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 Custom Metadata Types and Custom Settings in Salesforce

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In Salesforce, data storage and configuration management are crucial for maintaining robust and scalable applications. Two powerful tools that Salesforce developers and administrators frequently use to handle this are Custom Metadata Types and Custom Settings. While both serve unique purposes, they offer distinct benefits and come with their own best practices. Let’s dive into the details of these tools, explore their use cases, differences, and best practices for effective implementation.

Understanding Custom Metadata Types

What are Custom Metadata Types?

Custom Metadata Types allow you to define custom metadata that can manage application configurations and business rules. Unlike standard metadata, custom metadata types can be packaged and deployed across different Salesforce environments, making them ideal for reusable configurations.

Use Cases for Custom Metadata Types

Application Configuration

Define configurations that control application behavior. For example, you can create metadata types to manage feature toggles or application settings that vary by environment (e.g., sandbox vs. production).

Business Rules

Store business logic or rules that need to be updated without modifying the code. For instance, create custom metadata to handle discount rates, tax calculations, or approval thresholds.

Field Mappings

Maintain mappings between different fields, such as integrating with external systems where field names might differ.

Best Practices for Custom Metadata Types

Define Relationships

Use relationships within custom metadata types to create more complex and interconnected configurations, helping to model real-world relationships more effectively.

Leverage Validation Rules

Apply validation rules to ensure data integrity and prevent incorrect configurations.

Version Control

Store and manage custom metadata types in version control systems to keep track of changes and facilitate smooth deployments across environments.

Understanding Custom Settings

What are Custom Settings?

Custom Settings allow you to create custom data sets that can be used by your application logic. They come in two flavors: List Custom Settings and Hierarchy Custom Settings. List Custom Settings are similar to custom objects, while Hierarchy Custom Settings allow you to personalize settings for different users or profiles.

Use Cases for Custom Settings

Application Parameters

Store static or dynamic application parameters that control behavior. For example, use custom settings to store API endpoint URLs, feature flags, or thresholds.

User-Specific Preferences

Use Hierarchy Custom Settings to define user-specific settings, such as language preferences, notification settings, or user interface customizations.

Global Constants

Define and manage global constants used across your application logic, such as default values or system limits.

Best Practices for Custom Settings

Limit Data Volume

Avoid storing large volumes of data in custom settings. They are intended for relatively small data sets and configurations.

Hierarchy Custom Settings

Utilize Hierarchy Custom Settings for personalized settings that vary by user or profile, providing a more tailored user experience.

Fallback Values

Implement fallback values or default settings to ensure your application can handle cases where specific custom settings are not defined.

Key Differences Between Custom Metadata Types and Custom Settings

Metadata Management

  • Custom Metadata Types: Can be packaged and deployed easily across environments, making them ideal for configurations that need to be consistent across sandboxes and production.
  • Custom Settings: Cannot be deployed with metadata API, and values must be manually replicated across environments.

Usage in Apex

  • Custom Metadata Types: Accessed using SOQL queries in Apex, allowing for dynamic retrieval but potentially subject to governor limits.
  • Custom Settings: Accessed using built-in methods (`getInstance()`, `getValues()`) which do not consume SOQL limits.

Data Type and Storage

  • Custom Metadata Types: Stored as metadata and are part of your org’s configuration.
  • Custom Settings: Stored as data within the org and do not count against data storage limits.

Both Custom Metadata Types and Custom Settings are powerful tools within Salesforce, each serving distinct purposes. Custom Metadata Types excel in managing configurations that require deployment across multiple environments, while Custom Settings are perfect for application parameters and user-specific settings that can be easily accessed within the org.

By understanding their differences and following best practices, you can effectively leverage these tools to build robust, scalable, and maintainable Salesforce applications. Happy Salesforce development!

Check out the blogs below for more information:

Custom Metadata Types in Salesforce

Custom Metadata Types Basics

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Reena Joseph

Reena Joseph, our Senior Technical Consultant at Perficient, boasts 3.5 years of experience and holds the prestigious 3x Salesforce Certified title. Her trailblazing spirit is evident with 100 badges on Trailheads, showcasing her commitment to continuous learning. Not limited to Salesforce, Reena has also mastered SQL and Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3 on Hacker Rank. Beyond certifications, her passion for staying abreast of technological advancements is seen in her avid reading habits. In the dynamic tech world, Reena Joseph stands ready to drive innovation and inspire with her dedication to excellence.

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