Collaborative Building and Delivery of Enterprise Apps with Salesforce DX and SF DevOps

Salesforce Developer Experience or by short Salesforce DX is a new approach to development, helping to manage apps on the latest Lightning Platform throughout the development life cycle. It helps to club the Lightning Platform best by enabling a source-driven approach to development, better governance, enterprise collaboration, and better agility in custom application development on Salesforce. Along with continuous development (CD), it also facilitates testing automation, continuous integration (CI, and continuous deployment to enhance the efficiency and agility of the application release cycles.

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The benefits of Salesforce DX are a lot more than merely a set of tools it offers. These together serve as an effective alternative to change set development and shift the actual source of truth from Org to an advanced Version Control System (VCS). It can also change the focus of development from the org development to the packaged development effectively. In this blog, we will take a sneak peek into the benefits of Salesforce DX combined with SF DevOps in enterprise application development and its various aspects, including Developer Hub, Scratch Orgs, Salesforce CLI, Metadata Format, etc. among others.

Benefits of Salesforce DX

  • Developer Hub

Dev Hub or Developer Hub is considered as the key org of Salesforce, which the software developers and enterprise development teams can effectively use to create and manage the scratch orgs. You can easily enable the Dev Hug in the Org, and alternatively, it is also possible to get a 30-day trial of Dev Hub to try out.

  • Salesforce CLI

Another critical benefit that Salesforce DX put forth is through the Salesforce CLI, which helps the traditional developers gain better control over the application lifecycle of Salesforce-based apps. Using the Salesforce CLI, one can easily create development and testing environments. Later, it is possible to synchronize the source code also between the orgs and the version control system to execute the tests also from here. You may first enable the Dev Hub in the Org. Next, add the Salesforce DX Users into the Org and install the Salesforce CLI. Ensure that you are getting the latest version of the CLI, which meets all the requirements.

  • Scratch Orgs

Scratch Org is an easily configurable, dedicated, short-term environment for Salesforce development and testing. Unlike other counterparts of it for the same purpose, Scratch org will help empower the developers to increase their productivity and do better collaboration throughout the development process. It can also facilitate an environment for testing automation and continuous integration. The developers can quickly spin up a new scratch organization while starting a new project or adding a new feature to test it using automation testing and perform the development tasks directly in the Org.

Even though these Scratch Orgs are disposable by nature, the configuration files of such scratch orgs are much stronger. Using this config file, developers can instantly configure scratch orgs with various Salesforce editions with the most needed settings and features as you want. It is also possible to share the configuration files with other teams and team members. With this, the same scratch org will be shared across the development team members to avoid replications.

Some other notable facts about scratch orgs are:

These are not meant to be simply the replications of the old sandboxes or the production orgs

– Dev Hub offers developers the ability to create scratch orgs and manage the same.

– Scratch orgs temporary Salesforce development and testing environments where you can execute bulk developmental work during source-driven development.

– Developers working on SF DevOps projects can use the Salesforce Extensions for the VS Code to open scratch org in any browser too. There Is no need for logging in.

  • Visual Studio Code

It is another powerful editor for Salesforce DX, which is easily customizable. Salesforce extensions can offer many unique features like syntax highlighting, code completion, Apex live debugging, etc. for the latest Lightning Platform. As per the Salesforce spokesperson, we can identify that Salesforce VS Code Extensions could be the future of Salesforce development. Salesforce is continually trying to make this the simplest desktop editor for the developers.

With their focus on the Visual Studio Code, now Salesforce is sailing away from the Eclipse support. Even though it is expected that IDE may receive further updates, these may be focusing more on compatibility and security. Salesforce is not likely to add any other significant features to and may deprecate it fully eventually.

  • Second-generation packaging

The 2GP or second-generation packaging will let the system integrators and customers to form the packages in an ideal source-driven developmental environment. You can easily create these packages and deploy them in Salesforce org for developing and distributing the packages to customers. You can also use such packaging to be benefited from such unique features. Salesforce CLI also puts forth some commands for the application lifecycle so that developers can work more efficiently with the scratch orgs, packages, and development processes. The options available here are:

  • Enterprise customers can organize metadata and deploy the same to production orgs
  • Offering multiple packages per each namespace to organize the source better and share the Apex code easily.
  • Ensure featured branch development and automated testing
  • Functionality is fully API-driven.
  • Packages are directly built from source
  • Ease of development and distribution of dependent packages.

However, it is advised by experts to practice caution when you are storing the secrets in 2GP using the protected custom settings or protected custom metadata. It is ideal for creating multiple 2GPs using the same namespace. But, while trying to install the packages in scratch, your secrets become visible to any of the developers working in the scratch organization over a shared namespace. It is expected that the feature of package-protection keywords to avoid such situations.

With the latest and innovative improvements in Salesforce DX, the developmental tasks from all crucial APIs are made available in one place. Development teams can script everything from creating the orgs and import or export data to manage the complete development life cycle better.

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