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Learn About Salesforce Apex

Learn about Salesforce Apex and how Ops leaders are safely managing Salesforce Org using Sonar.

  • What is Salesforce Apex?
  • Benefits Of Salesforce Apex
  • Salesforce Apex Best Practices
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What is Salesforce Apex?

Salesforce Apex is a strongly typed, object-oriented programming language that allows developers to execute flow and transaction control statements on the Salesforce platform. It is specifically designed to interact with Salesforce records and is integrated with the database and callouts to external services. Here are some key points about Salesforce Apex:

  • Platform-Specific: Apex is proprietary to Salesforce and is used to build applications on the Salesforce platform.
  • Integrated with Salesforce: Apex can be used to create custom business logic, such as triggers, which automatically execute in response to specific events like record insertions, updates, or deletions.
  • Strongly Typed: Apex is a strongly typed language, meaning that you must declare the data type of a variable when you create it.
  • Object-Oriented: Apex supports object-oriented programming concepts like classes, objects, inheritance, and interfaces.
  • Test Coverage Requirement: Salesforce enforces a requirement that custom Apex code have a certain percentage of test coverage before it can be deployed to a production environment. This ensures the reliability and stability of custom code.
  • Governor Limits: To ensure that no single script or process monopolizes shared resources, Salesforce imposes certain limits, known as governor limits, on the number of operations and the amount of data that can be processed in a single transaction.
  • Web Services: Apex can be used to create custom web services, allowing external applications to interact with Salesforce data and functionality.
  • Asynchronous Processing: Apex provides features like future methods and batch Apex to handle processes that run in the background, allowing for more efficient processing of large data sets or long-running operations.

In essence, Salesforce Apex provides developers with the tools to add custom functionality to Salesforce applications, extending the platform beyond its out-of-the-box capabilities.

What are the benefits of Salesforce Apex?

Salesforce Apex offers a range of benefits that make it a powerful tool for developers working on the Salesforce platform. Some of the primary benefits include:

  • Customization: Apex allows developers to tailor Salesforce to meet specific business needs, enabling the creation of custom business logic, workflows, and functionalities that aren’t available with standard Salesforce configurations.
  • Seamless Integration: Apex can be used to integrate Salesforce with other external systems and applications. This ensures data consistency and provides a unified experience for users.
  • Automated Processes: With Apex triggers, processes can be automated to run in response to specific events, such as record creation, updates, or deletions. This automation can enhance efficiency and ensure data integrity.
  • Enhanced User Experience: Developers can use Apex to create custom Visualforce pages or Lightning components, offering a tailored user interface and experience.
  • Data Security: Apex operates within Salesforce’s robust security framework. This means that any custom code will adhere to the platform’s security standards, ensuring data protection.
  • Scalability: Apex is designed to handle large volumes of data and transactions, making it suitable for both small businesses and large enterprises.
  • Built-in Testing Framework: Salesforce provides a built-in testing framework for Apex, ensuring that custom code is reliable and robust before deployment.
  • Governor Limits: While these limits might seem restrictive, they are in place to ensure that no single process hogs resources. This ensures that the platform remains responsive and available to all users.
  • Cloud-Based: Since Apex runs on Salesforce’s cloud platform, there’s no need for additional infrastructure or hosting. This reduces costs and simplifies deployment.
  • Rich Development Environment: Salesforce offers tools like the Developer Console and integrated development environments (IDEs) that make coding, testing, and deploying Apex code more efficient.

Salesforce Apex provides a flexible, secure, and scalable environment for developers to create custom solutions that can transform how businesses use the Salesforce platform.

Salesforce Apex Best Practices

When developing with Salesforce Apex, adhering to best practices ensures that your code is efficient, maintainable, and scalable. Here are some recommended best practices for Salesforce Apex:

  • Bulkify Your Code: Always write code that can handle multiple records at once. This ensures that your code can process large batches of data efficiently and within governor limits.
  • Avoid Hardcoding IDs: Hardcoding record IDs or other dynamic values can cause issues when moving code between environments (e.g., from sandbox to production). Instead, use dynamic methods to retrieve these values.
  • Use Collections: Utilize lists, sets, and maps to efficiently handle data and avoid hitting governor limits.
  • Limit SOQL and DML Operations: Minimize the number of SOQL (Salesforce Object Query Language) and DML (Data Manipulation Language) operations in your code to stay within governor limits. Also, always ensure SOQL queries are selective.
  • Error Handling: Implement robust error handling using try-catch blocks. This ensures that exceptions are caught and handled gracefully, providing meaningful feedback to users.
  • Write Test Classes: Always write test classes for your Apex code. Salesforce requires a minimum of 75% code coverage to deploy to production. More importantly, tests ensure your code works as expected.
  • Avoid Using SeeAllData=true: When writing test classes, avoid using the SeeAllData=true annotation unless absolutely necessary. It’s best to create test data within your test classes.
  • Use Custom Settings or Custom Metadata: For values that might change over time or between environments, use custom settings or custom metadata types. This allows for easier updates without modifying code.
  • Asynchronous Processing: For long-running operations, use asynchronous methods like @future, batch Apex, or queueable Apex to offload processing and avoid timeouts.
  • Comment and Document: Always comment your code to explain complex logic or decisions. This makes it easier for other developers to understand and maintain.

By following these best practices, you can ensure that your Salesforce Apex code is robust, efficient, and scalable, leading to better performance and fewer issues in the long run.

See how Sonar enables Ops pros to easily manage Salesforce Apex

Access the ultimate control center for your integrated tech stack. Using Sonar, your Ops team can optimize your Salesforce change management and ensure the productivity of your GTM teams across all sales channels.

Data Dictionary

Automatically capture and document every change to your metadata. Sonar’s dynamic data dictionary helps manage your meta data using our custom designed UI.

Change Timelines

Sonar’s change tracking for Salesforce alerts customers of every change to the Salesforce Org, noting potential issues before they occur. With daily email alerts and slack notifications, you’ll be alerted when anyone adds, modifies, or deletes data within your Salesforce org.

Salesforce Apex FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions about Salesforce Apex:

What is the difference between Apex and Visualforce?

Answer: Apex is Salesforce’s proprietary programming language used to write custom business logic, while Visualforce is a framework for building custom user interfaces in Salesforce. Apex provides the backend logic, and Visualforce provides the frontend presentation layer. They often work together to deliver custom functionality on the Salesforce platform.

How do I ensure my Apex code doesn't exceed governor limits?

Answer: To avoid exceeding governor limits, ensure your code is bulkified to handle multiple records simultaneously. Minimize the number of SOQL and DML operations, and use collections like lists, sets, and maps. Salesforce provides the Limits class, which allows developers to monitor and check the consumption of resources in real-time.

Can I call external web services from Apex?

Answer: Yes, Apex allows you to make callouts to external web services using HTTP classes. Before making a callout, you need to whitelist the endpoint URL in Salesforce’s Remote Site Settings. Additionally, if the callout is synchronous and time-consuming, consider using asynchronous methods to avoid timeouts.

How can I schedule Apex to run at specific intervals?

Answer: Salesforce provides the ability to schedule Apex classes to run at specific times using the Schedulable interface. Once your class implements this interface, you can schedule it to run at regular intervals (e.g., daily, weekly) using Salesforce’s UI or programmatically.

What is the difference between a trigger and a class in Apex?

Answer: A trigger is a piece of Apex code that executes before or after specific events, such as record insertion, update, or deletion. Triggers are used to automate processes based on these events. On the other hand, a class in Apex is a blueprint for creating objects and can contain variables, methods, and constructors. While triggers handle automatic actions based on record changes, classes encapsulate logic and can be invoked by triggers, other classes, or Visualforce pages.

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