There are several development environments for developing Apex code. The Force.com Developer Console and the Force.com IDE allow you to write, test, and debug your Apex code. The code editor in the user interface enables only writing code and doesn’t support debugging. These different tools are described in the next sections.
The Developer Console is an integrated development environment with a collection of tools you can use to create, debug, and test applications in your Salesforce organization.
The Force.com IDE is a plug-in for the Eclipse IDE. The Force.com IDE provides a unified interface for building and deploying Force.com applications. Designed for developers and development teams, the IDE provides tools to accelerate Force.com application development, including source code editors, test execution tools, wizards and integrated help. This tool includes basic color-coding, outline view, integrated unit testing, and auto-compilation on save with error message display. See the website for information about installation and usage.
The Force.com IDE is a free resource provided by Salesforce to support its users and partners but isn't considered part of our services for purposes of the Salesforce Master Subscription Agreement.
If you want to extend the Eclipse plug-in or develop an Apex IDE of your own, the SOAP API includes methods for compiling triggers and classes, and executing test methods, while the Metadata API includes methods for deploying code to production environments. For more information, see Deploying Apex and SOAP API and SOAP Headers for Apex.
You cannot make changes to Apex using the Salesforce user interface in a Salesforce production organization.
Alternatively, you can use any text editor, such as Notepad, to write Apex code. Then either copy and paste the code into your application, or use one of the API calls to deploy it.