Thursday, May 19, 2011

SugarCRM 101: 10 Questions for Hosting Providers

Photo by ivanpw/Flickr
Those evaluating SugarCRM for use in their business may have encountered of information regarding its use through a shared hosting provider such as GoDaddy, 1and1, Hostgator, TMDHosting or any of the various other options available.

Due to the extensive amount of hosting providers that are available today, building and maintaining a comprehensive list of all those compatible for use with SugarCRM is a daunting and difficult task for any single individual such as myself. However, it is also not necessary to do so, as the answers to a few questions should suffice in determining the suitability of any provider.

Before you sign up, ask these questions:

1. Which version of PHP is installed? 

An answer such as PHP 5 will not suffice. It needs to be exact, such as PHP 5.3.1. While there are many versions of PHP that are compatible with SugarCRM, there are also a number of them that are not. It is worth noting that many hosting providers have a tendency to use the latest versions of PHP. This is sometimes a problem for SugarCRM as said versions may not yet have thoroughly tested. One should not assume that SugarCRM will work because the server is using the latest release.

2. How often is PHP updated and can I revert to an older version if necessary?

One common problem SugarCRM users encounter on shared hosting providers is that the provider will at random update the version of PHP in use. That action unto itself is not a problem, except that sometimes the update is to a version of PHP that is not supported by SugarCRM. The ability to switch to a different version (one supported by SugarCRM) would be a helpful capability.

3. What is the memory limit for PHP?

This is one of the most important factors. Anything below 64MB is unusable for SugarCRM. If it is less than 128MB, you will only be able to run SugarCRM Community Edition. For this scenario, the higher the number, the better. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

SugarCRM Troubleshooting: Formatting Woes

Does the image below look familiar?

It is the default login screen for SugarCRM Community Edition, but as one can see, the formatting is not quite right. This, unfortunately, is a common occurrence and worse yet, it usually occurs immediately following the install process.

Fortunately, the solution is rather simple. But before we get into the solution, let us spend just a couple of minutes reviewing the source of the problem so that we have a better understanding of the SugarCRM internals, which may come in handy at a later time.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Commentary: The Social CRM Quandary

A few days ago, my friend Jennifer Vides wrote an excellent piece on social media; something she is quite familiar with as she consults on the matter (and other media) from a marketing perspective. Many of the points in her article mirrored my own feelings towards social media. And although it is not my area of focus, there is an ever increasing level of attention towards it from the CRM community at large that makes it a common topic of discussion.

Social media and Social CRM, as the marriage of the two is being called, is, in my opinion, a mixed bag of good and bad. The good has fueled an intense interest by CRM vendors, to a level that easily leads one to believe they are bordering on forgetting that social media is not a replacement for CRM, but instead a complement. 

Personally, I have a measured liking of social media in that I understand and accept its value and potential, but am also weary of its negatives. 

Some positives we can highlight include its propensity for facilitating networking and connecting with others that share (or perhaps not) similar interests, jobs, likes, dislikes, etc. It is also an inexpensive way of reaching a lot of people which one can generally assume have an interest in something that one has to offer, whether it be a product, comic relief or knowledge about a specific topic.

Blogs are an excellent example. They are an invaluable resource on just about any topic, specially for those us working within the world of technology. Many other positive examples can be easily referenced, such as the person who lands a job via their LinkedIn profile, reconnecting with long lost friends and family via Facebook, etc.

Now for the bad.

Monday, May 2, 2011

CandyWrapper Now On GitHub

Ever since the initial release of CandyWrapper back in March of 2009, the intention was to make its source code available to the community, to allow them to constructively criticize it, improve or expand upon the work.

Things, unfortunately, do not always go according to plan.  Although, in this case, it is probably for the best as the time elapsed has allowed for better tools to emerge to simplify this process. 

Anyway, I am happy to announce that this past weekend, I released the code to the CandyWrapper project. It is a C# class library, originally created with VisualStudio 2008. Over the next few weeks, I plan on adding other files to the project, including a small test application and the source code for the installer.

You can download the source code from GitHub, by visiting the following link:  

I ask for your patience (and any tips) with regards to my usage of GitHub, as it is a new tool to me. Likewise, given that fact, it is unlikely I will be able to assist you with any problems you might experience using it.

I hope you find this contribution of assistance to your work.