Thursday, September 29, 2011

SugarCRM Troubleshooting: Duplicate Column Error

Some months back an interesting problem was brought to my attention. The problem at hand related to an error that occurred during the Quick Rebuild & Repair process and read as follows:

Executing repair query: Query Failed:ALTER TABLE leads_cstm add column my_customField_c char(36) NULL , add column my_customField_c char(36) NULL::MySQL error 1060: Duplicate column name 'my_customField_c'

Based on the error, one could surmise that SugarCRM was attempting to modify the leads_cstm table to add the column my_customField_c, but failed in the process of doing so because the MySQL server believes the column already exists. In short, one cannot add a column to a table if the column we are attempting to add shares the name of an already existing column.

Examination of the table in question revealed that indeed the field already existed, but why did SugarCRM not recognize this fact?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

SugarCRM Troubleshooting: Error Deploying Custom Modules

SugarCRM administrators that have utilized the Module Builder tool are likely to have run into this scenario on more than one occasion....

A custom module is created and you proceed to click the Deploy button. 

The deployment process initiates and appears to be working as expected, but suddenly, the following error message is displayed:

"An error has occured during deploy process, you package may not have installed correctly."

Does it seem familiar to you? 

It happened to me for the first time some months back, ironically, not long after attending the yearly SugarCON event where I had attended an in-depth discussion on the mechanics of the Module Builder tool. This experience became important because it helped explained the error and eventually led me to the solution, which we will now discuss.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Commentary: SugarCRM OnDemand

The idea of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is a rather nifty one.

As a customer, you pay a set fee on a predefined schedule and in turn, software is quickly made available for your use -- usually within minutes. It eliminates the need and hassle of installing software, maintaining servers, setting up backups, etc., plus the vendor normally provides technical support services as part of the subscription. The concept is not new, and is quite popular with a number of CRM vendors, including SugarCRM.

Sugar OnDemand is the common name associated with the SugarCRM SaaS offering. While it delivers on the idea of fast deployment, my preference is to not use it except for the most basic of deployments. It is not inherently bad, but enhancements to the platform are necessary make it a much more acceptable solution, specially considering the sales strategy that surrounds it.

As a solutions implementer, some of the shortcomings are frustrating, not only because they complicate customization of the system, but more importantly, they prolong the work involved which usually translates to additional expenditures in professional services.

What are some of the things that would make it a more palatable solution from my perspective?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

SugarCRM 101: Non-Commercial vs. Commercial Hosting

It has been a while since I have taken up a subject relating to furthering our understanding of the SugarCRM ecosystem. However, recent conversations I have had have highlighted the need to clarify an important aspect relating to the  various editions of SugarCRM that are available on the market and the ability to use the SugarCRM data center (known as Sugar On-Demand) to host them.

First, we need to understand that there are various editions of SugarCRM available, including Community, Professional and Enterprise, and others that have recently been introduced. The primary differences between them relate to the breadth of functionality each edition offers and the fact that of all the editions, the Community Edition version is the only one that is completely free. Thus, we can say that Community Edition represents the non-commercial branch of the SugarCRM product family, while all other editions represent the commercial side of it.

Now, the other important difference to note between the non-commercial and commercial flavors relates to the ability to use the On-Demand platform to host your installation of SugarCRM. 

Here is a summary of the rules: