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Can we have a custom object similar to Attachment object where the parent can be any of the "Account", "Contact", "Lead" etc?

https://www.salesforce.com/us/developer/docs/api/Content/sforce_api_objects_attachment.htm

The above links says

"The following objects are supported as parents of attachments:

  • Account
  • Asset
  • Campaign
  • Case
  • Contact
  • Contract
  • Custom objects
  • EmailMessage
  • EmailTemplate
  • Event
  • Lead
  • ...."

Basically, I want a custom object that can be a child of any of the above standard object.

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No, you can't. SFDC does not allow the creation of polymorphic lookups (lookups like Attachment.Parent that can point to one of several objects).

What you can do is create a lookup to each of the objects you want to have as a parent, and populate only one of those per child object. So any given child links to one of the parents, using its parent specific field.

I would likely want a VF or several to view/edit the Child Object so it didn't show lots of empty/irrelevant fields.

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  • 1
    And there is a limit to the number of lookup fields an object can have... – sfdcfox Oct 10 '14 at 15:51
1

If you are willing to build all the UI yourself, you can approximate this by defining an 18 character text field (lets call it ParentId__c) on your custom object and populating that with the ID of whichever type of object you like. (You should also get an index added to that field.)

I have not tried this (so test first), but would assume that queries like:

select Name from Contact
where Id in (select ParentId__c from MyCustomObject__c where Id = ...)

would work, though any queries using __r relationships wouldn't.

UI features like related lists and lookup pops wouldn't work - lots of Visualforce would be needed.

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  • I've used this construct before and it works fine as long as you stick with Apex/VF, because as you say __r relationships don't work with it, which scuppers cross object formulae, standard reporting and related lists. – Dominic Oct 10 '14 at 16:26

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