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I have been reading several articles about uploading documents trough Rest api to Salesforce but could not find the overal difference between binary format or base64.

The main questions I have.

  1. Is/are there specific reasons to chose 1 above the other for a project.
  2. Am I dependent on what format is delivered in the call.

Thanks in advance.

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If you can upload in binary format, do so. If your source platform cannot use binary, then use base64. Base64-encoded data is approximately 33% larger, meaning longer upload times, more bandwidth used, and a lower maximum file size for non-multipart uploads.

You can insert or update blob data using a non-multipart message, but you are limited to 50 MB of text data or 37.5 MB of base64–encoded data.

Consider the following:

Plain Text
Hello World

Base64-encoded Text
SGVsbG8gV29ybGQ=

As you can see, the data is already longer, and this is a very short message. The longer the message, the more "waste" that will be involved.

There is literally no advantage to using base64-encoded data; this option is provided only for greater compatibility with systems that do not support binary file uploads.

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  • Another consideration is how the uploaded file is subsequently used - if it is only ever sent to systems that require base64 encoded data that saves time with server-side conversion (at the cost of slower initial upload). I do agree, however, that generally speaking it is better to keep the data "raw" and treat it that way in all places, transforming on demand when required. – Phil W Jan 12 at 12:07

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