Expressions

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About Expressions

An expression is any valid set of literals, variables and operators that evaluates to a single value.

An expression is used to build Filter criteria or a Formula.

Two different kinds expressions are used in the platform:

  • Filter Expressions
  • Used to select records.
  • The value of the expression is always a Boolean (true or false) value.
  • Expressions are created using fields, values, comparison operators, and logical operators.
  • Fields in the object record can be referenced.
  • Filter expressions do not include functions.
  • Formula Expressions
  • Used to return a value.
  • The resulting value can be a number, a string, a date/time, or a Boolean (Logical: TRUE/FALSE).
  • A wide variety of Formula Functions are available.
    For example:
ROUND( amount * 0.02, 2) (rounds the variable to the nearest 2 decimal places)
  • Fields in the object record and in Lookup target records can be referenced, up to 5 levels deep.
  • Logical operations are performed using functions AND() and OR()

The simplest expression is a literal value, a variable, or a formula function:

  • 972 (a numeric literal)
  • 'Steve' (a string literal)
  • creation_date (a variable value)
  • TODAY (a formula function that returns the current date)

More complex expressions are created by combining values with operators. For example:

amount * 0.02

Filter Expressions

About Filter Expressions

A filter expression is a special type of expression that is used to search for records. Filter expressions are used in:

The Filter Expression Builder is used to define an expression, using a combination of fields, values, comparison operators, and logical operators. The resulting expression is used to evaluate a group of records. Records that match the specified criteria are returned.

Building Filter Expressions

Components of a filter expression are: <FIELD_NAME> <COMPARISION_OPERATOR> <VALUE> <LOGICAL_OPERATOR>

FIELD_NAME

The name of the Field or Computed Field to use in creating a filter.

COMPARISON OPERATOR

The following operators are available in a filter expression:
Operator Description
equals Returns only records with the specified value
not equal to Returns only records that do not include the specified value
less than Returns only records that are less than the specified value
less than equals Returns only records that are less than or equal to the specified value
greater than Returns only records that are more than the specified value
greater than equals Returns only records that are more than or equal to the specified value
contains Returns only records that contain the specified value
not contains Returns only records that do not contain the specified value
starts with Returns only records that start with the specified value
ends with Returns only records that end with the specified value

FIELD_VALUE

The search value - a string, a date, a number.
Examples:
String: 'Paper 123'
Date: '06/06/2007'
Numeric Value: 9383
Empty Field: '' or BLANK
Follow these guidelines when specifying values:
  • The value can be partial text or whole words
  • Enclose strings and date/time values in 'single quotes'
  • To search for a blank (empty) string, use two single quotes, with nothing between them ('').
  • To search for a blank (empty) field of other kinds, use a field value of BLANK
  • To search for multiple field values, separate each value using vertical pipe (|)
For example: company_name='Acme|Ajax'
(The criteria is satisfied when the company name is either Acme or Ajax)
  • To search for a field value that happens to contain a vertical pipe (|), you need to "escape" the pipe so it is recognized as a literal character in the field. To do that, you put a backslash in front of it: \|. For example, company_name contains '\|'
  • That works in REST APIs and in the GUI.
  • In Java strings, the backslash is already an escape character. (It combines with the one that follows it to create a single character.)
  • So in Java code, you need two backslashes: \\|
(The first two (\\) combine to become a single backslash (\), so the filter expression handler sees "\|", as desired.)
  • Finally, note that "equals" does not work for this particular search. The required operator is "contains".
  • To include a single quote in the value that you are searching for, specify an additional quote for every single quote ('').
For example in business rules, in the execution criteria use the single quote as listed in the following images:
  • When specified conditions are true:
Single quote condition.png
  • When specified expression is true:
Single quote expression.png

LOGICAL_OPERATOR

Logical operators can be used to build more complex expressions.
The logical operators are:
AND
OR
Considerations
  • Two subexpressions joined by a logical operator form a logical expression.
  • Logical expressions resolve to a Boolean value: 1/0 or TRUE/FALSE.
  • Use parentheses--()--to group expressions logically and to join multiple expressions.
  • Parentheses are used in pairs; each open parenthesis "(" requires a closing parenthesis ")".
  • For example:
((<expression1> AND <expression2>) OR (<expression3> AND <expression_4>))
Learn more: Using Logical Operators and Parentheses

Formula Expressions

About Formula Expressions

Formula expressions give you the ability to calculate dynamic values and apply dynamically-generated criteria to a search.

Formula expressions are used in these areas of the platform:

Building a Formula Expression

A formula expression is essentially equivalent to a spreadsheet formula. Formula expressions are built from fields, operators, functions, and values.

Typically, formula expressions are built using the buttons and drop down lists provided in the Formula Builder, but they need not be. A fully-formed expression can simply be typed or pasted into the builder's expression-box text area.

Values

A number, date, or string you enter into the expression:
  • A string or date needs to be enclosed in single quotes. For example: 'ABC Company'.
  • You specify an empty string using two single quotes with nothing between them: ''

Fields

The name of an object Field, a Computed Field, or a Referential Field (to reference a field in a related object).

Functions

One of the built-in Formula Functions. Functions can nest to arbitrary depth.
For example, to create a conditional expression, start by selecting the logical IF function from the drop down (which gives you a template), or else type in the conditional expression in a format like this:
IF (test, value-if-true, value-if-false)

Notepad.png

Note:
Unlike Filter Expressions, and/or logic in a Formula Expression is added using the functions AND(boolean_expression_1, boolean_expression_2) and OR(boolean_expression_1, boolean_expression_2).

Learn more: Formula Functions#Logical Functions

Operators

Available operators are:
Operator Name Description Examples
!= Not Equal Evaluates if two numbers/strings/boolean values are not equal in value, and returns TRUE if the numbers/strings/boolean values are not equal Is the listed price not equal to $100?
Listed_Price != $100
&& Logical AND Compares two Logical Boolean expressions, and returns TRUE if both conditions are TRUE Is the total amount greater than $10,000 and the requested delivery date in the future?
total_amount > 10000 && delivery_date > TODAY (NOW())
> Greater Than Evaluates if a number is greater than another number, and returns TRUE if the condition is met Are sales greater than the quota of $10,000/month?
Quota> 10000
>= Greater Than or Equal To Evaluates if a number is greater than or equal to another number, and returns TRUE if the condition is met Are sales greater than or equal to the quota of $10,000/month?
Quota>= 10000
< Less Than Evaluates if a number is less than another number, and returns TRUE if the condition is met Are sales less than the quota of $10,000/month?
Quota< 10000
<= Less Than or Equal To Evaluates if a number is less than or equal to another number, and returns TRUE if the condition is met Are sales less than or equal to the quota of $10,000/month?
Quota<= 10000
( ) Parentheses or Brackets Creates groups of expressions

Evaluates the expressions between the open and closed brackets before evaluating the parts of the expression outside of the brackets

Multiply the price by the number of units, then apply a discount to the resulting value
(Number_of_Units * Price) - Discount
* Multiply Multiplies two numbers Multiply the total amount due by a discount amount
Total_Due * Discount_%
+ Plus or Concatenate

Has two functions:

  1. Calculates the sum of two numbers
  2. Joins multiple text strings into one text string
  1. Returns the sum of the tax and shipping:
    (SubTotal * Tax) + Shipping
  2. Creates a value formatted for Sorting (by last name)
    LASTNAME + ', ' + FIRSTNAME
- Minus Calculates the difference between two numbers Calculate the number of units yet to be delivered
Quantity_Ordered - Quantity_Received
/ Divide Divides a number by another number Divide a yearly sales quota by 12 to find a monthly quota amount
Quota/ 12
= Equal Evaluates if two numbers are equal in value, and returns TRUE if the condition is met Is the price equal to $100?
Price=$100
|| Logical OR Compares two Logical Boolean expressions, and returns:
  • TRUE if either of the conditions are TRUE
Is the total amount is greater than $10,000, or is the requested delivery date in the future?
total_amount > 10000 || delivery_date > TODAY (NOW())

Examples

Here are some examples of typical Formula Expressions.

Simple Formula Expressions

In a reservations application, there are fields for Creation Date, Check In Date, and Check Out Date. A formula field can calculate the number of days between the Creation Date and Check In Date. To create such a formula field, use the date fields and the DATECOMP formula function. DATECOMP will give a positive result when the later date is the first operand. It will give a negative result if the later date is the second operand.

Formula Expression Description
DATECOMP(check_in_date, creation_date)Compare the future Check In Date and the reservation Creation Date, and return the difference in the number of days
DATECOMP(TODAY(), check_in_date)To build a complex expression, nest the expressions. This example compares Today's Date to the Check In Date and returns the difference in the number of days. (TODAY returns the current date.)
IF((DATECOMP(check_in_date, TODAY())<2), 'Rush', 'Standard')A more complex example uses the logical formula function IF to return one of two text results: 'Rush' if the Check In Date is less than two days from today, and 'Standard' if the Check In Date is two days or more away.

Complex Formula Expressions

Examples of complex Expressions.

Formula Expression Description
age = (datesub (now(), DOB)) / 365.25calculates age, based on date of birth (DOB)
discount = (pre_discount_amount * (2.5 /100)) + total_amountcalculates a discounted price
IF(probability = 1, ROUND(amount * 0.02, 2), 0)calculates the 2% commission amount of an opportunity that has a probability of 100%; all other opportunities have a commission value of zero.
SUBSTRING(phone, 2, 4) + SUBSTRING(phone, 7, 9) + SUBSTRING(phone, 11, 14)removes the parentheses, spaces and dashes from a telephone number in the US format (xxx) xxx-xxxx
SUBSTRING(phone, 1, 3) + SUBSTRING(phone, 5, 7) + SUBSTRING(phone, 9, 12)removes the dashes from a telephone number in the US format xxx-xxx-xxxx
IF((STARTSWITH(phone,'(')), (SUBSTRING(phone, 2, 4) + SUBSTRING(phone, 7,9) + SUBSTRING(phone, 11,14) ), (SUBSTRING(phone, 1,3) + SUBSTRING(phone, 5, 7) + SUBSTRING(phone, 9, 12)) )checks a telephone number to see if it starts with an open parenthesis and if so removes the parentheses, dashes and spaces; otherwise, the expression removes the dashes from the telephone number
IF(AND(IF(DATESUB(TODAY(), payment_due_date)>0, true,false), payment_status ='UNPAID'), 'PAYMENT OVERDUE', null)determines if the payment due date is past and the payment status is "UNPAID"; if true, it returns "PAYMENT OVERDUE" and null otherwise
IF(OR(category!='IT', AND (category='IT', amount <3000)),true, false)checks for a department (IT department) and amount less than $3000; returns TRUE if the department is not "IT"; also returns TRUE if the department is "IT" and the amount is less than $3000
IF(AND(ISNEW(),IF(DATESUB(TODAY(), close_date)>0, true, false)), true, false)checks new opportunities, returning TRUE if it has a close date that is in the future; returns FALSE if close date is in the past
IF(OR(priority='High', status='New'), ROUND(DATESUB(NOW(), created_date)), 0)returns the number of days a case has been open if the status is new or the priority is high; returns zero otherwise
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