Development with the Force.com Platform: Building Business Applications in the Cloud

Development with the Force.com Platform: Building Business Applications in the Cloud
Authors
Jason Ouellette
ISBN
0321647734
Published
16 Oct 2009
Purchase online
amazon.com

Foreword by Craig Weissman, CTO, Salesforce.comBuild Cloud-Based Enterprise Applications Fast–and Drive More Value at Lower Cost!Using the Force.com platform, enterprise developers can build and deploy powerful applications far more rapidly than traditional J2EE, Microsoft .NET, or LAMP technology stacks permit. With a free subscription to the Force.com platform, developers can build apps that solve virtually any enterprise challenge with remarkable value, scalability, and reliability.

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  1. Editorial Reviews
  2. Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

Midwest Book Review said
Jason Ouellette's DEVELOPMENT WITH THE FORCE.COM PLATFORM: BUILDING BUSINESS APPLICATIONS IN THE CLOUD tells how to build quick cloud-based applications using Force.com, from creating custom applications in days or weeks to using Visualforce to construct custom interfaces, implementing Ajax without writing JavaScript code, and displaying reports as dashboards for at-a-glance information. An outstanding presentation.

David Chappell said
Force is a truly interesting technology, and I've spoken with plenty of happy customers. Yet I've always been challenged by the way Salesforce talks about it. Even in what's supposed to be technical documentation, I feel like I'm being marketed to. This makes the technology harder to understand, and it also hurts their credibility.

This book goes a long way toward fixing that problem. It's the first clear, complete, and trustworthy description I've seen of the Force platform. The writer does a first-rate job of explaining the technology, showing its strengths and (sometimes) weaknesses. Anybody who's interested in Force or cloud platforms in general should buy this book. It's the best technical book I've read in some time.

Robert T. Vasan said
This book does a great job of laying out the strengths and weaknesses of the [...] platform. With all the interest today around cloud computing platforms, it is absolutely essential for developers to understand the capabilities of different cloud platforms. Salesforce has taken the approach of providing a complete application development stack as opposed to Amazon and Google's approaches of simply offering raw cloud computing environments. Rumor has it that there are ~200K developers on [...], and this is a must read for anyone building enterprise applications that need to leverage and integrated with the Sales and Service Cloud solutions from Salesforce.

John Rotenstein said
This book is remarkable for three reasons.

The first reason is that this book exists at all. If you search Amazon, you'll see that there are hardly any books about Salesforce technology. If you then search for Force.com, you'll find only this book. This is because, traditionally, Salesforce and Force.com information has all been available electronically, often coming out faster than a book could be published. This is marvelous for access to information, but has a serious downside in that Developers need to look in many different places to find information about developing a Force.com solution. So, this book is beneficial in that a notably large amount of information is available in one place, and that it is available in a comforting paper-based format.

The second reason is that this book specifically focuses on Force.com, which is a relatively new development platform. The book makes no attempt to explain the traditional CRM side of the Salesforce platform; it jumps straight into Force.com, which is the custom development side of the Salesforce offering.

The third remarkable fact is that this book is written by a truly knowledgeable person on the subject. Jason Oullette is Chief Architect at Appirio, arguably the leading organisation specialising in Salesforce and Force.com technology. Jason has been personally involved in some of the biggest and most publicised rollouts of Force.com solutions. For example, he created the solution that Appirio demonstrated during the Dreamforce 2009 conference keynote presentation.

The book itself contains the complete array of technology involved in creating a Force.com solution: user interface, coding, workflow, database, integration and development tools. Each includes a sample solution for the topic discussed.

CHAPTER 1, Introducing Force.com, provides an overview of the Force.com platform and how it fits within the Salesforce suite of products.

CHAPTER 2, Database Essentials, explains how data is stored and accessed within Force.com, including the creation of custom objects and fields. It includes a comprehensive sample application that uses custom objects, formulas and data.

CHAPTER 3, Database Security, explains the multiple security models available in Force.com that can be quite confusing for new developers.

CHAPTER 4, Additional Database Features, takes a more advanced look at fields, record types (used to create different views of the same data) and a few miscellaneous topics.

CHAPTER 5, Business Logic, gets into the 'meat' of development with the Apex programming language that is native to Force.com. It covers lists, loops, governor limits, SOQL (Force.com's version of SQL), triggers, classes, tests and logs. The chapter is rich in information and could almost fill a book of its own.

CHAPTER 6, Advanced Business Logic, covers the more technical topics of SOSL (searching), DML (lower-level database calls), sharing rules (custom security) and email integration.

CHAPTER 7, User Interfaces, introduces the Visualforce platform that provides totally custom interfaces to Force.com applications. It covers the complex topics of controllers, components, actions, security and testing. Once again, this is a topic worthy of its own book. Fortunately, sample code is provided to give a worked solution of a Visualforce implementation.

CHAPTER 8, Advanced User Interfaces, continues with JavaScript interactions, components, Adobe Flex and Force.com sites (public websites). These are very advanced topics that typically cause the most angst in complex implementations.

CHAPTER 9, Integration, covers inbound and outbound communication including Salesforce-to-Salesforce and REST calls.

CHAPTER 10, Advanced Integration, throws in Web Services and the Metadata API (a means of importing/exporting the Force.com configuration).

CHAPTER 11, Additional Platform Features, covers the more mundane workflow, approvals, reporting, internationalisation and single sign-on.

The strength of this book is also its weakness, which is the fact that it covers the complete range of Force.com topics. This unfortunately means that each topic is only covered briefly, with just short samples of each topic. As an example, Chapter 5 covers Apex but only gives short samples of Inserts, Updates, Triggers and Batches. These are some of the most challenging topics in Apex yet there is unfortunately little space to delve deeply into these topics. Thus, the book has a lot of breadth, but not a lot of depth for each topic.

This book is ideal for someone new to Force.com because it provides a comprehensive overview of all Force.com topics, acting as a roadmap of knowledge and capability. However, developers will still find themselves having to consult the traditional sources of information, mostly found on Salesforce web pages and downloadable PDFs.

Don't get me wrong - this is an excellent book that legitimises Force.com development. It covers more topics than all but the best Force.com developers would know. It is already 400 pages; covering all the topics in depth would require encyclopedia-like volumes. Recognise this book as a means of gaining comprehensive insight into the capabilities of Force.com. It is great as a learning aid, but do not expect it to be a definitive reference. You will still need access to more information, but at least this book tells you what capabilities exist. I have no doubt this book will find its way onto the bookshelves of the majority of Force.com developers. Oh, and it's a darn sight easier to read this paper book on the bus than the traditional PDFs that come from Salesforce!

Kevin Richardson said
If you're looking for a book that will both explain and show you how to develop custom solutions on the [...] platform this book is for you. It walks you through step-by-step and provides advice all along the way. Not dumbed down but not over your head either. Jason Ouellette found the sweet spot and masterfully weaves the how to with the why.

I highly recommend this book for any [...] administrator looking to take the next step, or for a developer looking for a good reference.

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