What can be helpful in understanding Salesforce?
Each technology is a specific technology stack that we encounter in subsequent projects. Our job is to learn about the solution before we even start testing it and gain project experience.
I remember my beginnings in Salesforce and feeling positively surprised that there was so much documentation. Most importantly, this was the first time I encountered Trailheads – interactive tutorials that help you get to know Salesforce technology step-by-step.
Among other things, Thailhead learning is attractive because of the gamification elements – each completed Quiz or Hands-On Challenge is rewarded with points and badges. We are motivated to gain the next rank, starting from Scout and ending with Ranger.
Trailheads mostly end with a test or a practice task that tests your understanding of the chosen topic. They are usually divided into:
- Trail – addresses a topic; the content is divided into sections
- Module – may contain several Trailheads explaining a particular topic
- Project – may consist of several Trailheads, focusing mainly on practical tasks that you perform on your test sandbox, called playground
Data Organization – Salesforce organizes data as objects and records (example based on an Excel workbook):
- Objects – Excel workbook templates are tables in the Salesforce database, represented as tabs in the application, containing records (rows) and fields (columns), for example, Accounts, Contacts
- Records – individual rows from an Excel template are rows in a Salesforce database table, available to the user as records in the application tab, for example, Acme, ABC Genius Tech Consulting
- Fields – columns from the Excel template are columns in the Salesforce database tables for the Object, for example, Account Name, Phone.
Organizing objects and records in Salesforce
Source: CRM for Salesforce Classic Trailhead
Salesforce apps – pre-built apps with built-in functionality and tabs that can be run within your Salesforce account, such as the sales app.
2. OBJECT NAME
3. RECORD NAME
4. RECORD DETAILS (FIELDS)
Source: Admin Beginner Trailhead
Administration – located in the Setup menu, the command center from which you can manage users and data, create and manage applications, and such.
The main categories in the Setup menu include:
- administration (user and data management, email template creation)
- platform tools (application management)
- settings (company data settings and org security)
Category structure in the Setup Menu
Releases – Salesforce provides users with three releases per year: Spring, Summer, and Winter. Within each release, we get a Trailhead module with information about the changes – what has been improved and what’s the newly available functionality.
Salesforce Classic vs. Salesforce Lightning
In Salesforce technology, we have two types of interfaces:
- Salesforce Classic – the interface used since the company’s founding in 1999
- Salesforce Lightning – new, optimized interface unveiled at the Dreamforce conference in 2005
- Outdated design
- More elements visible on the page
- Required fields marked with a red line
- App Launcher located at the top right of the page
- Switch to Salesforce Lightning button located on the home page
- A clear way of adding a new tabs. In one window, we can see the tabs that have been added and those that we can add
- No option of narrowing the search for the Global Search field
- No button available for quick creation of records from the main page
- Different layout of main categories, categories, and pages in Setup menu compared with Salesforce Lightning
- No longer in active development (product not in development)
- Lower security level compared with Lightning
- No new solutions or plug-ins available
- Modern design
- More tabs located on the page
- Required fields marked with an asterisk
- App Launcher located at the top left of the page
- Switch to Salesforce Classic button located in the menu after clicking on avatar
- Less clear way of adding new tabs. More clicking between pop-ups required. No summary of already added tabs and those that can be added
- Possibility to narrow the search for the Global Search field
- Button for quick tabs creation from the main page available
- Different layout of main categories, categories, and pages in Setup menu compared with Salesforce Classic
- Active development
- Higher security level compared with Classic
- New solutions and plugins available all the time
- Salesforce Logins – a plugin developed by Synebo for the Google Chrome browser only. It allows username and password to be saved on a given sandbox so that we can efficiently switch between users or different environments for testing applications. We do not need to manually enter login information using https://test.salesforce.com/.
- Salesforce Inspector – an extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. Features include checking fields and field relationships on a given record, exporting data from a database using a query, importing data from a CSV format, for example, an Excel file, checking limits and component usage on an org, downloading metadata, or quickly switching between users.
- Data Loader – an application created by Salesforce for operations on large amounts of data. It allows you to operate on a file containing up to 5 million records. Operations are performed using files in a CSV format.
To sum up
Salesforce is a complex platform with many capabilities allowing for quick customization to meet the needs of any customer. It runs on a SaaS model, meaning easy access from anywhere in the world without the need to install software – an Internet connection is enough. As with any solution, we need time to get to know it better, but it is faster and more fun with rich documentation and interactive tutorials (Trailheads).
In my next article, I will focus on practical examples and explain what Salesforce application development is all about.
- Senior Software Tester
A tester who has been associated with the Quality Assurance (QA) industry for 7 years; has worked for small companies and big corporations in such sectors as healthcare, pharma, telecom, and logistics. At work, he is opened to new challenges that he undertakes with full commitment to achieve the best results, as well as to improve processes. Privately, he likes to work out at the gym and take walks in the open air.