Complete Guide to Salesforce Testing
Explore the best practices and tips to perform during Salesforce testing, and uncover the benefits of automated Salesforce testing in our complete guide.
In the modern software development landscape, software organizations are using more and more complex tools to keep up with blisteringly fast release schedules. As development tools and techniques get more complex, so do the testing requirements. Modern testing teams, therefore, carry out a lot of testing specific to particular platforms or use cases.
Salesforce testing is absolutely an integral part of the modern QA team’s arsenal. It’s not only an extremely popular CRM solution, it’s a multi-layered ecosystem of business tools that can be tailored to suit an infinite set of use cases.
This landscape requires thorough testing, as customizations and integrations need to continue working properly through regular cloud releases.
In this guide, we will discuss the concept of Salesforce testing, its main ingredients, the need for Salesforce testing in modern workflows, common challenges and best practices. We want to help you pick the right solution for the job to have an intuitive, optimum, and sparkling experience for Salesforce testing.
What is Salesforce?
Salesforce is a CRM (customer relationship management) software company that was founded in 1999 by Marc Benioff. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, their platform has quickly emerged as one of the world’s most popular enterprise solutions, used by thousands of organizations around the world.
Salesforce provides cloud-based customer relationship management software to businesses and organizations of all sizes. The company has been voted as one of the fastest growing companies for the last seven years and was also ranked as #1 on Forbes list of America’s Most Innovative Companies for 2016. Some of their most popular products include Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, AppExchange, and Force.com.
To better understand the internal workings and features of Salesforce, it’s crucial to get a handle on some common terminology related to the platform. Classic and Lightning are iterations of the Salesforce user interface or UI. While Salesforce Classic is their legacy UI, Salesforce Lightning is their updated generation, which adds a few new tools and features for a more complete user experience.
VisualForce is the visual control center in Salesforce that provides the ability to gather multiple languages and controls under one single tab, aiding in intuitive development and administration.
AppExchange is one of the prime features of Salesforce. It is an app store with thousands of free and paid app integrations that can add new features and functionality to the Salesforce core.
Finally, Apex is the resident programming language of Salesforce. With this, programmers can develop custom SaaS applications using the Salesforce CRM framework.
What is Salesforce Testing?
Salesforce testing, in essence, involves testing of your Salesforce deployments to ensure that they function as expected. There are three main facets to this.
The first part of Salesforce testing deals with custom development. Since many organizations use the Salesforce platform to create bespoke, customized applications for their unique needs, the end product needs to be tested to ensure proper performance and reliability. During customization, developers can opt to build on top of existing Salesforce core features or opt to create new features. Through testing, testers validate whether these work as expected and can adequately support the purpose behind the customizations. This includes both functional and non-functional testing.
Secondly, testing in Salesforce is also required to ensure that all the integrations work as expected. Since there are thousands of integrations that organizations can take advantage of, it’s common for a single organization to integrate their Salesforce instance to hundreds of different applications. These applications can range from 3rd party provided solutions to proprietary applications. All of these integrations need thorough testing to ensure optimum performance and reliability.
Finally, a custom Salesforce deployment needs to be tested to make sure that none of the features or functionality break or get affected in any way as a result of the normal release schedule of Salesforce itself. This involves creating a UAT testing schedule for every major Salesforce release and update. The usual release cadence from Salesforce contains three major yearly releases, as well as numerous smaller updates and patches. All of these changes to the core merit immediate testing of the custom deployment.
In order to accomplish these testing objectives, the obvious answer is to automate testing as much as possible. With Salesforce automation testing using the right tools, this intensive task can become a lot easier and save countless hours for each organization.
Types of Salesforce Testing
During the course of the testing process, QA teams might feel the need to pursue many different testing avenues. Here is a breakdown of some of those approaches.
Native Salesforce Testing
Native testing in Salesforce takes advantage of the testing options already available in the framework. While focusing mostly on code-oriented unit tests, the native testing solutions inside Salesforce are quite comprehensive, giving developers the means to use the many testing tools integrated into the Developer Console. These can allow for the creation and management of tests, different modes of data creation and storage, creation of test classes, and code coverage solutions.
The entire system is made intuitively through what Salesforce calls Trails - guided learning paths that navigate projects and modules with clear goals and a focus on speed. Salesforce offers curated collections of trails called Trailmixes, usually with focus on certain aspects of testing. For example, it is easy to find one which focuses on unit testing using the native Apex language and the Lightning Web Component or LWC.
While unit tests focusing on developers can be a great starting point, these tests reach a point of diminishing returns as they don’t closely show user impact. Therefore, other tests like functional UI tests, integration tests, and Salesforce user acceptance testing become much more critical.
Traditionally Salesforce testing relies heavily on manual testing, where tests are set up, executed, and analyzed manually. This is also a good starting point for Salesforce testing. Manual testing is quite versatile, since testers can set up a variety of different testing types and plan testing scenarios ahead of time. These testing approaches include: system testing, functional testing, regression testing, integration testing, and happy path testing.
The downside, as it is with any kind of manual testing, is that it does not scale. It involves repetitive tasks through human effort and is inefficient as a result. It’s also prone to human error.
Exploratory Salesforce Testing
Exploratory testing, while still manual, relies more on the technical aspects of the platform and creative testing techniques. In essence, this covers a large gamut of scenarios that are often outside of the typical use cases. It’s crucial in terms of understanding the limits and capabilities of the platform and can play an important role in deciding the right test automation strategy going forward.
Exploratory Salesforce testing can cover many areas, including data consistency validation, UI testing, user input validation, cross-browser compatibility testing, error message validation, reports and dashboard testing, flow testing, and integration testing.
Automated Salesforce Testing
This is the crux of Salesforce testing. Proper Salesforce automated testing with the right tools can deliver reliable, scalable results while efficiently managing the resources of QA teams. Since Salesforce pages are dynamic in nature, coming up with a robust Salesforce test automation framework can be a challenge. This is further compounded by the fact that traditional testing tools, like Selenium web driver, QTP, UFT, and Provar all have certain limitations that can exacerbate these challenges.
This is where a modern, AI-driven testing solution like Functionize can be extremely beneficial.
Salesforce Testing Levels
Salesforce testing usually occurs at a few different levels, following a simple-to-complex path.
At the very core is unit testing, which is usually carried out by developers adept at Apex, the native coding language. This works at the coding level as developers can include special clauses in the code that carry out the testing. This is accomplished by ascertaining the volume of data records required to be affected for a successful run of the code. This is a poignant indicator of code coverage but is limited in other areas of testing.
System testing is usually done by skilled Salesforce business experts and focuses on a thorough audit of the functional aspects of the system. End-to-end testing of the Salesforce system requires designing different tests based on particular outputs. When there are problems inherent within the system, such as problems involving assignment, workflow, or validation, this kind of testing is beneficial as it allows for easy troubleshooting with an automated set of rules.
Salesforce UAT or User Acceptance Testing is usually carried out by the intended end-users who can test how well-equipped the system is to fulfill their business needs. This involves creating real-world scenarios and testing the capability of the system against those use cases.
Production testing is a form of system testing that is carried out inside the production environment. This confirms whether the code and configuration have made the transition from the Sandbox stage to the production stage without any hitches.
Regression testing analyzes the impact of code changes and releases on existing processes. Typically, this is only carried out if there is a change in the code or configuration, usually as a result of a new release, an update, or a fix.
Salesforce Testing Process
The Salesforce testing process requires testers to plan and design tests for both native out of the box features and custom features. This testing process is usually carried out in the Sandbox environment and only moved on to the full production environment once the code has been entirely validated. In order to test Salesforce effectively, testers need to be deeply familiar with the many business use cases of Salesforce.
Salesforce Testing Challenges
Due to the complexity, scalability, and customizable nature of Salesforce, Salesforce testing is fraught with challenges. Traditional testing tools often come short in meeting these testing needs.
The main challenges of Salesforce arise from complexity. Tests need to be run across different environments, including different browsers. Apart from these, there is also the issue of the two UI modes, Classic and Lightning and their differences. Other challenges stem from testing advanced components and features of Salesforce like Service Cloud Console or VisualForce. Many Salesforce pages include dynamic elements, which are difficult for automated tests to identify. Also, many Salesforce Lightning components are hidden under a Shadom DOM, so its underlying elements are nearly impossible to detect using scripted tools like Selenium.
Tips and Best Practices for Salesforce Testing
For the best results, Salesforce tests should be executed with real user profiles and test coverage should include different testing types like integration testing, regression testing, and UI testing. Since the pages are dynamic, special care needs to go into the testing strategy.
Constructing the proper user profiles, validating the right test data, and scoping out positive and negative flows should be top priorities. Based on this, arguably the most important facet of effective Salesforce testing is choosing the right testing tool. The capabilities and feature set of the testing tool will inform the success of the testing endeavor to a significant degree.
Salesforce Tester Roles and Responsibilities
Ideally, Salesforce testers should be able to construct positive and negative test flows, and be proficient in skills such as boundary value analysis, smoke testing, and equivalence partitioning. A thorough understanding of the Salesforce platform itself, its customizability, features and quirks, and its potential is also notable.
Salesforce testers should be familiar with Apex and check integration compatibility. They need to be able to construct test cases that are based on actual user roles, and have an open and transparent channel of communication with the dev team to test and custom code.
Reasons to use Salesforce Testing Tools
The right Salesforce testing tools can provide many benefits, including time-efficient, accurate, reliable, and optimized testing. The right tools help teams cover all possible testing scenarios, achieve optimum test coverage, and avoid test debt.
A testing platform like Functionize, that leverages AI and implements no-code test automation, can be a great resource in Salesforce testing. It allows teams to create tests that are self-healing, self-maintaining, and reusable, with very little effort.
With robust tests that evolve automatically, it becomes easier to implement true end-to-end testing for Salesforce. The simple test creation process removes the initial hurdles while the rich insight provided by the platform makes it a breeze to understand and interpret actionable test data.
Salesforce itself uses Functionize as an integral part of innovating its platform.
Common Salesforce Test Scenarios
Common test cases can include:
- lead capture
- information capture
- quotation validation
- checking for failed communication
- billing audits
- mobile workflow audits
- preventing access to unauthorized users
- mobile workflow audits
Other scenarios include checking for duplicate records and verifying third-party integrations.
As Salesforce is an immensely popular and widely used cloud-based CRM system, understanding Salesforce testing is a prime requirement for many organizations. With the help of this guide, you can develop an innate understanding of the basics and finer points of Salesforce testing and implement this insight into your own use case.