Did you know that SQL has other modifications? It has many functions and adapts to the requirements of the product/system with which it is used. Modifications of different forms were developed for the Salesforce database as well.
SOQL & SOSL: What Are They and What are they Used For
Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL) and Salesforce Object Search Language (SOSL) are used to work with Salesforce data. SOQL queries are similar to the “SELECT” operator in SQL and perform a search within the database (therein you should specify the fields and objects that contain your required data). SOSL, in turn, is a programming method which searches data by keywords. It extracts data from fields that are unknown to you. The choice between SOQL and SOSL primarily depends on whether you know the necessary objects or fields.
SOQL is the better choice if you know which data you want to extract from the object. SOQL can extract data from one or many objects, which are related to each other, for example, from categories and their subcategories. Using SOQL, you can perform “COUNT” and “SORT” queries according to various criteria (extract data from numeric, date, and checkbox fields). This is related to the extended search, where, by specifying the search criteria, you will get results that will satisfy your query.
Unlike SOQL, SOSL is used when you know in which object or field your data is stored. It allows you to get relevant results while the search is faster since SOSL can tag several keywords in the field and builds a search index based on this.
SOSL helps you to find previously developed accounts based on already entered test data (it is convenient when operating with a large number of different notes). This method allows users to obtain data for various departments within a corporation/software development company. Finally, SOSL is used to receive data in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Thai.
To improve search performance, it is recommended to use SOSL instead of SOQL since the former is faster. However, if you are looking for a specific and unique keyword, SOQL is better than SOSL, because SOSL combines several keywords in one field. The number of fields in the search should be minimal as their large number increases the length of the search form.
However, if the company has the custom user interface for Salesforce operations, SOQL is used more often than SOSL.
Tools For Creating SOQL/SOSL Queries
Let’s take a look at the tools that help users to work with the data stored in the Salesforce database more efficiently. These are plugins or web/desktop applications which allow testers to focus on their workflow.
Workbench is one of the most popular tools for working with a Salesforce database. To begin using the service, you should log in and specify the environment (Production or Sandbox) and the API used by your organization.
Workbench is quite easy in use and has 5 key functions:
- Getting information about objects;
- Request creation;
- Data processing (Insert, Update, etc.);
- Data migration;
- Work with utilities (for example, for better operating with API).
SOQL queries allow testers to choose objects or fields and then filter data according to specific criteria (equivalent to the SQL query “WHERE”). In addition, it is also possible to change the view mode and edit queries manually.
In the operating mode, SOSL’s interface doesn’t change its appearance. Testers can search for a peculiar query by defining the fields and objects from which they want to get the result. In addition, it is possible to perform needed operations regarding the obtained results (open in Salesforce, update, or even delete the result).
Cloudingo is a paid console tool for Windows which is available in the Salesforce store. To perform the necessary operations, testers should write queries manually, however, it is also possible to use the built-in constructor. Then, testers must log-in in the system and open the Query Builder by clicking on any of the database objects with the right mouse button.
The key principle of Cloudingo is similar to Workbench: the query can be based on the selected object, its fields, and sorting parameters.
This Query Builder doesn’t have the ability to work with SOSL, however, it supports SOQL and SOQL +. The obtained data can be saved in an appropriate project format: .xml, .csv или .html.
Jitterbit Cloud Data Loader
Jitterbit Cloud Data Loader is a good choice for Windows and Linux users. Many large corporations use it to meet their specific needs for effective data management. This simplifies work with a huge amount of data and makes internal processes more clear and transparent. Its unique function is the pre-launch of the necessary operations. In addition, it has a standard set of data operations, but its overall functionality is richer compared to other similar tools.
To get started with the Jitterbit Cloud Data Loader, you need to create a real account in the Harmony service. After that, you need to register with Salesforce, which allows you to create SOQL queries by selecting the necessary elements.
Testers can save the result as a database (Oracle, SQL Server, MySQL, etc.) by obtaining a .csv file or using FTP (File Transfer Protocol). In case data is stored locally, it is also possible to open a previously created query and continue working without having to develop it from scratch.
Salesforce DevTools is a reliable extension for Google Chrome. It is useful if you need a quick database transferring.
The functionality of this tool is limited, but it supports all types of queries. To create a query, testers can use a special editor, which allows them to execute the query and then save it in the .xml format. The SOSL query, in turn, can be created using the Search Objects tab.
After receiving the filtered results, testers can finish the query manually and then process the obtained data.
RazorSQL is a paid tool for Windows, MacOS, Linux, and Solaris. To get started with this tool, you need to set the RazorSQL Salesforce Driver connection type and then log into the system. After that, you can select the required SQL permission for the current session (reading, recording, or deleting operation). To launch Query Builder you should open the “Query Builder” tab and choose the table with which you will work.
It has an intuitive and user-friendly interface. Using this tool, you can select objects, fields, and perform SOQL/SOSL operations. The tool doesn’t give the ability to save the obtained results, but you can save the query and continue working from the same place next time.
Thanks to a variety of different tools, you can choose the one that will fit your particular quality assurance needs. Some of them have unique features. Others are quite easy to use and do not require you to have exceptional skills.
Workbench and Salesforce DevTools are good because they do not require additional software to be downloaded. Using them, testers can start testing process instantly, without additional efforts. However, unlike Workbench, Salesforce DevTools requires you to use Google Chrome web browser (that can limit its accessibility).
Among the above-mentioned tools, Cloudingo is one of the most reliable because it was designed primarily for working with the Salesforce database and does not have additional functions. The tool is paid and doesn’t support SOSL, therefore it has a considerable feature for testers — local storage of obtained results in different formats.
Jitterbit Cloud Data Loader is another tool to choose if, in addition to creating queries, you need to perform other operations (create and manage new databases, or import data from other services). The Jitterbit’s graphic interface is quite intuitive and will be easy to use even for beginners. Also, having a Harmony account, you can access projects from any device. Moreover, the ability to connect to multiple organizations allows testers to test different tasks in the same environment simultaneously.
RazorSQL also deserves your attention. It allows you to work with almost any operating system. The set of its functions includes both standard tools (to operate more than 40 types of databases) and a code editor that supports 20 programming languages.
As for me, the Workbench is the best choice. It allows me to solve all the problems of my current project and test the database anytime. Since I have many tasks related to fast data research or the creation of new objects, tool’s availability plays a big role for me. It is free and works within any web browser, while its functionality meets all of my quality assurance goals. However, the choice of tools for your specific testing needs depends only on your project requirements and personal wishes.