R1D38 SOQL and SOSL Queries in Apex

I’m working through the Apex Basics & Database module on Trailhead.

I learned about using built in sObjects and also about making custom sObjects. Next I learned about how to use DML in order to manipulate records within the system. After getting the basics down we dove into SOQL.


SOQL is shot for Salesforce Object Query Language. If you are familiar with SQL you will feel right at home. SOQL makes querying data very simple. One pretty poweful feature is the ability to run inline queries and return the results to a variable. In pretty much every other language you would need to create a cursor and iterate over the results in order to read the values from a database. In SOQL you simply assing the results to an array.

# Python Example 

conn = sqlite3.connect('example.db')
c = conn.cursor()
results = c.execute("SELECT Name, Phone FROM Accounts")

for row in results:
    print row
# SOQL Example 

Accounts[] accts = [SELECT Name, Phone FROM Account];

I think this bit trips up a lot of new programmers so it is great to see how SOQL makes it easy.

One thing worth noting is that you canno use  the handy “SELECT *” that is found in SQL.

Unlike other SQL languages, you can’t specify * for all fields. You must specify every field you want to get explicitly. If you try to access a field you haven’t specified in the SELECT clause, you’ll get an error because the field hasn’t been retrieved.

The built in developer console in Salesforce makes it very easy to run queries and inspect your objects without writing any additional code.

Cool things about SOQL:

  • you can pass in variables directly into a query
  • you can use dot notation to get related records in a query
  • you can use for loops in queries


SOSL is short for Salesforce Object Search Language and it allows you to do robust full text search on records similar to Apache Lucene. The main difference is that it allows you to search accross multiple objects instead of just a single one.

FIND 'SearchQuery' [IN SearchGroup] [RETURNING ObjectsAndFields]

In order to pass a variable into the search query, you use the colon symbol.

public class MultiSearch {

    public static List> searchAll (String searchTerm) {
        List> searchList = [FIND :searchTerm IN ALL FIELDS RETURNING Account(Name),Contact(FirstName,LastName)];
        return searchList;

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