Forceea data factory framework: a new approach to an old problem

What is a Data Factory for Salesforce?

A Data Factory is a set of tools that generate and insert data.

  • It’s very important when you develop a test method in a Salesforce Apex Test Class, since you usually have to insert records to complete the testing.
  • Using a Data Factory you make your life easier and your work more productively.
  • A Data Factory is also required when you want to test a report, a trigger/class or another process under Large Data Volumes (e.g. how fast is our report when there are 1 million records?), for User Acceptance testing (UAT), and for training – when you don’t want to create a Full Sandbox or when you want to create data which don’t exist in the production system yet.

What is Forceea and how I can install it?

Forceea (forsèa) is a data factory framework for Salesforce and an open source project in GitHub. It’s a framework, because it gives the programmatic tools for a developer or administrator to easily generate, insert and delete SObject records.

Deploy to Salesforce button

Go to https://github.com/nmitrakis/Forceea, click the button and deploy to your Org.

How can I generate the data I want?

OK, you have installed the framework. Now what?

I think the better way to understand how it works is by example: suppose you want to insert 100 Opportunity records and in your Org the Opportunity object has the additional required custom field MyField__c (which is a lookup to the custom object MyObject__c). Of course the Opportunity has its own required fields (like Stage).

The first step is to create an FObject:

FObject myObj = new FObject(Opportunity, 100);

Next, you declare the field definitions. A field definition uses Dadela, a data generation language, to define what kind of data you want to create for this particular field. Let’s start with the first field we want to define, which is the Record Type (API name: RecordTypeId). Do you want your records to have a specific record type (let’s say BigDeal)? Then give this field definition:

myObj.setDefinition('RecordTypeId', 'static value(BigDeal)');

static here is the command and value is the parameter. The static command creates (what else?) static values, that is values which are the same in every record you create. Do you want a random record type? Then you need the following definition:

obj.setDefinition('RecordTypeId', 'random type(picklist)');

The random command does exactly what you understood, it’s a really powerful command and you can even decide that every time you get the same (but random) data! But wait! I hear you saying that the Record Type field is not a picklist field, and of course you’re right (it’s a Lookup)! Forceea handles this “special” field as a picklist field, making things easier for you. So, we move to our next field, which is the Close Date (API name CloseDate). This has a Date type, and let’s suppose you want it to have random Date values from this year:

myObj.setDefinition('CloseDate', 'random type(date) from(2018-01-01) to(2018-12-31)');

The type parameter is the boss here – it defines what kind of data you get. Give type(boolean) and you get random True/False values. Give type(phone) and you have random phone numbers, etc. The Amount is a currency, so you decide to take random values from 100,000 to 1,000,000 and round these values to the nearest thousand. Difficult? No, it’s very easy!

myObj.setDefinition('Amount', 'random type(number) from(100000) to(1000000) scale(-3)');

Every opportunity that respect’s itself should have an Account, so you decide that the AccountId field will take an ID from any random Account, but you’ll get accounts without two specific Industry values. You asked for it, you get it:

myObj.setDefinition('AccountId', 'random lookup(Account) field(Industry) except(Banking,Chemicals) source(forceea)

I think the above definition needs some clarifications. The lookup(Account) instructs the framework to fetch records from the Account object and the field(Industry) except(…) to get only records for which the Industry field has any value except “Banking” and “Chemicals”.

But what is source(forceea)? This parameter defines the “source” of the lookup object’s records:

  • If it’s source(salesforce), the framework will query the Salesforce database and get the lookup records.
  • If it’s source(forceea) and the lookup object has been previously created (in the same context/transaction), it gets the records from there (which of course is much faster).
  • If it’s source(forceea) and the lookup object hasn’t been created (or the records have been inserted and deleted), it inserts some records of this lookup object.

Now that you have the opportunity account, don’t forget the opportunity Name (API name Name). Let’ say you want it to have the format – for random text (with separate words) from 15 to 30 chars. So, what is our definition? Well, we don’t have one, but 3 definitions to deliver this:

myObj.setDefinition('Name', 'copy field(AccountId) from(Account.Name)');

This definition gets the Name of the related account.

myObj.setDefinition('Name', 'static value(" – Opportunity for ")');

As you see, this is just a simple text value.

myObj.setDefinition('Name', 'random type(text) minlength(15) maxlength(30)');

And finally, we get our random text with “Latinoid” random words, like “Partem inermis ius impedit eam”. Keep in mind that with the random type(text) definition, the first character of the text is always a capital and the same word is never repeated twice in a row. Your next field is Lead Source (which is a picklist field with the API name LeadSource), and here you want to have any declared picklist value except from “Partner” and “Other”:

myObj.setDefinition('LeadSource', 'random type(picklist) except(Partner, Other)');

If you wanted these two values only, you could give the definition:

myObj.setDefinition('LeadSource', 'random type(list) value(Partner, Other)');

or if you needed just a specific picklist value:

myObj.setDefinition('LeadSource', 'static value(Partner)');

Now you’ve finished with your field definitions, but remember that we haven’t defined all required fields (like Stage or myField__c). Of course you don’t have to worry about that, because the framework automatically identifies and defines all required fields. There are specific rules for setting the suitable field definition, but (without going to many details) we could briefly say that the field definition for a required field depends on the field data type, the SObject and the field name.

So, after defining your fields, Forceea will define all required fields you didn’t define. If you need to make some changes in the created records (for example to update a field with some complex calculations), you can get the opportunities with:

List myRecords = (List) myObj.getRecords();

Then do your changes, e.g.

for (Opportunity objRecord : myRecords) {
 objRecord.Amount = … // your changes here
}

and just insert the amended records with

myObj.insertRecords(true);

Forceea has many other field definitions, to create random real first and last names (with male and female names), real postal addresses (address, city, postal code, state, country), URLs, email addresses, phone numbers, Boolean values and Datetime values. And don’t forget that it supports BLOBs (e.g. to create email attachments).

It also provides definitions with the serial command, e.g.

serial type(number) from(1) step(1.5) scale(2))

to create serial integer, decimal, currency, percentage, date and datetime values. As you understand, there are many methods to

  • get or delete field definitions
  • create records from a specific serial number (very useful when you insert records with the serial command in different transactions)
  • insert records in groups (a valuable tool for your test methods)
  • define the Verbose mode (how many debug logs you get)
  • get the errors (yes, there is a detailed error system)

The framework handles field dependencies (dependent picklists) and it protects you from doing errors like defining the wrong definition for a specific field data type or defining multiple definitions for a field (e.g. Date) which can have only one.

How can I see the framework’s messages?

Forceea doesn’t have a UI (for the moment). The framework uses Debug Log to post its messages, which show

  • The errors during the process
  • The process milestones completed
  • The data of the first created records

Here is a sample output, just to get an idea of what this looks like (please note that the field definitions in this sample are not the field definitions you used previously).

Forceea Debug Log

Keep in mind that you have many options to reduce the quantity of logs, for example to get almost nothing on a production system (which by the way is accomplished using a Custom Metadata type).


This article was published on Nerd@Work blog of Enrico Murru

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