The week of October 10th I was fortunate to have the opportunity to attend Force.com’s Dev 501 class in Atlanta. This class went beyond the declarative capabilities of Force.com covered in Dev 401 and expanded into APEX and Visualforce controllers.
Apex is an object oriented programming language, similar to Java and C#, for building software as a service (SaaS) applications on top of Salesforce.com’s customer relationship management (CRM) functionality. Apex gives developers access to Salesforce.com’s back-end database and metadata objects to create third-party SaaS applications. These 3rd party applications are offered for sale or free of charge in the Salesforce AppExchange marketplace, similar to the Apple and Android app stores.
Visualforce is a framework that includes a tag-based markup language, similar to HTML or ASP.Net.
In the Visualforce markup language, each Visualforce tag corresponds to a user interface component, such as a section of a page or a field. The behavior of Visualforce components can be controlled by the same logic used in standard Salesforce pages, or developers can create their own logic with controller classes written in Apex.
The Dev 501 class covers an amazing array of topics…just a few of which are APEX triggers, Force.com IDE Eclipse plugin, development sandboxes, SOQL queries, DML (data modeling language), deployment from sandbox to production organizations, consuming web services, and unit testing Apex classes.
Format of the class was lecture mixed with hands on exercises reinforced by formal questions answered out loud by attendees at the end of every lecture and exercise. This was actually the most challenging formal training class I have attended since college…and also one of the best.