For Zoho Services only:

I'm actually part of a bigger team at Ascent Business Solutions where we have support technicians and project consultants. Support is for smaller technical fixes but this can include developments, reports or integrations; depending on the size of the task. Projects are for more time-consuming developments such as revamps of the Zoho Suite of apps or on-site training. The advantage of a team is that if I am out-of-office for a day or so, there is always someone at Ascent Business Solutions who can deal with any queries/issues you may have.

Our support rates can be found and purchased at A support bundle doesn't have an expiry date. So whether we can do what you want within the bundle and a year later need further support, if there are minutes left on the bundle then there is no additional charge.

Our project rates for bigger developments can be found at and will involve a dedicated project consultant along with developers who will hold your hand through the development process.

If you want help building a solution for one of the Zoho Apps in the Zoho Suite, contact us on 0121 392 8140 (UK) or by email at You can also visit our website at

I regularly build and specialize in 2-way API integrations for Xero, Shopify and eBay.

Zoho Deluge: Search Records with Special Characters (COQL)

This is an article to remind me how to search for CRM records by a value that may contain an ampersand or parenthesis.

I wrote this article because some searches will work for me and sometimes it won't. Escaping the ampersand with a backslash or url encoding to %26 wasn't working for me. I spent several hours trying to write a script that could search for the existing records by company name. The issue is that if you use zoho.crm.searchRecords() this will work fine for company names without special characters such as the ampersand or parentheses. But what if amongst your records you may want to find:
Company Name: Father & Sons (Incorporated)
Contact Name: O'Reilly
  1.  Company Name: Father & Sons (Incorporated) 
  2.  Contact Name: O'Reilly 

Well I've tried various replace methods with regular expressions but the only method reliable enough I have found to work each time is using the CRM Object Query Language or Zoho's COQL. Similar to SQL but subject to similar issues of escaping special characters...

1. Setup a CRM Connection to Search Records via API
I won't go into detail on how to set up your own connection as I have elsewhere on my website, but to use in an invokeUrl here's a quick overview:
  1. ZohoCRM > Setup > Developer Space > Connections
  2. Click on Get Started / Add New Connection
  3. Click on the "Zoho OAuth" icon
  4. Enter a Connection name (for this example I will call it "CRM API v2")
  5. Select the appropriate scope(s):
    • ZohoCRM.coql.READ Required!
    • ZohoCRM.modules.{module_name}.{operation_type} or ZohoCRM.modules.all
  6. Click Create and Connect
  7. You will be prompted to allow permissions, so click on "Accept/Allow"
2. Determine the client datacenter
Look at the URL (website address) of the CRM you are wanting to do this on. The part after Zoho is the top level domain (TLD) and will be either .COM, .EU or as per your region. If the first part of your URL says:
  • then use the endpoint
  • then use the endpoint
  • then use the endpoint
3. The Deluge Code - Uses the EU datacenter
Note that using this method, you don't have to escape parentheses characters ():
// initialize
v_MatchedCount = 0;
v_MatchedAccountID = 0;
v_SearchName = "Father & Sons (Incorporated)";
// replace apostrophes with double apostrophe for sql
v_SearchName = v_SearchName.replaceAll("'","''",true);
// replace ampersand with unicode value
v_SearchName = v_SearchName.replaceAll("&","\u0026",true);
// build up COQL query
v_CoqlQuery = "select id from Accounts where Name='" + v_SearchName + "'";
// build up parameters
m_Params = Map();
// invokeurl
r_Coql = invokeurl
    url :""
    type :POST
// retrieve results
    v_MatchedCount = ifnull(r_Coql.get("info").get("count"),0);
    v_MatchedAccountID = ifnull(r_Coql.get("data").get(0).get("id"),0);
  1.  // initialize 
  2.  v_MatchedCount = 0
  3.  v_MatchedAccountID = 0
  4.  v_SearchName = "Father & Sons (Incorporated)"
  5.  // 
  6.  // replace apostrophes with double apostrophe for sql 
  7.  v_SearchName = v_SearchName.replaceAll("'","''",true)
  8.  // 
  9.  // replace ampersand with unicode value 
  10.  v_SearchName = v_SearchName.replaceAll("&","\u0026",true)
  11.  // 
  12.  // build up COQL query 
  13.  v_CoqlQuery = "select id from Accounts where Name='" + v_SearchName + "'"
  14.  // 
  15.  // build up parameters 
  16.  m_Params = Map()
  17.  m_Params.put("select_query",v_CoqlQuery)
  18.  // 
  19.  // invokeUrl 
  20.  r_Coql = invokeUrl 
  21.  [ 
  22.      url :"" 
  23.      type :POST 
  24.      parameters:m_Params.toString() 
  25.      connection:"crm_api_v2" 
  26.  ]
  27.  // 
  28.  // retrieve results 
  29.  if(!isNull(r_Coql.get("info"))) 
  30.  { 
  31.      v_MatchedCount = ifnull(r_Coql.get("info").get("count"),0)
  32.  } 
  33.  if(!isNull(r_Coql.get("data"))) 
  34.  { 
  35.      v_MatchedAccountID = ifnull(r_Coql.get("data").get(0).get("id"),0)
  36.  } 
Note that for the above, if there are no matching records, r_Coql will simply return an empty string. Hence the check for isNull on the keys info and data.

And yes, the part that took me about 8 hours and the key point above is to replace the ampersand with its unicode equivalent. I consider myself familiar with Transact-SQL, Oracle PL/SQL and MySQL all of which have various ways of escaping the ampersand (except for MySQL which doesn't need to and in my opinion is the best SQL).

Regular expression reminder (do not use):
v_SearchName = v_SearchName.replaceAll("([&\'])","\\$1",false);
  1.  v_SearchName = v_SearchName.replaceAll("([&\'])","\\$1",false)

Category: Zoho :: Article: 729

Credit where Credit is Due:

Feel free to copy, redistribute and share this information. All that we ask is that you attribute credit and possibly even a link back to this website as it really helps in our search engine rankings.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is provided without warranty and any content is merely the opinion of the author. Please try to test in development environments prior to adapting them to your production environments. The articles are written in good faith and, at the time of print, are working examples used in a commercial setting.

Thank you for visiting and, as always, we hope this website was of some use to you!

Kind Regards,

Joel Lipman

Related Articles

Joes Revolver Map


Badge - Certified Zoho Creator Associate
Badge - Certified Zoho Creator Associate

Donate & Support

If you like my content, and would like to support this sharing site, feel free to donate using a method below:

Donate to Joel Lipman via PayPal

Donate to Joel Lipman with Bitcoin - Valid till 8 May 2022 bc1qjtp4l4ra452wzvuk9a45yfj82zkahsyy2z379y
© 2022 Joel Lipman .com. All Rights Reserved.