One of the key components of Salesforce is its coding languages, which are used to build both custom applications and integrations. Anyone can learn Salesforce irrespective of their academic background.
The key for any student to thrive in this landscape lies in mastering technical knowledge. It is mainly so due to the fact that for navigating in Salesforce effectively you must first have a good grasp on technical knowledge. Technical knowledge is your tool for innovation as it is needed for building custom applications or integrating Salesforce with any other systems.
Getting Salesforce certified is essential when it comes to learning Salesforce. But, it provides proof of your expertise to potential employers thus upgrading your career. Salesforce is attractive to get into as IDC predicts 9 million new jobs by 2026.
Are you a student aspiring to enter the world of Salesforce? Welcome to a dynamic ecosystem where customer relationship management meets cutting-edge technology.
To thrive in this landscape, mastering technical languages is essential. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the coding languages vital for Salesforce development and why they’re crucial for your success.
1. Apex: The Core Coding Language
Did you know that a certified Salesforce developer with skills can earn around $1800 in India and $10,800 in the US monthly?
That’s how learning Apex is crucial. It is a Salesforce backend language that is strongly typed.
Apex is Salesforce’s proprietary programming language. It is at the heart of custom development on the platform, offering robust features for building business logic and automating processes. It is similar to Java in terms of syntax but also has some unique features that make it ideal for building applications within Salesforce.
Key Features and Capabilities of Apex
Apex has many features and capabilities that make it specifically important for Salesforce platform. We will explain some important features and capabilities as follows:
1. Integration with the Salesforce database: It means developers can write code that interacts with Salesforce objects and data making it easy to create custom applications and workflows.
2. This language is used to build customizations within Salesforce such as classes, triggers, controllers, and extensions.
- A class is a group of attributes and functions used for defining unique functionality in Salesforce.
- A trigger is a piece of code that executes in case a particular event occurs, such as the creation, updating, or deletion of a record.
- A controller is a type of class that is used to manage the interaction between a user interface and the underlying data.
- An extension is a class that extends the functionality of a standard Salesforce object, allowing developers to add custom fields, buttons, and other sort of features.
3. In Apex developers can use Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL) to retrieve data from Salesforce objects and Salesforce Object Search Language (SOSL) to search for specific records.
4. Apex also supports Data Manipulation Language (DML) statements, which allow developers to insert, delete, and update records inside Salesforce database.
2. Visualforce: The User Interface Language
Visualforce is defined as a markup language developed by Salesforce.com that has controllers and components. The components are referred to as tags in Visualforce.
For frontend design, it uses XML-like syntax, and for the backend, it uses Apex for implementing business logic. Do you know that both Apex and Visualforce are used for creating Visualforce Pages up to 15 MB?
Now let’s look at the main components of Visualforce language.
Visualforce components are small and reusable pieces of functionalities for implementing a high Visualforce page. Salesforce.com mainly provides two kinds of components, i.e., Standard and Custom components:
- Salesforce provides more than 50 standard user interface components that are started with <apex: TagName></apex:TagName>. By using these standard components we can create the perfect look and feel of Salesforce without additional support from CSS and HTML.
- Custom components are the user-defined components and tags that have a starting with <c: TagName></c:TagName>.
Similar to the components in Visualforce there are some controllers as well.
A controller is a set of instructions that defines what happens next after interacting with the components and tags specified in the associated Visualforce markup.
Salesforce provides mainly three kinds of controllers, i.e. Standard, Customer, and Extension controllers:
- A standard controller is such that is used for customizing both standard and custom objects. It has access to the Salesforce database and automatically adjusts to the type of pages based on where it is called. For example <apex:page standardController=”Account”>
- A custom controller is an Apex class that is used for implementing all the login of the VF page without leveraging the standard functionality. Custom controllers are mainly used for creating rich UI with complex data sets. E.g. <apex: page controller=”CustomApexClass”>.
- An extension controller is just like a custom controller and is also an apex class that is used for adding and extending the functionality of the Standard and Custom controllers. It is used for overriding the methods. An example of this is <apex: page standardController=”Account” extensions=”CustomApexClass, SecondCustomApexClass>
Why you need Visualforce in Salesforce?
Visualforce is required to extend and customize the look and feel of the Salesforce instance.
It is also required for website designing with highly sophisticated user interfaces.
Visualforce and Lightning Web Components (LWC) are two different technologies that are used in Salesforce for building user interfaces and web applications.
Next, let’s discuss Lightning Web Components.
3. Lightning Web Components (LWC)
Salesforce Lightning Web Components or LWC are collectively called user interface frameworks that are utilized by Salesforce developers with skills to create custom pages and functions. It is considered a new model for programming that meets recent web standards.
Advantages of Using LWC for Front-end Development
LWC holds many properties that make it fit for the modern UI implementations in Salesforce.
Some common advantages of using LWC for front-end development are as follows:
- Ease of development for larger-scale modular-type applications
- Ease of leveraging constructs and web technologies of the latest versions.
- Better performance levels
- Interoperable components
Integration of LWC and Visualforce in the Salesforce application
For your knowledge, this part will discuss ways you can easily integrate both LWC and Visualforce in Salesforce applications:
- Embedding LWC in Visualforce using ‘lightning:container’ components. It allows you to leverage the power and features of LWC within your Visualforce pages
- Leveraging Visualforce within LWC by including Visualforce pages as iframes within LWC using the ‘iframe’ HTML tag or the ‘lightning:container’ component.
- Using navigation techniques such as URL parameters to pass data between LWC and Visualforce pages and enable seamless transitions between the two.
- Use Apex to create a bridge between LWC and Visualforce. Apex can be used to fetch and manipulate data that is then displayed in LWC or Visualforce.
You should take note that while you can integrate LWC and Visualforce, we recommend migrating towards Lightning Web Components for new development. It is because of its modern architecture and improved performance.
Do you know that both LWC and Visualforce leverage SOQL and SOSL to access and display Salesforce data? If you’ve built a custom user interface for Salesforce, by making use of Salesforce Object Query Language and Salesforce Object Search Language it is possible to search the organization’s data.
This guide will explain when to use SOQL and SOSL based on their clauses, functions, and limits in the next part. So, keep scrolling to know more about it!
4. SOQL Query Language
A SOQL or Salesforce Object Query Language query is equivalent to a SELECT SQL statement and searches the organization database. It is used to construct simple but powerful query strings in the queryString parameter in the query() call, in Apex statements, in Visualforce controllers and getter methods, or the Schema explorer of the Force.com IDE.
Usage decision for SOQL
Usage of SOQL is done in case you know which objects the data resides in and you want to:
- Retrieve data from a single object or from multiple objects that are related to one another.
- Sort results as part of the query.
- Count the number of records that meet specified criteria.
- Retrieve data from number, date, or checkbox fields.
5. SOSL Query Language
SOSL, or Salesforce Object Search Language, is a programmatic way of performing a text-based search against the search index. It is used to construct text searches in search() calls, in Apex statements, in Visualforce controllers and getter methods, or in the Schema Explorer of the Eclipse Toolkit.
Usage decision for SOSL
Usage of SOSL is done when you don’t know which object or field the data resides in, and you want to:
- Retrieve data from a specific term that you know exists within a field. Because SOSL can tokenize multiple terms within a field and build a search index from it, SOSL searches are faster and can return more relevant results.
- Retrieve multiple objects and fields efficiently where the objects might or might not be related to one another.
- Retrieve data for a particular division in an organization using the division’s feature.
- Retrieve data that’s in Japanese, Chinese, Thai, or Korean. Morphological tokenization for CJKT terms helps ensure accurate results.
You must note that SOSL doesn’t support big objects. To achieve higher performance from queries and searches keep in mind:
- Both SOQL WHERE filters and SOSL search queries can specify the text you should look for. In case a given search can be done using either of them, SOSL is faster if the search expression uses a CONTAINS term.
- SOSL can tokenize multiple terms within a field and build a search index of this.
- Minimize the number of fields to be searched or queried.
In Lightning Web Components (LWC):
- It is a core component for LWC development and used for writing client-side logic to create interactive and dynamic user interfaces.
- It is used to perform asynchronous operations such as making API requests to Salesforce services, handling responses, and updating the component’s state and view based on the results.
- It is used for client-side scripting to enhance the behavior and interactivity of the user interface.
- It can be used to make asynchronous requests (Ajax) to Salesforce servers or external APIs to retrieve or update data without refreshing the entire page.
While the above Salesforce coding languages might be useful, there are scenarios in case developers may need to integrate external languages and platforms like Heroku to extend the capabilities of their Salesforce applications.
Tools and IDEs for Coding in Salesforce
There are some specialized tools and IDEs that you might wanna know about for effective Salesforce Development in the future.
These tools will help you in getting the maximum benefit of Salesforce developer skills, streamline processes, improve collaboration, and enhance code quality.
Salesforce Developer Console
It is a web-based tool that is built directly into Salesforce platform and provides features for writing, testing, and debugging Apex code, Visualforce pages, and Lightning components. This acts as a great starting point for beginners in Salesforce development.
Salesforce extensions for Visual Studio Code
Developers often use VS Code, a popular code editor along with Salesforce extensions for enhancing their development experience. This is mainly due to the features offered like code completion, debugging, and deployment capabilities for Salesforce projects.
This is an Eclipse-based IDE specifically designed for development in Salesforce. It offers project management, code editing, and deployment tools for Apex, Visualforce, and other Salesforce-related resources.
Salesforce provides free, fully functional developer environments known as Trailhead Playgrounds. You can use these environments to experiment, learn, and build Salesforce applications without affecting production data.
Lightning App Builder
For building Lightning Experience pages and apps without writing code, Lighting App Builder offers a drag-and-drop interface for assembling components and customizing layouts.
It is an interactive tool within Salesforce that helps developers to visualize and design their data models, making it easier to understand and plan database structures.
Git and Version Control Tools
Many developers tend to use Git and Git-based version control systems like GitHub, Bitbucket, or GitLab to manage their Salesforce code, track changes, and collaborate with teams effectively.
Continuous Integration and Deployment (CI/CD) Tools
Tools like Jenkins, CircleCI, and Salesforce DevOps solutions enable automated testing and deployment of Salesforce applications, ensuring the quality and readability of code.
In a Nutshell
In the dynamic world of technology and customer relationship management, Salesforce brings a beacon of opportunity. For students and aspiring developers, it offers a thrilling gateway into a realm where cutting-edge technology meets the art of customer relationship management.
As you enters into the world of Salesforce, remember that it’s not just about acquiring skills; but shapes the future of organizations. The journey may be challenging, but the rewards are immense. Your technical expertise will transform you into an indispensable asset, capable of driving innovation and success in the Salesforce ecosystem.