This blog was written by Ivan Harris, Chief Technology Officer at Provar. Ivan’s first book, Beginning Salesforce DX, was published in 2022. 

High-performing software product teams are always learning and insatiably curious, constantly searching for new technologies, tools, or methods to help them develop products faster while improving quality. 

I’ve spent the past ten years in the Salesforce ecosystem, focusing on ISV leadership teams. We built or integrated products with Salesforce and listed them on Salesforce’s AppExchange enterprise marketplace. We developed custom applications using tools like the Developer Console. In the early days, we used the IDE for Eclipse. We used the Ant Migration Tool to move our applications between the environments used during the development lifecycle. 

Salesforce brought benefits to no-code and low-code development. However, the pro-code experience was unfamiliar to developers of enterprise applications on public cloud IaaS platforms. These platforms include Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure. In October 2017, Salesforce released the Winter ’18 update. This update marked a significant improvement in development productivity for Salesforce pro-code developers. Salesforce DX (“SFDX”) became generally available with this update. Salesforce DX transforms how developers collaboratively create and deploy Salesforce applications by introducing new technologies, tools, and methods.

After using Salesforce DX for a while, I wanted to go deeper with SFDX and give back to the Trailblazer community that has helped me during my Salesforce career. I wrote a book, Beginning Salesforce DX, published by Apress (and available here), which takes a developer from novice to practitioner by learning through practical examples.

Writing the book (a bucket list item) took me longer than expected! Six months later, I moved from the UK to Australia to take up a position with Salesforce as a senior program architect. After nearly two great years working with amazing colleagues and with some of Salesforce’s largest, most complex multi-cloud customers, I needed to return to the UK. 

Upon my return, a CTO role opened at Provar Testing. Provar provides Salesforce-specific end-to-end test management and test automation solutions. This was a perfect opportunity for me. I knew Salesforce’s new tools, such as Salesforce DX, Code Builder, and DevOps Center, would shorten release cycles. Provar supported this more agile, collaborative, and iterative development effectively. They could add the comprehensive testing needed throughout the development cycle. That, combined with my keen interest in software development tools, led me to join Provar in September 2022.

I could see that Provar was well positioned to support this more agile, collaborative, and iterative development by adding the comprehensive testing needed throughout the development cycle.

Ivan harris

Since 2014, Provar has been known for Provar Automation, a no/low-code end-to-end test automation tool designed from the ground up for testing a business’s Salesforce instances via the user interface, APIs, and integrations with other systems. We recently launched Provar Manager, a quality hub for planning, building, and executing Provar Automation test cases. 

Salesforce releases three updates each year — Spring, Summer, and Winter. Although the Salesforce user interface may look the same between releases, the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript used to create the user interface often change, which can cause test scripts executed by alternative code-based solutions to break. Customers then spend valuable time updating their test scripts rather than executing regression tests. We call this the “Rework Spiral.” 

Provar has a different approach. We ensure Provar Automation is updated before the Salesforce preview sandboxes become available by doing the heavy lifting for our customers. The resilient nature of test scripts executed by Provar Automation means that customers can rapidly complete regression testing to ensure their custom applications and customizations are working as expected with the latest Salesforce release. It also frees testing resources to focus on higher-value tasks such as creating new test scripts and performing exploratory testing.

Provar has a different approach. We do the heavy lifting for our customers to ensure that Provar Automation is updated before the Salesforce preview sandboxes become available.

ivan harris

So, that’s all well and good, but what does this have to do with Salesforce DX and pro-code developers? One of the lesser-known Provar features is ProvarDX, a Visual Studio Code extension providing a Salesforce DX NPM plug-in that adds Provar as a new namespace to the Salesforce Command Line Interface (CLI) and quick actions to Visual Studio Code.

The plug-in enables developers to execute Provar test cases using ProvarDX CLI commands from Visual Studio Code’s integrated terminal. This allows end-to-end testing to shift left to earlier in the development lifecycle.

The Salesforce Developers Blog post “Month of Testing: Why We Test” highlights a point from the IBM System Science Institute. It states that bugs found in production cost nearly seven times more than those found during testing. This shows the significant benefits of shifting-left.

Imagine a developer has completed unit testing. Before committing to their code, they can execute all the end-to-end tests their code contributes to. The Provar Manager identifies which Test Plans or Test Suites need to be run. The developer then executes them using Provar Automation via ProvarDX commands. This process enables earlier discovery of regression bugs, allowing the developer to fix them before moving on to a different feature.

At Provar, we are all-in with Salesforce and committed to helping our customers improve their release agility, drive down system defects, and increase innovation. Our Provar Manager and Provar Automation solutions meet users at every stage of their software development lifecycle — including business analysts creating acceptance tests, QA managers orchestrating testing activities, administrators undertaking declarative programming, manual testers documenting test cases, and automation testers building end-to-end automated tests. 

ProvarDX serves the needs of pro-code developers performing imperative programming, allowing shift-left testing to improve quality whilst reducing costs. With our integration with Salesforce DevOps Center and Salesforce DX, no-code, low-code, and pro-code development are all catered for. Our Salesforce DevOps Center integration will be the subject of a future post.

Want to learn more about how Provar can improve your organization’s Salesforce automated testing? Contact our team today!