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The Developer’s Guide to the Force.com Platform by Phil Choi, Andrew Fawcett, Glen Martin, Rick Greenwald

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Apex Code in the Runtime Environment

Apex code is stored and executed on the Force Platform. All Apex code is checked for errors before the code can be saved, insuring that the syntax for the code is correct. When Apex code is stored, the code is compiled into a set of instructions that are then executed by the Force Platform at runtime.

The Force Platform environment has built-in governors limiting the amount of work that can be performed by Apex classes and triggers. These governors are in place to protect the multi-tenant environment from runaway processes. Refer to the Force Platform Apex documentation for the specific resource limits placed on Apex code in different environments.

You can use various methods on the built-in Limits class ...

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