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Guide to Source-Driven Development in Salesforce

Do you want to streamline your Salesforce release management process? Then it’s essential to understand what source-driven development in Salesforce is and how to implement it. In section I of this article, we discuss the benefits of a source-driven approach. In section II, we explain how to implement a source-driven development process step by step.

Section I: The Benefits of Source-Driven Development in Salesforce

Two developers collaborating in a source-driven development process for Salesforce

There are several significant advantages to implementing a source-driven approach in your Salesforce change management process. Let’s take a closer look.

Improved Team Collaboration

A source-driven approach offers a number of benefits, and one of the most significant is its ability to streamline team collaboration. Source-driven development involves the use of version control and branching. These strategies allow multiple developers to work on the same project simultaneously—without any time-consuming merge conflicts.

Now your team can all work on the same project at the same time… without worrying about overwriting each other’s code! You can all access the same codebase, make your changes, and seamlessly merge them back into the main branch again. With improved collaboration, you minimize bottlenecks and delays, work more efficiently and accurately, and deliver high-quality solutions to your end users faster.

A source-driven development process also makes it easier to share and store code, libraries, and other reusable content because everything lives in the centralized repository. With improved collaboration, you minimize bottlenecks and delays, work more efficiently and accurately, and deliver high-quality solutions to your end users faster.

Enhanced Version Control

Source-driven development in Salesforce enables you to track every single change you make to your code and configurations. You can use the audit log in the version control system (VCS) to see a history of what changed and when.

Let’s say a specific change doesn’t work. You’ll want to roll it back to a functional version as soon as possible. With the VCS, it’s a piece of cake to find the right version and revert to it. No more headaches and time-consuming troubleshooting!

On top of that, the shared version history helps you better understand how a project has evolved over time. This transparency encourages better communication and helps avoid confusion about the current state of the code.

Clearly, a source-driven process streamlines collaboration. And that makes it an essential approach for development teams working on complex projects.

Streamlined Application Lifecycle Management

A source-driven process makes it easier and faster to build, deploy, test, and release new features in Salesforce. In addition, its efficiency lets you improve your current apps more easily. Both these factors help you maintain a competitive edge.

Improved Code Quality and Maintainability

Source-driven development revolves around three key practices that promote quality and maintainability: code reviews, automated testing, and continuous integration (CI). These three practices help enhance your codebase and streamline the development experience.

Code reviews serve as the first line of defense in a source-driven approach. They let your team assess each other’s work so you can offer constructive feedback and suggestions.

This knowledge sharing reduces the chances of errors creeping into the code and lets you learn from each other. The result is higher-quality code.

For quick and reliable code validation, use automated testing. When you put the code through a robust set of tests, it catches bugs before they become bigger issues. Tests also serve as documentation because they clarify the intended behavior of the code.

Continuous integration (CI) ensures that code changes merge seamlessly into the main branch. CI automatically checks for conflicts and runs tests so you get instant feedback on your changes.

CI helps minimize the risks associated with the integration of new code, which eventually contributes to a more stable codebase.

Section 2: How to Implement Source-Driven Development in Salesforce

Now let’s take a look at how you can implement a source-driven workflow in your Salesforce projects.

Step 1: Set Up a Version Control System

Pick a reliable VCS like Git, Mercurial, or Subversion to manage and track changes to your code. Review the VCS’s workflow to learn how to manage your project as efficiently as possible.

Next, set up a repository to function as the central hub for all your Salesforce project’s code and configurations.

Step 2: Define a Branching Strategy

A robust branching strategy determines how to create, merge, and delete branches in the repository. In addition, it specifies how to deal with bugs and releases. A solid branching strategy minimizes conflicts and helps maintain an organized codebase.

Popular branching strategies include Gitflow and trunk-based development. You can also customize an existing strategy to your project’s needs.

Step 3: Set Up Continuous Integration

Continuous integration (CI) tools automate the building and testing of each code commit.

Test automation helps you identify and fix bugs before merging code into the main branch. To make the most of CI, set up automated tests that thoroughly cover your codebase. It’s also advisable to configure notifications to alert you of any issues that arise during the build process.

Step 4: Establish a Code Review Process

To uphold code quality and maintainability, it’s critical to put a code review process in place. This process requires everyone to submit their changes for peer review before they merge them into the main branch.

When team members review each other’s code, it fosters a culture of shared responsibility and continuous improvement. On top of that, it helps you identify potential issues before they escalate into major problems later in the release cycle. In the long run, this practice can save considerable time and resources.

Tools like GitHub’s pull requests or GitLab’s merge requests can help you streamline the code review process. That in turn facilitates seamless collaboration and in-depth discussions around code changes.


Source-driven development in Salesforce aligns with DevOps best practices, promotes collaboration, and helps streamline your application lifecycle management.


Why is collaboration important to a DevOps approach?
In a DevOps approach, collaboration is critical to breaking down silos development and operations teams. The objective is to establish a smooth workflow for app development, testing, deployment, and monitoring. Learn more about the core principles of DevOps.

Does Salesforce DevOps Center require a source-driven development approach?
Yes, DevOps Center promotes a source-driven development approach because it uses GitHub as the single source of truth for both code and metadata.

What types of code reviews are there?
Code reviews are generally divided into four types:

  1. Formal code review, such as the Fagan inspection
  2. Instant code review, also referred to as synchronous code review
  3. Code review once in a while, also referred to as meeting-based code review
  4. Asynchronous code review, where the developer submits the code for review and the reviewer looks at it when they have time

Learn more about the different types of code review.

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