You got Dovetail in my Gmail!

If you use Gmail, you may have heard of Rapportive. It’s a plugin that brings in social information into the context of an email.


For example, when I’m looking at email from from my buddy Kevin, the sidebar fills in with contextual information, like so:




Now I can quickly see his avatar, recent tweets, see where he’s located, job titles, get to his Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, etc.


This is nice when emailing with people I know. It’s even nicer when I get emails from people I don’t know (or don’t know well), as it brings in much more contextual information. You can also hover over any email address and have the relevant info show up. Really powerful stuff.


If you use Gmail, I highly recommend Rapportive.



What’s even better is that they’ve opened up Rapportive so developers can build in extensions called raplets, pulling in data from other apps/services.


There are existing ones you can add, including Github, MailChimp, Highrise, and a bunch more.


I’ve been playing with their raplet API to create my own raplet for adding data from our Dovetail/Clarify system into my Rapportive sidebar. Like so:




So when I get an email from a customer, I can quickly see their open cases. I can click on any of those cases, which will open that case in Dovetail. I can click on the individual’s first name which will take me to that contact page in Dovetail, or I can click on the Create a New Case button which will start a new case for that contact.


Pretty rockin!

Collapsed/Expanded HTML


If you end up with a lot of items in your sidebar (twitter, facebook, etc.) there may not be enough room to show theexpanded view for each raplet. So Rapportive smartly collapses the views.




Notice the Dovetail section with just a summary (in this case, the number of open cases this person has).


Then when you hover over the appropriate icon, an expanded view flys out, like so:




Very slick.


Next Steps


I’ve been playing this in my local environment (but connected to our production Dovetail database) for a few weeks now, and I really dig it.


I just hacked out some code rather quickly as a proof of concept for creating this custom raplet.


I’ll be working on cleaning this code up as I get some spare cycles, hopefully over the next few weeks. Then I’ll share the code on Github. I’ll post again when it’s there.


If any of this is of interest to you – please do get in touch. I think it would be a fun project to put in place at a customer site.


Rock on.