Custom Templates in the IDE

If you use the IDE to develop Apex code, you’ve probably noticed that when you start to create a new Apex Class, you see a dialog box like this:

If you look at the Template pull-down, you’ll see that you can specify what type of Class you’re going to create. Depending on which item you pick, the IDE pre-populates your new Class with different contents. For example, if you pick Test Class, your new Class is created with a sample test method already created. If you pick Default, your new Class is created with a minimal amount of code for a normal Apex Class.

The three Apex Class templates that come with the IDE are fine, but what if you want more? What if you want a template that makes it easier for you to create a Batch Apex Class, for example? And what if you want to customize one of the pre-configured templates – for example, if you want to define a standard comment block at the top of every Class?

Fortunately, you can create your own IDE templates, and even edit the pre-configured templates. You can also edit the templates that are used to create Apex Triggers, Visualforce pages, and Visualforce components.

To begin, find the folder where the pre-configured templates are defined. The easiest way to do this is to use the Windows Explorer to find the folder where your IDE is installed, then search for a file named ApexClass-Default.template. That’s the file containing the pre-configured “Default” template for new Apex Classes.

In this folder, you’ll see the following files:

  • ApexClass-Default.template – for generic Apex Classes
  • ApexClass-Inbound_Email_Service.template – for Apex Classes that implement Inbound Email Services
  • ApexClass-Test_Class.template – for Apex Classes containing unit tests
  • ApexComponent-Default.template – for Visualforce components
  • ApexPage-Default.template – for Visualforce pages
  • ApexTrigger-Default.template – for Triggers
  • Scontrol-Default.template – for SControls

Open the ApexClass-Default.template file in your favorite text editor. It looks like this:

When the IDE uses the template to create a Class, it replaces @@NAME@@ with the Class name you enter in the dialog box when you create a Class using that Template.
Open ApexTrigger-Default.template in your text editor, and you’ll see:

The @@OBJECT@@ and @@OPERATIONS@@ variables reflect the Object Name and Apex Trigger Operations (like “before insert”) you enter when you create an Apex Trigger.
Changing the default templates couldn’t be easier – just start typing! For example, here at OpFocus, we always start our Classes with a standard comment block, so we’ve changed our ApexClass-Default.template file to look like this:

Creating a new template for Apex Classes is simple too – just copy one of the existing ApexClass template files to a new file, and edit away! The only trick is that the template’s filename must look like this: ApexClass-yourtemplatename.template.

When you’re done editing your templates, re-start your IDE, and your templates will be available for use! If you’ve created a new template file with a name starting with ApexClass– that template will appear in the New Apex Class dialog’s Template pull-down.

Now that you know how to edit and create templates, what templates do you plan to create? Let us know!

MJ Kahn, SVP of Technology at OpFocus

about the author

MJ Kahn

At OpFocus, MJ architects and constructs solutions that would impress the builders of the pyramids. She solves technical puzzles that would frustrate daVinci. She leaps tall buildings (like the new Salesforce tower) in a single bound.

Well ok, maybe she doesn’t. But she does help lead an amazing team of smart, talented, and dedicated consultants who do. MJ’s job at OpFocus is provide technical leadership and guidance to OpFocus clients and team members so that, working together, we can create innovative yet practical solutions to real-world business problems within the Salesforce ecosystem.

Prior to OpFocus, MJ built an extensive background in technology and has held a variety of development, consulting, and management positions at companies like Sybase, Vignette, and Honeywell, among others. In these roles, MJ’s focus was helping companies effectively and intelligently use technology to solve business problems. An Apex and Visualforce consultant since mid-2008, MJ has worked with scores of companies to help them understand and utilize platforms like to solve business issues and also guide them in developing their own AppExchange product offerings.