Designing Gearset Deploy: enhanced filtering of Salesforce metadata

Stephen Chambers on June 4th 2015


We’re constantly evolving Gearset Deploy and spending a great deal of time making sure that performing your Salesforce deployments is a simple process. We’d like to share our current ideas for future features and get your thoughts on the designs that are on our roadmap. This blog post details the feedback we’ve had about the current Gearset Deploy filtering feature, and how it could be even better in future versions.

Using Gearset Deploy to compare your Salesforce organizations

The number of results returned when comparing two Salesforce organizations can be very large. As a consequence, making sense of the results and choosing the objects to deploy to your target organization can potentially be a time-consuming process.

Previous feedback from our users raised the issue of not wanting to compare all metadata types, but to include only a subset or even a single metadata type for comparison. After all, why compare everything when you only want to see the differences for Apex Classes? As a direct result of the feedback, we added the ‘customize comparison’ feature in Gearset Deploy to make this choice as simple as possible – users can pick what metadata to include before starting the comparison.

The ‘customize comparison’ feature in Gearset Deploy enables specific comparisons

Customized comparisons are great, but we need more filtering!

We’ve since received more feedback about filtering, but this time in relation to helping with the analysis of results from a comparison. Once a comparison has finished, it’s not uncommon to be faced with a long list of object differences to examine. While the existing customized comparison, automatic categorization by difference type, sorting, and free text filtering can help reduce the number of results, the feedback has been clear – it currently doesn’t go far enough.

What’s the problem exactly?

From the feedback we’ve received, two additional enhancements to filtering functionality are needed to significantly improve the process of viewing and choosing which objects to deploy. The first enhancement should enable filtering along a broader range of categories. These include:

  1. Seeing only changes made by certain users
  2. Viewing changes at certain points in time
  3. Additional filtering to view different metadata types

The second enhancement is to add support for seeing particular subsets within each of the above categories. For example, ten different metadata types might be displayed as a result of the comparison, but you may want to break this list down further and just see Apex Classes, Custom Objects, and Workflows. Filtering by text only allows you to pinpoint one of those classes, but not just those three in particular at the same time.

Design mockups for future improvements to filtering

The current design iterations aim to solve these problems, but without adding significant complexity to the Gearset Deploy UI. The first issue of filtering along the dimensions of time range, user(s) responsible for changes, and metadata types can be used in combination with the existing filters. The design mockup below shows where to access the additional filters – they don’t require digging through menus or take up a significant portion of the existing UI.

A mockup showing additional filter types

Each of the three category-level filters can then provide immediate access to individual items so you can select any subsets within that category. For example, to see only the changes made by three users instead of all listed users, you could simply move the mouse over the user icon and choose those particular users, which will automatically exclude changes made by anyone else from being displayed in the results:

A mockup showing filtering based on who made the change

The same mechanism works for filtering metadata types and could easily display only Custom Objects, Profiles, and Workflows together and exclude any other metadata types that were returned from the comparison:

A mockup showing filtering based on who made the change

The third option would similarly let you view changes made during a certain time period. All three filters can be applied at once to create a powerful way of reducing the results down to a very specific set and making deployment to your Salesforce organizations a much simpler process.

What’s next?

Feedback on the design mockups has been positive, and the designs allow for a powerful combination of filtering and categorizing data to focus on any combination of results that you want. This enhanced filtering functionality is on our roadmap for later in the year and of course we’d love to hear any feedback that you have about it. Does it meet your requirements or is there something more we could be doing? Take a look at the current features in Gearset Deploy, visit our forum and add your comments and suggestions, or drop us an email at [email protected] and give us your thoughts!

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