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Some Best Practices to Follow in Salesforce Version Control System

by Soft2share.com

Salesforce admins are always confused about the best practices to be followed in Salesforce version control. However, when this question arises, the Salesforce community also seems to struggle a bit to give a clear-cut answer to this. The question is sometimes straight as to why Salesforce should not have version control? However, the available data shows a totally different picture of researching it. Even the top organizations aren’t using version control, but relying on Sandboxes for the development teams to maintain their codes and configurations.

Primarily, version control is a centralized system that keeps all the records involved in the process and tracks all the documents, programs, or other forms of information collections. At the base level, every version control system may have two components as:

  1. A Repository – which is a database contains all the edits stored in different ‘versions.’
  2. A working copy – This is the personal copy of an individual with relevant files — this repository stores all the update versions.

With these components, version control help to manage the workflow between the base repository and the working copy.

While asked about the significance of such a process being followed, there were only very few reasons to defend any breach. Compiling these, the most common answer is found to be that smaller teams don’t need any version control as Sandbox acts as the source of truth.

Is Salesforce DX a solution?

However, on thinking further, the real problem may be more deeply rooted considering the way how Salesforce got structured as a configuration-driven functionality suite. Salesforce tried to address this problem now with the new release of Salesforce DX, which gives some results pockets; however, implementation of DX with version control remains a largely unexplored area to date. Based on many, the root of this problem still remains the lack of automation tooling around the code promotion.

If such tools are not present, the developers who are developing Sandbox and then move codes to different environments may face more challenges. Another major question is how to solve this problem and bring more engineering hygiene to the ecosystem. In order to solve it, we first need to take a more scientific approach towards implementing the Salesforce version control. This will not only provide further guidelines but may also help in implementing the appropriate version control tools.

Some companies offer the best toolsets and Salesforce version control system, which helps in:

Automatic governance and tracking: The distributed model of the version control system helps to track each and every revision. The developers can also create branches to work on the same components.

Run parallel releases: With version control system in place, you could stop overwriting. The toolset will help to manage various work streams and parallel releases.

Easy deployment: By enabling point and click deployment, which will make things easier for those who find it difficult to learn the GIT commands and SVN concepts.

No additional hardware requirement: There is neither additional server required nor add-on hardware. There is also no need to apply the patches.

Why is Version Control important?

If you are a seasoned developer, then the discussion above may have been enough to convince you. However, as a business leader who is trying to set up a team in order to customize Salesforce as your business tool, then it is crucial for you to really think in-depth and understand the benefits of a solid version control system in place. Let’s explore a few aspects where version control plays a crucial role.

  • Agile Development

If your development project is an agile model, then an ideal version control system may help by providing enough proof on how the code is developed, when it got developed, and who developed it, etc. All can access the code in its totality with all change records in the development team, which will help increase transparency and also help reduce dependencies.

  • Better collaboration

With a foolproof version control in place, the team members can effectively work together on one file at a time without any restrictions. This type of file management can be further merged when required. This ensures better collaboration between the team members and also multiple teams at different geographical locations.

  • Faster problem solving

Version control system helps to manage better the files, directories, and also individual changes that are made over time. Whenever a problem occurs, it becomes easier for the team members to find the root cause of it and fix the bugs instantly. Adding to it, you may also go back in time and revert the changes to an earlier version. The source code version control can also help bring more transparency and governance to the overall engineering process by making:

  • Having a change in history made visible to all.
  • Alert the developers on finding a code conflict.
  • Achieve better environment consistency through repeatable, dynamic deployments to each environment.
  • Enforcing the test classes to run in the Sandboxes so that any test class issues can be instantly discovered at the first point.
  • Let on-the-go deployments like weekly or daily, i.e., enabling continuous integration as well as delivery.
  • Make sure that the release management team can better manage the deployments.

Implementation of version control

This is a scientific process on Salesforce which has to be executed in a structured manner. The baseline source version or source code needed to be defined first. This version can be typically retrieved from production ORG. This primary step is so crucial as the developers have the habit of maintaining their latest version at different places by starting with the apt baseline version.

When it comes to large-scale projects, it is so important to make use of the version control system at best and follow all best practices across the teams, some of which include saving changes, making proper backups, using consistent naming conventions, being descriptive, define limited access to the individuals and teams, schedule file merging timely, etc. Proper usage and following version control best practices will help ensure that you get the best out of the Salesforce suite.

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