In the spirit of the holiday season, this is a series of short blog posts covering random things I have learned while doing Salesforce development, one for each day of Advent.

When it comes to writing code, scope is used to describe how visible a piece of code is to the rest of your code. For example, if a variable is in scope, then it can be referenced. An easy way to define a scope is within curly braces. In Apex, I generally see curly braces used in a few contexts:

To define methods and classes

public class MyClass {
    private static Object scopedToClass;
    public class void myMethod() {
      Object scopedToMethod;

To scope if statements

if (myCondition) {
    Object scopedToIf;
} else {
    Object scopedToElse

To scope loops

for(Object x : records) {
    Object scopedToLoop;

But recently I noticed that you can you just use curly braces to create scope anywhere. For example, if you have a large method and want to limit the scope of parts it, you just use curly braces to create that scope without creating another method.

public void myMethod() {
    Object inMethodScope;

        Object inBlockScope;

    //This would fail compilation because
    //inBlockScope is out of scope of the rest of the method!

I can’t think of many times when you would use this where a separate method or a separate class would be more appropriate. Maybe if you were really trying to manage some heap issues and breaking things out into a separate method isn’t really feasible? It seems a little farfetched, but it’s always fun to find another tool in the toolbox, just in case.