Working with Salesforce Object APIs: 3 Easy Steps
Manually Tracking Sales-based Leads and collecting data from Customer Interactions, Social Media, Emails, etc. can be a cumbersome task, especially when your customer base is growing at an exponential rate. This can be streamlined by an autonomous tool like Salesforce.
Table of Contents
Salesforce is a Customer Relationship Management(CRM) software company based out of San Francisco. Salesforce provides programmatic access to its organization’s information using simple and secure programmatic access and one of the ways is using APIs.
This article will discuss Salesforce Object API and its features in general. It will also give a brief on what a SOAP API is and when to use Salesforce Object APIs.
Table of Contents
- Understanding Salesforce
- Understanding SOAP API
- Key Features of Salesforce Object API
- Steps to Get Started with Salesforce Object API
- Use Cases of Salesforce Object API
Salesforce is a Cloud-Based Customer Relationship Management platform launched in 1999 focusing on streamlining the business operations such as Sales, Marketing, etc. With continuous development and effort, Salesforce now also specializes in applications for Data Analysis, Marketing Automation, Customer Service, and App Development.
Salesforce automates the daily repetitive tasks for the Administrators so that they can focus on more strategic business activities. It is a one-stop solution for companies looking to easily manage customer data coming from different platforms such as email, chats, and social media. Here, you can design Sales Pipeline and Marketing Campaigns where Salesforce will automatically track leads, manage contacts and generate reports for further analysis.
To know more about Salesforce, visit the Official Salesforce Website.
Understanding SOAP API
SOAP (Simple Access Object Protocol) API is a more complex type of web service API which is more defined than REST in terms of the level of security and the approach to how messages are sent. It offers comprehensive security and retries logic which makes it more suitable for enterprise applications that deal with banking transactions, LDAP interaction, and more.
SOAP has built-in ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) compliance which limits the effect of errors and protects the integrity of a database by prescribing exactly how transactions can interact with a database. ACID is used in structural databases to deal with banking transactions and inventory management. These features of SOAP API leave fewer loopholes to exploit as it is closely coupled with the server. As a result of the high level of security the SOAP architecture implements, SOAP-based calls cannot be cached.
SOAP uses XML and Schema for sending payload which requires more bandwidth which makes it less suitable for web and mobile applications as they work better with lightweight data transfer (JSON).
A) Salesforce Object API
Salesforce developer platform provides compatibility for:
- REST API
- SOAP API
- Bulk API
- Metadata API
All of these APIs have their appropriate use cases with Salesforce.
Salesforce Object API is used to perform CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations on records such as accounts, custom objects, and leads. It allows you to execute more than 20 different calls to perform searches, maintain passwords, and keep the records up-to-date.
Salesforce Object API provides access to integrate Salesforce features into an organization’s application to handle complex business processes. To perform this Integration, Salesforce has a Lightning platform for System Administrators and Developers to build and embed custom functionalities into your business application. This medium makes it easier to integrate Salesforce into an application and make use of the features it provides.
B) Salesforce Lightning Platform
The Lightning(Salesforce Lightning) platform is a component-based framework for app development from Salesforce used to simplify processes for business users, who typically do not have programming experience.
The Lightning platform allows you to:
- Customize Salesforce for your organization with custom links, objects, page layouts, etc.
- Integrate Salesforce with your organization’s business processes and finance system in general.
- Extend Salesforce with new custom functionalities that serve your business purposes.
Key Features of Salesforce Object API
Since 1999, Salesforce has evolved into one of the most popular Web-based applications for businesses that are looking for CRM and Application Development solutions. Let’s take a look at some of its salient features:
A) Salesforce Editions
Salesforce Object API has a level of accessibility depending on your registered account type with Salesforce.
- Enterprise Edition: It is suitable for Large and Complex business needs. You get all the functionalities from the Professional Edition and access to APIs.
- Developer Edition: For basic access to Lighting Platform and APIs. Also, you get some of the smart features from Enterprise Edition too in here.
- Unlimited Edition: As compared to the Enterprise Edition, here you get more storage, better support, unlimited custom apps, and more flexibility in terms of information management.
- Performance Edition: You get all the features from Unlimited edition as well as the data from all the sources is cleaned and transformed.
Note: If an existing customer wants to upgrade their account, they will need to contact their account representative.
B) Data Loading and Integration
Salesforce Object API allows you to load a large number of records when designing a client application. It leverages the use of persistent connections, the number, and the size of requests to make sure data loading is done at considerable speed. Although, Bulk API is the best choice for this type of operation.
Note: It is advisable by Salesforce to not enable single sign-on(SSO) for a System Administrator account. This is to avoid getting into an unrecoverable state.
C) Development Platforms
The development platforms vary in their SOAP implementations. Any development environment apart from the Visual Studio .NET 2003 (or higher) might prevent access to some features of the Salesforce Object API.
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- A Salesforce Account.
- Knowledge of Application Development.
- Working knowledge of Salesforce.
Steps to Get Started with Salesforce Object API
To quickly set up your Salesforce Object API, follow these simple steps below:
- Step 1: Log in to your Salesforce Developer Edition Account
- Step 2: Generate a WSDL File
- Step 3: Import the WSDL file into your Development Environment
Step 1: Log in to your Salesforce Developer Edition Account
To start building new applications in Salesforce, it is recommended to opt for the Developer Edition Account for applications requiring data entry jobs. To access the Lighting Platform, visit the Sign Up Page to make a Developer account if not done already.
Step 2: Generate a WSDL File
The WSDL (Web Service Description Language) is needed to access the Salesforce Lightning platform. To generate the WSDL file, follow these easy steps:
- Step 1: Log in as Admin or as a user with “Modify All Data” permission.
- Step 2: Navigate to Setup > enter API in the search box > Select API to get to the download page.
- Step 3: Download the appropriate WSDL.
There are two types of WSDL available for the Salesforce development environment:
- Enterprise Web Services WSDL: Enterprise Web Service WSDL is used by enterprise developers to build client apps for a single Salesforce organization. It follows a strongly-typed approach to the representation of the organization’s data. It contains information about MetaData (Schema, Data Types, and Fields) present in your development environment and changes if custom fields or objects are modified. This allows a tightly coupled Integration with the Lightning Platform Web Service.
- Partner Web Services WSDL: Partner Web Service WSDL is used to build client apps that are MetaData-Driven and dynamic. This API is for Salesforce partners who are developing client applications for multiple organizations. This kind of approach is best for standardizing incoming data. It helps speed up the development process on the ETL aspect by providing more flexibility during the process of merging different data sources into a data warehouse. As it follows the loosely-typed representation of data, it can be used to access data within any organization.
Step 3: Import the WSDL File into your Development Environment
The most common development platform you may find is Java(Web Service Connector). Follow the simple instructions give below to import your WSDL file into Java:
- Step 1: Firstly, open up the Command Prompt Window and go to the folder where you have the WSDL and WSC.jar files.
- Step 2: Enter the following code in the command prompt to generate the Java Stub for your WSDL.
java –classpath pathToJAR/wsc-22.jar com.sforce.ws.tools.wsdlc pathToWsdl/WsdlFilename pathToOutputJar/OutputJarFilename
In the above example, “wsc-22.jar” is the jar filename. Now, while creating the client application reference the generated Output WSDL file with the .jar file (Here it is wsc-22.jar).
For tips and sample codes, you can visit the Salesforce Object API Developer Guide.
Use Cases of Salesforce Object API
The Salesforce Object API can be applied in the following cases:
- When more control is needed over client/server interaction as the SOAP API is closely coupled with the server.
- When it is important to implement complex methods and logic for end-to-end reliability. This is very effective as SOAP APIs are generally ACID (Atomicity, Consistency, Isolation, Durability) complaints.
In this article, you learned about Salesforce Object API and how to get instantly started with building client applications using it. Salesforce Object API is a very useful service that allows developers to integrate Salesforce features into their applications. It also provides backward compatibility and a lifetime for the API versions and keeps developers updated on the validity of a current API version.
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