Often times a customization we are working on requires us to interact with related data, usually records that are children of another. For example, a customization might require us to determine if a given Account record has 1 or more related Contacts. Or for that matter, we may need the collection of ID values that represent all the Calls linked to a Contact.
In either example, the path most often followed could be described with the following pseudo-code:
1. Instantiate the parent SugarBean object (e.g. Account/Contact record object)
2. Load the corresponding relationship to access the related data objects
3. Retrieve the related SugarBean objects representing the related objects
See below for a PHP snippet illustrating the above:
Line 12 in the above example would effectively create an array of SugarBean objects representing the linked Contacts. From that point forward, determining whether or not the Account has any linked Contacts becomes a simple matter of checking the size of the array.
For the linked Calls example, the code would be very similar, except we would load the 'calls' relationship and the ID values we want would be in the SugarBean object array that results from executing the getBeans() method.
Now, all of the above would function just fine, but let us consider a few things about this approach.
First, upon executing the getBeans() method, we are asking Sugar to retrieve the complete SugarBean object for all the related records of a given type. However, for both examples, simply retrieving the ID value would suffice for our needs.
That is, for our purposes, a list of ID values in the $RelatedContacts array is just as good as an array of all the SugarBean objects. That array would still allow us to properly answer the question of whether there are or are not any linked contacts, solely based on the number of ID value entries the array contains.
In the case of the second example, we specifically only need the ID values of the related Calls, but getBeans() gives us everything pertaining to each of those calls. This tells us there is a lot of overhead we can trim.
From a performance standpoint, anytime we can optimize our code to retrieve only what we need, we help minimize wait times a user experiences.
How do we then change our code to only give us the ID values?
It is actually a quite simple.
Examining the Link2 class in Sugar reveals a get() method which specifically only returns ID values of related data. Using get() in place of getBeans() would allow us to achieve the goal described in our examples and also reduce the overhead.
Side note: A similar method exists in the TeamSet class, named getTeamIds(), to retrieve the ID values of Teams that compose a TeamSet, without needing to retrieve all of the Team SugarBean objects. Also be aware that get() will return all records, irrespective of team assignments on the related records.