Salesforce1 Meets Avengers: Join Me For the MarvelForce Open Source Project!

avenger

I’m a person with a lot of crazy ideas and I usually try and give most of those ideas a shot to see if craziness apart, I can make them happen. And no surprise, that I love super heroes as they do crazy things all the time 🙂 One of those ideas last year – was to do a mashup of Salesforce with Marvel API to build a ‘Salesforce1 Meets Avengers’ integration.

Crazily enough, Salesforce actually accepted this as one of my proposals for Dreamforce 2015 and it ranks among my favourite sessions till date. It’s been fun building this project which I call ‘Marvelforce’ and bring it to a stage where it can graduate from just an experiment to something more concrete.

And I’m looking for volunteers (Salesforce developers, Marvel fans, superhero fanboys) to take this to the next level. Read on if the details interest you so far!

What is Marvelforce?

Simply put, it’s an integration between Salesforce and Marvel REST API – the latter is a set of powerful APIs which provides a lot of valuable information about various superheroes, their comics, memorable events, series, creators etc.

The use cases are what make any integration interesting so more details coming on that in the subsequent posts. But let’s first talk about the ingredients used.

Marvel API

Though not very well publicised, the API is fairly well documented and more importantly, works really well. To sign up, you need to create an account on Marvel’s developer portal and get an API key.

marvel-1

Once you’ve the API key, you can use it to explore the various APIs on the Marvel developer portal.

marvel-2 The APIs are restful so once you’ve the key setup, you can invoke those from any app that you write in any language.

Use Cases

The first thought that came to my mind (June last year) when reading the Marvel API was obviously to come up with a play around gamification. But then, I had some thoughts back and forth as enterprise is a key segment in the Salesforct technology world and gamification has been more of an exception that a norm there.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 2.45.12 PM

But then, the Salesforce ecosystem has never been about following the norms. There are tons of interesting gamification apps on the AppExchange – to name a few, Ring My Bell, BadgeVille and several others.

Status Quo

Since I’m a mobile-first guy, the first few use cases for Marvelforce were always going to be around mobile integrations. And to emphasise on how easy it is do such integrations in the Salesforce ecosystem, did 3 simple yet interesting integrations.

These include

  • Native iOS integration for Marvelforce using Salesforce Mobile SDK
  • Hybrid iOS integration for Marvelforce with Salesforce Mobile SDK
  • watchOS integration for Marvelforce

The full source code for each of these is available on my Github repo and I’ll do a individual post on each of these to talk about the building blocks, approach taken, challenges faced etc.

Here are some screenshots for reference though

Next Steps

I’ve a ton of things in mind including the following

  • Native Android integration for Marvelforce using Salesforce Mobile SDK
  • Hybrid Android integration for Marvelforce using Salesforce Mobile SDK
  • Updating the iOS apps to latest version of Mobile SDK (4.0)
  • Building lightning components for avatars using Marvel API
  • Wrapper Apex library for Marvel API
  • Integration with Communities and several more

Of course, time is a challenge and shall always be. Therefore, I’m looking for volunteers who’d like to join this project to take Marvelforce to the next level.

If whatever you’ve read so far, interests you and you’d like to contribute, drop me a line or leave a comment on this post and we’ll take it from there! This will be a fun journey and we’ll build something interesting which we can be proud of together.

May the force be with you!

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