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Easily deploy Vlocity items alongside Salesforce metadata

Tom Smith on July 8th 2021


Gearset now supports Vlocity deployments with new purpose-built tooling! Vlocity packages are becoming increasingly popular as a way to extend Salesforce quickly with sector-specific solutions. Before our new release, deploying Vlocity meant you had to use a dedicated deployment tool and a separate workflow to your normal Salesforce deployments - not an ideal solution. The beauty of Gearset's new Vlocity deployment tool is that you can deploy your Vlocity items alongside Salesforce metadata.

What is Vlocity?

Vlocity was acquired by Salesforce in February 2020 and rebranded as Salesforce Industries. The two names are still used interchangeably - for the sake of ease, I'll use 'Vlocity' in the rest of this post.

Companies choose Salesforce as their CRM because it's easy to customize for particular business requirements. But most companies in any given sector will have broadly similar requirements, and so Vlocity offers sector-specific solutions as packages that companies can install into Salesforce. In broad strokes, these solutions meet the typical requirements companies have in particular sectors, and then Salesforce teams can adjust the fine details for further customization.

Illustration of developer at desk

Why are Vlocity deployments different?

Just like any other changes made to Salesforce, Vlocity customizations should be developed and released as part of your DevOps workflow. That means changes need to be made in a developer environment first, tested properly and deployed along a release pipeline to production.

There's a key difference between Vlocity and most other Salesforce customizations: Vlocity configuration is described with data, not metadata. For this reason Vlocity DataPacks cannot be deployed using Salesforce's Metadata API or change sets. Salesforce provides two tools specifically for Vlocity deployments. Vlocity Build can be used for running deployments from the CLI, while Vlocity's IDX Workbench is a UI-based tool.

The downside of using either Vlocity Build or IDX Workbench is that you now have two separate deployment tools - one for metadata and one for Vlocity. In turn, this creates more problems:

  • You have to run extra deployments for Vlocity DataPacks in addition to your metadata deployments, which takes up more of your time.
  • It's inefficient having multiple tools for one job - in this case, deployments. It's easier for your team to have fewer tools to learn.
  • Your audit trail for deployments is split. If you're a Gearset user, you'll want Vlocity deployments in your deployment history so you can roll back, clone, redeploy, or combine those packages like every other deployment.
  • It's harder to integrate Vlocity deployments into your DevOps process.

How to deploy Vlocity DataPacks using Gearset

Gearset's Vlocity deployment tool dovetails with its metadata deployment tool, so you can deploy Vlocity items using the same interface and include Vlocity items alongside metadata in your regular deployments. Gearset gives you more granular control over these deployments than Salesforce's deployment tools.

Here's a quick walkthrough of a Vlocity deployment in Gearset.

First, let's make a change to one of the FlexCards in a developer org. We open up OmniStudio from the App Launcher, go to OmniStudio FlexCards and select the FlexCard we want to edit - in this case gearsetMasterAccount. We deactivate the card and make a simple change, switching the colour of the icon header from blue to orange, then reactivate the FlexCard.

Making a change to a FlexCard

Next, we're going to use Gearset to compare that developer org with a staging environment, and then deploy our change to the FlexCard. Opening up Gearset's filter from the bottom right of the Compare and deploy page, we can see the list of metadata types we could include in the comparison. But Vlocity items aren't metadata, so we select the tab labelled Vlocity types to include.

Gearset's comparison filter

This opens up a list of all the Vlocity types you can compare and deploy. We made a change to one of our FlexCards, so we need to select VlocityCard. If we had made changes to other components such as DataRaptors or IntegrationProcedures then we'd need to select those as well.

Gearset's comparison filter with the VlocityCard type selected

Let's close the filter and click on the Compare now button. Gearset compares the two environments and shows us the exact difference between them. We can see the change to that FlexCard, so we select it to deploy and click Next.

Gearset's comparison page showing the FlexCard change

There are no warnings flagged up by Gearset's problem analyzers for this deployment, so we can proceed straight to the deployment summary where Gearset shows us what we're deploying. We can give the deployment a friendly name so our teammates will get a quick idea why we ran the deployment, and now we're ready to deploy! We could schedule the deployment for later, but let's click Deploy now.

Gearset's deployment summary page

The deployment is successful! We can click on the new Deployed Vlocity items tab to view the change we deployed.

Gearset's deployment success page

Combined Vlocity and metadata deployments

You can easily deploy Vlocity items alongside metadata in the same deployment. Just include the relevant types in Gearset's comparison filter and select all the changes you need from the comparison page. On the Deployment summary page, you'll see separate tabs for metadata items and Vlocity items for you to review everything that's going to be deployed.

Gearset's deployment summary page

Gearset will deploy your metadata first, then the Vlocity items. When you view your deployment history in Gearset, you may see some deployments that have the status Partial. This means the metadata was successfully deployed but not the Vlocity items.

Adding Vlocity items to your Salesforce DevOps process

As well as deploying Vlocity DataPacks manually, you can also use Gearset to include Vlocity deployments within an automated DevOps workflow. When setting up or editing a CI job in Gearset, use the filter to include the Vlocity types you want to deploy automatically, as shown below.

Creating a CI job in Gearset

We're planning to add support for Vlocity items across Gearset's full suite of DevOps tools in due course - and are happy to take user feedback, as always!

Try deploying your Vlocity DataPacks!

If you're using Vlocity, have a go at deploying your DataPacks using Gearset! As always, we're keen to hear your feedback on any improvements that we can make to this or any part of the app. If you're not a Gearset user you can start a free trial, which gives you full access to Gearset for 30 days. Get in touch using the live chat to let us know how you get on!

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