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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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Controller Extensions

In Chapter 9: Visualforce Pages, you experienced the different granularity of various Visualforce components. For instance, a single set of tags can create an entire detail page. But if you want to change the way a detail page looks beyond the scope of page layouts, you must build the entire Visualforce page using more discrete components.

Visualforce controllers give you similar options, but with a difference. You can build a custom controller with Apex code that replaces all the functionality of a standard controller, and there are times when this approach may be desirable; however, Visualforce also gives you another option, in the form of controller extensions.

A controller extension uses all the functionality in a standard ...

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