It is well-known Salesforce allows organizations to innovate continuously at scale, enabling them to cater to their fast-evolving business requirements and excellent growth. The needs of a rapidly-growing company are dynamic, and this makes the ability to add new capabilities to its Salesforce org quickly to meet the needs with little disruption to its business operations very important.
Many companies are implementing DevOps, a novel paradigm that facilitates seamless coordination between development, IT operations, quality engineering and data security teams to enhance their Salesforce system with minimal interruption to their operations. DevOps harnesses automation to reduce the duration of development lifecycles significantly, allowing firms to fulfill their rapidly changing requirements in an effective manner.
A Salesforce DevOps initiative (or for that matter, any DevOps project) leverages various proven methods to ensure hassle-free software improvements. One of the most important and widely used methods is Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment/Delivery (CD). Today, we will examine a typical Salesforce CI/CD workflow, in detail. Let’s begin by trying to understand what CI is.
Continuous Integration (CI)
CI is a fully-automated DevOps process that facilitates continuous deployment (CD); it allows organizations to integrate code from multiple Salesforce development teams automatically to enable a complete software release. Each code commit is thoroughly verified by an automated mechanism, and this helps identify issues very early in the development lifecycle.
Most agile methodologies use CI – a development team works on new features and commits its modifications to a version control system. After integrating the modifications, a build is executed along with the work of other development teams. This helps businesses understand how the code generated by all development teams works, allowing the organizations to suggest changes without delay.
A typical Salesforce CI is made up of the following steps.
Step 1: Members of the development team import the revised code into their systems.
Step 2: After developing the new capabilities of the Salesforce system, they commit the changes to a shared repository.
Step 3: The CI server keeps a close watch on the repository and ensures recompiling when a new code is committed.
Step 4: Comprehensive unit and integration checks are carried out on the recompiled code.
Step 5: Once the checks are completed, the teams are informed of the results; they can pinpoint and provide resolutions to bugs rapidly.
From this point, the Salesforce DevOps project moves to continuous delivery or continuous deployment. The two processes share many features in common but differ in a key aspect. But before we look at the difference, let’s see what continuous delivery is all about.
Continuous delivery enables firms to perform all kinds of modifications – addition of new capabilities, configuration enhancements, resolution of bugs – into the production environment after receiving the right approvals. The firms can build, test and release at short intervals with minimal effort and expenditure.
A key element that makes continuous delivery critical to the successful execution of a Salesforce DevOps initiative is the need for approval before moving the changes to production. The code is tested automatically at various levels, but an approval from an authorized person is required as the last step of the project.
Organizations in sectors such as healthcare and banking and finance, which need to comply with stringent regulatory norms need to check the stability and the structure of their projects prior to release to ensure absolute data security and full compliance to the norms.
A typical Salesforce continuous delivery workflow is made up of the below listed 6 steps; these 6 steps are also found in continuous deployment, along with various other steps.
Step 1: Verify the build status – if it’s not successful, then you resolve the problems with the build before you submit a new code.
Step 2: Ensure proper submission of any required changes to the code repository.
Step 3: Verify the build status again – if successful, ensure proper rebasing of your personal work system to the configuration.
Step 4: Execute the build and test it in a local environment to check whether the enhancement functions as intended.
Step 5: If the enhancement works as desired, check in the newly-developed code.
Step 6: Complete CI with the new modifications.
Till this point, the steps involved in continuous delivery and continuous deployment are the same. In continuous delivery, the last step of deploying the enhancement is carried out manually after receiving an approval from an authorized person.
We’ll now look at the additional steps involved in continuous deployment.
As seen earlier, the first six steps discussed above are common to continuous delivery and continuous deployment; in continuous delivery, the final act of deploying the system enhancement is done manually after receiving an approval. However, in the case of continuous deployment, the approval stage doesn’t exist. Instead, the entire process of releasing the enhancement up to the point of production is automated. In other words, all changes that pass a series of pre-defined automated tests are automatically deployed to the production environment.
Continuous deployment is ideal for organizations that need to ensure very fast release cycles and need not cater to stringent regulatory requirements. However, it should be borne in mind these companies must develop comprehensive automated tests to validate every aspect of their software systems. This is essential to identify and fix bugs with high efficacy and prevent failure of the systems.
Having looked at the Salesforce continuous deployment workflow, I’d like to conclude by saying the CI/CD process enables organizations to update their CRM systems rapidly to meet their ever-evolving requirements effectively. The CI/CD process helps the companies to improve their efficiency considerably and ensure significantly faster time-to-market. At Solunus, we help businesses design and implement a robust Salesforce CI/CD system to help them get the best ROI on their DevOps initiative. Our rich experience working with organizations of all sizes in diverse sectors coupled with a strong focus on understanding your unique needs allows us to deliver the best solution to meet the needs.
Hope you liked this post. How do you use the CI/CD process to implement your Salesforce DevOps projects? We’d love to know.
Solunus is a dedicated Salesforce partner organization, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. Our unrelenting focus on comprehending the unique needs of our clients coupled with our unrivaled expertise of the Salesforce platform enables us to deliver the perfect solutions that create the best value for IT and business analytics firms.