Alexander Brett

Creating attachments with WWW::SFDC

27 April 2015

At my company, we have a problem with attachments; namely, one of the things we have to do most releases is update some mail merge templates which are stored as attachments against Salesforce records. Historically, this has been a great cause for error; at some point the release manager ends up with a sea of .docx files in some directory or other, having to remember which ones she’s already uploaded, which ones need to be uploaded against which records, and so on.

Checking these files into source control helped; now, instead of a soup of randomly named files kicking around, at least she knows she has the latest version, and has an easy way to ascertain which ones have changed. It’s still a tedious and error-prone manual process though, and one slip-up means that a distributor recieves a million dollars worth of junk on their license schedule.

Fortunately, the correct automation solution is at hand: WWW::SFDC to the rescue. Let’s imagine we’ve been sensible and we’ve stored a load of .docx and .xslx files inside source control already, and with even more foresight, we have named each file the same as the Name on the Doc_Template__c record against which we need to store them. What we need to do is create Attachment records for each changed document against each relevent record.

Let’s automate it in 10 easy steps.

  1. Get the changed files:

     git diff --name-only --diff-filter=AM --relative attachments/Doc_Template__c/
     # Or, if you'd rather just have everything (for instance, populating a new sandbox)
     git ls-files attachments/Doc_Template__c/
  2. Basic perl script setup, including making sure creds are set up:

     use strict;
     use warnings;
     use Getopt::Long;
     use WWW::SFDC::Partner;
     use File::Slurp 'read_file';
     my %creds = (
       url => ''
       'p|password:s'    => \$creds{password},
       'url:s'           => \$creds{url},
       'u|username:s'    => \$creds{username};
  3. Read in the changed files, checking that they exist and trimming whitespace:

     my @filenames = grep {chomp and -e } <>;
     exit unless scalar @filenames; # if there aren't any, we have no work to do.
  4. Parse the filenames and read the files. We’ll store the file contents as base64-encoded data which is what the partner API expects up to provide in the body field. Fortunately, SOAP::Lite makes this a breeze, via the SOAP::Data->type() method.

     my @documents = map {
         ? +{                             # +{} forces this to be a hashref, rather than an arbitrary code block
             name => $1,
             extension => $2,
             body => SOAP::Data->name(
                     body => read_file $_ # read_file is exported by File::Slurp and does what it says on the tin
                 )->type('base64')        # prepackaged SOAP::Lite magic.
         : ();                            # return empty list. 
     } @filenames;
  5. We’re need the IDs of the Doc_Template__c records to store these against, so we’ll start by constructing a where clause…

     my $whereClause = join " OR ", map { "Name='$$_{name}'" } @documents; # that was easy
  6. …and we’ll go and execute that query.

     my @parentRecords = WWW::SFDC::Partner->instance()->query(
       "SELECT Id, Name FROM Doc_Template__c WHERE $whereClause"
  7. We’re going to need to look up IDs from the name, so we’ll create a hash:

     my %parentIds = map { $_->{Name} => $_->{Id} } @parentRecords;
  8. The interesting bit. From each document, create an Attachment suitable for passing into a create call.

     my @recordsToCreate = map {
         $parentIds{$_->{name}} # check that the record exists;
         ? +{
             type => 'Attachment',
             ParentId => $parentIds{$_->{name}},
             name => "$$_{name}.$$_{extension}",
             body => $_->{body},
         : ()
     } @documents;
  9. Wrap it all up with a create call

  10. Put it all together (tada!):

    git diff --name-only --diff-filter=AM --relative attachments/Doc_Template__c/^
     | perl -u myUsername -p passwordPlusToken

Now, this may feel trivial. However, having repeatable, automatic, guaranteed-error-free deployments of templates every month saves up hours of effort on release day, and hours of tracking down bugs later on.

Tags: SFDC Perl