Salesforce continues to eat the world (3 billion transactions today!) as teams want to quickly get data-driven applications up and running with minimal effort. However, for most apps to be truly useful, they need to be connected to other sources of data or business logic. Salesforce has a super broad set of integration APIs ranging from traditional SOAP all the way to real-time streaming. How do you choose the right one? What are the best use cases for each? Last Fall I did a presentation on this particular topic for a local Salesforce User Group in Utah. I’ve spent the past few months taking that one hour presentation and turning that into a full-fledged Pluralsight training course. Yesterday, the result was released by Pluralsight.
The course – Using Force.com Integration APIs to Connect Your Applications – is five delightful hours of information about all the core Force.com APIs.
In addition to messing around with raw Force.com APIs, you also get to muck around with a custom set of Node.js apps that help you see a realistic scenario in action. This “Voter Trax” app calls the REST API, receives real-time Outbound Messages, and other apps help you learn about the Streaming API and Apex callouts.
I’ve put together seven modules for this course …
- Touring the Force.com Integration APIs. Here I explain the value of integrating Salesforce with other systems, help you set up your free developer account, discuss the core Force.com integration patterns, and give an overview of each integration API.
- Using the Force.com SOAP APIs to Integrate with Enterprise Apps. While the thought of using SOAP APIs may give you night terrors, the reality is that it’s still popular with plenty of enterprise developers. In this module, we take a look at authenticating users, making SOAP calls, handling faults, using SOAP headers, building custom SOAP services in Force.com, and how to monitor your services. All the demos in this module use Postman to call the SOAP APIs directly.
- Creating Lightweight Integrations with the Force.com REST API. Given the choice, many developer now prefer RESTful services over SOAP. Force.com has a comprehensive set of REST APIs that are secured via OAuth. This module shows you how to switch between XML and JSON payloads, how to call the API, making composite calls (that let you batch up requests), and how to build custom REST services. Here we use both Postman and a custom Node.js application to consume the REST endpoints.
- Interacting with Bulk Data in Force.com. Not everything requires real-time integration. The Force.com Bulk API is good for inserting lots of records or retrieving large data sets. Here we walk through the Bulk API and see how to create and manage jobs, work with XML or CSV payloads, deal with failures, and how to transform source data to fit the Salesforce schema.
- Using Force.com Outbound Messaging for Real-time Push Integrations. Outbound Messaging is one of the most interesting Force.com integration APIs, and would remind you of the many modern apps that use webhooks to send out messages when events occur. Here we see how to create Outbound Messages, how to build compatible listeners, and options for tracking (failed) messages. This module has one of my favorite demos where data changes from Salesforce are sent to a custom Node.js app and plotted on a Google map widget.
- Doing Push Integration Anywhere with the Force.com Streaming API. You may love real-time notifications, but can’t put your listeners on the public Internet, as required by Outbound Messaging. The Streaming API uses CometD to push (in reality, pull via long polling) messages to any subscriber to a channel. This module walks through authenticating users, creating PushTopics (the object that holds the query that Salesforce monitors), creating client apps, and building general purpose streaming solutions with Force.com Generic Streaming.
- Consuming External Services with Force.com Apex Callouts. Salesforce isn’t just a system that others pull data from. Salesforce itself needs to be able to dip into other systems to retrieve data or execute business logic. In this module, we see how to call out to various external endpoints and consume the XML/JSON that comes back. We use Named Credentials to separate the credentials from the code itself, and even mess around with long-running callouts and asynchronous responses.
If your company uses Salesforce, you’ll be able to add a lot of value by understanding how to connect Salesforce to your other systems. If you take my new course, I’d love to hear from you!