SalesforceDevOps Version Control and Release Management – A Quick Overview

by Alexander Griffin

The Salesforce DevOps process is a practice that deals with software development where two different teams of developers and operators are unified. These teams are essential for the management of two unique sides of the organization’s system. To ensure that the company has a healthy software engineering practice, a lot depends upon how these teams are unified. 

The deployment frequency is quicker, and the business has a strong alignment with its company’s objectives. When this unification is done correctly, the practices in the Salesforce DevOps process become more reliable, and the applications can be released faster in the market. When they are not practiced well, DevOps has the scope of bringing the company completely down on its knees, causing tremendous confusion, downtime, and loss of valuable data. 

Version control in Salesforce 

Version control and release management in Salesforce are essential tools that ensure every company maintains a healthy Salesforce practice. To understand version control, you need to understand the application lifecycle management or the ALM process. It refers to the software application process that it undergoes from development to its release. If you look at it from a birdseye view, it appears to be a linear process, but in reality, it is a circular one that starts before its development and goes back after its deployment in a circular form. The stages generally include-

The stages that have the maximum interaction between the operator and the development teams are the deployment and requirement phases. It is the stage where you also need to have adequate salesforce DevOps training in order to use the native tools offered by its platform. The first of these tools is version control, and it relates to the process of development of keeping track of all the changes done to an application while it undergoes several rounds of the ALM. 

In order to understand it better, take a look at the following example that Salesforce offers on its native platform when it comes to version control-

If you have worked with the Flow Builder or the Process Builder, then you have already used version control in your company without even knowing about it. Assume you have a problem, and you begin to discuss the requirements of a solution. You should decide to build a process by deploying the Process Builder, making the process, and testing it with some records. These tests have gone well, so you now wish to deploy it into the production org and evaluate its user feedback. The above is an example of how you have just completed the first ALM of your new software application. 

It is the next week, and a representative from the sales department calls you and thanks to you for the new application that is working great. However, to make it more functional, you have to add some new features to it. It means there are some new needs, and this is where you begin your second lifecycle of the application. 

Understanding Release Management 

Release management in Salesforce controls how a new version of the application is released into the production org. If the release method is not right, this leads to partial deployments where just a part of what has been developed is deployed. It is bound to create havoc on any system. The operators need to be able to control the sequence and time in which different software applications and their versions are released into the production environments. Salesforce has some standard native tools to help them with the process. 

Managed Packages and Changesets In Salesforce 

There are two primary tools for release management. They are managed packages and changesets. When it comes to choosing which one of these tools to use, this choice depends upon the destination and nature of the software application being made. Changesets are useful when developers have made an application to be transferred from a sandbox to any related organization like the production org. of a company; via changesets, metadata can be transferred easily from one organization to another in a streamlined process. There are no complications involved at all. 

The application should be initially packaged to a changeset by the developer in the source organization for transferring new software applications via changesets. Once it has been compiled, this changeset needs to be pushed to the targeted organization. It waits in a queue for its deployment. 

The operator from the production side will review the changeset and carry out the necessary tests to confirm its readiness before deployment. If these tests fail, the failures are communicated to the team of developers so that necessary modifications are made, and you can push the changes again to the changeset. 

Once the changeset passes all of the above tests, the team can deploy it to production and start monitoring users’ feedback. However, you should note that while changesets are beneficial, they entail time-consuming and manual processes. It is why developers look for Salesforce deployment tools to help them carry out application lifecycle management seamlessly without hassles. 

If the application is built more for sale or organizations unrelated to the development organization, then you cannot use the changesets, and managed packages become the primary release management tool. 

An Overview of Managed Packages 

When it comes to managed packages, they function similarly, like changesets in the same way they get packaged by the team of developers; however, the transfer method here is different. They are stored inside a location and can be accessed via a URL. From this URL, the software application can be downloaded in the production organization. If any changes need to be made to this application, they can be done vis updates that can be installed like any other software program. 

When it comes to understanding Salesforce DevOps, you must understand that it is neither a person nor a process. It is more of a practice. Both version control and release management are salient tools in DevOps; however, other essential components also go a long way in the proper management of software applications.

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