects portal.
Note: Depending on your business use case requirements, you can create custom variables to prompt the user to input their Zoho Project portal ID, or you can create a setting widget that displays the user's portals, allowing the user to choose the portal in which they want to have the deals created as tasks as well.
  • ZOHO.CRM.ACTION.setConfig - In this example, we have utilized the setConfig method. This method can be used to set values to variables which can be retrieved later through the widget's page load response
➤ For our example, we have used the setConfig method to set various Zoho CRM deal and email (subject and body) user input values to variables. We have later obtained these saved values through the widget's page load response, which contains a configdata key with these set data as its values. 
➤ Sample page load response when ZOHO.CRM.ACTION.setConfig is used in our example:
"module": "Deals",
"configdata": {
DealTest: "Sample Digital Marketing Project"
Dealdescription: "${!Deals.Description}"
Dealname: "${!Deals.Deal_Name}"
Message: "Sample Message"
Subject: "Deal Won!"
To: "${!Deals.Contact_Name.Email}"
➤ We have then used the preset saved values available in the configdata key to prepopulate the widget UI every time it loads. 

3. Create a custom action

  • Go to the Zoho Developer console and select the extension in which you want to create the custom action.
  • Create a custom action by navigating through Automate - > Custom Actions, under the Build section in the left panel. Click Create Action.
  • Enter the Custom Action Name and Description. Click Next.

  • Provide the location of the html file (widget UI) to complete the resource path. Click Next, then click Create Function.

  • Enter the Deluge function to perform our use case functionality.
  • Click Save & Close, then click Save.
Deluge function code snippet:
dynamic_map = Map();
response = zoho.crm.invokeConnector("xxxxx.zohoprojects.createprojecttask",dynamic_map);
from :zoho.adminuserid
to :input.config.get("To")
subject :input.config.get("Subject")
message :input.config.get("Message")
  • In the above Deluge code, we have performed the functionality of creating the deal as a task in Projects and sending an email to the deal's contact with the input provided by the end user in their CRM account while associating the custom action to a workflow. 

Custom action in effect (End-user):

Create workflows:

  • As an end user who has the extension which features the custom action installed in the Zoho CRM account, go ahead and create workflows to define criteria and associate the custom action.
  • In our case, we have two workflows:
➤ One for smaller deals where the expected revenue is less than 1000 USD

➤ One for larger deals where the expected revenue is greater than or equal to 1000USD

  • Upon choosing the custom action, the custom UI appears where-in you can provide user specific input for email body and subject and also choose the project where you want deal to be created as a task in Zoho Projects. 
Smaller revenue deals:
Larger revenue deals:
  • When a deal with the necessary criteria is satisfied, an email is sent out to the deal's contact with the subject and body provided by the end user. A task is also created in Zoho Projects with some specific deal details. 
This is one business case where you can use custom action. As a parallel use case to the above example itself, say you have multiple projects in Zoho Projects, each used to work on different case categories (bugs, issues, feature request, etc.). You could develop the same kind of template and allow end users to configure the criteria and outcomes accordingly. 
You could also use custom actions feature to perform templated actions to obtain personalized outcomes depending on your business needs. We hope you found this information helpful. Keep following this space for more information!

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