Salesforce organizations can easily be incomprehensible. Unused fields, hundreds of record types, at least ten distinct Apex classes for "test data factory," workflows with redundant logic—and many more!
One of the most difficult aspects of coping with this degree of complexity is that there are so many interwoven components that you start to feel uneasy about making changes in the organisation
You might have doubts like:
- What happens if I change the name of this picklist value?
- What happens if I delete this Apex class's hard-coded Id?
- This email template is being sent by what automation?
- And why do we have ten email templates that are all the same?
Before implementing changes in the organisation, one technique to cope with this problem is to do an "impact analysis."
We will look into Salesforce impact analysis, its importance and three free tools you can utilise.
Then we also have Salto's Free Tier which combines the features of its predecessors and makes Salesforce impact analysis accessible to everyone.
What does impact analysis mean?
Impact analysis demonstrates how changes in your company information might have an impact on other parts of the organisation. This can be accomplished through understanding the concepts of references and connections.
Imagine you have a custom field that ten Apex classes, two process builders, and seven workflow rules utilise (also known as reference). The custom field is linked to the other information via these references. So, if the field is changed in any way then it's possible that the change will affect all of the information.
Why would you need to do it?
Take the case of renaming a picklist value—it's a minor change, but anything that relies on it will stop working suddenly and without any prior notice.
This includes the following:
- Value is used as a criterion in reports.
- Workflow and validation rules are triggered when a certain value is entered.
- Apex classes have if/else conditions that check for the presence of a value.
Without the implementation of impact analysis, what appears to be a little change might result in a devastating deployment.
A thorough impact analysis will identify all of the locations where the field is used and, more importantly, how it is utilised, allowing you to make any required changes to the metadata before deploying it.
Tools for impact analysis
On custom fields and not standard fields, Salesforce gives a very essential "Where is this used?" button to view where the field is used. It enables you to comprehend the implications of changing that field.
This is a nice start, but we want you to look into some more areas where impact analysis is required and the "Where is this used?" button falls insufficient:
- Is Apex code using the field in a dynamic way?
Perhaps the field name is written in a custom setting or custom metadata type rather than in the code.
- What if the field is utilised in a location that the "Where is this used?" button doesn't cover. This contains things like Lead and Opportunity Paths, Workflow Rules, and other things.
- Who said impact analysis had to be limited to fields? What if you need to track the location of a specific email template, whether it's in Apex, flow, process builder, workflows, or assignment rules?
- How about hardcoding user or profile IDs practically everywhere you want? What method will you use to locate them?
Visual studio code
Developers can also use VS Code to run a text search on your organization's metadata.
One drawback of this technique is that VS Code isn't always in touch with what's going on in the organization, and each developer will have their own copy of the information on their local machine. There isn't a single location where everyone can look for references that have the exact same copy of the organization's information.
Also, the default package.xml file does not contain all of the metadata types, so some of them will have to be explicitly added like reports and report folders.
Finally, while it's good to go for engineers, non-technical users and administrators will probably find it too difficult.
Another alternative can be HappySoup-a free impact analysis tool for discovering where custom fields are utilised.
It has high functionality.
But it does have a number of drawbacks:
- It only uses the Dependency API, which Salesforce has said will be phased down later this year.
- It is unable to recognise user or profile IDs that have been hardcoded.
- Standard fields have a restricted amount of support.
- A full-text search throughout your metadata isn't possible.
Salto’s free tier: a proper impact analysis
All of the tools given above have their own set of advantages, but they are all different from one another.
What if you could “eat your cake and have it too” in one free tool?
This is where the Salto Free Tier can be utilised.
Salto's Free Tier is an AppExchange-certified programme that combines the full-text search capabilities of VS Code, the business security of the native "Where is this used?" button, the user-friendly design of HappySoup, and some more functionalities.
Salesforce Admins and Developers can use the Salto Free Tier to get the following features:
- Impact analysis for all forms of metadata (standard and custom fields, apex code, etc.).
- Search your whole Salesforce organisation for full-text results (so you can find those hardcoded IDs, email addresses, etc.).
- The ability to compare metadata from different organisations inside the same organisation (for example, compare two profiles and find the differences).
- Keep an eye on notifications so you can be the first to know if your code is changed (or any other metadata you want to know about).
With all of these tools at your disposal, you are ready to conduct a thorough impact analysis before making any changes to your organisation. This process is quick and saves you time on the tasks you might have to carry out if impact analysis is not carried out.
Give it a shot — it's completely free!
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