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I normally work on an ASP.NET site, which has its own ASP.NET Membership and profiles. Salesforce was introduced to the company to provide a CRM. Initially the member profiles that the site creates are then copied by a scheduled job into Salesforce as contacts. Salesforce has now started to be used for other aspects of the company, like creating solutions for customer support.

I'm now looking at providing a public help and support area to provide a public knowledge base, and private ticket support area.

I believe I can do this with a customer portal/Knowledge and provide the following features:

  • SEO friendly knowledge base urls.
  • Integration and single sign on provided by the original ASP.NET site.
  • Maintaining a consistent look and feel between the ASP.NET site and the Salesforce Customer Portal.
  • Translatable into multiple languages.
  • Working via support.companywebsite.com rather than companywebsite.force.com

I look at the site like support.activision.com and all of this appears possible, but as I'm unfamiliar with Salesforce I don't know what work went into it. I don't know what the usual development time would be for a project like this. I'm thinking from the point of view of an experienced Salesforce developer, rather than someone like me who has no knowledge of Salesforce, who would be having to learn about the system as he worked.

My understanding is that I would create html/css static resources to upload to the customer portal, and probably use SAML to provide authentication between the ASP.NET login page and the Salesforce customer portal. I would have to create Salesforce contacts at the point of registration on the ASP.NET site.

Could someone give me some indication of how long the Salesforce part of this would take? Is it a common scenario? What problems should I be aware of?

  • I've done a number of ASP.NET to Salesforce integrations by creating custom security providers for Membership, Roles and Profiles. The custom providers allow Salesforce Contacts (or Leads etc...) to authenticate via the ASP.NET front end and access additional Salesforce content. This is a reasonably involved bit of work, particularly scaling while staying within the API limits. – Daniel Ballinger May 26 '13 at 20:20
  • For the second part, accessing the customer portal. Have a look at the Salesforce Knowledge Objects schema and objects that you can work with via the API. – Daniel Ballinger May 26 '13 at 20:24
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In addition to Daniel's comments, I'd add that how long what you're asking about would take is really going to depend on the resources available to you and the scope of the total project. In addition to the resources he pointed you to, I'd refer you the following ones which you might find helpful as well: Force.com Sites Implimentation Guide, the Site.com Workbook, the Service Cloud Workbook, the VisualForce Workbook, the Security Workbook, and Customizing Case Feed with VisualForce.

There are probably others you'll eventually need to look at like the apex_rest_api, the apex_SOAP_api, the apex_ajax_Toolkit Developer's Guide and more, but the above should give you the overview I suspect you're the most in need of at the moment.

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