Essential Aspects of a Salesforce CI/CD Suite
A Salesforce DevOps pipeline won’t provide the business and technical benefits you expect if your tools aren’t optimized. Not all strategies will provide the same returns. This could be due to weak DevOps tools, a failure to source the proper software to address your needs, or simply an inability to properly use these tools.
A Salesforce CI/CD suite can provide the assistance you need to achieve your DevOps goals.
What Is a CI/CD Suite?
Continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery/deployment (CD) offer essential capabilities to your Salesforce DevOps team. These tools help to enhance the quality of code, speed of processes, and overall developer efficiency. In applications development and operations, CI/CD serves as a tool to create a streamlined workflow for coding, testing, and development. It’s a one-stop repository that allows a team to access shared storage and automation tools to collaborate on and iterate the code until it consistently works.
The key terms for understanding CI/CD suite terminology include:
- Continuous integration is the development process where code is automatically integrated from multiple developers into a single software release.
- Continuous delivery is the process to get all types of changes (including features, configurations, and bug fixes) into production at any time with the correct approvals.
- Continuous deployment expedites this process even further by removing the approval stage.
A CI/CD pipeline focuses on equipping teams with the necessary tools to create automated software lifecycles by enabling constant communication and slashing costs by eliminating repetitive tasks. It uses an iterative rather than linear project design so teams can create and collaborate on versions of a project in real time. The goal of this method is quality control. As each software change advances in the pipeline, developers use test automation to identify dependencies, roll out code changes, and deliver applications to their respective production environments. This process allows the automation tool to check everything from API usage to security features and overall performance in various phases.
Salesforce CI/CD Suite Tool Benefits
The Salesforce CI/CD Suite tool is an invaluable platform for DevOps automated release management. This software solution balances quality and security with quality checks, strategic automation, and scalable solutions. A few of the key benefits of CI/CD tools for Salesforce include:
- Cost-effectiveness: Salesforce CD tools focus on reducing costs by eliminating repetitive processes and saving teams time through an iterative and collaborative process that boosts your company’s return on investment (ROI).
- Code quality: The quality of your code is integral to the reputation and success of your software. The Salesforce deployment suite allows you to automate the quality check process, greatly decreasing the odds of human error and boosting functionality upon release.
- Rapid release cycle: Automated processes rapidly scale your release cycle by streamlining tasks like integrating and testing lines of code to allow your team to market applications in real time.
- Testing capabilities: A skilled developer is invaluable to your team, but you can save time with automatic code testing with increased speed across a wide variety of different test types.
- Delivery velocity: Continuous integration tools for Salesforce allow developers to address issues quickly and introduce new capabilities at a rapid rate. Furthermore, the assistance of automation tools means that you never sacrifice quality when scaling for quantity.
- Data security: It’s vital to preserve the data security of your Salesforce application. The quality checks provided by the CI/CD support quality standards that help protect your data security by detecting bugs and errors that can cause security vulnerabilities.
The 6 Essential Features of Salesforce CI/CD Tools
CI/CD tools are incredibly beneficial when used correctly. A complete Salesforce CI/CD suite will involve the use of supporting tools, processes, and functionality in order to see the greatest possible returns from your DevOps efforts.
Here are 6 essential aspects of a Salesforce CI/CD suite:
1. Connectivity Between Functions
A proper DevOps strategy will involve a variety of tools working together toward a more streamlined pipeline. The tools you choose to perform these functions will impact the overall productivity as well as the security of your DevOps strategy.
Utilizing a singular platform for your Salesforce CI/CD suite ensures there are fewer vulnerabilities and failure points.
The various functions that make up your DevOps pipeline—planning, coding, testing, deployment—all need to work in perfect conjunction with each other. A failure to use connected functions will create opportunities for mistakes and data security vulnerabilities.
2. Reliable Code
The applications and updates that come out of your DevOps pipeline are only as good as the code that makes them up. Any mistakes in the coding structure of an application can lead to failed deployments, bugs, and even data security vulnerabilities. A Salesforce CI/CD suite needs to ensure strong code in order to work toward a final product that serves the end user as intended.
Adding static code analysis to your Salesforce CI/CD suite provides real time visibility into the health of your code, giving your team the ability to rectify any potentially costly errors.
The tools that support your DevOps pipeline can increase the benefits seen from your CI/CD efforts. A strong product that serves your end user is the goal, and proper coding structures are an essential aspect of this.
3. Scalable Testing
An integral aspect of a successful continuous integration strategy is making use of the testing capabilities. Verifying each update to the code repository aims to confirm the stability of your update or application. Even the best developers are liable to make an occasional mistake—particularly when working as part of a multi-developer team.
The ability to test your projects as the efforts of your team members are joined together will provide insight into the stability of your application prior to deployment when the cost of rectifying errors drastically increases.
A Salesforce CI/CD suite gives you the opportunity to toggle the testing settings in order to directly address your needs. Every Salesforce instance is going to be unique and there isn’t a blanket solution that benefits everybody the same.
4. Version Control
Source control is a great addition to your Salesforce CI/CD suite. This tool assists with source code management and is the cornerstone of a developmental organization. Source control is a critical component of a DevOps strategy and is the foundation of effective team-based deployment.
Quality control works best when there is a multi-tiered approach. Version control assists your CI/CD tools in aligning the efforts of multiple developers.
Continuous integration verifies every code commit to the shared repository. Version control takes this a step further and assigns a time stamp and personal marker, so every move is documented. From there, the changes can be compared, restored, and merged.
5. Customized Settings
Your CI/CD tools will have the ability to be customized to your particular needs. As we said earlier, every Salesforce instance is different. One major setting that can have drastic ramifications on how your CI/CD pipeline operates is the choice between utilizing continuous delivery and continuous deployment.
Companies that want the fastest release cycles, are not bound by strict regulatory requirements, and have well-designed tests for every aspect of their products might elect to enable continuous deployment.
The final stage of continuous delivery is submitting the application for approval. Removing this step will still provide all of the benefits of continuous delivery while increasing the rate at which the application is sent to production. However, those that want the extra layer of security will want to leave the approval requirement in place.
6. Data Backup & Recovery
Your DevOps efforts are not complete without the addition of a reliable data backup tool and the ability to recover it. These tools are essential in the face of constant threats to your Salesforce environment’s data security.
Data backup and recovery functionality protect your system and enable your CI/CD suite to resume their position without lost time in case of a data loss event.
A complete Salesforce CI/CD suite will cover all of your DevOps needs. Preparing for worst-case scenarios is part of this. A failure to maintain an updated backup will create redundant work, lost time, and lost money when a data loss event strikes.
CI stands for continuous integration and CD stands for continuous delivery/continuous deployment. These are automated DevOps tools that expedite the deployment process.
DevOps is an approach to software development that combines the efforts and considerations of development teams and operations teams from the outset of the pipeline.
- Take the time to properly coordinate between CI and CD
- Integrate incremental changes
- Utilize version control
- Test, test, test