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Applying the DevOps Approach in Salesforce

Applying the DevOps Approach in Salesforce
May 21, 2020 Linta Matthew

Salesforce has become one of the most popular and preferred CRM for more than one reason. However, with our experience of working with several cloud-based CRM’s, we would say that one of the most attractive features of Salesforce to several customers is their continuous efforts to make it a low code or no-code solution.

However, this does not mean that the need for coding entirely goes away. Several organizations will need still need coding solutions to meet complex business requirements like custom branded UI, integrations with other applications, or building custom applications required for your business. As your business grows, you will require more and more custom development for your Salesforce org,

Applying DevOps to Salesforce projects is certainly a good idea. It can help to transform the way that teams in the organization work by enabling a cultural shift. This improves the business’s ability to deliver applications rapidly and gain a competitive edge.

Versioning in Salesforce

There is no versioning provided in a Salesforce Sandbox environment. This becomes difficult when there is more than one developer working on a project and they are not in sync. In such a case, keeping track of all the changes in a project can be really difficult.

DevOps applies the use of proper version controlling systems such as Git. These systems can help to easily manage proper branching, to allow teams to work at their own pace and merge with other teams’ code as and when necessary.

Using a very popular source code management tool, Git for Salesforce projects, we can help to bring the Salesforce sandbox in sync with the Eclipse workspace and Git repository.

Continuous Integration

Continuous integration is necessary when there are multiple people working on one project. We will need to make sure that the changes made by one member of the team do not break the changes made by another.

For migration of metadata from a local source to a sandbox, Salesforce provides a tool called Force.Com Migration Tool. This is an Ant-based tool and with its help we can perform operations like retrieving metadata from a Sandbox and deploying metadata to a Sandbox.

Using this tool with Jenkins, we can build our continuous integration jobs. Jenkins is an automation server that allows users to automate tasks like building, testing, and deploying software on a particular environment.

Continuous Testing

Successful deployment of code changes to a production environment involves several tasks, like unit testing, integration testing, and more. With the help of DevOps in Salesforce, we can easily perform fast, zero-downtime deployments.

Suppose we are working on a project with multiple developers and multiple sandbox environments, without managing the source code. In such cases, we should be able to test new features in our app, along with ensuring that nothing breaks in a previous version of the app.

Continuous testing using the DevOps approach will help to get immediate feedback and makes the testing cycle easier.

In DevOps, continuous deployment is used to deploy every change from a development environment to a production environment. So, every change will go through a DevOps pipeline of continuous integration and with testing happening automatically.

With the help of this process, everything is tracked and we can deliver new features and bug fixes to a production environment more quickly. For this, we can use Selenium, a tool that supports multiple platforms including Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Qualitia is a Selenium based functional test automation platform and it provides us with a way to automate testing without scripting. Qualitia also provides integration with Jenkins.

How can DevOps approach in Salesforce help organizations deliver better?

By using version control, DevOps for Salesforce teams can keep track of issues, and reverting changes becomes easier with the use of GitLab. If something goes wrong, locating a bug or issue becomes easier as we have all the changes tracked in the Git repositories. Alongside this, we will also be able to retrieve metadata from the sandbox and store it in Git and this becomes very useful while taking backups.

Thus, when we have all the deployments automated using the Jenkins continuous integration server PLUS all the changes made being tracked in a source control versioning system such as Git, the developers will get to spend more time on actual development tasks.

In conclusion, by applying DevOps methodologies to Salesforce using certain open source tools, such as GitLab, Jenkins, Selenium, and so on, we can help organizations get projects completed at minimal cost and with minimal efforts.

This in turn can help to achieve customer satisfaction by fastening the product delivery process without affecting quality. Developers can focus less on maintaining applications and more on developing new features.

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