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Salesforce Development Best Practices

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Salesforce Development Best Practices

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These are the slides from a presentation given to the San Diego Salesforce Developer Group on September 16, 2014.

The presentation highlights why coding standards and design patterns are important parts of creating a scalable, maintainable Salesforce Enterprise Org. A series of specific implementation and architecture recommendations are outlined. Finally, models for process and governance are provided to help the viewer take steps to bring about change in their Org.

These are the slides from a presentation given to the San Diego Salesforce Developer Group on September 16, 2014.

The presentation highlights why coding standards and design patterns are important parts of creating a scalable, maintainable Salesforce Enterprise Org. A series of specific implementation and architecture recommendations are outlined. Finally, models for process and governance are provided to help the viewer take steps to bring about change in their Org.

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Salesforce Development Best Practices

  1. 1. Salesforce Development Best Practices people Vivek M. Chawla @VivekMChawla September 16, 2014
  2. 2. Introduction 2 Vivek M. Chawla Senior Salesforce Engineer @VivekMChawla
  3. 3. Overview • Why standards, design patterns, and best practices matter • Implementation and Architecture • Process and Governance • Three things you can do TODAY 3
  4. 4. Why Patterns and Best Practices Matter • Efficiency • Security • Quality • Minimize Technical Debt 4
  5. 5. What is “Technical Debt”? “Work that needs to be done before a particular job can be considered complete or proper. If the debt is not repaid, then it will keep on accumulating interest, making it hard to implement changes later on”. In other words… “All the things, big and small, that left undone will eventually come around to bite you in the ass”. 5
  6. 6. Salesforce Technical Debt Accrues FAST • Too many “System Administrators”. • Changing the data model and adding business logic is EASY. • Less institutional knowledge of Salesforce (typically) 6
  7. 7. Salesforce “Gotchas” are Painful Salesforce development takes a lot of effort to do right. • Governor limits can cause pain unexpectedly if not considered early on in the design process. • Deployment is tricky business • Team development is either the Wild West…or Soviet Russia. 7
  8. 8. Specific Recommendations IMPLEMENTATION & ARCHITECTURE 8
  9. 9. Create Standards For… • Coding Style • Documentation • Design Patterns • Naming Conventions 9
  10. 10. Coding Style Apex code should follow a consistent coding style for the following areas. • Whitespace – Always use spaces for indentation. Do not use tabs. • Block Indentation / Column Limit – Indent new blocks with two spaces. – Code within a 100 character column limit. • SOQL Queries – Break SOQL Queries across multiple lines. • Fields named in the SELECT clause appear alone, one per line. - List fields in ascending alphabetical order. • WHERE predicates appear alone, one per line. *See the Google Java Style guide for additional guidance 10
  11. 11. Apex Documentation Use block-formatted (/* */) comments to create Apex code documentation headers. • File Headers • Method Headers 11
  12. 12. Apex File Headers • File headers should include… – Description of purpose. – Names / emails of the author, and subsequent editors. – Date of creation, and last modification. – Related metadata (eg. classes, triggers, objects, VF pages). • Apex REST classes should… – Note the HTTP methods they serve. – Note endpoints when using multiple base URIs per method. • Triggers and Trigger Handler classes should… – Note the Actions being caught and processed. • Use @deprecated when a class is no longer in use. 12
  13. 13. Apex Method Headers • Standard (non-test) method headers should include… – One or two sentence description of purpose. – @param description of each parameter – @return description of the return type, noting likely returned values / outcomes. • Test method headers require only… – Description of the test’s functional logic. 13
  14. 14. Visualforce Documentation Visualforce Pages and Components should be simultaneously documented in two places. • File Headers • Metadata “Description” Fields 14
  15. 15. Visualforce File Headers • Use HTML (<!-- -->) comment blocks. • File headers should include… – Description of purpose. – Names / emails of the author, and subsequent editors. – Date of creation, and last modification. – Related metadata (eg. classes, objects, pages, components). • File headers should respect a 100 column width limit. 15
  16. 16. Visualforce Metadata Descriptions • Edit via Setup or -meta.xml • Write for a non-technical audience • Summarize File Header documentation, including… – Short description of purpose. – Date of creation – Full name of original author. – Administrative notes (if known). • Update only if core functionality changes 16
  17. 17. Non-Code Metadata Documentation Add descriptions for ALL non-code metadata! • Description fields typically hold 255 characters – 1000 for Custom Objects and Fields • Descriptions should include… – Short description of purpose – Date of creation – Full name of creator – Administrative references 17
  18. 18. Specific Recommendations DESIGN PATTERNS 18
  19. 19. Salesforce-Specific Design Patterns • Triggers • “Bulkified” Code • Separation of Concerns 19
  20. 20. Triggers • One trigger per Object – Guaranteed order of execution (at least for your code!) • Implement logic in a separate “trigger handler” class. • Use static variables to prevent trigger recursion • All logic MUST be “bulkified”. 20
  21. 21. What is “Bulkified” Code? • Acts on collections, rather than single objects. • Designed with governor limits in mind – SOQL Queries • NEVER perform queries inside of loops! • Query using sets, rather than single-value predicates • Use SOQL For loops when expecting more than 300 records. - Use selective queries! – DML Operations - Always perform DML on collections of SObjects. - Be aware of “hidden” DML, eg. Database.ConvertLead(). - NEVER perform DML inside of loops! – Future Calls - Max of 10 @future calls per execution context. - No callouts from triggers! Business logic often requires use of @future methods. - @future methods called from Triggers MUST be designed for bulk! 21
  22. 22. “Bulk” Design Patterns • All code should be “bulk” code! • Public static methods should always be “bulkified” • Public instance methods can sometimes be “non-bulkified”. – But they should have a really good reason! Commit to “bulk-first” design, and it will eventually become second nature. 22
  23. 23. Separation of Concerns • What is SOC? – Class architecture? – Naming conventions? – Mumbo Jumbo? 23
  24. 24. Separation of Concerns (High Level) Entrypoint Layer Invocation Layer Service Layer Utility Layer Activities that invoke Apex – API / UI Based Create/Update/Delete – Visualforce Page / Component Load – SFDC Asynchronous Queue, Apex Scheduler “First Line” of Apex Code – Visualforce Controllers and Extensions – Triggers and Trigger Handlers – Web and Email Services – Asynchronous and Scheduled Apex Domain and Function-specific Business Logic – LeadServices.cls, AccountServices.cls, etc. – RegistrationServices.cls, CpqServices.cls, etc. Supports the Service Layer – Utility Classes – Model / Wrapper Classes* – Selector Classes 24
  25. 25. Separation of Concerns (Low Level) LeadConvController.cls 25 SFDC API Based Create/Edit/Delete UI Based Create/Edit/Delete LeadConv.page Asynchronous Apex Scheduler Queue Operation Operation LeadTrigger.trigger LeadTriggerHandler.cls LeadIntAsync.cl s LeadIntBatch.cls LeadCleanJob.cls ContactServices.cls LeadServices.cls AccountServices.cls ContactSelector.cls LeadConversionUtil.cls ConvertedLead.cls AccountSelector.cls
  26. 26. Naming Conventions • Apex and Visualforce Names • Apex and Visualforce Identifiers • Objects, Fields, and other Metadata 26
  27. 27. Apex and Visualforce Names • Use UpperCamelCase • Avoid using underscores • Use full names, rather than abbreviations (in most cases) – If using abbreviations, be consistent! • Test classes append “Test” to the name of the covered class 27
  28. 28. Choosing a Name Apex • First word(s) should be the API name of the related component. – If too long, use a consistent best-approximation – Ignore underscores • Middle word(s) can provide context (optional) • Last word(s) should indicate “functional type” of the class – Reconsider design of classes that don’t fit one functional type Visualforce • For Visualforce names, be descriptive but brief – Controller classes incorporate the Page / Component name 28
  29. 29. Apex Class and Trigger Name Suffixes Functional Type Name Suffix Examples Trigger Trigger AccountTrigger Trigger Handler TriggerHandler AccountTriggerHandler VF Controller Controller NewAccountController VF Controller Extension ControllerExt AccountControllerExt Service Class Services AccountServices Utility Class Util AccountDupeCatcherUtil Selector Class Selector AccountSelector Model / Wrapper Class Varies… Accounts / AccountWrapper Web Service (SOAP) Ws AccountToolsWs Web Service (REST) Rest AccountToolsRest Email Service EmlSvc AccountCreateEmlSvc Asynchronous (Future) Async AccountIntegrationsAsync Asynchronous (Batch) Batch AccountMigrationBatch Scheduled Apex Job AccountCleanupJob 29
  30. 30. Apex and Visualforce Identifiers • Variable Names – SObjects • Type of SObject should be clear by looking at name – Collections • Should always be plural! • Method Names – UseCamelCase…but the first character is always lowercase. • useCamelCase() All should… • Use descriptive words. – Rapid clarity to others is important! • NEVER use single-character variables. 30
  31. 31. Objects, Fields, and Other Metadata Create and follow common rules for… • Use of underscores to separate words in API names. • Capitalization of words in API names • Must API names and labels match? 31
  32. 32. Specific Recommendations PROCESS / GOVERNANCE 32
  33. 33. Recommendations • Agree on specific org-wide standards, patterns, and practices. • Refactor code and data model • Define a regular Quality Control Cycle. 33
  34. 34. Agree on Standards • Figure out what they are • Socialize with your team • Seek support from management 34
  35. 35. Refactoring Your Org 35
  36. 36. Quality Control Cycle Quarterly (Day 0 / 90) •Data Quality Inspection •Field Trip Report •Code / Data Model Cleanup •Process Analysis / Improvement Mid-Month (Day 15) •Code Review Monthly (Day 30) •Code Review •Data Quality Inspection Mid-Month (Day 45) •Code Review Mid-Month (Day 75) •Code Review Monthly (Day 60) •Code Review •Data Quality Inspection 36
  37. 37. Three Things You Can Do TODAY • Create a one-page Standards Document • Make sure you’re using one trigger per object • Commit to two code reviews 37
  38. 38. Discussion Q & A 38
  39. 39. people Thank you! Vivek M. Chawla @VivekMChawla 39
  40. 40. Appendix • Google’s Java Style Guide – http://bit.ly/GoogleJavaStyle • Separation of Concerns – Dreamforce Presentation (Video) – “Apex Enterprise Patterns” • http://bit.ly/DF2013SOC – Andrew Fawcett’s Blog – “Apex Enterprise Patterns – Separation of Concerns” • http://bit.ly/FawcettBlogSOC – DeveloperForce Technical Library – “Separation of Concerns” • http://bit.ly/DevForceSOC 40

Editor's Notes

  • The multi-tenant architecture of Salesforce, and the Platform and Governor Limits that go with it, mean that the use of certain best practices and design patterns are not matters of preference, but of requirement.

    In any environment, non-existent or ad-hoc standards greatly contribute to technical debt. However, the unique nature of technical debt on Salesforce makes defining and adhering to standards critical to the long-term health of an Enterprise Org.

    This presentation is intended to increase our team’s knowledge of Salesforce development best practices, and highlight steps that we can take to bring the B2B Org into compliance with them.
  • Too many “System Administrators”.
    Revolution is easy. Governing is hard.
    With great power comes great responsibility.
    Changing the data model and adding business logic is EASY.
    Just because you can point-and-click something into existence doesn’t mean you should.
    Compare to the “old days” when DBAs owned the data model, and only developers could effect how an application behaved.
    Beware the Ninja Admin!
    Less institutional knowledge of Salesforce (typically)
    Knowledge of Salesforce-specific design patterns is critical.
    Use of multiple contractors can result in an uneven patchwork of design choices and coding standards.
  • The story of the Opportunity.Contact__c field is a good example of a Ninja Admin point-and-clicking something into existence when he should not have.

    Specific problems with Unit Tests include the use of the “SeeAllData=TRUE” annotation. Creating high quality, flexible “Test Data Utility” classes can help.

    Salesforce development takes a lot of effort to do right.
    Governor limits can cause pain unexpectedly if not considered early on in the design process. Common pitfalls include…
    Number of SOQL Queries
    Number of @Future calls
    Number of records retrieved.
    Deployment is tricky business
    Metadata dependencies can be a nightmare to debug.
    “Destructive” changes are especially painful!
    Writing “instance agnostic” Unit Tests takes extra time and effort.
    Team development is either the Wild West…or Soviet Russia.
    Lack of Salesforce-specific tools and best practices means most Enterprises fend for themselves (with varying degrees of success).
    Beware the Ninja Developer!

  • Coding Style
    Documentation
    Apex Classes and Triggers
    Visualforce Pages and Components
    Non-Code Metadata
    Design Patterns
    Trigger Design Patterns
    “Bulk” Design Patterns
    Separation of Concerns
    Naming Conventions
    Apex Class and Trigger Names
    Visualforce Page and Component Names
    Apex and Visualforce Identifiers
    Objects, Fields, and other Metadata
  • Various browser based editors may convert TABS to SPACES, rending the use of TABS for indenting an inconsistent experience. For this reason, it is best to standardize on indenting with spaces only.

    Whitespace
    Always use spaces for indentation. Do not use tabs.
    Use a single space to…
    Separate reserved words, like if, for, catch, from an open parenthesis or open brace.
    Separate closing parenthesis and opening braces.
    Add space to both sides of any binary or ternary operator.
    Horizontal alignment is allowed, but not required.

    Block Indentation / Column Limit
    Indent new block or block-like constructs with two spaces.
    Code within a 100 character column limit.
    Longer statements must be line-wrapped.
    Indent continuation with at least +4 spaces.

    SOQL Queries
    SOQL keywords (eg. SELECT, FROM, WHERE) use ALL CAPS.
    SOQL Queries (both inline and constructed strings) break across multiple lines.
    The SELECT, FROM, WHERE, and ORDER BY clauses each appear alone, on a single line.
    SOQL code between the four “top-level” clauses is indented by at least +2 spaces.
    Fields named in the SELECT clause appear alone, one per line.
    Fields should be listed in ascending alphabetical order.
    Fields added later should respect this ordering.
    WHERE predicates appear alone, one per line.
    Logical operators (AND / OR) between predicates appear alone, one per line, and are indented by at least +2 spaces.
    Child relationship queries follow the same rules.

  • Apex code files implement a variety of documentation headers using block-formatted (/* */) comments. These include:

    File Headers
    Method Headers
    Other Headers

    All headers must respect the 100 column width limit. The use of repeated, contiguous characters (eg. *********) to mark the vertical boundaries of each header is encouraged.
  • File headers should include:
    Description of purpose.
    Names / emails of the author, and subsequent editors.
    Date of creation, and last modification.
    Related metadata (eg. classes, triggers, objects, VF pages).
    Apex REST classes should…
    Note the HTTP methods they serve.
    Note endpoints when using multiple base URIs per method.
    Triggers and Trigger Handler classes should
    Note the Actions (eg. BEFORE UPDATE, AFTER INSERT) being caught and processed.
    Use @deprecated when a class is no longer in use.
  • Apex Method Headers
    All standard (non-test) method headers should include:
    One or two sentence description of purpose.
    @param description of each parameter, one per line, noting the parameter name, type, and purpose.
    @return description of the return type, noting likely returned values / outcomes.
    Test method headers require only a description of the test’s functional logic.
  • Use HTML (<!-- -->) comment blocks to create Visualforce Page / Component documentation headers.
    File headers are typically viewed by Developers, and may be updated many times over the life of the file.
    File headers should include:
    One or two sentence description of purpose.
    Names and email addresses of the original author, and anyone making significant modifications.
    Date of creation, and date of last modification.
    Related metadata (eg. classes, objects, components).
    File headers respect a 100 column width limit, and are vertically bound (top and bottom) by single lines of repeated, contiguous characters (eg. *********).
  • Metadata “Description” Fields
    Metadata Descriptions can be edited via the Setup UI, or the -meta.xml file associated with the VF Page or Component.
    Metadata Descriptions are typically viewed by non-Developer Admins, and are only updated if the core functionality of the Page or Component changes.
    Descriptions are written for a non-technical audience, and summarize the File Header documentation at the time the file was created.
    Summaries should include:
    One or two sentence description of purpose.
    Date of creation, and the full name of the original author.
    Administrative notes, eg. “Requested / Approved By”, “User Story ID”, or “Defect ID” (if known).
  • Description can be accessed via the Setup UI, or by directly editing the “*-meta.xml” files associated with certain metadata files in Eclipse.

    Document ALL non-code metadata by writing a detailed summary in the Description field.

    Description fields typically hold 255 characters.
    Custom Objects and Fields can store 1000 characters!
    Almost all metadata types expose this field.
    Apex classes / triggers being notable exceptions!
    This field should always be filled out!

    Metadata Descriptions should always include:
    Brief description of purpose.
    Be mindful of the 255 character limit for most metadata types!
    Date of creation, and the name of the original creator.
    Helps maintain accountability after automated deployments and sandbox refreshes.
    Administrative notes (optional, but recommended if known)
    Requested / Approved by?
    Related User Story or Stories
    Anything else that can tie the metadata component to external documentation.

  • Implementing Salesforce-specific design patterns is critical to creating a scalable, maintainable, Enterprise Org.

    Trigger Design Patterns
    “Bulk” Design Patterns
    Separation of Concerns
  • One trigger per Object
    Guaranteed order of execution (at least for your code!)
    No business logic in triggers
    The only logic present in triggers is simple dispatch logic to route each trigger action to a single action handler.
    Business logic begins in the trigger handler class.
    Use static variables to prevent trigger recursion
    All logic run within a trigger’s execution context MUST be bulk-safe.
  • “Bulk” code acts on collections, rather than single objects.
    Need to consider SFDC governor limits at design time.
    SOQL Queries
    Query for predicate values in sets, rather than using multiple SOQL queries.
    NEVER perform queries inside of loops!
    Special consideration needed when dealing with large data sets.
    Use SOQL For loops when expecting more than 300 records.
    Use selective queries!
    DML Operations
    Always perform DML on collections of SObjects.
    Be aware of “hidden” DML, eg. Database.ConvertLead().
    NEVER perform DML inside of loops!
    Future Calls
    Max of 10 @future calls per execution context.
    No callouts from triggers! Business logic often requires use of @future methods.
    @future methods called from Triggers MUST be designed for bulk!
  • All code should be “bulk” code!
    Public static methods should always be “bulkified”
    Does not apply to web service methods
    Public instance methods can sometimes be “non-bulkified” if acting only on the instance of the object itself.
    Other public methods should have a really good reason to NOT be bulkified.



    If you force yourself to always write “bulk” code, it will eventually become second nature.


  • There are many ways to invoke Apex code, including…
    Anonymous Blocks
    Triggers
    Asynchronous Apex
    Future Methods
    Scheduled Apex
    Batch Apex
    Web Services
    SOAP / REST
    Email Services
    Visualforce Classes
    Page / Component / List Controllers and Extensions
    JavaScript
    JavaScript Remoting / AJAX Toolkit
  • Apex class names have a 40 character limit on length.

    Class and Trigger names are written in UpperCamelCase.
    Use full names, rather than abbreviations (in most cases).
    Avoid using underscores.
    When choosing a name:
    First word(s) should be the API name of the related component.
    If the API name is too long, use a consistent best-approximation.
    Optional middle word(s) may provide context regarding purpose.
    Last word(s) should indicate “functional type” of the class.
    Ignore underscores in the related component’s name.
    Be consistent!
    Classes with the same functional type share the same suffix.
    Reconsider the design of classes that do not fit a single functional type.

  • Apex class names have a 40 character limit on length.

    Class and Trigger names are written in UpperCamelCase.
    Use full names, rather than abbreviations (in most cases).
    Avoid using underscores.
    When choosing a name:
    First word(s) should be the API name of the related component.
    If the API name is too long, use a consistent best-approximation.
    Optional middle word(s) may provide context regarding purpose.
    Last word(s) should indicate “functional type” of the class.
    Ignore underscores in the related component’s name.
    Be consistent!
    Classes with the same functional type share the same suffix.
    Reconsider the design of classes that do not fit a single functional type.

  • The following class types have additional naming rules, which are detailed on the following slides.
    Triggers and Trigger Handler Classes
    Visualforce Classes
    Web Service Classes
    Email Service Classes
    Asynchronous Classes
    Service Classes
    Utility Classes
    Model / Wrapper Classes
    Test Classes


  • Variable Names
    SObjects
    Type of SObject should be clear by looking at name
    Collections
    Should always be plural!
    Method Names
    UseCamelCase…but the first character is always lowercase.
    useCamelCase()

    All should…
    Use descriptive words.
    Rapid clarity to others is important!
    NEVER use single-character variables.
  • Objects
    Fields
    Custom Labels (*special rules)


    All should follow these common rules
    Always use underscores to separate words in API names.
    The first letter of each word in API names should be capitalized.
    Always match API names and Labels.
    If you change the label, but haven’t deployed the code, do whatever you have to do to change the API name!
  • Agree on specific org-wide standards, patterns, and practices.
    Define a regular Quality Control Cycle.
    Determine necessary milestones to go from current state to “Day 1” of the QCC we define.
    Determine a workable timetable for hitting these milestones.
    Define, assign, and execute tasks.
  • Executive Endorsement (1 Week)
    Finalize Style Guide (1 Day)
    Finalize Architectural Standards (2 Days)
    Finalize Naming Conventions (1 Day)

    Org-Wide Code Audit / Data Model Analysis (1-2 Weeks)
    Review Findings of Code Audit (2 Days)
    Review Findings of Data Model Analysis (4 days)
    Assign Refactoring and Data Model Cleanup Tasks (2 days)

    Refactoring / Data Model Cleanup in DEV (3 – 4 Weeks)
    Prepare Comprehensive Deployment Package (4 days)
    Deploy and Test in Pre-Production Environments (1-2 weeks)
    Validate Changes and Prep for Final Deployment (1 week)
  • Executive endorsement.
    Finalize Style Guide.
    Finalize Architectural Standards
    Finalize Naming Conventions
    Publish “Intuit Standards for Salesforce Development”
    Expose standards to entire team
    Begin bi-weekly code reviews
    Execute org-wide code audit

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