Top 5 Lightning Component Framework Tips

top5This is a list similar to the one I did for Visualforce, which continues to be one of the most popular posts on this blog. So, I thought since I just published a course about Lightning development, I should do a Top 5 Tip list for it as well.

#1 – Refactoring is a Key Principle

Building Lightning Components is very different than traditional web development. When you are first getting started with this type of development, you are better off if you accept right from the beginning that refactoring is inevitable.

When you are first evaluating a solution, the right combination of components may not be intuitively obvious. This is especially true if you are coming from an object-oriented background and tend to look at breaking everything up into nouns and verbs. That approach does not really work with component-based design.

More than likely, you will start off with a design and then find that it makes more sense to refactor your code and break it up into additional or even nested components. There is nothing wrong with this and when developing with the Lightning Component Framework, refactoring is typically quite painless.

#2 – Apps and Components Run in System Mode

All Lightning apps and components run in system mode, which means that it is possible for your components to expose sensitive data without the correct permissions checks. The first thing you want to do is always include the with sharing keyword in all Apex code. This will enforce record access. But, to make your components truly secure, you must also include CRUD (Create Update and Delete) and FLS (Field Level Security) permission checks.

All Lightning apps and components run in system mode, which means that it is possible for your components to expose sensitive data without the correct permissions checks.

Unfortunately, most of the sample Lightning code that is out there right now (including what is on Trailhead and even what is in my first Pluralsight course on Lightning development), does NOT include code to check for proper CRUD or FLS access on the server-side.

In all fairness, Trailhead does include comment markers telling you where it should be inserted, but does not include the code. And in my course, I include a discussion about this topic in the last module and suggest that the viewer add this code themselves as a learning experience. It is not ignored. It is just that when you are learning how to develop Lightning components, there is a bit of a steep learning curve that goes with it. Educational providers such as Tailhead and my first Getting Started Pluralsight course are introducing you to all this in baby steps.

That does not mean that the concept of checking for CRUD and FLS permissions in your Apex server-side code is not important and why I wanted to include this as one of my tips. So, what is all this about?

Since Lightning components do not automatically enforce CRUS or FLS, your components must do this manually. You should check isAccessible(), isDeleteable(), isCreateable() and isUpdateable before running any queries or DML statements.

My friend at Salesforce University, Andres Perez has posted to his GitHub repo a secured data access helper that you can download and install into your org very easily. It includes methods to both query the database and perform DML securely and will throw back an exception if not valid. I strongly suggest that you check it out and consider using it with your projects.

#3 – Mark Most Resources as Global

You should mark your component resources as global for any that need to be accessed outside of your own org. Otherwise your components, attributes and events will not be seen in Lightning App Builder, Community App Builder or an installed package.

For the moment, the access check restrictions are limited and not being checked for all resources. This means that it is possible for you to create a Lightning component now, not mark it as global and have it show up fine in an outside tool. But then, in a later release, the access checks will be tightened and all of a sudden your component is no longer visible or usable.

Therefore, I suggest automatically marking all the following resources with access=”global”, unless there is a security reason not to expose them to outside tools:

  • aura:application
  • aura:interface
  • aura:components
  • aura:attribute
  • aura:event

#4 – Use Lightning Inspector to Debug and Learn about Lightning

The Salesforce Lightning Inspector is a Google Chrome DevTools extension that offers a lot of really neat features that can help you not only debug your Lightning app, but also learn more about Lightning in general. For example, the Components Tree, which you can see an image of below, shows you attribute names and values for all your Lightning components. Not just the rendered HTML elements, but the actual components as they are defined in your source code. This can be really valuable when you are trying to identify default values for component attributes.





Other useful tabs include the Event Log and Actions. My favorite is the actions, because you can see exactly what data in being passed into the action and then what is being passed back (see image below), which can be incredibly useful when debugging an issue.


Just keep in mind that when using these tabs, you do need to turn on the recording before you will see results. You do that by clicking the circle icon in the top left corner, which in the screenshot above is red since recording was turned on. If it wasn’t that circle would be grey.

#5 – Take Advantage of Built-in Docs Feature

The last tip involves documentation, which I know is not typically a developers favorite subject, but Lightning makes it so easy to document your components, that it would be silly not to take advantage of this.

You can add a document resource to your component bundle, such as you see in the image below:


Once created, this documentation resource will be rendered in the AuraDocs app, which every Lightning enabled org has and can be accessed through a URL, such as the following:

Where you replace the end of your unique org URL with /auradocs/

So, my rendered doc resource file defined above, will look like the following:


Cool, eh?

Even if you do not want to create a document resource for your component, then you can at least add a description attribute for each of the following elements:

  • Components
  • Attributes
  • Events
  • Interfaces

These descriptions will automatically appear in the AuraDocs for your org (even if you never create a document resource).


First Pluralsight Course About Lightning Published

Author-Badge_Sq-Black_SmallI am proud to announce that my first course for Pluralsight which is titled, “Getting Started Building SPA’s with Lightning Component Framework” was released last night.

Here is the course description:

Learn how to build single page apps (SPAs) with the new Lightning Component Framework.  This modern framework is built on the open-source Aura Framework and includes all the tools and technologies Salesforce enterprise developers need to build responsive and efficient component-based applications for any device. You’ll learn the basics of building Lightning components by stepping through building a single page app used to track race participation. You will also learn to apply professional styling, handle events with JavaScript client-side controllers and access data with server side controllers using Apex code. The course will finish off by showing you how to document your components and debug the Lightning App using browser tools.

I strongly believe that component frameworks like Lightning really are the future of web-based development. All of the major vendors, such as Google (with Polymer), Facebook (with React), Twitter (with Flight) and Mozilla (with Brick) are investing in component frameworks.

Lightning is also a JavaScript-based framework, but unlike the other JS frameworks like AngularJS, Backbone and React, Lightning is the only one of those frameworks that is designed specifically for enterprise applications.

So, if you do not know about Lightning and want to find out more, I hope you take the time to check out my new Pluralsight course. And, I would love to hear what you think about it.



Annoying Lightning Bug you want to be aware of

dreamstime_xl_25648715I just completed development of a new course about Lightning component development for Pluralsight, which I will be telling you more about soon. But, in the meantime, I wanted to blog about a very annoying bug that I ran into several times as I was developing the course that I thought you should be aware of.

The issue involves seeing Access Check Failed warning messages all over the console log in your browser tools. They indicate that there is a problem with components you have no control of (such as any of the ui controls, like ui:inputText, etc). For example, this is one such error I saw:

WARNING: Access Check Failed! Component.getEvent():’change’ of component ‘markup://ui:inputSelect {38:2;a} {Type}’ is not visible to ‘markup://c:RaceTrackerApp {1:2;a}’.

I did extensive research on this issue and did get a confirmation from the guy at Salesforce in charge of this area that this is likely a bug they have already identified, but not yet resolved (see the comments at the bottom of this post).

This error can be ignored, BUT you do not want to ignore all Access check failed messages because some are indeed valid. For example, any that involve components you do have control over. For these, you want to use an access attribute for your component, attribute or event. You can find more info about that here.

Hope this helps someone.

Learn Lightning with Siri

If you have heard about Salesforce’s new Lightning development platform and are curious to learn more about it, I strongly suggest you check out Teaching “Siri” Lightning Components: Building a Hello World Example at ElToro.IT.

ElToro (which stand for “The Bull”, by the way) is the alias used by the extremely talented Salesforce University Instructor, Andres Perez. Andres is producing a series of instructional videos that teach you all about Lightning. But, the really clever thing he has done is to not only make the videos informative, but also extremely entertaining. Throughout the videos, he banters with Siri, because the premise is that he is teaching Siri all about Lightning. Even though, he just has one video so far, I have no doubt that the rest will be just as good.

Great job Andres!!!

Gotchas with using SLDSX Components

sflabs The new Salesforce Lightning collection includes a set of open-source user interface design components that were developed by Salesforce Labs. And why would you want to use these? (you might be thinking).

Well, they are built to use the SLDS (Salesforce Design System) which I blogged about in the last post. It is like Bootstrap for Salesforce. Except, that it just provides the CSS and in order to implement the components you also need JavaScript. Well, this is where the SLDSX comes in. With SLDSX you get the following beautifully styled and responsive components installed directly into your org:

  • Breadcrumbs
  • Button Groups
  • Buttons
  • Grid System
  • Images
  • Badges
  • Lists
  • Media Objects
  • Pills
  • Tabs

You can check it out at the GitHub repo here. They have a great tutorial that walks you through how to use the components.

If you are designing Lightning applications, you definitely want to be using these. But a big gotcha with trying to use them is that if you have an older Dev org in which you have already setup a namespace (like I had), then they will not work and you will get errors trying to install them.

So, in order to use them, you will have to spin up a new Dev org and make sure you enable My Domain AND that you go back to Domains in Setup and click the Deploy to Users button before you will be able to access them.

And here is one more gotcha: If you spin up a new org, you will get a copy of the SLDS as a static resource in your new org, but it is an older version. You really need to work with the latest version of the SLDS, which you can download here. You will need to first delete the current SLDS static resource and replace it with the latest version, which as of this post is 0.12.1.

Once you have them installed, just checkout the tutorial and if you have used Bootstrap you should find them pretty straightforward.

Let me know what you think.


SLDS is Bootstrap for Salesforce

I have been immersing myself in the new world of Lightning and one (note the word “one”, because there is more than one) of the most impressive parts about it is the new SLDS or Salesforce Lightning Design System.

You can just think of it as Bootstrap for Salesforce since it works very much the same as Bootstrap does for regular HTML-based apps. It just incorporates all the best Salesforce specific design options you can use into one very easy to use package.

Adding it to your Lightning app is a breeze and requires only that you use the <ltng:require> tag such as this:

<ltng:require styles="/resource/slds090/assets/styles/salesforce-lightning-design-system-ltng.css"/>

Once you have included this, then you just reference the library in your HTML code like this:

<button class="slds-button">New Button </button>

Notice the class tag? That is how you reference it. And that is how you get a nice stylized button that has the latest style that will always be updateable and current

One big gotcha to be aware of thought is that you must wrap all your HTML that uses SLDS in one div tag that uses the the class name of “slds”. For example, the button component I had listed above would not work until I added the surrounding div (NOTE: I cannot include this as formatted code because some weird WordPress issue keeps deleting the code):

That’s it. Easy peasy!

If you have not already checked it out, I strongly encourage you to do so. Every Lightning application should be using it!


Step Four: Create External Data Source and Define Relationships in Salesforce (4 of 4)

This post will be the last of a 4 part series in which I will step you through what is necessary to expose and access a multi-table SQL Server Azure database with built-in relationships. These steps were covered at a high-level in my talk , but in this series, I will go through each step in greater detail. The steps will consist of the following:

1.) Create a SQL Server Azure Database

2.) Create ASP.NET application to expose data as OData

3.) Publish Web Application to Windows Azure

4.) Create External Data Source and Define Relationships in Salesforce (covered in this final post – see links above for other posts in the series)

TIP: Click here to access the code for this post, along with the Powerpoint slides from my talk at Dreamforce 2015 (which is what this post series is based on). But, if you follow along with tutorial in this post, you will not need it since you will be generating the code for yourself.

Step 4: Create External Data Source and Define Relationships in Salesforce

In the last step, I walked you through how to publish your ASP.NET application to Windows Azure, which would expose the SQL Server Azure data as read-only OData. Now it is time to setup Salesforce to consume that data.

To begin you will need to login to Salesforce and create a new external data source by going to Setup and typing data source in the Quick Find box. Select External Data Sources and then click New External Data Source. Keep in mind that if you are using a Development org, you will be limited to creating only one external data source at a time.

Enter a label and name for your external data source and select Lightning Connect OData 2.0 as the type. The URL should be the one you created when you published your web application in step 3.

As of Winter 16, the parameters for creating new data sources has increased (see image below). You now have some additional checkboxes and one that specifically allows you to let users create, edit and delete data on the external data source. Prior to Winter 16, you could only access data one way. For the purposes of this walk through, we will be dealing with read-only data, so there is no need to check the Allow Create, Edit and Delete checkbox. I will be covering the topic of write access in an upcoming post.

CreateDataSourceOnce the data source has been saved, you will need to click Validate and Sync on the page that follows. You should also see a list of tables with checkboxes next to then. Select them all and click Sync. Depending on the size of your database, this may take a while to complete. When it is done, you should see a status of success.

SyncDatabaseThe database I am using for this tutorial only has 4 tables, so when the sync is done, I will see 4 new external objects – one that corresponds to each table. I can click any of the links and be brought straight the object definition page (see image below).

CustomersTableDefinitionYour external object definition will look very similar to the definition for any custom or standard sObject. Notice that in the image above, the API Name for this object is sarahasnolimits_Customers__x. The sarahasnolimits part is just a namespace prefix that my development org uses. If you are following along with your own org, you may have a different prefix or none at all.

You should also take note of the __x portion of the name. You will see this for all external objects and it is the main way of distinguishing an external object from a regular sObject.

Even though the metadata for our web service lists the relationships associated with our SQL Azure tables, these relationships are not automatically setup in Salesforce. You will have to define them yourselves by editing the definition for one of the fields in your external object.

But which field do you use?

If you are unsure which fields should be used to define these relationships, you can always look at the metadata for your service by using a browser, entering the url for your publicly exposed web service and adding $metadata to the end of the URL. Such as in the image below, you should see which field names are used to define the relationships between your tables.

MetadataRelationshipIn the example above, I can see that the field used to link Customers to Invoices in CustId. Therefore, I can return to the object definition in Salesforce and edit the field definition for the field that has an external alias named CustID. When I do, I should then click Change Field Type and select External Lookup Relationship as the new type (see image below).

ExternalLookupRelationshipExternal Lookup Relationships are used to link external objects together and in this case, the CustId field will be related to the Invoices object. I know this because that was the same relationship it had in the metadata for my web service. Note that you will need to specify a length for your relationship field. I am just going to select a length of 18 and click Save to complete adding the relationship.

I will have to add relationships for all of the relationships specified in my metadata (which in my case is 3): One for the FK_Invoice_ToCustomer association, one for the FK_InvItem_ToInvoice association, and one for the FK_InvItem_ToProduct association.

When I am all done creating the relationships, I will be able to query these objects just like I would any other standard or custom sObject. For example, the following query could be executed in the Query Editor of Developer Console:

Select s.sarahasnolimits__LastName__c, s.sarahasnolimits__FirstName__c, (Select sarahasnolimits__CustId__c, sarahasnolimits__InvDate__c, sarahasnolimits__Status__c, sarahasnolimits__TotalPrice__c From sarahasnolimits__Invoices__r) From sarahasnolimits__Customers__x s

The results from the query should look similar to what you see in the image below:


WARNING: If you go back to your External Data Source and re-sync the external objects for which you have defined relationships, they will be removed and restored to their original data types.

External objects work very much like custom objects and so you can create tabs, list views, and even complex Visualforce pages with them. What makes them so special is that unlike standard or custom objects, the data does not reside on Salesforce servers. It just looks like it does.

Step Three: Publish Web Application to Windows Azure (3 of 4)

This post will be part 3 of a 4 part series in which I will step you through what is necessary to expose and access a multi-table SQL Server Azure database with built-in relationships. These steps were covered at a high-level in my talk , but in this series, I will go through each step in greater detail. The steps will consist of the following:

1.) Create a SQL Server Azure Database

2.) Create ASP.NET application to expose data as OData

3.) Publish Web Application to Windows Azure (covered in this post)

4.) Create External Data Source and Define Relationships in Salesforce

TIP: Click here to access the code for this post, along with the Powerpoint slides from my talk at Dreamforce 2015 (which is what this post series is based on). But, if you follow along with tutorial in this post, you will not need it since you will be generating the code for yourself.

Step 3: Publish Web Application to Windows Azure

In Step 2, I walked you through creating an ASP.NET web application that exposed SQL Server Azure data as OData through a web service. As it is now, that web service will run only on your local machine. In order for Salesforce to be able to access the data exposed by the web service, it must be published to an external website.

Create Web App in Windows Azure

You can publish the web application easily to Windows Azure, but you will first need to create a website/ web app in the Windows Azure Management Portal. To do so, log in to Windows Azure and click on the Web Apps icon in the left menu bar. Click New (next to a big plus sign) in the bottom right corner of the web apps page. From the new menu, click Quick Create and enter a unique name that will be used in the URL for this website (see below) and click Create Web App.

AzureWebAppsIt should take a few minutes for the web app to be created. When it is done, it should show a status as Running. Click on the web app to go to the quick start page and from there, select the Download the publish profile link under Publish your app. Save the file it generates to you local machine.

Use the Publish Web Wizard

Visual Studio has a nice wizard that you can use for publishing applications to external sites. You can access it by right-clicking the project in Solution Explorer and selecting Publish. On the first page of the wizard, click Import and the browse to the location on your machine where you saved the publish profile.

The next page of the wizard should have all the settings entered for you as it got this information from the publish profile. Make sure you click the Validate Connection button (see image below) to verify that your connection is good.

PublishWizardOnce validated, click Publish and wait for the publish to complete. When it is done, you will see a message in the status bar of Visual Studio indicating it is finished.

TIP: Be prepared for the initial publish to take several minutes to complete. If you try to access the web app before it has finished, you will get errors telling you that the resource cannot be found.

You can then access the web service using a web browser. The URL should be something like the following:

http://<your website name><your service name>

If successful, you should see the same XML results that were displayed when you browsed to the service on your local machine.

Query your OData in the Web Browser

Because your data has been published to the web as OData, you, or anyone else can access the data directly using any web browser. For example, if you wanted to see all the data in the customers table, you could add the entity name Customers (note that it is case sensitive) to the end of the URL and hit enter. If you are using a browser such as Google Chrome, this will display for you ALL the customer data in XML format.

Great, but what if you just wanted to see data for a certain customer?

To accomplish this, you can add query string parameters to the end of the URL, such as the following:

Customers?$filter=Addr1 eq ‘123 Main St’

The query string above can be used to return all data from the Customers entity where the Addr1 field is equal to ‘123 Main St’. For the PetSupplies data, this should return a result such as what you see below.

CustomersQueryResultOk, but what if you wanted to see the data in a nicer format than XML?

Well, luckily there is a wonderful free online tool called XOData, that can be used to explore publicly exposed OData. The tool is made by a company called PragmatiQa and to access xodata, go to the following URL:

From there, click Choose Access Option and select Metadata URL. You can then enter the URL of your service, including the /$metadata at the end of the URL. So for the PetSupplies database, the URL would be:$metadata

Once entered, click Get Details and you should see results similar to the following:

pragmatiquaYou can then select the Data Explorer tab and be able to easily select, filter and order data from any of the exposed entities. The results will be displayed in a nice table format that is much easier to read than the XML you saw earlier (see image below).


Isn’t that beautiful? I really think the guys at PragmatiQa did a GREAT job with that tool.

And finally, stay tuned for the final post (in about a week), where I will show you how to access the oData in Salesforce by creating an External Data Source.

Step Two: Create ASP.NET Application to Expose Data as oData (2 of 4)

This post will be part 2 of a 4 part series in which I will step you through what is necessary to expose and access a multi-table SQL Server Azure database with built-in relationships. These steps were covered at a high-level in my talk , but in this series, I will go through each step in greater detail. The steps will consist of the following:

1.) Create a SQL Server Azure Database

2.) Create ASP.NET application to expose data as OData (covered in this post)

3.) Publish Web Application to Windows Azure

4.) Create External Data Source and Define Relationships in Salesforce

TIP: Click here to access the code for this post, along with the Powerpoint slides from my talk at Dreamforce 2015 (which is what this post series is based on). But, if you follow along with tutorial in this post, you will not need it since you will be generating the code for yourself.

Step Two: Create ASP.NET application to expose data as OData

I will be walking you through creating an ASP.NET application that utilizes a WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) data service, along with the WCF Data Services Entity Framework Provider to render the data created in Step One as an OData endpoint.

You will need a copy of Visual Studio to complete this next step. In this tutorial, I will be using Visual Studio 2015 Community version, which you can download for free by going to this link and clicking the Download button under Visual Studio Community.

Once you have, open it up and create an ASP.NET Web Application using the Visual C# empty template. Name the project PetSuppliesRelationalSvc and save it somewhere on your local drive (see image below).


Add the Entity Data Model

The first thing you will need to do is to add the Entity Data Model to your project by right-clicking the project in Solution Explorer and selecting Add | New Item. Select the Data Node in the left pane and from there select ADO.NET Entity Data Model. You can name the model PetSuppliesRelationalModel and click Add to continue (see image below).


A wizard will start and first ask you to choose the model contents. Since we are working with an existing database, you will want to select the default option of EF Designer from Database and click Next to continue. On the Choose Your Data Connection page, click New Connection. This is where you will enter the server name for your SQL Server Azure Database server, which should have been assigned when you created the database back in Step One.

If you do not know the name of the server, you will need to log back in to your Microsoft Azure account and go to the Databases quick start page. It should be listed at the bottom of this page and will look something like the following:,1433

This entire string (including the comma and 1433 port assignment) should be copied into the server name textbox. You should also select the Use SQL Server Authentication radio button and enter the credentials you used to create the SQL Server Azure database. If the credentials are correct and your local IP Address has been configured to have access to the Azure firewall, you should be able to select PetSupplies as the Database (see image below) and when you click Test Connection, you should be get back a Connection successful message.


Once the credentials are entered, click OK to return back to the Choose Your Data Connection Wizard page. Since this is just a tutorial, you can go ahead and click “Yes, include the sensitive data in the connection string“, but if this was a real-world application, you may want to consider something more secure.

Click Next to continue and on the page where you choose your version of Entity Framework, leave the default selection as Entity Framework 6.x and click Next. On the Choose Your Database Objects and Settings page, select the checkbox next to Tables and enter PetSuppliesModel as the Model Namespace. Click Finish to complete the wizard.


You might see a Security Warning, but you can go ahead and click OK to run the template. It may take a few seconds for the wizard to build out all your code, but when it is done, you should see a schema diagram of the PetSupplies database. All the code that is needed to access the database has been generated for you. Wasn’t that easy?

Add the WCF Data Services Entity Framework Provider

To get your SQL Server data into the OData format, you will need to install the WCF Data Services Entity Framework Provider (which as of this posting is still in beta). This is done by going to Tools | NuGet Package Manager | Manage NuGet Packages for Solution and clicking the Include Prerelease dropdownbox. You can then search for “WCF Data Services EntityFramework Provider” and once you find an entry for Microsoft.OData.EntityFrameworkProvider, click the Install button next to it (see image below).


You should get a preview box that lists all the changes that will be made to your project. Click OK and also click I Accept to accept the license agreement.

Add the WCF Data Service

You are now ready to add the WCF Data Service that will be used to expose your OData. To do this, right-click the project and click Add | New Item. This time, select the Web node in the left pane and select WCF Data Service 5.6.4 as the Item template. Name the service PetSuppliesRelationalData.svc and click Add (see image below).


The code that is added to your project should contain TODO comments. The first change you will need to make is to add the data source class name where indicated in the class declaration. If you followed the naming I suggested in the tutorial, this should be PetSuppliesEntities.

You will also need to change the type declaration from DataService to EntityFrameworkDataService. When you do this, you should get a red squiggly line under the code, indicating that the type could not be found. To correct this error, you will need to hover over the line of code (see image below) and click Show Potential Fixes. You can then select the line that says, “Using System.Data.Service.Providers” to add the reference and correct the problem.


I suggest that you add a line of code above the public class declaration that will apply the ServiceBehaviorAttribute and set the IncludeExceptionDetailInFaults property to a Boolean value of true. This will instruct the service to return unhandled exceptions as SOAP faults and will be helpful for debugging purposes. When you are done, the code should look like the following:

[System.ServiceModel.ServiceBehavior(IncludeExceptionDetailInFaults = true)]
public class PetSuppliesRelationalData : EntityFrameworkDataService

TIP: Make sure to set the value of the IncludeExceptionDetailInFaults property back to the default of false before deploying your solution to production.

The next TODO involves setting the rules to indicate which entity sets and service operations are visible or updatable. Since Lightning Connect only allows for read-only connections at this time (although I will be covering writable connections in later posts so stay tuned for that) the changes we will make will only involve un-commenting the line of code that sets the entity set access rule. We will then replace the word “MyEntityset” with “*” and leave the rights as AllRead. This tells the service that we want to expose all the entities as read-only.

After all the code changes are made, the PetSuppliesRelationalData.svc.cs file should look like the following:

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Data.Services;
using System.Data.Services.Common;
using System.Data.Services.Providers;
using System.Linq;
using System.ServiceModel.Web;
using System.Web;namespace PetSuppliesRelationalSvc
    [System.ServiceModel.ServiceBehavior(IncludeExceptionDetailInFaults = true)]
    public class PetSuppliesRelationalData : EntityFrameworkDataService {
         // This method is called only once to initialize service-wide policies.
         public static void InitializeService(DataServiceConfiguration config)
            // TODO: set rules to indicate which entity sets and service operations...
            // Examples:
            config.SetEntitySetAccessRule("*", EntitySetRights.AllRead);
            // config.SetServiceOperationAccessRule("MyServiceOperation",
            config.DataServiceBehavior.MaxProtocolVersion = 

And that is about it. The only thing left to do is to test that everything is working right. But before you do that, be sure and save all your changes.

You can then right-click the PetSuppliesRelationalData.svc file in Solution Explorer and select View in Browser. When you do this, a browser window will open and load up your data service, listing all the entities exposed in XML format. The result should look similar to the image below. If you do not see this or see an error, then go back to see where you might have made a mistake and try again.


Final Words

I know this post may seem long and the steps complicated, but it really is a pretty straightforward process with 99.9% of the code being built for you. The longest part of this should be downloading and installing the latest version of Visual Studio.

Click here to see the third post in this four part series.

Step One: Create a SQL Server Azure Database (Post 1 of a 4 part series)

At this years annual Dreamforce conference, I had the honor of speaking about SQL Server Azure Database MeSpeaking2relationships using Lightning Connect. The talk was based on an article I wrote for DeveloperForce earlier this year titled, “Accessing a SQL Server Azure Database using Lightning Connect“. The original DeveloperForce article detailed the steps for creating a WCF Data service that exposed a single table SQL Server Azure database as OData.

This post will be the beginning of a 4 part series in which I will step you through what is necessary to expose and access a multi-table SQL Server Azure database with built-in relationships. These steps were covered at a high-level in my talk , but in this series, I will go through each step in greater detail. The steps will consist of the following:

1.) Create a SQL Server Azure Database (covered in this post)

2.) Create ASP.NET application to expose data as OData

3.) Publish Web Application to Windows Azure

4.) Create External Data Source and Define Relationships in Salesforce

TIP: Click here to access the code from this post, along with the Powerpoint slides from my talk at Dreamforce.

Step One: Create a SQL Server Azure Database

You will need a Microsoft Azure account to create a SQL Server Azure database, but you can sign-up for a free one-month trial through the following link. You will also need a way to build the database. If you do not have access to Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio, then you can use the built-in SQL Server tools that come with the free Community version of Visual Studio.

But the first step is just to create the database and the simplest way to do that is to go to the SQL Databases tab in Windows Azure Portal and click the big plus sign next the word New in the bottom right-hand corner of the Portal. Click Custom Create and enter a Database name along with a secure login name and password.

After the database server has been allocated, you can click here to download the latest version of Visual Studio, 2015. Keep in mind that it will take quite a long time to download and install. If you don’t want to wait, you can use an earlier version of Visual Studio, such as Visual Studio 2012 or 2013 (with latest update), but just NOT Visual Studio 2010.

Once installed, you can access it from the Windows Azure Portal by clicking the Open in Visual Studio link at the bottom of the database quick start page (see image below).


When you click this link, you should be prompted to add your local IP address to the Windows Azure firewall rules. Go ahead and click “Yes”.

One thing to be aware of here is that unless you have a static IP address, you will need to do this every time the address changes (which for some DHCP environments could be daily). This is done by returning to the quick start page and clicking the Set up Windows Azure firewall rules for this IP address link under Design your SQL Database.

TIP: If you know the allowable range of IP addresses you might be assigned, you can configure a range of IP addresses in the Azure Management Portal by going to SQL Databases and selecting the link for the server that your database resides on. From there, select the Configure tab to enter a new rule with starting and ending IP address.

If you are using a browser such as Chrome, you may also be prompted with an external protocol request asking whether you want to launch the application. Go ahead and click Launch Application. Doing so will launch the Visual Studio application and open up SQL Server Object Explorer. The first time you connect, you should be prompted to enter the login name and password you specified when creating the database in Windows Azure Portal.

Once connected, you can use the SQL Server Object Explorer to add tables and data to your new SQL Azure database. If you prefer the point and click approach, you could create a new table for your database by expanding the Databases node, followed by your specific database and then right-clicking Tables and clicking Add New Table (see image below).


If you are more comfortable working with SQL script, you could right-click on your database node and select New Query to bring up a window where you can type or paste in SQL script directly. Once entered, the script can be executed against your SQL Server Azure instance by clicking SQL | Execute.

Click here to see the second post in this four part series.