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I originally thought these arrows just matched the "Referenced by"/"References" column, but today I discovered that this isn't the case since they are sometimes different (see image). So in that case, what DO they represent?

Developer Console, "Related" panel

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I did a quick check with the Chrome developer tools to see what API call and data was driving that panel.

It appears to be a POST call to /_ui/common/apex/debug/ApexCSIAPI where the Form Data is:

action=RELATED&extent=CODE&relatedEntityEnumOrId=01p70000000br7gAAA

The response JSON contains the same data that is displayed in the columns of the panel, with the addition of the id. There isn't anything that directly drives if the arrow appears or not. E.g.

"relatedInstances": [ {"id":"01p70000000br7iAAA","name":"SomeApexClassName","type":"ApexClass","extent":"ApexClass","direction":"Referenced by"}, ...
]

From what I've seen, all the results will get the left arrow except for CustomFieldDefiniton extents.

In the case of the Apex class I was looking at, the CustomFieldDefinition extents corresponded to SOQL calls made in that class that were referencing those custom fields.

Without going through the client side JavaScript that generates the panel from the response, I'd guess that the arrow represents and external reference to the current entity. E.g. Calling code that is outside the current Apex class.

It is odd that the Referenced By direction doesn't have an arrow in a different direction.

If I get time I'll try and pull a part the JavaScript.

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