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8 Salesforce Test Automation Challenges + How to Overcome Them
August 4, 2023
Salesforce is an incredibly popular and powerful customer relationship management (CRM) solution, but it can also be complex. With frequent updates, high customizability, and a complicated structure, testing Salesforce often requires extensive resources and the expertise of skilled developers. Automated testing helps immensely, but this approach still has its challenges. The same issues that make manual testing difficult also require specific tools and techniques during automated testing. Without the right approach, automatic Salesforce testing could overlook significant errors and lead to costly problems.
The Salesforce platform is unique and complex, making it difficult to test, especially for users without an extensive background in coding and development. Some of the biggest challenges that test automation solutions and techniques must address include:
1. Frequent System Updates
Updates for Salesforce come out at least three times a year with seasonal updates accompanied by various new features. Salesforce may also release critical updates periodically for bug fixes and other performance and usability updates. Whether planned or spontaneous, system updates can break your automated tests, causing them to miss important errors or stop working properly.
Strong testing methods should monitor for these changes and repair test scripts as new updates are released.
2. DOM Infrastructure
Salesforce handles document object models (DOMs) in some unique ways. The overall infrastructure heavily relies on DOM, which classifies web components and adds considerable complexity to how automated tools work. DOMs make it more difficult for automated tools to work properly. The DOM-related infrastructure is a significant part of why engineers must adjust their tests when Salesforce issues new updates.
Another challenging aspect of DOMs is Salesforce’s Shadow DOM feature. It allows users to create custom HTML and CSS codes, which is helpful for sharing components without creating new security risks. Automatic tests, however, must be updated accordingly to work correctly with Shadow DOMs. Typically, developers must use coding skills to make these changes. However, the need for coding skills limits which employees can make these changes, and many companies have more pressing needs that require skilled developers.
Some older versions of Salesforce don’t have as many problems with DOM, but you may not want to be limited to these more restricted programs.
3. Dynamic Components
Salesforce features many types of dynamic elements, including Dynamic Interactions, Dynamic Forms, and Dynamic Actions. These components allow users to create apps without much coding knowledge but complicate testing requirements because they have complex behaviors. Less-experienced testers can easily miss significant problems within Dynamic Components. They might create unreliable results or suggest an issue is resolved when it still exists.
Automatic testing solutions for Salesforce can help accommodate these dynamic elements with specific strategies for locating them that other tools don’t have.
Since users can configure Salesforce for a wide range of purposes, testing processes can also vary widely. With so many ways to build a page, testers must consider all possible variations, as each can offer users a different experience. A manual or poorly designed testing solution may not account for all configurations or the most important elements, leading to not testing all behaviors and possibly not finding all defects.
Automated testing tools can incorporate custom rules and techniques to streamline the testing process regardless of how Salesforce is configured. When the code needs a human touch, your team has more time to devote to it.
The iframe component in Salesforce allows you to include inline frames that users can open with buttons and links. Unfortunately for testers, iframes are excluded from the Salesforce code, so you can’t control them easily. You may need to get special permission before testing to avoid potential security risks. Using iframes and getting permission each time can contribute to the difficulty of automatic testing.
Some testing methods require extensive coding to find iframe elements, but others allow you to locate them without coding expertise.
6. Hidden Element Identifiers
Another challenging component of working with Salesforce is hidden element identifiers. Many user interface (UI) automation tools use element details to identify visual elements, but Salesforce hides them in development. While these identifiers help hide details from users, they use specialized CSS selectors. Automated tools sometimes struggle to find these elements, and they can cause issues with some testing frameworks. An automated testing solution should consider hidden element identifiers and offer appropriate testing solutions.
7. Specialized Knowledge Requirements
The Salesforce platform is particularly user-friendly, but that can lead to non-IT professionals creating highly customized solutions. When it’s time to assess quality, testing tools and techniques may require experienced professionals, especially when using manual methods. User-friendly tools can reduce demands and keep employees working efficiently.
8. Different Salesforce Versions
Many users have transitioned to Salesforce Lightning, a newer version with a more modern interface and advanced features. Some customers, however, still use Salesforce Classic. They offer different testing environments, so some automated tools struggle to test both versions.
Salesforce is a foundational tool in many businesses, including those with high security demands, like financial firms and health care organizations. Salesforce is crucial to the user experience, regardless of your security needs. Problems with the platform can cause issues for employees, customers, and the company overall. While you must test the code itself and individual components, testing business processes is equally important, as these can reveal the real-world impacts of a non-working code.
Effective testing is essential, but it should also be efficient. Complicated or tedious testing requirements can call for more resources, like the valuable time of your highly trained employees. It can also lead to a higher chance of errors, oversights, or lost opportunities. Building a strong test case is the first step in ensuring the process is streamlined and effective.
You can generally use one of two approaches or frameworks to build your test cases. The first uses a code-based framework, which is initially a low-budget approach. However, it requires developers to have strong programming skills. Using code takes more time to set up and maintain, which can become more costly in the long run. The added labor hours needed to keep up with testing are often expensive, and manual processes could increase the risk of errors slipping by, which can turn into much costlier problems.
The other option is to use no-code tools. This framework uses a visual language that business users without coding expertise can use effectively. More people can tackle Salesforce testing, including those who understand the business processes particularly well. The company can also allocate valuable resources where they’re most needed and reduce dependence on the IT team for testing operations.
While no-code tools can be more expensive initially, they offer a quick return on investment (ROI). They offer fast setup and easier maintenance. No-code tools can also provide necessary scalability that manual processes simply can’t match. While code-based frameworks can be good for businesses looking for the lowest upfront cost, no-code platforms are typically more effective and efficient in the long run.
After determining your testing approach, consider these steps for testing your business processes:
Determine scope: Start by identifying which features and functionality you want to test, the data you plan to use, and other relevant details you’ll need. Zeroing in on your goals can help ensure a focused, targeted effort that doesn’t strain your resources. Consider the risk associated with each feature or function you want to test, and prioritize the riskiest areas.
Outline your test case: Create a simple test case with clear, actionable steps and expected outcomes. More complexity can lead to errors or confusion as employees try to execute the test or interpret the code. Make the tests as easy to follow as possible.
Vary your tests: Use different test types like functional and regression testing, which we’ll discuss next, for a more complete view of your Salesforce application. Different tests can help you cover all your bases and collect comprehensive details.
Test your boundary conditions: Boundary conditions include aspects like the upper and lower limits of input fields or the maximum number of records you can process. Test these boundary conditions according to potential situations to confirm that Salesforce can handle them.
Reuse test cases: If possible, reuse your test cases to eliminate the extra work associated with making them from scratch. You can often reuse test cases related to recurring updates and routine tests.
Document test cases: Keep a detailed record of your test cases and their results. Document the steps, anticipated outcomes, and results. Documentation can help you better understand the test results and support easy replication for future testing.
A structured, clearly outlined approach can help you develop effective, easy-to-follow test cases and use the results to their fullest extent.
Companies can conduct Salesforce automation in many different ways and generally need to use a few different strategies to develop a comprehensive approach. You can find a range of Salesforce test automation tools and resources to speed the process along and eliminate time-consuming manual testing.
One vital benefit of automated tools is that they typically offer scalability. Although some complicated processes might need human oversight, automated testing is still drastically more scalable than manual processes, making it the most viable option for businesses looking to grow in the future.
Here are some automation testing techniques that help you develop a strong Salesforce testing strategy:
UI testing: Testing the user interface (UI) simulates user interactions to help verify that Salesforce returns the correct results and provides the intended experience.
API testing: By sending requests to the application programming interfaces (APIs) in Salesforce, you can confirm that they return the right responses.
Unit testing: You can test individual units of code in Salesforce to confirm proper operation.
Integration testing: This kind of testing assesses how well various components of Salesforce communicate with each other and involves simulated interactions between them.
Performance testing: Performance testing verifies the app’s performance under simulated loads and conditions to confirm that it can deliver under high or uncommon demands.
Regression testing: This technique tests the app after you make changes to ensure those changes don’t create problems. Regression testing can include any or all of the above testing methods.
While you can find many specialized testing platforms, the following tools can greatly simplify Salesforce test automation.
1. Static Code Analysis
Static code analysis examines your source code for reliability, quality, and security without executing the code. It can help you identify security vulnerabilities and defects before a launch or update. Static analysis also allows you to measure and track software quality metrics without writing test cases or code.
Some issues that static code analysis can find include the following:
Coding standard violations
Poor code quality can have ramifications that range from minor bugs to large security vulnerabilities, and static code analysis helps catch a wide range of problems.
For example, our static code analysis tool supports proper coding structures from every angle. CodeScan provides a high-level analysis of code health in easy-to-read dashboards and reports. With immediate alerts, it can also help you fix errors before they become costly and complicated. Add custom rules, reduce technical debt from legacy code, and work with all languages and metadata in Salesforce.
2. Automated Release Management
Building automated tests isn’t enough to ensure the stability of your system. For that, you need a continuous integration and delivery process that ensures those tests run throughout your release process.
One excellent tool for automation testing is an automated release management (ARM) system. ARM streamlines the continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) processes. It can automate version control, testing, deployment, data loading, and sandbox management. This tool can significantly reduce lead times and increase the ease of deployments while helping you keep up with new releases and features. ARM lightens the load on development teams and helps them determine when and how to release updates.
We offer a sophisticated ARM tool called AutoRABIT that can simplify release management, testing, and software releases. It can automate your entire CI/CD pipeline and open new avenues for innovation and growth. With speed and scalability, AutoRABIT can fold Salesforce automated testing into an efficient and accurate workflow.
3. Dashboards and Reports
Since Salesforce frequently changes, dashboards and reporting tools can provide valuable insights on evolving code health. They can help you see the current state of your application and offer information for making better business decisions. It can also guide your testing and build strategies in the future. Dashboards and reports are excellent resources for increasing visibility.
The right tools are vital for successful Salesforce test automation. They can make it more efficient and help you stabilize your Salesforce implementation for a more reliable release.
If you’re trying to improve the efficiency or quality of your Salesforce testing processes, you’ll need capable resources. CodeScan and AutoRABIT are two tools we’ve developed that can streamline testing and help you achieve better results. DevOps teams across industries use them to achieve high code quality and security on Salesforce.
With our suite of DevOps products, we strive to help teams improve Salesforce code without costly and time-consuming processes. Schedule your demo today to learn more about how AutoRABIT and CodeScan can revolutionize your automation testing.