The 5 Easiest Ways to Manage Salesforce Continuous Integration

Having the right tools for the job is a must, especially when it comes to Salesforce deployment. Continuous integration — also known as continuous delivery — is an automated process that allows developers and admins to push changes out continuously using a source control solution and CI server like ClickDeploy. The process involves automated tests that ensure continuous safe deployment, which means a better product and a happier team.

Because CI means faster releases and fewer bugs, it reduces costs and increases customer satisfaction. Code can go live immediately, rather than gathering dust in the sandbox. Freeing up time that would otherwise be spent doing manual deployments also allows developers to focus on innovating new features. And, because everything done manually introduces human error, the automated testing component of CI means that new code launches seamlessly every time. This means that both businesses and developers can have more confidence in the software they produce.

Historically, CI has been challenging for Salesforce development because of the company’s emphasis on “clicks, not code.” The Ant migration tool and change sets are also manual and therefore difficult to fit into a typical CI pipeline. Since 2016, Salesforce has offered DX, a set of command line and API-based tools that make CI more attainable, but the implementation process can be cumbersome. Using an additional tool like ClickDeploy can help you navigate CI implementation much more smoothly.

Five Ways to Manage Salesforce Continuous Integration

To implement and manage continuous integrations simply and easily, follow these Salesforce deployment best practices. They provide a roadmap to seamless automation, rapid deployment with minimal errors, and test-driven development that will optimize your Salesforce release experience.

All of these best practices are focused around constant commits and automated building as the key to CI, emphasizing early integrations that make collaboration among developers easier and faster than in the normal development cycle. Through constant, real-time micro-adjustments, you can avoid major code reworking and rebuilding, ensuring rapid and smooth deployments.

Centralize

Continuous integration requires code to be, well, integrated. To make sure all of your code is working together as it should, avoid branching and merge any necessary branches back into the main code baseline. ClickDeploy centralizes all metadata across teams, allowing for version control and backup so you can see changes in real time, all at a glance. It eliminates multiple deployment iterations and provides full visibility of the metadata differences between environments, enabling the change review process to be conducted easily prior to each deployment.

Automate, automate, automate

The beauty of CI is in automation. It allows for seamless Salesforce release management and minimizes the chance of errors. For best results, use CI tools to build and test code automatically. ClickDeploy is one of the best tools for managing the automation process because it allows for blazing fast metadata selection and deployment of metadata types beyond those supported by change sets. It also lets you clone and reuse inbound change sets in a single click — no more manual rebuilding. Code conflicts are also detected automatically, facilitating integration for teams, and eliminating the need for installations or scriptings when implementing CI.

Build transparency into teams

The best CI features a central code repository to which everyone on a team commits frequently. Constant commits ensure consistency across the team and make it more likely that a developer’s code will reflect all other changes made to the code repository. Testers should also have global access to builds so they can detect any failures early. Developers should also have global access to the sandbox so they can rework code quickly when necessary and keep the workflow moving. With ClickDeploy, you can see code commits in real time across teams, allowing for line-by-line code review and optimal workflow.

Play well in the sandbox

A key component of successful CI is catching errors early so that deployments occur quickly and effectively. The testing environment should either be a direct copy or as close to the production environment as possible. It should also contain a complete set of data that is approximate to production.

ClickDeploy allows you to clone existing deployments, and there’s no need to jump around different sandboxes — if you fail to deploy, you can just fix the error and deploy again. In code development, it’s not whether you fail but how you fail (and recover) that matters, and ClickDeploy makes the testing and rebuilding process as effortless as possible so you can move forward and start improving business practices right away.

Get on the cloud

To lower costs and speed up production, move as much building into the cloud as possible. ClickDeploy is fully cloud-based, meaning you can access it from anywhere and it’s always up to date. There’s also nothing to install, reducing overhead and freeing up storage space on your devices.

Try ClickDeploy for Fast and Intuitive CI

If you’re looking for a more elegant solution for your CI processes, you can demo a three-week free trial of ClickDeploy. Customers call ClickDeploy “A must have tool for any user who has deployments in day to day work.” They offer a full spectrum of deployment capabilities, from org-to-org migration to full source control and continuous integration. You will be able to release changes faster, and with fewer errors, spending less time on deployment and more time delivering business value for your customers.

Companies and organizations like AllCloud, Celebrite, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Maryland — among many others — use ClickDeploy’s full range of deployment capabilities to optimize their business processes. ClickDeploy’s fast and intuitive user experience (UX) allows Salesforce consultant teams to begin reaping the many benefits of CI extremely quickly, and with virtually no learning curve. Sign up for a free trial and see what ClickDeploy’s source control and continuous delivery can do for your business.