Essential Resources

Because the developer community is still very small, it’s important to make the most out of what (the company) provides for us on the Web. The best site for all things is of course, with its invaluable Wiki and Discussion Boards. But sometimes dead-tree versions of knowledge can be helpful too.


SFDC has made available two free books, one is an introduction to the platfom and the other is a recipe-style book. If you’ve been to a event recently, chances are you received these as actual, bound books. Here are the PDF ebooks:

  • Introduction to the Platform – Really a beginner’s guide, this book takes you on a feature tour of the platform, and goes over both administrative/declarative features as well as the more programmatic Apex and Visualforce capabilities.
  • Cookbook – I find myself flipping through this problem/solution recipe book often. It’s very helpful at producing those “Ah! So that’s how I’m supposed to do it!” moments.

The APIs

The Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs) allow us developers to integrate our Salesforce instances with external web services, as well build in some powerful customization into those instances. I don’t print these out, but rather just keep the PDFs quickly accessible for fast keyword searching:

  • Apex Web Services API – Covers the SOAP API in all its glory. I personally wish this was REST, but SOAP is better than everything but REST.
  • Apex Metadata API – A newer API, the Metadata API allows us to define the structure (fields and relationships) of our custom objects via XML rather than via the declarative point-and-click interface. Unfortunately there’s no Metadata API available for standard objects (Contacts, Accounts, Opportunities) yet, but I expect that to change this year.
  • Apex AJAX Toolkit API – The AJAX Toolkit is primarily used with S-Controls, which are being phased out in favor of Visualforce. To be honest, the AJAX Toolkit has always seemed like a workaround hack to me, and hopefully the combination of Visualforce and Apex Code will render it obsolete.

The Developer Guides

These are must-prints. As more thorough extensions to the ebooks above, these guides are the definitive resources for developing with Apex and Visualforce.

Frequent Updates

Both the APIs and Developer Guides are updated with every release (Spring, Summer, Winter), so make sure to grab the newest versions when you see your org being updated, and please do recycle the old versions if you print them out.

I suggest bookmarking this post, so you can quickly access these PDFs instead of browsing through the Wiki. Enjoy!

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