The Problem with Generic Code Quality Tools in Salesforce

CodeScan - The Problem with Generic Code Quality Tools in Salesforce

The Problem with Generic Code Quality Tools in Salesforce_CodeScanGeneric code quality tools might save money up front, yet end up costing more in the long run because of missed errors, unreliable reports, and insufficient coverage for Salesforce DevOps.

Why It Matters: Static code analysis, static application security testing (SAST), code quality tools—whatever you choose to call them, these components are critical aspects of maintaining a productive and secure Salesforce DevOps strategy. Generic tools simply don’t offer the coverage needed to adequately address the issues they are meant to resolve.

  • Coding errors that make it into live environments have the potential to create data security vulnerabilities.
  • These errors become more expensive to rectify the further down the pipeline they are caught, whereas static code analysis notifies developers immediately so they can fix these issues.
  • Salesforce is a unique development environment with its own language and rules that must be addressed by a code quality tool; if not, the code is essentially worthless.

1. Irrelevant Information that Obscures Findings

It might seem like generic tools offer a lot of insights once users see their reports start to compile. There are likely to be numerous data sets, findings, and insights. However, many of these insights are just noise. Simply gathering a pile of information isn’t going to help unless the data is actionable and accurate.

Many generic code quality tools are great at pumping out large amounts of results. However, this pool of information is full of false positives.

Large returns of unusable data make it harder to find helpful insights—they get drowned out in the noise. Code quality tools must be accurate in their findings so users can get right to work to rectify any errors found instead of weeding through results to gain useful insights.

2. Minimal Salesforce Coverage

The Problem with Generic Code Quality Tools in Salesforce_CodeScan

The Salesforce platform is unique in many ways. The architecture of the environment and development frameworks have their own languages, best practices, and tools to help developers produce code changes. What has worked in other environments might not work in Salesforce. And when it comes to using generic static code analysis tools, lack of specificity leads to missed errors.

Not having the ability to spot Salesforce-specific issues with dedicated rulesets leads to the failure to understand code patterns, customizations, and configurations.

Salesforce developers understand their environments; it might take some time for developers working in more traditional environments to gain proficiency in the UI. Generic tools work much the same way—except they can’t learn to adapt.

3. Unhelpful Focus on CVE/CVSS Scores

Common Vulnerability Exposures (CVE) define frequent coding liabilities. The Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS) stipulates metrics and classifies data security threats according to how dangerous they can be to IT systems. These industry standards are widely used by InfoSec teams to address emerging issues and better understand threats to their system.

Generic SAST tools use CVE and CVSS scores to prioritize threats. However, multiple studies show this is worse than randomly picking findings to address.

Dedicated static code analysis tools enable users to dictate which standards are most important for their needs. Generic tools are not capable of this level of customization, which makes it incredibly difficult to achieve specific compliance and business targets.

4. Difficult Integrations Across Components

The Problem with Generic Code Quality Tools in Salesforce_CodeScanThe Salesforce environment itself includes a series of aspects like Apex code, Lightning components, declarative configurations, and Visualforce pages. Every DevSecOps tool in your application lifecycle management system needs to be able to understand and integrate with all of these aspects to provide the coverage you need to remain secure and productive.

Generic tools struggle to seamlessly integrate with the various aspects of the Salesforce development environment.

Code quality tools need to analyze every component of the environment in which they are working. Failing to do so can lead to wasted labor hours and developer frustration. Generic tools lack this integration in Salesforce, which can cause incomplete and inconsistent results.

5. Limited Customizations

Salesforce is highly customizable. Businesses across nearly every industry use Salesforce for both CRM and development needs. The ability to integrate various managed packages and customizations extends the platform’s capabilities and offers a lot of power. The DevOps tools used by the development team need to be able to match this customizability to get the most from the platform’s potential.

Generic code quality tools lack Salesforce’s extensive options for custom tools and functions.

A robust, metadata-driven development model enables Salesforce developers to mold the platform to their preferences. DevOps tools need to be able to keep up with this and generic tools are often unable to do so.

6. Incompatibility with Surrounding DevOps Toolsets

The Problem with Generic Code Quality Tools in Salesforce_CodeScan

There is a specialized ecosystem of tools and services within Salesforce. DevOps teams enjoy features and integrations tailored to the platform for more accurate analyses, automated testing, and streamlined workflows.

Generic tools are often incompatible with this ecosystem of tools, which silos their benefits and makes it much more difficult to use these tools in tandem.

Salesforce DevSecOps tools work best when they are able to work together to provide greater benefits. Multiple lines of testing throughout the various stages of the application life cycle ensure bugs and errors are caught prior to production. Generic tools that are unable to integrate with this system don’t offer as many benefits.

7. Lack of Coverage that Creates Data Security Vulnerabilities

All of these factors equate to a lack of coverage for code quality and the resulting instability of the update or application. And when stability isn’t guaranteed, data security vulnerabilities become increasingly possible. Faulty updates with bugs in a live environment can misfire, exposing information, routing it to incorrect locations, and potentially opening up back doors for bad actors to access your system.

Generic code quality tools don’t provide the comprehensive coverage you need to guarantee the stability of your updates necessary to keep your Salesforce environment secure.

Only total coverage gives you the peace of mind possible with guaranteed proper coding structures. A strong static code analysis tool results in a fortified data security strategy.

8. Requirement for Language Coverage and Salesforce Expertise

The Problem with Generic Code Quality Tools in Salesforce_CodeScanWhen it comes to the quality and security of your Salesforce DevOps projects, a high-quality static code analysis tool is essential. A combination of language coverage and Salesforce domain expertise enables DevOps teams to address and remediate the most critical vulnerabilities in the code before they have a chance to harm their environment.

Built for Salesforce developers, CodeScan combines the power of a dedicated static code analysis solution with policy management to support administrators cleaning up their environment.

Securing a reliable static code analysis tool immediately streamlines the writing stage of the DevOps pipeline. Errors are found in real time so developers can fix them long before they impact security or the end-user experience.

Next Step…

Generic code quality tools don’t provide the necessary coverage for a secure and optimized Salesforce DevSecOps pipeline. So how do you know which tool will work best for your application life cycle?

Check out our blog, “How to Select a Salesforce Code Review Tool,” to learn how to weigh your options.


The quality of the code that makes up your updates and applications impacts functionality, end-user experience, and data security. Even the best developers are liable to make errors, which is why we implement multiple layers of testing before updates reach production. However, waiting to find these errors increases the cost of fixing them. Static code analysis offers immediate alerts when errors are detected so developers can fix them as soon as they are written. This increases the quality of the update, streamlines processes by avoiding repetitive work, and supports a healthy data security strategy.

There are multiple ways to approach every task in software development. However, there are certain rules and quality standards that must be applied to ensure the update operates in the way it’s intended. Code quality tools are programmed with internal sets of rules that are used to check against the code written by the developer. The number of rules and the issues they search for differ between each tool. These rules must relate to the environment in which the developer is working. For instance, Salesforce developers need code quality tools that understand the Salesforce environment; otherwise, they are liable to miss critical mistakes.

Your Salesforce DevOps toolbox needs to help you automate manual processes and streamline operations without sacrificing quality or data security. There are a variety of tools that can accomplish this, but there are some critical aspects of optimizing your application lifecycle. Automated release management offers deployment and testing automation. Data backup and recovery offer critical restoration capabilities when outages occur and also helps you remain compliant with data security regulations. These processes work together with static code analysis tools to magnify the benefits of the other and provide the most comprehensive coverage in quality and data security.

Develop high quality, secure code!

Setting Up and Using CodeScan Effectively
Setting up and CodeScan in your salesforce org

Running CodeScan on your Salesforce Org is a great first step towards quality code, but maintaining that quality is a Read more

Estimating ROI with CodeScan
Estimate ROI using static code analysis tool CodeScan

Every Software Development Professional knows the following fact: the later bugs are found, the more expensive they are to fix. Read more

SFDX Tutorial | Setting Up CodeScan
CodeScan with Salesforce DX

Salesforce DX is a new focus on source-driven, collaborative development. The Salesforce CLI (Command Line Interface) easily integrates into your Read more

CodeScan and Visual Studio Team Services
continuous integration visual studio

Visual Studio Continuous IntegrationVisual Studio Team Services (VSTS) is a quick and powerful tool to set up continuous integration and Read more