The rapid growth of business enterprises also brings with it the rapid growth of the need for governed release management, which enables easy stakeholder participation. With DevOps Center, admins and other developers can build against source control, collaborate better with programmatic developers, release apps swifter, and do so with state-of-the-art workflows such as continuous integration and delivery. DevOps Center enables business enterprises to continue to assign importance to release velocity, simplifying the progress of apps through development environments from concept to launch, and strengthening both the speed and quality of deployments. Moreover, as DevOps Center enables you to develop in your traditional sandboxes, you can also leverage additional capabilities – such as Data Mask – that mask sensitive data in your testing environments — delivering speed without compromising on trust.
As a Salesforce Admin, now you need not struggle with release management. It is true that building new features in a sandbox and then using Change Sets is a complex thing. However, now, with the DevOps Center in Salesforce, managing changes is about to become simpler.
What is Salesforce DevOps Center?
The new DevOps Center is the key application to be delivered with the new DevOps solution. The DevOps Center will provide an enhanced UI experience for change and release management that will not only deliver a new and powerful experience for declarative developers and admins, but also enable collaboration between declarative and programmatic developers throughout the DevOps process. The DevOps Center is the team’s single source of truth for projects and work to be done with the flexibility admins need to manage changes and release processes.
How DevOps Center can help admins in their work
- Pulling Changes from Your Developer Sandbox into Your DevOps Center
It’s now simpler to manage changes, collaborate with team members, and ensure integrated source. The integrated experience in the DevOps Center is focused on the concept of a Work Item, which is like a ‘ticket’ and is where the requirements for the change to be made are determined. Changes are identified against the Work Item as they progress through the flow from Planning, to Development, to Review, to Testing, to Release. From a Work Item, you can effortlessly launch a development environment, i.e., a Developer Sandbox. You only have to log into the sandbox once in DevOps Center to authenticate a safe connection using an Oauth-based authentication. After that, you can just click ‘Open’ in the Work Item to open the connected sandbox. Previously, you would use Change Sets to push changes from your sandbox to production. In the DevOps Center, the experience of managing changes is now extremely simplified and enhanced. Changes are automatically identified for you as you carry out your development, so you just need to click a ‘Pull Changes’ button in the DevOps Center to select and manage the changed source files. There is no more need for manual tracking of changes as you make them, nor examining lists of components to find those you want to move.
Once all the changes have been pulled and displayed to you in the UI, you still have the power to determine which of those files you truly want to move forward in the process. So, for example, if a change you made also resulted in a change to a Profile and you don’t wish to move the Profile, or you were experimenting with changes before you decided on the final implementation and, therefore, don’t wish to move all the files that you had changed along the way, you can just skip those unselected when you confirm the components to be moved.
- Committing the Changes
Once you have chosen the list of changes to move forward, you can go ahead with the next step: committing the changes. This is where some more magic occurs. When you commit your changes, on the backstage, the tool commits and moves the metadata source files into a branch in the connected GitHub repository, and also creates a Pull Request. You can make numerous commits based on your need as you are working on the Work Item, and then when you’re ready to migrate the changes forward in the process, you can just migrate the Work Item to the ‘Ready for Review’ state. When you do this, on the backstage, a Pull Request is created in GitHub, where team members can examine your changes and make comments. You don’t have to run any GitHub commands directly (or even know anything about GitHub) to be able to migrate these changes into the source control system. The source control system can now serve as the principal point of collaboration, review, and synchronization between team members.
What it means for admins
Salesforce has launched a Developer Preview release for select audience that includes the afore-mentioned functionality, enabling tracking and managing of changes in a modern UI, smooth integration with a version control system, and deployments based on an integrated source of truth. In futuristic releases, starting with a limited but expanded-audience Pilot, additional capabilities in the DevOps Center will be provided with a completely integrated UI-based experience, including test and review processes and deployment management directly from the DevOps Center. This implies that adopting deployment best practices and collaborating with developer will get all the more amazing.
Application Lifecycyle Management – What is it?
Salesforce has been referring to Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) tools for quite some time. The updates about DevOps Center by Salesforce were amazing and it looks like something powerful and handy will soon be available that will simplify the entire ALM chaos.
According to the claims of Salesforce, ALM tools is a modern ALM (release and change management) for everyone, anywhere. On a high level, it is expected to resolve 3 pain points as follows:
- Tracking changes with a contemporary, and familiar Lightning (SLDS-based) interface.
- VCS (Version Control System) is in the limelight now, and must have been deeply integrated in the DevOps Center, implying it is like the ultimate source of truth.
- Deployments based on #2, i.e., the one and only source of truth, the VCS.
What the DevOps Center is not
The initial release of DevOps Center will not be:
- A Deployment Tool: Deployments will still have to be done via the SFDX CLI, ANT, or other tools.
- An Automation Server: DevOps Center will not provide the capability to script your CI/CD process and other build automations.
However, according to the brief shared by Salesforce employees at Trailheadx, DevOps Center will have functionality to support these use cases in the future.
Why DevOps Center is Significant
The current ecosystem for free tools that enable the kind of things DevOps Center promises to do is inadequate. Paid tools are currently available that have the functionality that DevOps Center will provide, but for several organizations, investing in these tools is a laborious process. DevOps Center will bridge the gap by providing an officially supported free tool to get organizations started on their Salesforce DevOps journey.
What will happen to current commercial tools?
When DevOps Center was announced, there were rumors aplenty in the Salesforce community as to what would happen to the comprehensive ecosystem of paid commercial tools that specialize in Salesforce DevOps.
The answer is that commercial tools will still be available:
- Commercial tools offer extensive feature sets that will take DevOps Center years to implement, if at all.
- DevOps Center will only support orgs that have moved to the Package Development Model (source-tracked development). Several organizations have not changed over to this model, and may not be able to, or have no desire to change over. Commercial tools will continue to bridge this gap.
- Numerous organizations have complex orgs that the DevOps Center won’t be able to support. Commercial tools will bridge this gap.
When will DevOps center be released?
Salesforce mentioned during Trailheadx that DevOps Center would be released sometime in 2021 (i.e., this year).
What to Expect?
DevOps Center will be developed on source-tracking technology for sandboxes. This will be a comparatively novel model of developing against sandboxes. This is a drastic change as against the traditional development model of using the Metadata or Tooling API to work with a sandbox.
Some of the things you can expect are:
- Stability of the source-tracking for sandboxes when DevOps Center is released. It has to be seen how well will it fare against the tried-and-tested battle-hardened and mature Metadata and Tooling API (Org-Development Model) approach.
- Moving an org to the Package Development Model can be a Herculean effort. It remains to be seen if organizations will move their orgs to the new model.
- It will also be interesting to know how well DevOps Center ‘work items’ are integrated with traditional project management tools.
We are closely watching the developments about the DevOps Center with Salesforce and will keep you updated with the latest news from time to time. Keep watching this space for the latest about Salesforce DevOps Center.
CloudFulcrum with its mission of “DevOps as a Service” has been part of multiple successful Copado implementations across the globe with customers in BFSI, Health Care, Retail, Real Estate, and Technology verticals.
With our DevOps consulting, we help enterprises align their Digital Transformation goals to achieve higher efficiency, faster time-to-market, and better quality of software builds with early identification of arising issues, enabling continuous release of Salesforce applications.
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