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Two newbie questions...

Hi, everyone, I'm new to programming, though I'm reasonably expert in 7 other programming languages and have been doing stuff like this for more than 20 years. In fact, I've written books for other programmers. But when it comes to Toolkit, I feel like a rank beginner!
I am having trouble finding a resource for basic programming concepts, though I've downloaded and read most of what appear to be the relevant .pdfs and looked at tons of sample code.
Perhaps you might be kind enough to point me in the right direction?
Question 1: I note that many sample formulas use "Account.fieldname_c" in some calculations. as opposed to "Account.fieldname". What does the "_c" signify?  I'm writing for custom buttons right now.
Question 2: I note in some code sources, Objecttype.Account is used, but button examples seem to use sObject.Account. Does sObject stand for "standard object"? When is one or the other used?
Question 3: Please can you point me to some comprehensive language documentation that actually explains the underlying concepts? Most of the documentation so far brings up "merge fields" and then gives a list of how to reference them from different parts of without ever defining what a "merge field" is, and how one is created or accessed. I admit to being absolutely baffled as to when to use "!" and when not to use it, though I see hundreds of examples. What is the rule?
Any comprehensive programming documentation would be a great help at this point.
Thank you all. I hope to soon join your ranks as an accomplished developer!
Alan A. Katz
1. the __c suffix indicates its a custom field or custom object.

2. sObject stands for sforce object and is an interesting lesson in branding and api's. (you can think of sObject as being a database row)

3. Have you seen the cookbook? that might be a good start, as it pulls together many disparate pieces. Many of the docs for the declarative pieces (like formula fields and merge fields) are in the application help, try⌖=valid_merge_fields.htm&loc=help&hash=topic-title.
Thank you, that's a great start. I'll check the source you recommended.

Sorry, one more question.

Is that -two- underscores before the "c", seems to be that way in the docs and in your posts. But can't tell if that's a rule or just typography.

_c or __c ?

its 2 underscores.

Thank you for your prompt reply!


__Alan__Katz :-)

Take a look at the recently posted Introduction to Apex.