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Why and how to use Salesforce DevOps: A guide

In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, businesses cannot afford to be held back by manual, disjointed, and inefficient Salesforce DevOps processes. The demand for rapid software delivery, collaboration, and compliance adherence is higher than ever.

 

This post will delve into why and how to integrate Salesforce into your DevOps processes, maximizing efficiency and effectiveness.

Date: Jan. 25, 2024

What is Salesforce DevOps?

DevOps, at its core, is about merging the traditionally separate realms of development and operations to create a more efficient and collaborative software development life cycle. Salesforce DevOps refers to applying DevOps principles and practices to the Salesforce platform and its related development and deployment processes. Salesforce DevOps focuses explicitly on streamlining and enhancing the software development life cycle for Salesforce applications and customizations.

What are the benefits of Salesforce DevOps?

Implementing Salesforce DevOps offers several significant benefits that can enhance your Salesforce development and deployment processes. Here are the key advantages of adopting Salesforce DevOps practices:

Accelerated development

Salesforce DevOps streamlines the development cycle, allowing you to release new features and updates quickly. This agility helps you respond to changing business requirements and stay competitive.

Improved collaboration

DevOps promotes collaboration between development, testing, and operations teams. This process translates to better communication between Salesforce administrators, developers, and business stakeholders, leading to more aligned solutions.

Automation minimizes manual intervention, reducing the chances of human errors during deployment and configuration changes.

Reduced manual errors

Automation minimizes manual intervention, reducing the chances of human errors during deployment and configuration changes. This leads to more reliability and stability in your Salesforce environment.

Enhanced visibility

DevOps practices provide end-to-end visibility into the software development and deployment pipeline. You can track the progress of changes and deployments in real time, making it easier to identify bottlenecks and address issues promptly.

Predictable releases

Salesforce DevOps enables predictable and consistent releases. You can confidently schedule and plan deployments, reducing the chances of unexpected disruptions or downtime. Also, continuous monitoring and automated alerting allow you to detect and address issues more rapidly. This leads to shorter downtime and improved user experiences.

Scalability

As your organization grows, Salesforce DevOps scales with you. It accommodates the increased complexity of your Salesforce implementations and the need to manage multiple environments.

Compliance and security

Salesforce DevOps practices can include automated security testing and compliance checks, ensuring that your Salesforce configurations and code adhere to security best practices and regulatory requirements.

What are the components of Salesforce DevOps?

Salesforce DevOps involves various components and practices that work together to streamline the development, deployment, and management of Salesforce applications and customizations. These components are essential for building a robust Salesforce DevOps pipeline.

Here are the critical components of Salesforce DevOps:

Version control system (VCS)

A version control system, like Git, is essential for tracking changes to Salesforce configurations, code, and metadata. It allows teams to collaborate, manage branching and merging, and maintain an audit trail of changes.

Continuous integration (CI)

Continuous integration servers like Jenkins, Travis CI, and CircleCI automate the build, test, and integration of code changes into a shared repository. They trigger build jobs whenever changes are pushed to the VCS. CI pipelines also include automated testing to ensure code changes do not introduce defects. You can use Salesforce-specific testing frameworks like Apex unit tests to automate your tests.

Continuous delivery/deployment (CD)

Continuous delivery pipelines automate the deployment of validated code changes to Salesforce environments like sandboxes and production. You can use tools like Salesforce DX, Gearset, and AutoRABIT. Continuous delivery pipelines ensure that you’ve consistently configured your Salesforce environments and can automate the provisioning of sandboxes and data setup.

Environment management

With Salesforce, you get different sandboxes (developer, developer pro, partial, full) for development and testing. Managing these sandboxes, including refreshing and cloning, is crucial to maintaining consistency and preserving the data integrity of your Salesforce application.

Monitoring and observability

Real-time monitoring and alerting tools like Salesforce Health Check help detect issues in Salesforce environments and provide insights into performance and reliability.

Security and compliance

Automated security scanning tools assess Salesforce configurations and code for security vulnerabilities, ensuring compliance with best practices. Salesforce DevOps comprises practices for monitoring and enforcing compliance with industry regulations and internal policies.

How to use Salesforce DevOps

  1. Choose a version control system (VCS), like Git, and create a repository to track changes to your Salesforce code and configurations.
  2. Store your Salesforce metadata in this VCS, including custom objects, fields, profiles, and triggers.
  3. Create Salesforce developer sandboxes or use Salesforce DX scratch orgs to isolate development and testing environments.
  4. Set up a CI pipeline to automate the building and testing of your Salesforce code.
  5. Configure your CI system to trigger builds and tests whenever changes are pushed to your version control repository.
  6. To ensure code quality, write comprehensive unit tests for your Apex classes and triggers.
  7. Implement automated integration tests to validate the interactions between different components of your Salesforce application.
  8. Create user acceptance tests (UAT) to verify that new features meet business requirements.
  9. Establish a continuous delivery (CD) pipeline to automate the deployment of validated code changes to different Salesforce environments (development, testing, staging, production).
  10. Use deployment tools like Salesforce DX or Gearset to manage deployments and minimize manual errors.
  11. Integrate automated security scanning tools to identify and remediate security vulnerabilities in your Salesforce code and configurations.
  12. Implement security best practices such as controlling access, securing data, and enforcing data validation rules.
  13. Set up monitoring and logging solutions to track the performance and behavior of your Salesforce applications.
  14. Configure alerts to notify you of issues in real time and proactively address them.
  15. Maintain detailed documentation of your Salesforce configurations, data models, and deployment processes.
  16. Encourage knowledge sharing within your DevOps team to ensure everyone understands the system.
  17. Gather feedback from end users, stakeholders, and testers to identify areas for improvement.
  18. Use feedback to prioritize feature enhancements and bug fixes in your development pipeline.
  19. Plan and schedule releases carefully, coordinating with stakeholders to minimize downtime and disruptions.
  20. Document release notes, and communicate changes to users and administrators.

Develop a sandbox strategy that aligns with your development and testing needs.

Best practices for Salesforce DevOps

Now that you understand the key components of Salesforce DevOps and how to leverage them, here are some best practices.

  • Sandbox strategy optimization: Develop a sandbox strategy that aligns with your development and testing needs. Consider creating specific-purpose sandboxes for tasks like performance testing or data migration.
  • User acceptance testing automation: Automate user acceptance testing (UAT) using tools that simulate user interactions, reducing the manual effort required for testing.
  • Apex code coverage targets: Set specific code coverage targets for your Apex classes and triggers, ensuring you meet the minimum coverage requirements before deploying changes.
  • Dynamic data-masking in sandboxes: Implement dynamic data-masking in sandbox environments to obfuscate sensitive data while allowing realistic testing scenarios.
  • Automate backups: Automate the backup of configuration settings—including custom metadata types, custom settings, and flows—to maintain consistent configurations across environments.
  • Optimize deployment rollbacks: Develop a rollback plan for deployments, including scripts and automation, to quickly revert changes in case of unexpected issues during deployment.
  • Custom metadata for environment variables: Leverage custom metadata types as a centralized repository for storing environment-specific variables and, thus, reducing hardcoding.
  • Einstein Analytics integration: Integrate Einstein Analytics for advanced data visualization and analytics, providing deeper insights into your Salesforce data and performance.
  • Test data generation tools: Use third-party tools or custom scripts to generate test data more efficiently, reducing the manual effort required to populate sandbox environments.

Why use Salesforce DevOps?

By unifying collaboration, offering end-to-end visibility, automating processes, and ensuring compliance, Salesforce empowers you to modernize your DevOps practices and stay competitive in today’s dynamic business landscape.

By combining the best practices of Salesforce DevOps and the testing automation capabilities offered by Tricentis, you get a comprehensive approach to managing your software development life cycle and, thus, ensuring reliable Salesforce applications.

This post was written by Mercy Kibet. Mercy is a full-stack developer with a knack for learning and writing about new and intriguing tech stacks.

Date: Jan. 25, 2024