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I am considering whether to implement Salesforce integration with my own applications using the Salesforce API. Despite investing many hours into reading the documentation I still haven't found out

  • What types of integration are possible? (pull vs push etc.)
  • What data in Salesforce is available? Where do I find documentation on all entities that are accessible through the API?

I need a helicopter view of this and I am grateful for any help.

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There are lots of resources available for Salesforce API's and they have lot's of info what they can do.So i would keep my focus on the questions you have asked.

  1. Both type of accessibility is possible from API's. You can push as well as pull data to and from salesforce.
  2. Almost everything is accessible through different types of API's . You just need to select a proper API for that.

one best tool to determine this is workbench. Just login with any org you have and try accessing different type of data with different API's. You will have better understanding that way.

  • Thanks. Curious about what "different types of APIs" mean. I thought there was just one. Can you please give examples of some different Salesforce APIs? – Gruber Jun 9 '16 at 7:22
  • The link you have provided has information about several SF api's like Metadata API,Tooling API, SOAP and REST api's etc. – Mr.Frodo Jun 9 '16 at 7:29
  • I'm seeing a down vote on the post.Please provide reason with that. – Mr.Frodo Jun 9 '16 at 8:23
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There are a number of integration points on the Force.com platform. From a developer perspective, you can "invoke web services" from the platform, or "expose classes" on the platform as web service end-points. You can also interact with external HTTP end-points, react to incoming email messages, and have automated outbound messages sent when certain events occur. So, that is both is push and pull.

What types of integrations are possible?

Each application can have data, business logic, presentation, and security layers, all of which are possible targets for integration.

  1. Security Integration
  2. User Interface Integration
  3. Business Logic Integration
  4. Data Integration

What data is available? Almost everything. All of the data is accessible using APIs.

Overview

Here's the link that has the overview of complete salesforce integrations and its different kinds, including what APIs to use.

https://developer.salesforce.com/page/Integration

Hope this helps!

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