Salesforce - Developer - APIs - Metadata


// Salesforce - Developer - Metadata API:

Use Metadata API to retrieve, deploy, create, update, or delete customizations 
for your org. The most common use is to migrate changes from a sandbox or 
testing org to your production environment. Metadata API is intended for 
managing customizations and for building tools that can manage the metadata 
model, not the data itself.

The easiest way to access the functionality in Metadata API is to use the IDE or Migration Tool. Both tools are built on top of 
Metadata API and use the standard Eclipse and Ant tools, respectively, to 
simplify working with Metadata API. IDE is built on the Eclipse platform, for programmers familiar with 
integrated development environments. Code, compile, test, and deploy from within 
the IDE.

The Migration Tool is ideal if you use a script or the command line 
for moving metadata between a local directory and a Salesforce org.
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