Silver BellsSo if you’re like me you’re probably thinking that the Holidays came a little early this year, due to all of the great features packed into the Winter ’13 release of Salesforce.com. And what would the Holidays be if one couldn’t be just a bit nostalgic. It was just about a year ago, on a warm Florida Winter Night, that I had the opportunity to write one my favorite series of blog posts, “The 12 Days of Winter 12” for Riptide Software. Oh to be a year younger and foolish enough to think that writing 12 blog posts in 12 days would be easy. Luckily, Winter ’12 provided plenty of features to write about and Winter ’13 is keeping up the tradition.

Now, I usually start off blog posts with the declarative features added to the new releases of Salesforce.com, but today I’m going to break with tradition. On the development side, while I will admit that I understand and appreciate the importance of test coverage, I still struggle with having to write it. It’s like my creepy Uncle at Christmas that insists on telling everyone about the dangers of alcohol, while he’s tossing back his 25th egg nog of the evening. It’s not that I don’t like writing test coverage, I just have a hard time resisting the urge to use real data which I know may not always be available and will cause my tests to fail. Well Winter ’13 has provided a solution that I’m ready to unwrap for you all! With the new Test.loadData () method, data can be stored in a csv file, stored as a static resource and used in test methods. What’s that you say? You want to be able to create simulated web service calls in your test methods? Surprise! With the new Test.setMock (HttpCalloutMock.class, mock); method. Winter ’13 hasn’t left a lump of coal for anyone! You can now test your web service calls as easily as your other test methods.

Then there is Data.com. Data.com continues to bring valuable insight to your sales team with enhanced features such as filtering search results based on revenue or employee count. As an administrator are you worried about CAN SPAM compliance? Well now you have the option to filter out contact phone and email for lead or contact records marked as do not contact. And what about the records that Data.com could not add? Well now there is error logging to see why records could not be added. Data.com helps move your sales team to the next level. Are you thinking right now that, this just isn’t enough? Well, it certainly wasn’t for my company, however with Data.com premium you also bring over 70 Dunn & Bradstreet fields into the mix.

Are you a sales organization? Of course you are, business stays in business because they sell, no matter which vertical they are in. Well with that said it’s time to take advantage of Opportunity Teams. You already have Sales Teams you say! Well Opportunity Teams is the next evolution in Teams selling. Opportunity Teams moves your Sales Cloud Org to the next level by allowing administrators to capture information through custom fields on Opportunity Teams, customize layouts to make sure the right sales people have access to the right information at the right time, and even build custom Opportunity Report Team report types.

At this point we’ve covered a lot of topics. Now, here is one feature that is closest to my heart. Case Feeds! I L-O-V-E Service Cloud and the new features and enhancements of Case Feeds is second only to Cloud CTI. There are so many great features that Service organizations need to be aware of. From improved Chatter Feeds to updated functionality in Chatter Answers, your service organization can build it’s reputation, by way of it’s power users, through community engagement. From Chatter to Ideas, Winter ’13 help service organizations better connect with the community that helps drive their business. Community is what has driven the Force.com platform, now let this technology help drive your business forward!

So for all of my fellow Froce.com geeks, May be the Force.com be with you! If you are a Certified Salesforce.com Professional thanks for continuing to support the community. If not, what are you waiting for it’s never too late, Geek is the new Chic! The Force.com Community is one of the things that makes this platform so strong, so continue to support, continue to share knowledge and continue to get those certs!