TL;DR: In the first half of this year we’ll be focusing on:
- A small number of substantial new features
- Lots of incremental additions, usability enhancements and polish to existing features
- Making your deployments successful with improvements to our dependency and problem analysis
Gearset exists because migrating changes between Salesforce orgs is difficult. There are often a lot of error-prone manual steps and tedious iteration when making a deployment from one org to another. As your environments grow in number and complexity, so does the margin for error, introducing more esoteric dependencies and failure cases. By the time you add source control into the mix, you’re dealing with the idiosyncrasies of the metadata API, versioning issues and lots of raw XML.
A complete, robust, ALM process is comprised of a variety of components, and over the past year or two we’ve added lots of fantastic features to Gearset that you’d expect to see - CI, test monitoring, user permissions for SOX compliance, rollback, VCS integration, and lots more. We’ve also added some more innovative features that might be less familiar but are equally impactful, such as change monitoring and deploying directly from live org to version control.
In building out these features, we’ve taken an iterative approach - we take user feedback, from calls, intercom chats and uservoice, along with our guiding vision of what problems we want Gearset to solve and who we want to solve them for, and we use that to help us pick both which features to build and the slices in which we’ll build and release them. We like to practise what we preach as a release management solution: regular incremental releases are at the heart of any good ALM process - we’ve pushed more than 30 Gearset releases in the past month alone. As soon as a feature has enough functionality to be valuable to some of our users, we’ll push it live and start gathering feedback. This helps us ensure that we’re solving real user problems at each step of the way, and we refine each solution with the guidance of those who feel the problem most acutely.
We’re not planning to change that approach any time soon. We’ll be starting 2017 in a similar vein, but we’ll shift our focus towards iteration and polish, now that a lot of the core pillars of a great release management solution are in place. That’s not to say that there won’t be some new big-ticket features this year - you can check out our roadmap for an idea of where we’re headed - but our incremental approach to development means we’re committed to investing in improving existing features for current and new users alike.
New features and improved user experience are fantastic, but at the heart of a world-leading release management solution is its ability to actually deploy. Regardless of supporting features and integrations, the core task of a release management solution is to ensure the reliable, repeatable, and successful migration of changes from one environment to another. We’ve invested a lot of time and effort in Gearset’s deployment engine. Its dependency and problem analysis catch all kinds of deployment-threatening issues before pushing your package to Salesforce. The value of such a deployment engine is all the more important when using continuous integration. Without this additional intelligence, continuous integration is not only fragile, but restricted to a smaller subset of the more easily deployable metadata types.
Gearset currently detects about 25 classes of deployment problem (including issues around missing dependencies, name casing, master-detail relationships, flows, feature enablement, API versioning), and maps dependencies for around 30 metadata types and components (including dependencies for workflows, translations, profiles, permission sets, custom objects, queues and picklists, formulae, and many more). Going forwards, we’re going to continue to invest significant time and energy in growing these, making Gearset’s core more full-featured and robust, and improving all of the other features it underpins.
As we’ve said before, Gearset’s roadmap isn’t static. Your feedback really does help shape the product, so if there’s a feature you can’t live without, or an area of the product that you think could benefit from some polish, then tell us via email, uservoice, or the in-app chat. To those of you who’ve provided feedback so far - thank you so much, we really appreciate it, so please keep it coming!