Salesforce admin gotchas

After coming across some of these for the hundredth time, I’ve decided to keep a list of bizarre inconsistencies / gotchas in Salesforce.

  • Editable list views for certain objects don’t allow editing of record owner field, even though certain object types (e.g. Cases) have a “Change owner” or “Assign” option right there on the list view which does the same thing, so something exactly like this is obviously already implemented.
  • It’s possible to mass-edit most things in list views, but not tasks.  There’s no explanation why, official response from Salesforce is “install an AppExchange package” - at least there’s a community that building what should be basic functionality (and already is, for other objects!).
  • You can mass transfer ownership of accounts, but not contacts. It’s because of this.
  • The cli’s export-to-csv functionality (force query –format:csv) creates a file that its own CSV parsing functions consider invalid if you try to re-import it (force bulk update whatevs.csv).
  • Bulk data load jobs refuse to parse CSV files encoded with UTF-8, so you have to re-save them all in ASCII and hope there’s nobody named José in there. How the heck do they use it in Asian countries?
  • Adding a custom field to a standard object does not add it to any report types for that object.  But adding a custom field to a custom object does.
  • Unlike every other programming, scripting and query language, SOQL doesn’t have a comment character.  Not even a single-line one.
  • Rather than updating existing features, Salesforce sometimes makes a completely separate, “enhanced” version of that feature but preserves the old one too (probably for legacy compatibility etc). This would be great if the “enhanced” version was at least at feature parity with the old stuff, but there are plenty of cases where you have to switch back and forth betwen both versions, as certain functionality only exists in the old version and is just never implemented.  In most other SaaS stuff this would be completely insane. Examples below
  • The old “Flows” functionality is pretty nasty but has some useful features (like error handling and iterating) that were never added to the “Process Builder” feature, which tries to be a partial replacement for it but really, really isn’t
  • Old profile editor vs “enhanced” profile editor:  the old profile editor allowed you to update settings for multiple objects simultaneously, which is required in certain situations such as the following ridiculous situation from this blog post:
    ”… as soon as I went to remove access to the Account Brands object, Salesforce presented an error: I couldn’t remove those permissions until I first removed permission from the Scorecard Associations object. Similarly, if I tried to remove permissions from Scorecard Association, I got an error saying I had to first resolve the access permissions on the Account Brands object…You need to revert back to the old Profile Editor, since it allows permission changes to multiple objects before a Save operation is committed"
  • You can’t create a Master->Detail relationship with the Product object, and you can’t get around it by making a regular lookup a required field. No reason is given except for some musings in the forums about it being a “special” object and a workaround involving a validation rule.
  • Salesforce imposes a hard limit on the maximum length of an email that you’re allowed to import, and it’s a pretty tiny limit: 131072 characters, and that’s after you ask for it to be increased from the pitiful 32000 characters. Keep in mind this refers to all HTML, not just human-entered text characters, and Outlook likes to use a heck of a lot of HTML in its emails, so it’s not hard to reach this limit if you’re using something that automatically syncs emails. Of course, you can still send emails much longer than that from Salesforce, you just can’t import them - so the limit isn’t even a physical one, it’s entirely artificial.