Salesforce’s Chrome Plugins – the great, and the risk?

Warning box saying "Read and change your data on all salesforce.com sites"

Written by Paul Ginsberg

17th October 2023

This article was inspired by Johann Fuhrmann’s LinkedIn post highlighting that Salesforce Inspector has been deprecated (informally, or formally, not too sure). LinkedIn posts are a bit ephemeral so I thought I would help out and try and amplify the message a bit.

Then, in the process of writing this article I came across a howler: Exactly who are you “giving read all rights” too? So there’s a deep dive on that too. It’s a bit scary.

Back to the main focus: If my Number 1 Salesforce time-saving plugin has been end-of-lifed, what’s the alternative? And since I’m here, what other Chrome plugins do I genuinely use on a day-to-day basis, particularly in my role as a Salesforce Administrator and Consultant.

Sneak peak: (in order of usage)

  • Salesforce Better Formula Editor (and privacy insights)
  • Salesforce Inspector Reloaded
  • ORGanizer for Salesforce
  • Salesforce Colored Favicons
  • Salesforce Change Set Helper
  • EasyCRUD
  • Why Salesforce

…and some Final Thoughts at the end.

Salesforce Better Formula Editor (and privacy insights)

This plugin makes it a doddle to get the logic right when creating and troubleshooting formulas. You can include fields and related fields, and there’s automatic highlighting of (coloured) brackets and other significant components.

Screenshot of Salesforce Better Formula Editor in action, highlighting how it adds a tab to the Formula Editor screen

When writing this article, for all the plugins I followed the links from the Chrome store to look up the author. I tried to do the same for Better Salesforce Formula Editor but failed in a way that scared me slightly. The Chrome Web Store shows this plugin as being created by Tailhead Ltd. That would have been fine except the website did not appear to be connected to that company, and the listed email address doesn’t respond to enquiries. The privacy policy was also a bit iffy and the thrust of the app evidently had changed, in that it now encompasses AI when it originally didn’t, but the documentation (at the time) didn’t reflect this.

Good news though! I tracked down Jalil Laaraichi, the awesome author, to understand more. The vast majority of Salesforce Chrome Plugin authors are enthusiasts; the same with Jalil. They’re not doing it for the money, they’re doing it to pay-it-forwards, to benefit others in the Trailblazer Community, in the same way that they have benefitted in the past – as well as for fun! This means they don’t have people, or even the bandwidth, to watch out for legal changes, or perhaps the desire to spend hours on documentation.

Screenshot of Add Extension warning saying "Read and change your data on all salesforce.com sites"

But this installation box warns you that the plug can “read and change your data on all salesforce.com sites” is important! You are giving them access to read and access all data on your business critical Salesforce instance. In this instance I’ve confirmed with Jalil that Better Salesforce Formula editor doesn’t steal your data – it all stays local, with an opt-in if you want to enable the AI component. I hasten to add that ALL the other plugins also have similar permission requirements.

Jalil had ignored my initial approaches because he’s been contacted on many occasions by people wanting to buy the app from him. Once that happens he recognised that there wouldn’t be any control over what someone can do with the data. Now I understand why my friends who work in regulated industries have such a hard time installing simple plugins.

The same warning about data access still applies for most, or perhaps all, the other plugins I mention as to interact with a web page to add/alter controls, they need to at least read the content of the page. GDPR legislation reminds us that hoping for the best isn’t good enough. We need to be cautious and respectful of EU and UK people’s personal information and follow certain principles regardless, and that’s your (legal) responsibility. I suspect none of the plugins are perfect, a subject I now now understand better.

nb. Two theoretical workarounds are to use this plugin only a in browser that only accesses sandboxes; or to install it, deactivate it, and only activate it when you are working on sandboxes. Also Salesforce ORGanizer (covered later) has an inbuilt formula editor, but this doesn’t do coloured brackets, my #1 requirement when editing formulas.

Salesforce Inspector Reloaded

Screenshot of Salesforce Inspector Reloaded in action, highlighting various features which are then referred to in the text below

So, you’re on a record and there is a field that isn’t on the page layout because most users don’t need to see it, but for this particular field you do. What to do? Run a report? No.

Simply click on the discrete arrow on the right hand side and then press “Show all data” on the popout and here you will have the easiest, most intuitive way to:

  • Update any field on the record (use the Filter box at the top of the next page to jump straight the necessary field)
  • Clone the record
  • Delete the record (always handy when you’ve removed the button from the page layout)

But I now notice that there’s a Field button. With this you don’t just jump to the object, but straight to the Setup Field listing.

HUGE time saver, every day. And that’s just the functionality I use. There’s much more to it besides that!

HEALTH WARNING: If it didn’t strike home earlier from this article, this plugin highlights it: being able to read all the data, means all the data! These plugins are really helpful for admins, but they mean you are putting a lot of trust in the plugin authors and their release processes.

And something else that’s huge: A huge shout to Søren Krabbbe for making the original Salesforce Inspector, and to Thomas Prouvot for continuing the vision.

ORGanizer for Salesforce

Embarrassed confession. This plugin does loads but I only use it for one thing. Or at least I used to… that’s the advantage of doing research when writing articles!

Quick Login As in Incognito mode

Install the plugin, go into Settings and set the Quick Login As shortcut as “Ctrl L” and don’t look back! This logs me in as whichever user I wish to be in Chrome’s Incognito Mode, meaning that there’s no risk of stale sessions or confusion about whether I’m currently logged in as Admin or not. And saves a huge amount of mouse clicks too

Bonus: It’s Ctrl Shift 1 for the Company ID! 💖

Screenshot of ORGanzier in action, highlighting various features which are then referred to in the text below

This plugin also can store login details but I prefer the dedicated security of 1Password, ability to securely share passwords, store MFA codes, and that it can be used with other browsers and devices too.

With love to Enrico Murru for removing headaches from my life. 💖

Salesforce Colored Favicons

Screenshot of Salesforce Colored Favicons in action, highlighting the feature which is then referred to in the text below

Other plugin(s) here do this, but this one is simple. Logging on to a sandbox or a production? For each instance, get an automatic visual clue – it uses the underlying Salesforce server to make its decision. And you can pre-set the colours should you wish.

Thank you Steven Babula! 🙏🏻

Salesforce Change Set Helper

Look, I know we’re meant to be using the DevOps Center for managing change sets, but I had a poke around and decided that connecting it to GitHub was a task for another day, even though the idea of being able to track when individual items have been added to a Change Set is really exciting.

I must confess, I actually adjust to new technologies quite slowly, so I’m still using Change Sets.

And if you too use Change Sets, then the following screenshot should excite you:

Screenshot of Salesforce Change Set Helper in action, highlighting various features which are then referred to in the text below

Here you can search by object and by field name. I’ve used this phrase before, and I’ll use it again – huge time saver! And the beautiful thing is that there’s no action needed on your part – so much so that I become confused when I don’t see this user friendly interface if I’m on a PC without this plugin installed.

With everlasting gratitude to Susan Bohme for creating it; other life priorities means that this plugin is no longer being regularly updated but it works very well the way that it is in my opinion.

EasyCrud

Screenshot of EasyCrud in action, highlighting various features which are then referred to in the text below

Want to see (or update) permissions across multiple Profiles or Permission Sets for a particular object or field? This is the extension for you. It simply adds itself to the Setup menu. My only issue – that I don’t think to use it as often as I should!

Nicely done Ravi Narayanan!

Speaking of which…

Why Salesforce

Screenshot of Why Salesforce in action, highlighting various features which are then referred to in the text below

You’ve got to love Warren Walters’ sense of humour!

This plugin simply adds shortcuts to Flow and User into the Setup menu. Yes, I now realise that you can actually navigate there directly via ORGanizer’s Quicklinks (Ctrl Shift Space and then type the appropriate word) but if you’re in mouse clicking mode it’s nice to be able to see it on screen. For new and occasional users this would be such a timesaver.

Bonus: Greenshot

Not a plugin, but for capturing images for this blog and for end user documentation, I use Greenshot.

Final Thoughts

I’ve highlighted elsewhere that all these plugins come with their own security considerations. I can’t make those decisions for you. Also, even with something as simple as the beautifully named Why Salesforce, you have to wonder why Salesforce hasn’t implemented this functionality directly, saving all Salesforce admins the time and hassle of needing to hunt down these randomly maintained plugins, and take our life into our own hands in terms of due diligence. Now there would be some genuinely useful popups!

Final shout out to Lisa Spicker, Rob Ralston and Aaron Crosman for helping me put this piece together.

Disclaimer: I’m really unlikely to be updating with other plugins that – in an ideal world – I should have known about. There’s a reason for that: an ideal world does not exist, so I just try and be practical about these things.

I’m now enjoying Bluesky for what it’s worth; seems to work better for my needs/preferences than Mastadon, so feel free to connect/follow me there – I even have a couple of codes available if you send me a message.

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