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Debugging Apex Using Developer Console

Because Apex code cannot be executed on your local machine, debugging Apex requires some different tools and techniques than traditional software development. This section describes how to debug your code using two features of the Force.com’s Developer Console. Developer Console allows you to set checkpoints to capture a snapshot of the state of your program. It also records execution logs when users perform actions in your application, allowing you to step through the logic and resources consumed.


Checkpoints allow you to freeze variables at a specific point of execution in your program and examine them later. The point in the code at which the checkpoint is captured is called a checkpoint location. It is similar to a breakpoint in a standard development environment.

To work with checkpoints, open Developer Console and click the Checkpoints tab. To set a checkpoint location, locate the code using the Tests or Repository tab and click to the left of the desired line. In Figure 4.6, a checkpoint location has been set at line 10, indicated by the dot to the left of the line number.

Figure 4.6

Figure 4.6 Setting a heap dump location

When code is executed at a checkpoint location, a checkpoint is generated. It can be viewed by double-clicking on a row in the Checkpoints tab, as shown in Figure 4.7. A checkpoint has been selected in the Checkpoints tab at the bottom, and its details shown in the top panel. The Symbols tab lists the program’s variables and their values at the point in time of the checkpoint.

Figure 4.7

Figure 4.7 Examining a heap dump

Execution Logs

Testing or debugging code from a user’s point of view, directly from the native user interface, is often necessary. With the Developer Console pop-up window open, you can continue using Force.com in the main browser window. Actions you perform in the application result in execution log entries. Click the Logs tab in Developer Console to examine them.

In Figure 4.8, the user’s action has resulted in a log entry, shown in the top table, which is selected and opened by double-clicking it. The top and middle of the screen display the raw execution log on the right panel, and an analysis in the left panels. The Stack Tree, Execution Overview, and Execution Stack provide different views of the Force.com resources consumed and their impact on response time.

Figure 4.8

Figure 4.8 Examining the execution log

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