Why the New DevOps Center in Salesforce Is Awesome for Admins

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Whether you are a new Salesforce Admin or someone who has built on the platform for years, the good news is that as you create and implement functionality, your skills will continue to grow. For many years as a Salesforce Admin, I worked hard to learn best practices for feature management and rolling out new functionality. But one thing I always struggled with was release management. Building new features in a sandbox and then using Change Sets just wasn’t my jam. Not to mention if I was collaborating with a developer friend on an app or my company used a Source Control System.

Now, with the DevOps Center in Salesforce, managing changes is about to become awesome!

What is the DevOps Center in Salesforce?

The new DevOps Center is the central application to be delivered with our new DevOps solution. The DevOps Center will provide an improved UI-based experience for change and release management that will not only deliver a modern and robust experience for declarative developers and admins but also allow for collaboration between declarative and programmatic developers throughout the DevOps process.

The DevOps Center is your 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 do admins work with the DevOps Center?

It’s now easier to manage changes, collaborate with team members, and ensure synchronized source. The integrated experience in the DevOps Center is centered on the concept of a Work Item, which is like a “ticket” and is where the requirements for the change to be made are defined. Changes are tracked against the Work Item as they move through the flow from Planning, to Development, to Review, to Testing, to Release. From a Work Item, you can easily launch a development environment (a Developer Sandbox). You only have to log into the sandbox once in DevOps Center to establish a secure connection using an Oauth-based authentication. After that, you can simply click Open in the Work Item to open the connected sandbox.

In the past, you would use Change Sets to move changes from your sandbox to production. In the DevOps Center, we’ve greatly simplified and improved the experience of managing changes. Changes are tracked automatically for you as you do your development, so you simply need to click a “Pull Changes” button in the DevOps Center to identify and manage the changed source files. No more manual tracking of changes as you’re making them, nor sifting through lists of components to find the ones you want to migrate!

Once the changes have all been pulled and shown to you in the UI, you still have the ability to decide which of those files you really want to migrate forward in the process. So, for instance, if a change you made also resulted in a change to a Profile and you don’t want to migrate the Profile, or you were experimenting with changes before you settled on the final implementation and therefore don’t want to migrate all the files that you’d changed along the way, you can simply leave those unselected when you confirm the components to be migrated.

Once you have selected the list of changes to move forward, you can proceed with the next step: committing the changes. This is where some more magic happens! When you commit your changes, behind the scenes, the tool commits and pushes the metadata source files into a branch in the connected GitHub repository, and also creates a Pull Request. You can make as many commits as you need to as you’re working on the Work Item, and then when you’re ready to move the changes forward in the process, you can simply move the Work Item to the Ready for Review state. When you do this, behind the scenes a Pull Request is created in GitHub, where team members can review your changes and make comments. You don’t have to run any GitHub commands directly (or really even know anything about GitHub) to be able to push these changes into the source control system. The source control system can now serve as the main point of collaboration, review, and synchronization between team members. Pretty awesome, huh!?

What does this mean for admins?

We’ve recently released a limited-audience Developer Preview release that includes the functionality described above, allowing you to tracking and managing changes in a modern UI, seamless integration with a version control system, and deployments based on a centralized source of truth. In subsequent releases, starting with a limited, but expanded-audience Pilot in the January ’21 timeframe, you can look forward to additional capabilities in the DevOps Center to provide a fully integrated UI-based experience, including test and review processes and deployment management directly from the DevOps Center. And that means following deployment best practices and collaborating with developer friends will get a whole lot more awesome!

If you would like to be kept informed about DevOps Center and how to be considered for participation in the Developer Preview program, please join our DevOps Center Trailblazer Community.

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Editor’s note: This is one of our most popular posts, so we’ve updated it with the latest information and resources. A big portion of a Salesforce Admin’s job is listening and learning. Listening to your users and learning what they need will not only help you drive adoption but also help shape your feature roadmap. […]

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