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Copado Continuous Delivery for #AwesomeAdmins

Written by
Jen Nelson
Table of contents

About six months ago, I was hacked. Why, you ask? I was hacked because no one had ever told me that, I, Jen Nelson, #AwesomeAdmin, was actually a part of something bigger – the DevOps Process!

All along, I had been:

  • Tracking Functional and Technical Requirements
  • Backing up my Sandboxes with either a 3rd-party Tool or creating Clones
  • Running my Apex Tests and Manual Smoke Tests
  • Building my Change Sets
  • Validating my Change Sets
  • Deploying my Change Sets
  • Doing Post-Deployment “Shakeouts”

Unfortunately, I was doing all of my DevOps Process in siloed tools – Excel, Quip, SmartSheet and home-grown Apps.  I was not as efficient as I should have been, and I was far too open to the possibility of errors, even though I was personally working very hard and being very thorough.

Furthermore, although I was tightly collaborating with other Resources, such as Project Managers, Developers and QA Team Members, each of them had their own siloed tools, most of which I did not have access to, nor they to each other’s tools.

Then, Copado found me, and I learned all about the Top 10 Copado Features for #AwesomeAdmins and I realized just how involved in DevOps I actually was.

Copado brings all DevOps Resources into a centralized DevOps Platform that is built 100% native to Salesforce, has Agile Planning, Git for Version Control, Merge Conflict Resolution, a whole array of Quality Gates to ensure that our Metadata Changes are of high quality, Pre- and Post-Deployment Steps, Back Promotions to keep lower environments in sync and over 50 out-of-the-box Reports and Dashboards for monitoring.

But, as I often say in Demos, “It gets even better!”

Let me introduce you to Copado Continuous Delivery (CCD)

First, let’s level-set on what exactly Continuous Delivery means and how it applies to us, the #AwesomeAdmins.

If you search for “Continuous Delivery” you will find many different websites devoted to “CD/CDE” or its relatives “Continuous Integration (CI)” and “Continuous Deployment” (acronym is also CD by the way – don’t you just love technology acronyms?!), but I cannot seem to find one global authority, so, for my understanding, I give credit to Jez Humble and his Blog, as I believe he best sums up the “what” of Continuous Delivery:

“Continuous Delivery is the ability to get changes of all types—including new features, configuration changes, bug fixes and experiments—into production, or into the hands of users, safely and quickly in a sustainable way.”

As #AwesomeAdmins, we are constantly in flux to balance:

  • Getting new features in the hands of our Users
  • Getting config changes, enhancements and updates in the hands of our Users
  • Resolving bugs for our Users
  • Proving out new Use Cases and Functionality to our Users

And, co-mingled with all 4 of these bullets, we make every effort to ensure that all we deliver to our Users is complete, is working as expected, has met a need and is completed in a timely manner.  Oh, yes, and our flux typically spans about 20 – 30 new features, enhancements/updates, bug fixes and experiments at any given time.

Copado’s Winter ‘20 Release introduced some truly amazing CI/CD Enhancements that will allow us, the #AwesomeAdmins, as well as our fellow DevOps Team Members, to deliver our changes to Production in a quick, safe and sustainable way! (Hey, I’ve heard that somewhere before!)

CCD Connection Behaviors

Connection Behaviors allow us to take our Pipeline to a whole new level.  For each Upper Environment to all of its Lower Environments, or even at each discrete Connection between one Lower and one Upper Environment, we can now take our Pipeline from the default Manual behavior, using our Pipeline Manager, to Automated behavior that is either immediate or via a Scheduled Job.

Say, for example, we have 4 Dev Sandboxes that feed into UAT and Production, and we have a Hotfix Environment hanging off of Production.

Our Devs and Admins are each working on different pieces of our metadata in their own Sandboxes, as we would expect when following our DevOps Best Practices, but there is some upstream-downstream impact of the work in each Dev Sandbox on the changes that are being made in the sibling Dev Sandboxes.  

Our faithful Release Manager, Terry, has been logging in around 7pm every night to Back Promote changes pushed to UAT back down into the sibling Dev Sandboxes so that everyone remains in sync, but our Devs and Admins are moving so quickly that the Back Promotions are needed sooner and more frequently.  

Terry has even started using Mass Back Promote to sync all 4 Dev Sandboxes to UAT at one time, which makes the process much faster for Terry at 7pm, but doesn’t solve the challenge for the 4 Admins and Devs who have to wait until 7pm to get everyone else’s changes for the day.

Then Terry saw this great video on YouTube: Copado Continuous Delivery

In just a few simple steps Terry became a hero by setting the Connection behavior for UAT so that all User Stories promoted into UAT, regardless of which Dev Sandbox they promoted up from, will Automatically Back Promote into the other 3 Dev Sandboxes!

Step 1. Enable Change Data Capture

Enable Change Data Capture on User Stories and Promotions in Salesforce Setup

Step 2. Click the Shield Icon on an Upper Environment (here, UAT)

Navigate to the Copado Pipeline Manager and click Configure Pipeline; then click the shield icon on UAT to open the Environment Connection Behavior for UAT

Step 3. Update the Connection’s Back Promotion Behavior from Manual to Automated and Save

Ahhh, but guess what?  Yes, it’s true…”It gets even better!”

CCD Metadata Groups

With Copado, you can configure your own Metadata Groups, basically your own unique categorization of key Metadata Types; then, within your CCD configuration, Copado allows you to associate Quality Gates to each Metadata Group.  

Give the Group a Name, then add any Metadata Components to the Metadata Group.

As an example, on the Metadata Group shown below, we have created a Group called “Apex Classes and Triggers” and we have defined this Group to include Metadata Types ApexClass and ApexTrigger.

Click here to read more about Metadata Groups.

CCD Quality Gates

Within Copado CCD, we also have the opportunity, on any Connection Behavior, to add Quality Gates to be enforced for specific Metadata Groups on our forward Deployments.  This ensures that key Quality Gates for key Metadata Types are not overlooked and our Metadata is of high quality before it moves to the next Salesforce Environment.

Within our CCD Metadata Groups and our CCD Connection Behaviors, we can add any of our standard Quality Gates:

Click here to read more about Quality Gates.

Copado Continuous Delivery – Bring it all Together

Fast-forward and our DevOps Team has been humming along nicely with Terry’s Automation of the Back Promotions from UAT to keep all of our Developer Sandboxes in sync.

Now, our DevOps Team is ready to take CCD to the next level and they have asked Terry to update the Connection Behaviors between the Dev1, Dev2 and Dev4 Sandboxes and UAT, so that, any time a DevOps Resource submits their User Story for Promotion from one of these 3 Sandboxes, the User Story is Automatically Deployed forward to UAT and, if the User Story includes Apex Classes/Apex Triggers, two important Quality Gates will be automatically triggered and must successfully pass before the automated forward Deployment occurs:

  • Apex Test Classes / Code Coverage
  • Static Code Analysis

Terry wants to keep the forward Deployments from UAT to Production running through the Release Manager so there will not be any edits made to that Connection Behavior.  

Additionally, the DevOps Resource in Dev3 is not ready to have their User Stories Auto-Deploy just yet, so the Team has agreed that the Dev3 Resource will simply use the standard “Promote & Deploy” checkbox on the User Story, as is occurring today.

To allow this flexibility across the Team, Terry can click on the shield icon of a discrete connection, say between Dev4 and UAT as shown below, to configure the discrete Connection Behavior:

Within the discrete Connection Behavior, Terry will update both the forward Deployment Behavior and the Back Promotion Behavior to be Automated:

Then, as a final step, at the bottom of the discrete Connection Behavior, Terry will add the two Quality Gates, both for Metadata Group “Apex Classes and Triggers”:

Terry has now reached Mega-Hero status amongst our DevOps Team, the Team’s Release Velocity is more frequent and our Business Users’ confidence in the Quality of the Team’s Metadata Changes remains high.

Want to learn more about Copado Continuous Delivery (CCD)?

To learn more about Copado Continuous Delivery, we encourage you to explore these additional Resources:

Want to join the Team?

Book a demo

About The Author

Director, Product Enablement

Jen Nelson is a 20-year veteran of the Salesforce ecosystem, a current Salesforce MVP Hall of Fame member and has 30+ years experience in DevOps. Jen has been with Copado for 4 years and is the Director of Product Technical Enablement.

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