Salesforce is now the market-leading CRM solution, which runs as a multi-tenant cloud-based application. As an Enterprise Application as a Service, Salesforce remains the industry leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant globally. Simultaneously, as Salesforce holds the major market share in CRM functionality, it also puts forth some challenges to the application developers and DevOps handlers. This article focuses primarily on addressing the DevOps teams’ struggles with continuous integration and other such challenges and risks.
One major aspect of Salesforce, which makes it the favourite of many customers, is its no-code or low-code development solutions. For long, Salesforce remained a robust platform that is easily customizable and can quickly react to the business changes in real-time. In the case of business administration and application development, Salesforce had a great job by enabling declarative developmental mode.
This made it possible for even those who are not familiar with coding too to configure and customize Salesforce development and administrative environment. This less-code developmental mode, however, does not come as a limitation to enterprises. Still, they have the feature to use custom coding to meet their unique needs in achieving specific business goals and functionalities. This strong declarative development platform also lets the companies choose their solutions from a larger skill-base than a traditional developer.
With the recent developments in Salesforce, many of the customers think that they are on a path to avoid the need for programmatic development altogether. It is different in case of enterprise users as the big Salesforce organizations should use programmatic application development to meet their complex and diversified business needs like custom-centric UI, easy integrations with other existing systems, and building customized applications within the Salesforce environment. As the existing Salesforce environment develops and demands more customized development, maturation also must be happened simultaneously.
Using SF DevOps
Considering the above point, you may be thinking whether it is a big issue using Salesforce similar to that for other developmental platforms. Considering that modern-day businesses need some quick fix to be reflected directly in the production environment, let us explore some common examples to illustrate it.
The major areas of concerns or risks in fulfilling such a need are
- Whether all these quickly needed changes are thoroughly tested?
- Whether it will crash the Salesforce org?
- In such a case, will the business be able to smoothy its function?
- What will happen if such quick changes get overwritten in the forthcoming release or if these do not get back to the pipeline of development?
Mitigation by SF DevOps
DevOps let the limitations to be there on what the changes users can make to the production. The parent security settings of the Salesforce product and its partner packages will let you restrict such abilities. In such cases, only the release managers can make any production changes. The organization can implement a pipeline for development to production, which will let proper testing and timely defect fixing before deployment.
With an appropriate pipeline, any such change in production must make its way back to the development environment so that everyone involved get access to the latest code set in the ongoing development process. This works at best for the feature teams who work at overlapping functional areas without any proper cohesion or protocol for release management.
Some other areas of risks are
- Whether it forces any collaboration between the development teams?
- What will happen if one team tends to override another team’s work?
- What if the desired features are not reflected in the end-users?
- The deployment delays
- Developing team to team or development to business team mistrusts
The Salesforce group can track all the changes to metadata with the use of spreadsheets about it when any change-sets are being made. This, when done correctly, will reduce the scope of developing any mistrust between teams. It can effectively avoid deployment delays and ensure better coordination between the development and operations/business team.
- Ownership of the Excel?
- Who and how to manage the Excel structure?
- Is this process error-prone as being manual?
Dev Ops mitigation
Salesforce DevOps will enact the usage of most appropriate VCS or version control systems like Git. Ensuring this will help manage metadata extracts and copy the structure and source of the current environment. The related set of tools will allow appropriate branching also for the teams to function at their own pace. It will help merge the code of other teams even when necessary. Overall, it ensures better collaboration with feature teams working at different levels or different locations.
By ensuring appropriate integration, it can easily integrate with tools like JIRA to directly trace the story as to where the work or change is made. This will make it so easy to better manage the product by gaining proper visibility to the needed audience. Attaching a unique ticket ID with certain pieces of code will help eradicate the mystery around the development and make things more transparent. This approach will ultimately improve work quality and help reduce any errors in production. This makes it easier for the developers, IT teams, and businesses to cooperate better.
An ideal DevOps practice can resolve all such problems and increase the overall velocity, quality, and scalability of your development process. Deploying the right DevOps tools and appropriate development practices will ensure high visibility, transparency, and traceability in the development work. Ensure that you use it to get the best results.
To ensure this, you can try implementing the AppExchange solutions like AutoRABIT, Gearset, Copado, which are the industry leaders to serve this purpose. It is also possible to create a custom pipeline using tools like GitHub, Jenkins, JIRA, etc. While attempting this, it is essential to set up the leading habits and practices around appropriate development and deployment practices for operational success. Custom tailoring the right SF DevOps solution for your Salesforce best practice will surely complement the Salesforce platform’s already customized nature.