Sunday, 15 February 2015

Future Methods in Salesforce

A future method runs in the background, asynchronously. You can call a future method for executing long-running operations, such as callouts to external Web services or any operation you’d like to run in its own thread, on its own time. You can also make use of future methods to isolate DML operations on different sObject types to prevent the mixed DML error. Each future method is queued and executes when system resources become available. That way, the execution of your code doesn’t have to wait for the completion of a long-running operation. A benefit of using future methods is that some governor limits are higher, such as SOQL query limits and heap size limits

To define a future method, simply annotate it with the future annotation, as follows:-

global class FutureClass
    public static void myFutureMethod()
         // Perform some operations


1) Methods with the future annotation must be static methods
2) can only return a void type
3) The specified parameters must be primitive data types, arrays of primitive data types, or collections of primitive data types
4) Methods with the future annotation cannot take sObjects or objects as arguments.
5) You can invoke future methods the same way you invoke any other method. However, a future method can’t invoke another future method
6) No more than 50 method calls per Apex invocation
7) Asynchronous calls, such as @future or executeBatch, called in a startTest, stopTest block, do not count against your limits for the number of queued jobs
8) The maximum number of future method invocations per a 24-hour period is 250,000 or the number of user licenses in your organization multiplied by 200, whichever is greater
9) To test methods defined with the future annotation, call the class containing the method in a startTest(), stopTest() code block. All asynchronous calls made after the startTest method are collected by the system. When stopTest is executed, all asynchronous processes are run synchronously

The reason why sObjects can’t be passed as arguments to future methods is because the sObject might change between the time you call the method and the time it executes. In this case, the future method will get the old sObject values and might overwrite them.  To work with sObjects that already exist in the database, pass the sObject ID instead (or collection of IDs) and use the ID to perform a query for the most up-to-date record. The following example shows how to do so with a list of IDs

Example of a future method that makes a callout to an external service. Notice that the annotation takes an extra parameter (callout=true) to indicate that callouts are allowed

global class FutureMethodExample
    public static void getStockQuotes(String acctName)
         // Perform a callout to an external service


Future Method Considerations

  • Remember that any method using the future annotation requires special consideration because the method does not necessarily execute in the same order it is called.
  • Methods with the future annotation cannot be used in Visualforce controllers in either getMethodName or setMethodName methods, nor in the constructor.
  • You cannot call a method annotated with future from a method that also has the future annotation. Nor can you call a trigger from an annotated method that calls another annotated method.
  • The getContent and getContentAsPDFPageReference methods cannot be used in methods with the future annotation

Amit Chaudhary