I’ve spent the last few months working on a new course for the folks at Pluralsight, and I’m pleased to say that it’s now up and available for viewing. I’ve been working with the Force.com platform for a few years now, and jumped at the chance to build full course about it. Force.com for Developers is a complete introduction into all aspects of this powerful platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering. Salesforce.com and Force.com are wildly popular and have a well-documented platform, but synthesizing so much content is daunting. That where I hope this course can help.
The course is broken up as follows:
- Introduction to Force.com. Here I describe what PaaS is, how Salesforce.com and Force.com differ, the core services provided by Force.com, compare it to other PaaS platforms, and introduce the application that we build upon throughout the entire course.
- Using the Force.com Database. This module walks through all the steps needed to create complete data models, relate objects together, and craft queries against the data.
- Configuring and Customizing the Force.com User Interface. One of the nicest aspects of Force.com is how fast you can get an app up and running. But, you often want to change the look and feel to suit your needs. So, in this module, we look at how to customize the existing page layouts or author entirely new pages in the Visualforce framework.
- Building Reports on Force.com. Sometimes reporting is an afterthought on custom applications, but fortunately Force.com makes it really easy to build impactful, visual reports. This module walks through the various report types, including “custom”, and shows how to build and consume reports.
- Adding Business Logic to Force.com Applications. Unless all we need is a fancy database and user interface, we’ll likely want to add business logic to a Force.com app. Here I show you how to use out-of-the-box validation rules for simple logic, and write Apex code to handle unique scenarios. Apex is an interesting language that should feel natural to anyone who has used an OO language before. The built-in database operators make data manipulation remarkably simple.
- Leveraging Workflows in Force.com. Almost an extension to the business logic discussion, workflows are useful for building automated or people-driven processes. Here I show both the wizard-based tools as well as a Cloud Flow Designer for quickly constructing data collection workflows.
- Securing Force.com Applications. Security isn’t always the most exciting topic for developers, but Force.com has an extremely robust security model that warrants special attention. This module walks through all the security layers (object/field/record) with demonstrations of how security changes will impact the user’s experience.
- Integrating with Force.com. Here’s the topic that I’m most comfortable with: integration. The Force.com platform has one of the most extensive integration frameworks that you’ll find in a cloud application. You can build even-driven apps, or leverage both SOAP and REST APIs for interacting with application data.
As usual, I’m promising myself that I’ll take a few months off from training as school is kicking up again and life remains busy. But, I really enjoy the exploration that comes from preparing training material, so there’s a good chance that I’ll start looking for my next topic!