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Introduction to Salesforce SOQL and Its best practices

Salesforce Object Query Language is known as SOQL. It is a query language for the Salesforce platform that is used to find and get hold of data kept there. In addition to Apex code (Salesforce’s proprietary programming language), the Salesforce API, and the Salesforce user interface, SOQL can be utilised in a variety of settings. Similar to SQL (Structured Query Language), which is a popular standard for requesting and altering data in relational databases, SOQL is a query language. However, SOQL is uniquely designed for usage with Salesforce data and differs from SQL in both syntax and functionality. Users can use SOQL to filter, sort, and organise data as well as search for and retrieve information that is contained in Salesforce objects including accounts, contacts, and opportunities.

Salesforce, a cloud-based software provider of customer relationship management (CRM) and other enterprise applications, introduced SOQL. Since its founding in 1999, Salesforce has grown to become a market leader in cloud-based CRM and other business solutions. The business provides a variety of goods and services, including applications for sales, marketing, and customer service, as well as a variety of developer tools and resources. 

Introduction to Salesforce SOQL and Its best practices

Developers, administrators, and end users all utilise SOQL to find and retrieve data held in Salesforce objects, making it a crucial component of the Salesforce platform.

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Some best practices to consider when using SOQL.

  • Use explicit field lists: You can speed up performance and limit the amount of data received by specifying the fields you want to get in your SOQL query.
  • Filters can be used to limit your results: To filter your results and just return the information you require, use the WHERE clause. This may aid in enhancing performance and lowering the volume of data returned.
  • Utilise indices to boost performance: Use indexes to enhance the efficiency of SOQL queries that use fields that aren’t generally used for filtering or sorting when filtering or sorting.
  • Don’t use SELECT: The wildcard () in your SOQL query will fetch all of the object’s fields, which might have an adverse effect on performance and use up more resources.
  • When processing huge volumes of data, SOQL for loops is useful, but if used excessively, they can have a negative influence on performance. For massive data processing tasks, think about utilising the Bulk API or the Batch Apex.
  • To stave off SOQL injection attacks, use bind variables: Bind variables give you the ability to add values to your SOQL query in real-time, reducing the risk of SOQL injection attacks.
  • To reduce the number of records returned, use the LIMIT clause: By restricting the number of records returned in a query, the LIMIT clause can enhance performance and decrease the amount of data returned.
  • Large result sets can be paginated using the OFFSET clause: Large result sets can be paginated by using the OFFSET clause by specifying the number of records to skip before returning the results.
  • By specifying whether the query is being used to retrieve data for display or reference, the FOR VIEW and FOR REFERENCE clauses can be utilised to improve query performance.
  • Query performance can be understood using the EXPLAIN PLAN functionality. To comprehend how SOQL queries are run and spot potential performance problems, use the EXPLAIN PLAN function.

What distinguishes Salesforce SOQL from SQL?

  • Syntax: SQL and SOQL have comparable but distinct syntaxes. Curly brackets are used to surround field names, “__c” suffix is used to indicate custom fields, and “AND” and “OR” are used instead of “AND” and “OR” for logical operators.
Introduction to Salesforce SOQL and Its best practices
  • Data model: The Salesforce data model, which consists of objects, fields, and relationships, is specifically intended for usage with SOQL. Contrarily, SQL is a general-purpose language that works with a wide range of data models.
  • Operations that are supported include SELECT, FROM, WHERE, GROUP BY, and ORDER BY, all of which are equivalent to those offered by SQL. To query across object relationships using the “dot” notation, for example, is one of the actions that are unique to the Salesforce platform and are included in SOQL.
  • Data types: SOQL and SQL both support common data types like strings, dates, and integers. However, there are some distinctions between the representation and application of these data types in SOQL and SQL.
  • Context of execution: SOQL can be used in many different contexts, such as Apex code, the Salesforce API, and the Salesforce user interface. Conversely, SQL is often used in conjunction with a certain database management system (DBMS).


While SQL is a general-purpose query language that can be used with a variety of data models and databases, SOQL is a query language created expressly for use with the Salesforce platform. The Salesforce platform-specific SOQL language enables a number of operations and has a syntax that is similar to but not exactly the same as SQL. Several contexts, such as Apex code, the Salesforce API, and the Salesforce user interface, allow for the execution of SOQL, whereas SQL is often used in conjunction with a particular database management system. While SOQL and SQL both support many of the same data types, there are some variations in how SOQL and SQL express and use these data types. Learn more about Salesforce SOQL by enrolling in a reputable online Salesforce training program.

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