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.
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. 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.
- 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.
These 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.
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.