6 Essential DevOps Tools for Salesforce
DevOps is more of a journey than a destination. Very few Salesforce development teams will reach a point where there are no more improvements that can be made to their DevOps processes. And while this might seem intimidating, it’s important to remember that reaching the ultimate level of DevOps maturity doesn’t need to be your goal.
The way your team approaches DevOps should be tailored to your needs and goals—and that’s not going to be the same for everybody.
There are a series of DevOps tools for Salesforce that can help you achieve these goals. And while every Salesforce environment is going to be different, there are some functionalities that are critical to creating a DevOps pipeline that is optimized and streamlined.
1. Static Code Analysis
The lines of code written by your developers are the basic building blocks of every development project. However, there are ways you can support your developers and enable them to produce code of a consistently high quality.
Bad code can contribute to data loss, negatively impact the experience of the end user, create security vulnerabilities, and lead to unsuccessful deployments.
Static code analysis is an important DevOps tool for Salesforce that provides real-time insight into the health of your code as it’s written.
People are prone to mistakes. Even the most experienced developers are going to miss something every once in a while. And these mistakes become increasingly costly to fix the later they are found in the DevOps pipeline. Static code analyis tools offer many benefits including finding and correcting mistakes as they are written, which saves your team members time so they can focus on pushing new projects forward, and it saves the entire operation money.
2. Version Control
Multi-developer teams can produce applications and updates much quicker than a single person working on a project. However, these combined efforts can also create the opportunity for errors. Overwrites and improperly structured updates can lead to failed deployments and costly re-working of the project.
Version control is a type of source code management. It is the cornerstone of a developmental organization and a critical component of a successful DevOps strategy.
There are going to be many software revisions and updates to the main code repository. Salesforce version control helps manage these by creating separate environments for developers to write code and test functionality. And then when it’s merged into the main repository, it is tracked with a time stamp and identifier of the person that made the change.
Transparency is a great asset in DevOps tools for Salesforce. This type of accountability ensures nothing slips between the cracks.
3. Continuous Integration
Multi-developer teams working in various environments will need to join their efforts into the main code repository in order to move the project toward deployment. This is an error-prone and lengthy process when performed manually. There can be thousands of lines of code that need to be joined together. How can you be sure there are no conflicts or errors?
Continuous integration is an automated development process that integrates code from multiple developers into a single software release.
This allows team members to see how everyone’s code interacts for early feedback and bug-catching.
The process of this DevOps tool for Salesforce follows this flow:
- Developers import updated code into their private workspaces
- After building features, they commit the changes to the shared repository
- The CI server actively monitors the repository and recompiles upon a new commit
- The CI server runs unit and integration tests on the newly-compiled repository—once complete, the server informs the team of the build results
- The team can quickly identify and resolve errors
4. Continuous Delivery
Once the code is tested, rectified, and integrated into a single repository, it will need to be prepared for production. Again, this can be done manually but the process is lengthy and prone to human error, which will impact the success of the eventual deployment.
Continuous delivery is the process to get all types of changes (features, configurations, and bug fixes) into production at any time as soon as they receive the correct approvals.
This enables teams to build, test, and release Salesforce DevOps projects with increased frequency and speed. Continuous delivery usually involves production-like staging areas with a defined approval period in which to approve the new features prior to production.
Businesses that want the fastest release cycles possible and are not bound by regulatory requirements can take this process a step further.
Continuous deployment builds on continuous delivery by removing the approval stage and automating the whole release process to the point of production.
These DevOps tools for Salesforce offer similar benefits. However, some companies will never use continuous deployment because they want the extra security of the approval stage in continuous delivery.
5. Data Backup
Not all essential DevOps tools for Salesforce will directly impact the rate and quality of your releases. Another must-have aspect of your DevOps strategy relates to data security. Unfortunately, data loss events are fairly common, even for those that are proactive in their defense. There are simply too many potential sources of data loss (user error, software failure, natural disasters, cybercriminals) to guarantee complete protection.
A complete and recent data backup is an essential aspect of an effective data security plan.
And while data security might not seem applicable to DevOps, it’s actually intrinsic to a complete strategy. This relates to what has become known as DevSecOps, which is the inclusion of security concerns throughout the various stages of DevOps.
A data backup tool automates snapshots of your Salesforce environment. These can be configured to address your particular needs (would you like to focus on returning to operations more quickly or minimizing potential data loss in the event of an outage?) and scheduled to fit your parameters.
6. Data Recovery
Backing up your data is only the first step toward protecting against a data loss event. You must also have the ability to recover the information in your backup repository.
Data recovery is a separate functionality that must be paired with data backup in order to maximize the benefits.
DevOps tools for Salesforce complement each other. And while the DevOps journey will likely see a company instituting a few of these tools at a time, the utilization of all these tools will provide great benefits in security, quality, and speed.