Continuous Integration in Salesforce using Flosum AppExchange

Native Force.com solution for Continuous Integration using AppExchange product Flosum

This is first of many upcoming articles on evaluation of Salesforce AppExchange products. In this post we will be discussing capability of native Force.com based solution for Continuous integration. Deployment has always been one of pain point in Salesforce developement. I have worked and proposed many solutions to customers based on their requirement and budget. One of solution which got my attention recently is “Flosum” available and listed on AppExchange from this year.

I have used many traditional continuous integrations like Jenkins, Bamboo, Scheduled ANT script but all of them still involve manual intervention and most important, special skill set to setup and handle any issue arising time to time.

Let’s talk about Flosum and what makes it different at high level:

  • Complete native solution built over Force.com platform
  • Requirement gathering to deployment, all aspects covered
  • Multiple environment management
  • Easy Profile migration
  • Security access to environment for each user
  • Default space 11GB
  • Acts as Version Control
  • Supports Continuous integration and auto deployments
  • Compare Complete Org with historical or current changes
  • 360 reporting view

How it works

When we buy it from AppExchange, One brand new Enterprise edition instance is provided by Flosum which controls complete release cycle with 11GB of default space. 11GB is huge space even for largest environment as this product saves only delta changes internally. This Organization pulls all metadata changes from other environment and saves in version control. These changes can be grouped together to identify as release cycle and known as “patches” and then these patches can be deployed to other organizations.

Flosum AppExchange
Flosum AppExchange

Comparision

1. Flosum vs Git

Flosum Git
Only built for Salesforce and handles Salesforce Metadata Handles code base of any language
Very easy to useInvolves some learning curve for using commands
Compliance with HIPAA, SOX, FISMA, ISO 27001 because code is stored natively in SalesforceIf it’s not hosted in-house, then non compliance

2. Flosum vs SnapShot
Major difference and descision maker for me is ease of use. Both provides almost similar functionality howevere Flosum gets edge over this product. Flosum is native cloud based appilcation while Snapshot is desktop based. Also Flosum can be considered as Continuous integration solution while Snapshot not. Infact, I have my own desktop based application much similar to Snapshot which compares two orgs, takes backups, deploy and few more which this tool doesn’t have. If you think, you have some points to add here in favor of any of product, please share back.

3. Flosum vs Autotabit

Autorabit is coming along a way and currently most preferred appExchange for continuous Integration. Autorabit is also native application build over force.com platform and has many nice features like generating (converting) Selenium scripts for automated testing etc. Mostly in my projects, I have seen clients are using Autorabit as compared to Flosum.

Video

Check this video to get some idea on how it works

Missing functionalities (Good to have Ideas)

  • Although we have security at Organization level that which developer can connect which org for deployment. However if we can control who can deploy what, It will be very good enhancement. Eg : Admins should not be deploying Apex related changes.
  • There should be some way, kinda post installation script that after deployment on Org perform post deployment activities like change Workflow email address, Outbound message URL etc.

Disclaimer: I have not been contacted or asked to write a review on this product, complete post depicts my own view on this appExchange entry.

If you have faced any issue while using this product or if you have more to add, please share feedback and I would try to validate and update this article so that it would be helpful for community members.

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24 thoughts on “Continuous Integration in Salesforce using Flosum AppExchange”

  1. Nice, thanks for sharing this. I have been evaluating CI for my company. Tested Jenkins, Solano (same we used for trailhead) but CI with salesforce is pain. Thanks, ill go in detail on this tomorrow and will post my review. If that fits in the concerns I have with Salesforce Platform, ill definitely purchase this product

      1. The video is old and does not list all the features. Please check flosum.com for all the features mentioned on the blog.

      1. I have deployed Copado and HIGHLY recommend as deployment management tool. Was deployed as replacement for ANT and the deployment team rejoiced. It has a superb user interface, built in integrations with JIRA, Github, AWS, Jenkins, and much more. They stack up better against AutoRABIT as well. A Hybrid approach is definitely recommended Git/Copado but I haven’t found a deployment management tool that has better tool set, better help or ease of use.

    1. Dear Harshit,

      AutoRABIT HQ is based out of Pleasanton, CA . I Would be glad to have a conversation with you showcasing some of the features of AutoRABIT . Its end-to-end Salesforce release management suite with powerful integrations for GIT, SVN, TFS [ all the way from check-in to branching can be done with AutoRABIT into your own VCS ] , deployments from ALM user story status like Jira or from Sandbox or from version control , Parent-child based multi-object data loader and Selenium curing engine for powerful record-playback solution for Salesforce Test Automation.
      We are also DF’15 in mega booth in Dev Zone this year. Would be glad to meet you at the cocktail party . Let me know if we can catch up at DF as well.

      Regards,
      Niranjan
      Sr. Program Architect, AutoRABIT.
      niranjan.g@autorabit.com

        1. Hi Jitendra,
          I truly appreciate the great work you do to the community , esp. the effort with your blogs and knowledge sharing . I will be glad to share some of the offerings from AutoRABIT at DF’15 . We have also a theater session as well on 5 essentials of release management.
          I will also work towards giving you a free access after our conversation at DF so that you can playaround and share feedback to community as well .

    1. If we check reviews in AppExchange, sure Flosum has lead. However I would suggest to try both products before taking any decision. Autorabit also has good reputation amongst developers.

  2. Jitendra we using ant for sfdc deployment,the thing is we are getting more post deployment steps like (deleting user from “permissionset”,adding data to custom object..etc)more time consuming for deployment is there any tool to automate this kind of pd steps(post deployment steps)?

    1. Hi Siraj,
      I use ANT tasks for post deployment activities s well. Using ANT, we can invoke dataloader to add data in custom object, perform destructive.xml deployment to remove some components. You can find lots of post related to ANT in this blog. Let me know if you have any specific question.

      1. Hi Jitendra,
        i am tring with ant tool but, how to retrieve fields under cases or macro and shared settings kind of pd steps

  3. Hello Jitendra,
    What are the disadvantages of ANT. My client does not like delta deployment and wants full deploy every time.They are planning to automate using SVN and ANT. Need your suggestion on this.

    1. Hi Sai, Only disadvantage of ANT is that learning curve is little bit high for developers. However, once you know how to use ANT, it is very powerful. I am managing multi billion org by pure ANT. even if you need full deployment, ANT can do it. ANT is like writing Java Program with writing actually program.

      1. Thing is that they are expecting us to implement continuous integration without manual intervention. is it possible? Are there any issues with ANT one i know is we need to activate Process Builders manually post ANT deployment. Any other like this? Thanks for your reply.

  4. Hello Jitendra, Is there a way we can automate the desctructiveChanges.xml deployment as well with the regular deployment approach so that we don;t have to run them separately. I am using Bitbucket in my project and we are facing challenges in maintaining deployments and destructive changes. Please let me know. Thanks!

  5. Hello Jitendra and community,

    Apart from version Control:

    Can I accomplish Functional testing / Automation from this tool(FLOSUM) ?
    Can it deliver the results, similar to what we achieve from Selenium ?

  6. @JitendraZaa:disqus

    Hello Jitendra and community,

    Apart from version Control:

    Can I accomplish Functional testing / Automation from this tool(FLOSUM) ?
    Can it deliver the results, similar to what we achieve from Selenium ?

    I am looking for answers specific to SF orgs automation for CI/CD

    1. At the time of writing this post, I don’t think it had capability looping in @girishjashnani:disqus . Autorabbit is coming up very good in this space and they have this capability for sure, adding @niranjan_gattupalli:disqus

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