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What Is the Salesforce Continuous Deployment Workflow?

What_Is_the_Salesforce_Continuous_Deployment_Workflow_AutoRABITThe decision to implement automated DevOps tools can be difficult. What value do these tools provide? How do they work? What will the implementation look like in your specific development pipeline?

A better understanding of tools like Salesforce continuous deployment will inform purchasing decisions and highlight the benefits they can provide.

So, let’s briefly explore the benefits of a continuous integration and continuous delivery/deployment (CI/CD) pipeline.

Value for the technical team:

  • Automating tedious tasks will free up the developers to increase productivity and reduce errors.
  • More frequent and smaller updates are effortless compared to difficult, larger updates.
  • Reduces pain points and improves the customer experience.
  • Human error is removed, reducing cost and complexity through automation.
  • Features are deployment more rapidly which increases potential revenue.

Value for the business team:

  • Efficient processes reduce stress on team members and improve the work experience.
  • Reduction in turnover means they stick around and produce better work.
  • An improved time to market increases the ROI.
  • The ability to quickly release updates positions the company ahead of their competition.
  • Efficient and streamlined processes attract better applicants to open positions.

Now that we see the benefits of implementing a CI/CD pipeline, it’s time to look into the workflow. To best understand Salesforce continuous deployment, you must first understand the processes that lead up to it.

We’ll look at these essential aspects of streamlining your Salesforce DevOps pipeline:

Salesforce Continuous Integration

Continuous integration (CI) is an automated DevOps tool that feeds into continuous deployment (CD). It’s essential to understand the initial processes of CI that set up the beneficial processes of CD.

CI is the development process where the code is integrated automatically from multiple developers into a single software release.

Each commit to the shared version control repository is continually verified by an automated build process to capture potential problems at an early stage.

Continuous integration is an essential component of the AGILE process, where developers work on features within a sprint and commit their changes to the version control repository. Once the developers’ changes are integrated, a build is performed including all other developers’ content. This way, we can see how all of the team’s code interacts together for early feedback and bug-catching.

What_Is_the_Salesforce_Continuous_Deployment_Workflow_AutoRABIT

The Salesforce Continuous Integration Workflow

Developers identify bugs at the early stages of the development cycle, fix them, and test in an iterative manner. The developer then integrates the changes into the main code repository. As a result, these shorter build times lead to an increase in production and reductions in cost.

Here are the steps of the CI workflow:

  1. Developers import updated code into their private workspaces.
  2. After building features, they commit the changes to the shared repository (version control repository such as Github, Azure, Bitbucket, etc.).
  3. The CI server actively monitors the repository and recompiles upon a new commit.
  4. The CI server runs unit and integration tests on the newly compiled repository. Once complete, the server will inform the team of the build results.
  5. The team can quickly identify and resolve errors.

From there, the project moves to either continuous delivery or continuous deployment. These processes are similar but contain a crucial difference.

Salesforce Continuous Delivery

Continuous delivery (CD) is the process to get all types of changes—features, configuration, bug fixes—into production at any time with the correct approvals. CD enables teams to build, test, and release with increased frequency and speed. 

Why Is Continuous Delivery a Fundamental Aspect of DevOps Best Practices?

CD requires approval before moving the project into production. The code still runs through all automated tests, but someone needs to manually approve the project as a final step.

Companies that are bound by regulatory requirements—or any other strict guidelines—often need to verify the stability and proper structure of their project before release due to security and compliance.

Continuous delivery usually involves a production-like staging area with a defined period to approve new features prior to production.

What_Is_the_Salesforce_Continuous_Deployment_Workflow_AutoRABITThe Salesforce Continuous Delivery Workflow

The first six steps of this workflow are identical to what you’ll find for Salesforce continuous deployment.

  1. First, check to see if the build status is successful. If not, the issues with the build will need to be fixed before submitting new code.
  2. Submit any changes necessary to the code repository.
  3. Check the build status again. If successful, rebase your personal workspace to this configuration.
  4. Build and test locally to ensure the update doesn’t break functionality.
  5. If the build is successful, check-in the new code.
  6. Allow CI to complete with new changes.

This is where Salesforce continuous deployment and delivery diverge. In continuous delivery, the final step of deploying the project to production is manually performed through an approval.

Salesforce Continuous Deployment Continuous deployment builds on continuous delivery by removing the approval stage and automating the whole release process to the point of production for rapid release. Therefore, every change that passes all of the automated tests is automatically deployed to production. Continuous deployment makes the most sense for organizations that:
  • Are trying to achieve the fastest release cycles.
  • Are not bound by strict regulatory requirements.
  • Have a plethora of well-designed tests for every aspect of their product. This is crucial to catch bugs and avoid costly system failures if your team chooses Salesforce continuous deployment.

Continuous Delivery vs Deployment

Some organizations will never implement a full-fledged continuous deployment process and prefer to implement only continuous delivery.

Industries such as medical and financial will make this decision because of their security and risk requirements. These industries will still be able to streamline their DevOps pipelines and accelerate their teams’ releases with continuous delivery.

The ultimate goal is to get the development project into the hands of your customers as quickly and efficiently as possible. Continuous delivery and deployment are very similar in their workflows besides the final approval stage before deploying to production.

But no matter which model best fits your needs, taking advantage of an organized CI/CD pipeline is instrumental to your DevOps success.

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