Monday, January 26, 2015

Hands on for Salesforce Lighting Connect (External Objects)

Salesforce External Objects is a new tool that has caught my attention in recent times. Those who spend their day listening to words like REST, SOAP, Integration etc. the following information for you.

Salesforce External Objects is nothing but the out-of-box implementation of ODATA architecture. ODATA is a open-source data transfer standard backed up by the Empire Microsoft (they are good guys now). Instead of an architecture of sending messages back and forth using HTTP like REST, ODATA focuses on the content of the message over HTTP. ODATA can also be compared with ATOMPUB format (RSS feed format). However ODATA is useful in sending tabular or data over HTTP, that example can also be sorted, searched, filtered and other URI conventions.

In this second post on Lighting series I am going to delve deep into how Lighting Connect lets you access external data right into Salesforce. If you were living under the rock or in some place with no internet connect, here is the summary of what you need to know about Salesforce Lighting.

In this hands-on I am going to pull some real time data into Salesforce.

Step 1: First thing we need to find out what external databases are available for us to connect to. Salesforce supports ODATA V2 databases. A quick google search brought me to this page that has some live example. (

Step 2: If you go to Services on the site, you will find OData (read/write) that is online.
The link opens a URL ( hold on to that for now, lets open Salesforce.

Step 3: As always login to your developer account. (Note: for this tutorial and any tutorial on Lighting, please get a fresh org. As I learned the hard way, an old sandbox did not have this feature in built.)

Step 4: If all is well, you will find External Data Sources and External Objects

Step 5: We are going to first add an External Data Source and point it to the OData. Go to External Data Sources -> Click 'New'

In the form you can specify the Name and Label. The Type should be Lighting Connect: OData 2.0 

Step 6: Once you select the type, it will have further fields like Server URL. Copy the URL we have in Step 2 above and click Save.

Step 7: Once you click Save and all is well you should see a detail page with options to Edit, Validate and Sync and Delete

Step 8: Click on 'Validate and Sync' it will scan the URL and get you all the objects available to Sync with Salesforce. Note: if it does not sync or you get an error, it will be shown in Status field.

Step 9: I am going to select Product object to sync. Select your objects and click on Sync. You should see one record in the External Object section.

Step 10: Now comes the best part, go to Create-> Tabs and you can find our objects right there in Salesforce object tabs

As I have understood in past few days, Lighting is a vast thing. In the next few weeks, Ill be posting one blog about the Lighting Framework. Be sure to subscribe to the blog and if you have any comments, mention in the comments below.

SforceNinja Out.