Workbench: Under-appreciated?


There are many, MANY tools/products that will allow you to import, export, update, delete, check metadata, etc… with Data Loader, Excel Connector,, Jitterbit…the list goes on and on and on and on.

The tool that I think doesn’t get enough credit or brought up often enough is Workbench. It actually is not a tool but a bunch of tools in one. You can query objects, check the metadata, test some REST code out, insert/update/upsert/delete records…. all the fun stuff in one.

Workbench is accessed via your browser using the following URL –

If you were already logged into in your browser you might have noticed you don’t have to login. Workbench uses OAuth 2.0 login (meaning single sign-on). A nice little extra that will save you a step of typing in your password each time.

I won’t go into all the details. You can login and play around to see everything it does. Also read more on DeveloperForce. Below I will go into a few of the tools, though.

I know many struggle with writing a correct SOQL statement or even understanding SOQL. Workbench gives you a nice UI to work with to create your own SOQL statement. Choose the object, click the fields you want to retrieve (hold down CTRL while you click each field to multi-select), and you have the beginning of your SOQL statement. Then simply choose the filter results by drop down and build in your criteria.  Click query and you are good to go. Unfortunately at this time you cannot do multiple objects using this interface, so if you want that advanced SOQL you will need to write your own here (It will work) or use another tool to help you write out the SOQL.

You can use Workbench instead of Data Loader. The nice thing is nothing has to be installed on your machine. You do all the imports, exports, updates, etc…. through your browser.  Go to the Query and get the data you want. Then change the View As: to Bulk CSV. When you click query it will take you to a page that allows you to download the CSV file. Make sure you click the icon to download the file. Then you can use this CSV file with the data update, for example.

After you run a query that includes the ID of the object you can hover over the ID field and have access to a few things, like a link that will take  you to the record in directly. Comes in handy sometimes.

Another interesting feature in Workbench is Password Management. You can change any users password to a value you specify. You cannot do this in the regular user interface. It this located under Utilities.

Another feature/tool I use often is the Apex Execute. This allows you to run Apex quickly. You can do a lot some things very quickly with this, without having to write a Visualforce page to execute just a few lines of Apex. Example: Delete records based off a query without having to export the ID’s and then running off those ID’s.

Many other cools things like metadata, packaging, and Streaming API. But if you already understand what those are you will already figure out how to utilize them for yourself.

So I hope that Workbench gets a bit more recommendations through the community and it helps many admins and developers like it has with myself.


2 thoughts on “Workbench: Under-appreciated?

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