Salesforce Test Automation

A Leapwork guide to efficient Salesforce testing

Download this guide

Jump to section:

Watch webinar: no-code automation
Download this guide

Testing Salesforce is an essential, but often difficult, part of Quality Assurance for Salesforce-driven organizations. Test automation can help these businesses overcome challenges, but it can also introduce new issues - developer dependencies and maintenance overload, to name a few.

But with the right test automation strategy and Salesforce automation tool, testing at speed becomes easier. QA teams can work more efficiently and help enhance product quality while bringing down risk.

In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about Salesforce test automation - from the benefits and difficulties of automating Salesforce tests, how to overcome common automation challenges, and how to find the right Salesforce test automation tool.

1. Why Salesforce test automation?

The need to automate Salesforce tests is ever-increasing.

As more organizations bring their business online and go through digital transformation, the need to quality assure applications grows. And there’s only one way to keep up with that growth - test automation.

Test automation can be used to test and verify Salesforce processes, and to monitor applications and integrations between Salesforce and other platforms. 

Related reading: How to Test Salesforce Integrations with SAP in Selenium

Automated tests are necessary, not just when the business makes changes to their own systems and push out updates or changes, or transition to Salesforce Lightning, but also when Salesforce push out updates from their side.

With a web application like Salesforce, updates are pushed live online, and don’t need to be installed, so test automation that runs continuously and checks processes on a schedule can give businesses confidence that their processes continue to run as intended with every update.

See an example of a Salesforce process being automated.

On a small scale, it’s possible to test manually. But for large businesses, manual testing simply isn’t feasible. And without proper test coverage, business-critical processes can be put at risk.

But transitioning from manual to automated testing is no simple task.

Related reading: Manual testing vs. automated testing: 10 considerations

Questions like “which tests should we automate?”, “which tests should continue to be manual?”, “what kind of automation tool or framework should we use”, and even “what are our testing requirements” can be difficult to map out.

All of these questions should be answered when building your test automation strategy. 

Get our test automation strategy checklist here.

Often, QA teams get off to a rough start with test automation. Typically, it’s because the strategy isn’t properly defined, or because the tool isn’t the right fit for the team. This can delay the benefits of test automation, or prohibit them all together.

With the right tool and strategy, however, teams can expect to see the following benefits:

2. Benefits of automating Salesforce

  • Increased testing speed
  • Increased testing accuracy
  • Risk mitigation
  • Increased test coverage
  • Faster delivery release cycle
  • Enhanced product quality
  • Reduced costs
  • Greater competitive advantage

These benefits are all intertwined. For example, thanks to greater speed and accuracy, it becomes possible to increase test coverage, and thereby improve product quality.

Learn more about how to deliver your next Salesforce Seasonal Release on time. 

3. Challenges of automating Salesforce

Compared to other technologies, Salesforce is particularly difficult to automate.

Salesforce is designed and built in such a way that the interface is easy and simple to navigate, but the underlying software is challenging to access for those wishing to automate it.

Here are some of the reasons why Salesforce is difficult to automate from a technical perspective:

  • Frequent system updates: When Salesforce make changes to the platform, it can impact existing processes.
  • Shadow DOMs: Salesforce uses Shadow DOMs to isolate components. This makes it difficult to identify elements in UI test automation.
  • Heavy DOM structure: Salesforce’s DOM structure is complex and difficult for automation tools to access.
  • Element identifiers are hidden: Salesforce elements are hidden for development purposes, making test automation difficult.
  • Dynamic elements: You need an element locator strategy to automate Salesforce, as elements change frequently.
  • Iframes: Salesforce Iframes are difficult to identify because the UI automation tool needs to identify the elements under the frame.

Continue reading: Salesforce test automation: How to overcome common challenges

New call-to-action

4. How to automate Salesforce

To automate Salesforce tests, you will need either a framework or a test automation tool suitable for Salesforce.

Code-based frameworks

When starting out with automation, many choose to build their own automation frameworks or to use existing, free, open-source frameworks. There are pros and cons to these approaches. 

Building your own framework means you can tailor it to the business’ exact needs. The downside is that it requires developer resources and it can easily take 6-12 months before you have a stable framework up-and-running. Businesses that succeed with this still see that, down the line, such frameworks are difficult to maintain, and are incredibly resource-heavy, even with dedicated Centers of Excellence in charge.

To save time, pre-built and pre-verified frameworks can be used. Frameworks like Selenium are free and open-source. The downside of these frameworks is their inflexibility. Selenium, for example, only automates web applications, which is a problem for businesses wishing to automate across web, desktop, virtual or legacy software. Typically, pre-built frameworks are built with one purpose in mind, and rarely contribute to anything beyond that.

Related reading: An Introduction to Codeless Selenium Automation

Selenium for Salesforce testing?

In the search for the best automation tool to automate Salesforce, many consider Selenium. 

Selenium might seem like an obvious first choice, because it’s built for web applications (Salesforce is a web application) and because it’s free.

Unfortunately, as many realize after having invested time and resources in building Selenium tests, Selenium isn’t ideal for Salesforce automation as it requires coding. Even with highly skilled developers on the team, setting up and maintaining Salesforce test automation is a difficult and time-consuming affair. If developers are tasked with automation (rather than testers), bottlenecks tend to emerge, and testing is not agile.

Here are three typical challenges that testers face when using Selenium for Salesforce test automation:

  1. The myriad of programming languages: Selenium tests can be written using various programming languages, for example Python and C#. But you cannot use multiple languages in the same tests. So your developers and testers must know and use the same programming language in order to contribute to test automation and avoid overly complex test suites.
  2. The search for broken code: If a test fails, perhaps because of system changes and elements becoming invalid (for example if Salesforce is updated) tests will need to be updated. This process can be incredibly time-consuming when the tests are written in code. Particularly if assigned to a person who didn’t write the test in the first place.
  3. The maintenance monster: As the number of automated tests grows, test suites will become large and complex. This isn’t a problem per se, but when tests are written in code, they can become a monster to maintain. Down the line, businesses find that code-based automation isn’t scalable, and they don’t get their return on investment in time and resources.

Continue reading: Can You Automate Salesforce Tests Using Selenium? 

All in all, though Selenium can seem like a good place to start with Salesforce test automation, teams often find that it becomes a pain to maintain down the road. 

So what’s the alternative?

Instead of using frameworks like Selenium, businesses can invest in an automation tool.

New call-to-action

Low-code or code-based automation tools

Low-code and code-based automation tools are similar to Selenium in that they require programming knowledge to use.

Low-code tools typically have the advantage of a more simple interface, providing a better overview, and making set-up and maintenance easier.

Many licensed low-code and code-based tools will also have more functionality, for example the capability of automating more than just web applications.

For businesses with large, complex software infrastructures, these capabilities can be advantageous. However, any business, large or small, will find that the coding requirement will mean a greater resource investment, particularly down the line. This is why it makes sense to consider which resources the business has at hand, and if they really want to spend developer resources on test automation.

Learn more: 3 things to consider when choosing an automation tool for Salesforce 

No-code automation tools

No-code test automation means that no programming knowledge whatsoever is required to set up and maintain test automation. This removes the dependency on developers. Instead, testers, who are typically business experts rather than technical experts, can drive automation.

In other words, when developer or IT dependency is removed, the people in the organization with the deepest understanding of Salesforce can contribute to test automation and quality assurance.

The only real downside to no-code automation is that it isn’t free. The start-up costs of a good tool can be big. However, businesses will see a quicker return on their investment with no-code tools, because maintenance time is reduced significantly and the solution can be scaled without much additional cost.

 

There’s one common misconception that no-code tools are too simple, and cannot solve complex automation tasks. While this may be true for some, other no-code tools are built for Salesforce automation and can handle challenging automation scenarios.

Leapwork, for example, is a test automation solution built for Salesforce.

Related reading: KKR and Salesforce Ventures back Leapwork in record series-B round

5. Leapwork for Salesforce test automation

Salesforce is known to be difficult to automate because of the complex underlying technology. Leapwork’s no-code platform makes it easier than ever before to test, verify, and automate Salesforce-driven processes.

Unlike most other Salesforce automation tools, Leapwork handles challenges like frame navigation, object dependency and dynamic content under the hood, so you don’t have to spend hours on modifying and updating tests at every run. 

CTA: https://www.leapwork.com/download-leapwork-selenium-salesforce-comparison 

Here’s an overview of how Leapwork solves some of the main Salesforce automation challenges:

Common Salesforce challenges

How Leapwork helps 

Navigating through frames 

Leapwork uses smart visual recognition that only requires a single click to switch between frames. 

Executing against dynamic content 

Leapwork’s locator strategy allows dynamic web elements to be efficiently identified, with the option to tweak or change the chosen strategy as required. 

Handling tables 

Leapwork includes a row/table column-based strategy that can handle the complex tables in Salesforce out of the box. 

Object dependency 

Leapwork automatically maintains object dependency, complete with an oversight of the objects used for a flow. 

Heavy DOM structure and shadow DOMs 

Leapwork automatically captures elements within the DOM structure (including shadow DOMs).

Driving data 

Leapwork enables the same use case to be executed for multiple Salesforce users with input from spreadsheets, databases, and web services.

Reusability 

Leapwork’s tests can run smoothly despite frequent updates, thanks to reusable cases, visual debugging capabilities, and video-based reporting. 

Long steps for end-to-end testing 

Leapwork’s smart recording, including recording sub-flows, enables automation of end-to-end use cases within a matter of minutes. 

 

Watch the video below, to see how fast automation can be set up with a no-code Leapwork compared to code-based Selenium. 

 

Would you like to learn more about Leapwork’s solution for Salesforce test automation? Then download our solution brief or sign up for our webinar on no-code automation, where we show how Salesforce can be automated with Leapwork.

Salesforce-Automation-Guide-Thumb_Transp

Download the Salesforce Automation Guide

Learn more about Salesforce automation in this comprehensive guide.