Salesforce CI/CD Best Practices: Build, Run & Test
You can increase productivity, improve code quality and achieve faster releases by integrating CI/CD DevOps practices with your Salesforce development. Salesforce DevOps leads to 46x more deployments, 2555x shorter lead times, 8x fewer change failures and 96x faster recovery times. However, many organizations encounter some growing pains in the shift to DevOps. Following Salesforce CI/CD best practices will de-risk your adoption of CI/CD strategies — ensuring stricter controls, comprehensive testing and a culture of continuous delivery.
Solid CI/CD practices are especially crucial for Salesforce development. The more you rely on your Salesforce pipeline for critical operations, the more important it is to maintain control over your codebase and push necessary features without disruption. CI/CD can help achieve better levels of control — but only if the organization fully commits to a new DevOps philosophy.
Follow these Salesforce CI/CD best practices to improve your DevOps maturity and maintain control over a constantly changing Salesforce ecosystem.
Salesforce CI/CD Best Practices Increase Control and Simplify Commits
Today, many organizations are using Salesforce as the backbone of their technology stack. Salesforce’s low-code environment empowers administrators to make necessary changes to their operational pipeline. However, the low-code environment also leads to a multitude of branching commits from a large body of low-code developers across the business.
CI/CD best practices can help organizations achieve greater levels of control over their technology stack, through iterative processes and continuous testing. For example, Lash Group was like many organizations: 100s of developers working on Salesforce simultaneously, all using traditional waterfall methodology and tracking deployments in spreadsheets. The lack of agility and transparency meant they could only deploy releases every 3 to 4 months. With a new DevOps mindset and platform, they were able to increase production deployments by 4x within six months, move from waterfall to agile and adopt sandbox branching.
While CI/CD is useful no matter where you develop, Salesforce’s configurable nature, mission-critical processes and constant updates make CI/CD particularly crucial:
- Continuous Integration (CI). To reduce the risk of conflicts, overwrites and disruption, teams need support to merge and consolidate all metadata into the live Salesforce environment.
- Continuous Deployment(CD). To avoid large or critical failures changes should deploy to the Salesforce platform in small, frequent cycles. However, more releases make collaboration and coordination more complicated.
CI/CD processes lead to improved releases, fewer disruptions and greater agility. Tighter development processes lead to more responsive, user-driven designs — and a more manageable Salesforce ecosystem.
The following CI/CD best practices make it easier for organizations to adopt a CI/CD philosophy and apply it to their Salesforce pipeline.
1. Commit Frequently
Commit frequently and in small batches. Tiny, manageable commits are central to the iterative process. Get better feedback and use principles like INVEST to ensure changes reduce risk and generate returns faster. When commits become larger, they become unwieldy and more likely to experience critical failure. In addition, large builds run the risk of over-committing resources. Whether it's a Salesforce update or changing business needs, businesses need agility to respond in time. Small, frequent commits are the foundation of the iterative process.
2. Enforce Strict Version Control
For successful CI/CD, you need a way to record changes over time. Version control helps your teams collaborate and make changes without creating chaos. In low-code environments such as Salesforce, managing version control becomes even more important. The more hands touching the system, the stricter version control must be. Everyone involved needs a shared source of truth: your pipelines and the data you’ve committed. You also need controls to enforce who can deploy changes from lower environments to higher ones, from QA all the way up to production. The best platforms offer one-click commits and automated version control — so Salesforce administrators don’t need to worry about what’s under the hood. Version control also lays the foundation for DevOps visibility because everyone can see who made changes, when. With dashboards, even non-coders can keep track of progress.
3. Test Live and Test Often
Overcome Salesforce testing challenges through automated, AI-driven testing. The CI/CD process relies on testing to ensure the stability of the system. Developers can first deploy their commits to Salesforce sandbox environments for critical unit testing — from there, they can push their commits to the live production environment. For stable Salesforce deployments, tests should work both in Salesforce and across all your integrations. Automated end-to-end testing in UAT and staging environments ensures each deployment is stable, building a solid foundation for each subsequent commit.
4. Create a DevOps Culture
Although CI/CD tools can lay the foundation, you need more than tools to optimize software development. DevOps principles will help you change your organizational culture to get the most out of CI/CD. However, to implement DevOps successfully, you need leadership buy-in to make lasting cultural changes. Start by assessing your current DevOps capabilities to see where you should focus your efforts. Automation and smoother pipelines won’t make a difference unless your enterprise culture is ready to capitalize on the benefits.
Embrace Salesforce CI/CD Best Practices with Copado
With Copado, the #1 DevOps solution for Salesforce, organizations are able to leverage pre-built Salesforce integrations to drive their digital transformation. Copado reduces the time to deploy a user story from 15 days to 0.7 days, increasing the speed of user story deployment by 80-95%. Better visibility and automated processes allow teams to focus on improving their Salesforce pipeline.
With a DevOps solution built on and for Salesforce, your organization can surmount Salesforce testing challenges and enforce CI/CD best practices.