Thursday, 6 October 2011

How do I get started on Apex and Visualforce?

Once you have completed DEV 401 (Salesforce Developer) module, you already figured out the limitations of development using the declarative syntax (without writing any code).

Now to extend the functionality of your application, you need write code. The programming language used to code is APEX. It is a proprietary language of Salesforce. The syntax is similar to that of Java.

My suggestion to all the prospective developers out there: " PLEASE DO NOT DIVE INTO THE CODE IMMEDIATELY".

So, to get started on APEX, one needs to understand the following concepts. I strongly advice you to get hands on these concepts first

1. Visualforce: Visualforce is like html. Instead of html tags, you would have visualforce tags. Every visualforce tag starts with a word apex. Visualforce is used to customize the look and feel of an application. In the figure below, you can find couple of visualforce tags. You can find the complete developer guide on visualforce here

2. APEX: Like any programming language, you need to get started with the syntax: Check out the developer guide here

3. SOQL (Salesforce Object Query Language). Like any database backed applications, Salesforce uses its propritory (Salesforce Object Query Language) Click here for the guide.

A basic query would look something like this SELECT fields FROM  object WHERE condition
Example: SELECT Id, Name, BillingCity FROM Account WHERE Revenue > 600000 

4. XML: XML is used to transport content (exchange information) One should spend couple of hours just trying to understand the basic syntax. It is fairly easy. Learn XML

Once you familiarize yourself with these concepts, you can get started on writing your own code.