I'm working on getting a Salesforce API key currently so that I can develop a web-based application (probably php) to streamline a currently tedious process. My current workflow is as follows:

  1. Open list of cases
  2. Click a specific case
  3. Fill out a report regarding that case (editing fields such as checkboxes and text inputs)
  4. Mark the report complete or incomplete
  5. Move on to the next case

My goal is to redesign the whole process using a custom application while using the Salesforce API to update the information/cases in Salesforce. I don't want to have to log into Salesforce and use it, because it's tedious and slow.


  • Does the Salesforce API allow me to send information back and actually update the data/reports/cases in Salesforce?
  • Which API is best to use for this process? (There's about 75-200 cases a week as far as quantity is concerned)

Different APIs:

  • REST API - Access objects in your organization using REST.
  • SOAP API - Integrate your organization’s data with other applications using SOAP.
  • Tooling API - Build custom development tools for Force.com applications. Coming soon!
  • Chatter REST API - Access Chatter feeds and social data such as users, groups, followers, and files using REST.
  • Bulk API - Load or delete large numbers of records.
  • Metadata API - Manage customizations in your org and build tools that manage the metadata model (not the data, itself).
  • Streaming API - Provide a stream of data reflecting data changes in your organization.
  • Apex REST API - Build your own REST API in Apex. This API exposes Apex classes as RESTful Web services.
  • Apex SOAP API - Create custom SOAP Web services in Apex. This API exposes Apex classes as SOAP Web services.
  • Data.com API - Data.com provides 100% complete, high quality data, updated in real-time in the cloud, and with comprehensive coverage worldwide.

I feel that the REST API might be the most simple and practical. In anyone's experiences, would this allow me to do what I need?

Thanks for any/all help!

  • Why aren't you considering building out a custom interface with Visualforce or a flow, if I might ask? Integrating separate platforms is typically more complex and introduces more technical debt in my experience. – greenstork Nov 11 '14 at 16:17
  • To answer your question, the REST API performs simple CRUD operations. If you have more complex transactions (e.g. which involve relational data), you might consider Apex REST services or the Apex SOAP API. – greenstork Nov 11 '14 at 16:24
  • You don't say what your custom application will be built with; JSON is easier to work with in most languages and obviously way easier if your application is written in JavaScript. So using JSON over REST would be my default choice. – Keith C Nov 11 '14 at 16:37
  • Thanks for the replies. Forgive my inexperience in this category, as I'm relatively new to customs with using APIs to send/receive/update data. I'm not familiar with Visualforce or a flow, so I'll have to check into it, but I fear they do not allow much front end customization. I plan to use a lot of css/js to make the process of filling out a report/completing a case, a very pleasant experience. – Kenny Nov 11 '14 at 16:45
  • 1
    You can mix raw HTML/CSS and JavaScript with Visualforce tags (or instead of any Visualforce) and its probably a lot easier to do that than try to incorporate another platform with the authentication and API issues that brings... – Keith C Nov 11 '14 at 18:04

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