Salesforce Deployment Best Practices
  • 11 Nov 2022
  • 6 Minutes to read
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Salesforce Deployment Best Practices

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You'll probably make a lot of enhancements to your Salesforce instance over time to keep it running smoothly and improve its overall functionality. Some of these changes will be subtle yet significant, such as minor improvements to current functionality, while others, such as new application development initiatives, will be greater in scope.

The deployment is the one element that all of these changes have in common. Deployment is the final stage of any Salesforce project, and it's when the modifications you've made to your instance go live. There's a lot riding on this final stage, so make sure you're doing everything you can to make your Salesforce deployment run as smoothly as possible. As a result, we've compiled a list of Salesforce implementation best practices to assist you. But before that, let's talk about deployment and various Salesforce deployment methods:-

What is Deployment in Salesforce?

The process through which developers deploy applications, modules, updates, and patches to users is known as deployment. Developers' methods for developing, testing, and releasing new code have an impact on how quickly and well a product adapts to changes in customer preferences or requirements.

A Salesforce org is a unique version of Salesforce for a specific tenant, containing their data and configuration (a customer’s implementation of Salesforce). Org is an abbreviation for an organization. Org, organization, and environment are used interchangeably.

Different Deployment methods

Salesforce provides us with multiple ways to deploy changes including:

Force.com / Eclipse

Many Salesforce developers utilize the Force.com IDE, which is an Eclipse plugin. It can synchronize changes between any Salesforce Organizations, however, the user experience is poor. Windows hangs and crashes if there are more than fifty or so components.

Limitations: 

  1. Terrible User Experience; hangs and crashes on windows
  2. All dependencies should be manually added.
  3. Does allow destructive changes, but the process is quite tedious.

ChangeSets

Changesets migrate metadata using a point-and-click tool rather than XML files or scripts. The procedure is straightforward and painless for the most part. The most significant downside of changesets is that they are not available in all Salesforce editions; for example, developer orgs cannot use changesets. This means that Salesforce AppExchange Partner (ISV) can't use Sandboxes because they don't usually have access to them.

Limitations:

  1. Only Salesforce organizations that are connected can migrate (like Developer Sandbox to Test Sandbox & Test Sandbox to Production organization etc.). It is not applicable to any Salesforce organization.
  2. Doesn’t allow destructive changes.

Force.com Migration Tool

The Force.com Migration Tool makes use of ANT and a custom jar file to update changes across any Salesforce Org with API access. Essentially, it works by transferring metadata from a local directory to a Salesforce Org. Because ant is a command-line utility, deployments can be scripted.

Limitations: 

  1. Manual editing of XML files is required, which increases time overhead and possibilities or errors.
  2. All dependencies must be manually added.

Salesforce Deployment- Best Practices

Consider the following deployment best practices to alleviate deployment's reputation as the riskiest stage of the Salesforce implementation:

Before Deployment

  • Do plan everything in advance: When you're working with numerous sandboxes at once, having a plan is really vital. In such a scenario, the plan informs everyone about what will happen and when it will happen, while also holding the actors responsible for initiating and implementing changes accountable.
  • Don’t develop in production: A sandbox is a secure environment where you can test programs and build them out before deploying them. For the most accurate and best results, make sure your sandbox is a true replica/copy of the production environment. Some people develop directly in the production environment, avoiding the requirement for deployment. It saves time and money, but it's only suitable for organizations with minimal adaptations that don't necessitate IT assistance or additional development and staging environments.
  • Do a Full Export and take backup: Before deploying, do a complete backup/export of the production data. If something goes wrong, you'll want to be sure your data is safe, so make a backup before making any major changes.
    Version management solutions like Git, TFS, or Subversion are great for capturing the state of an organization's codebase from release to release. If you don't have a version control system, having a backup copy of your current production environment allows you to quickly revert to the previous system.
  • Thoroughly Test End-to-end: Testing is an important step in ensuring a successful Salesforce implementation and a good user experience. It's a good idea to conduct tests before, during, and after the deployment. You can use the Apex testing framework to design and run unit tests to guarantee that Apex code is of high quality and meets all of the requirements for deployment, ensuring that: 
    • Apex classes and triggers work as intended
    • Code coverage is at least 75%
    • Apps going to production are of high quality.
  • Implement code version tracking: Version Controlhelps you to track and document all changes at every stage of the development cycle, which provides: 
    • A single source of truth for all team members so that they can access a detailed change history
    • Parallel development streams with the possibility to deploy different code versions across development stages 
    • Notifications about code conflicts
    • Continuous integration and delivery
      Because Salesforce sandbox development allows for only limited version tracking, many Salesforce development teams opt for a Git-based version control system, which has quickly become the industry standard.
  • Create a release management strategy: Developers must plan and control their deployments when working in different environments (development, staging, and production). A proper release management plan is required for developer teams in order to maintain good governance and run smooth deployments.
  • Follow CI/CD practices: Practices like CI/CD help to speed up releases while also allowing for some flexibility and improvisation. Continuous integration and merging allow developers to reduce the number of bugs and dependency issues, and if any remain, they will be smaller and easier to resolve. As a result, you may deliver new features as soon as they've been built and tested, rather than having to wait for them to be released all at once.
  • Disable Triggers and Rules: Deactivate any rules, workflow rules, validation rules, flows, or process builders that may have an impact on modifications or prevent them from being deployed properly. Make a note of anything you've disabled so you can revive it once the deployment is done.

After Deployment

  • Test your changes: Is everything working as it should? Are you able to complete all processes to your satisfaction? Are your workflows and validation rules up to snuff?
  • Activate Workflows: Activate any new validation rules, Process Builders, or workflows that were not active or deactivated at the time of deployment.

What can AutoRABIT do for you?

AutoRABIT’s release management solution automates deployment management. Salesforce org owners and administrative staff can be rest assured that they will deliver the fastest and safest transfer of newly developed functionality for their Salesforce orgs. 

With AutoRABIT’s Deployment Automation delivers the ability to:

  • Transfer validation rules, custom objects, new fields, apex codes, and many other components from development to a live production instance.
  • Flexible CI/CD workflow across the tools starting from user stories, version control, and sandbox deployments.
  • AutoRABIT’s one-click deployment ensures metadata changes are easily deployed to multiple environments.
  • Deploy changes directly from your Salesforce org or version control system
  • Select specific metadata types to be deployed.
  • Rollback to remediate coding errors or unintended data overwrites.
  • Easy-to-understand deployment logs for future analysis
  • Prevent deployments from failing by automatically removing any components that do not exist in the destination org.
  • Generate reports to validate a successful deployment

AutoRABIT supports a variety of deployment types, some of them are: 

  • Sandbox-to-Sandbox deployments
  • Deployments using AutoRABIT builds
  • Deployments using Package.xml files
  • Deployments using a previously deployed build into a new destination
  • Deployments using Version Control Revision Number

Conclusion

Deploying from one Salesforce org to another is always challenging, time-consuming, and requires substantial effort. As can be seen, each of the above-mentioned Salesforce deployment solutions has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the proper tool can result in a more efficient and dependable deployment process.


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