Today is the day that thousands of Salesforce professionals around the world have been waiting for – the announcement that the Salesforce DevOps Center has become generally available.
This announcement will change the way Salesforce features are deployed across development environments forever, bringing a fresh new perspective on how releases should be managed.
Salesforce DevOps Center
The Salesforce DevOps Center was initially announced at TrailheaDX back in June 2020, it’s also one of the most requested products of all time.
At its heart, the DevOps Center is a tool to help teams release technology faster. It allows you to move changes between Salesforce development environments using features such as visual development pipelines, source control using GitHub, and automatic change tracking for your environments.
The DevOps Center is an overdue replacement for Salesforce Change Sets – the standard, declarative way to move changes between Salesforce environments.
Whilst change sets can get the job done, they do not allow for Salesforce development teams to follow modern DevOps best practices, using tools, or practices such as Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD).
As Salesforce implementations grow more complex, and organizations wish to see more value out of their orgs, this has made way for a large ecosystem of Salesforce DevOps AppExchange apps over the past few years. The DevOps Center is therefore an important step forward to democratize modern deployment best practices for Salesforce development teams.
DevOps Center Key Features
Out of the box, DevOps Center provides various impressive features to allow you to start your DevOps journey right away. The product will also introduce new concepts to Salesforce professionals that will enable them to start following DevOps best practices.
Let’s take a look at some of the key features of DevOps Center.
Work Items: Introducing a new object to track the changes you are making. Work items will include the metadata items that are pushing through environments. But, unlike change sets, work items are created once, and pushed through the pipeline stages.
Automated Change Tracking: As development teams make changes in their sandboxes, DevOps Center will automatically track the changes, meaning you have total transparency into which items need promoting through environments.
Pipelines: Prior to DevOps Center, Salesforce did not provide a way to define the pipeline of development environments. Now teams can create customized pipelines with their desired method of promoting changes.
Source Control: Source/Version control is a core part of modern DevOps best practices. Teams using DevOps center can now integrate with GitHub source control, with full visibility of who changed what (and when). The integration is done through the DevOps Center interface, meaning deep knowledge of source control tools isn’t required.
Deploy Changes: Once you’re satisfied with changes, DevOps Center provides an easy way to view your entire development pipeline and bundle, and migrate changes from one stage to another – all using clicks, not code.
Why Salesforce DevOps?
Depending on the size of Salesforce implementations you are used to working with, you may or may not have experienced the pain points that have led to Salesforce releasing the DevOps Center.
The goal for any Salesforce development team, whether you are a solo admin or part of a team of 50, is to provide as much value to their users and organization as possible. Building new features, enhancing existing processes, and deploying as frequently as possible, with minimal bugs and disruption to users.
If you are part of that team of 50, with multiple development environments (Dev, QA, UAT, Prod), managing changes, ensuring features aren’t overwritten, and using change sets to manage the entire deployment process can be a real headache.
This is further impacted due to the current economic climate. Organizations will want to suck as much value out of their Salesforce investment as possible, therefore, solving deployment issues is a top priority.
“Businesses are facing economic headwinds, creating tension between speed-to-value and the security of the application lifecycle across sales, service, marketing, commerce, and IT. CIOs and their teams must help their companies do more with the tools and resources at their disposal.”– Karen Fidelak, Senior Director of Product Management, Salesforce
In their official announcement, Salesforce also shared that, during its open beta period, 12,428 unique active users have been deploying a change on average every nine minutes – a great step in the right direction for more frequent changes using CI/CD best practices.
Salesforce DevOps Center is now Generally Available, meaning that it is ready to be set up in your Salesforce org today. Simply head over to Setup and type DevOps into the search bar to find the setup instructions.
For more detail about the DevOps Center and all the features that come with it, check out our post “Salesforce DevOps Center: A Deeper Dive” for more information.
The release of the DevOps Center is a huge step forward for Salesforce and its customers who will get free access to this tool.
Alongside the actual technology, Salesforce customers who want to properly adopt DevOps Center will need to start implementing processes, as well as a certain mindset that comes with modern development best practices.
In my opinion, this isn’t just a step forward for organizations that will start to see more value delivered from their implementations, it’s a step forward for Salesforce professionals who will start to practice DevOps as a concept, and add an additional skill set to their repertoire.