* This piece was contributed by Alexander Sherwood, Director of Product Marketing at Provar, and was published by TFiR on Friday, September 16th, 2022. View the original post here.

Salesforce’s success with its “clicks not code” low-code development platform has empowered development teams and enabled Salesforce customers to stay ahead of the competition. As the pace and volume of feature and application delivery increases, it’s essential that testing keeps up.

In the midst of this low-code revolution, here are 5 things enterprise IT organizations should know about Salesforce test automation so they can help development and test teams rapidly deliver quality software.

1. Reducing test maintenance is key to managing Salesforce release schedules 

One of the biggest influences on testing strategy is Salesforce’s release cycles. Salesforce delivers three main releases each year, plus time-based features and weekly patches – and your organization will include them whether you’re ready or not. Depending on what changed, you’re going to need to run anything from simple smoke tests to full regressions. And, if your test automation is flaky, be forewarned that test maintenance can add significant overhead and time to an already tight release cycle. The trick to finding big reductions in maintenance is working with a test automation vendor that can future-proof your Salesforce test automation, delivering release-to-release test compatibility. Remember, every minute spent maintaining a test is a minute not spent on testing, and a delay in getting to a confident decision for the new release.

2. How to build ultra-resilient tests for Salesforce

Here’s one of the key challenges to Salesforce test automation in a nutshell: Salesforce regularly makes changes to how a page is rendered, which directly affects the HTML, CSS, Javascript, and DOM that most test automation tools rely on to build tests. Translated: traditional tests tend to be fragile in the face of Salesforce changes.

The good news: there is another way. Salesforce uses metadata to define the form and structure of its page – page layouts, objects, and field definitions. Metadata changes much less often than the rendered page source, which means tests based on metadata are much more resilient. How testing solutions use Salesforces metadata to build tests is a fundamental engineering choice that affects not only maintenance, but successful adoption by a key testing demographic in the low-code world.

3. How citizen testers are key to accelerating test automation

One of the biggest benefits of the low-code revolution is the tremendous expansion of potential coders and testers. Enter the citizen tester, who might be a user, a business analyst, or subject matter expert. The common characteristic of citizen testers is they are not test coding experts. Citizen testers are on the rise to fill workforce gaps and need tools geared toward their success. That means a short learning curve (days not months), intuitive test building (clicks not code), highly automated ultra-reliable test creation, built-in reusability, and scalability. These tools should cater to the citizen tester while at the same time speed up test building and maintenance for the code-savvy test engineer (the same way low-code development empowered more developers and made application development faster for pro coders).

4. How to make quality visibility a strategic advantage

Without testing and a clear picture of quality, low-code development platforms can enable risk creation (untested business critical software) at a prodigious rate. QA teams need a test management platform that will help them collect, organize, and analyze data throughout the software development lifecycle, add detail and speed to feedback loops, and create a shared view of quality across the business – a “quality hub.” A Salesforce quality hub should support multiple user types and easy customization and integration, and should also take advantage of Salesforce applications and infrastructure. The outcome of a well-executed Salesforce quality hub is organization-wide quality visibility and teams that can rapidly and confidently make decisions for every release, drive continuous improvement, and keep customers happy.

5. What to look for in a Salesforce testing provider

With numerous providers on the market, it can be difficult to identify the testing solution that best meets your team’s needs. Here are some key Salesforce testing features to help narrow the field:

  1. Keep up with release velocity in a low-code Salesforce world.
  2. Minimize test maintenance to manage three big yearly releases, date-triggered features, and weekly patches.
  3. Don’t rely on the DOM. Tests built on something Salesforce regularly changes are bound to be fragile and require lots of maintenance.
  4. Empower the citizen tester.
  5. Look past simple test management and build a Salesforce quality hub.

Salesforce is a strategic platform for creating and running business-critical applications. Testing tools should be chosen accordingly.

To Wrap Up

Enterprise IT organizations must have a good handle on these five topics to help development and QA teams deliver quality Salesforce releases and apps at speed. Identifying software quality as a strategic advantage, teams can select tooling, build infrastructure, and develop processes to support that goal. The journey won’t be simple or short. Being mindful of the nuances of Salesforce testing and the requirements of citizen testers will pay big dividends. And, Salesforce and its ecosystem offers an amazing breadth and depth of community, training, consulting, and vendor solutions to help any team succeed.