Introduction to Batch Apex

Prior to the availability of Batch Apex, the only options for processing data exceeding the governor limits of triggers and controllers were tricky workarounds to shift work off the platform. For example, you might have hundreds of thousands of records spanning multiple Lookup relationships to be summarized, deduplicated, cleansed, or otherwise modified en masse algorithmically. You could use the Web Services API to interact with the Force.com data from outside of Force.com itself, or you could use JavaScript to process batches of data inside the Web browser. These approaches are usually slow and brittle, requiring lots of code and exposing you to data quality problems over time due to gaps in error handling and recovery. ...

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