May the Force.com Be With You
I just noticed that SalesForce.com released an update to their Winter ’09 IDE. If you are an SFC developer and you’re not yet using the Eclipse IDE with the Force.com Perspective, I highly recommend it. The IDE is a must if you’re doing anything with Apex Classes or Triggers. Sure, you can create and edit them online directly in SFC and even deploy by hand using ANT, but why? It’s so much easier to do it all through Eclipse.
I had really just starting using Eclipse heavily before leaving KT. I wrote and deployed my first Trigger using it. Speaking of triggers, I remember complaining about SFC’s lack of “business logic” capability years ago. They really have come along way since I first started working them back in 2001. Between Triggers, Workflow Actions, S-Controls, and outbound messaging it is possible to embed almost any business logic you want into SFC. I digress.
Another really great use for the Force.com IDE (Eclipse) is to backup or copy customizations between instances. For example, you can build a series of custom objects, tabs, etc. in your sandbox or development edition and then deploy to Production very easiliy via the IDE. While still at KT I took advantage of the IDE to backup 100+ unused Reports and then delete them from SFC. This way if someone came to me later and said “where is my report” I could still recover it from the IDE Project File.
Force.com IDE Resources