A blog dedicated to Salesforce Ohana

Getting Started with Salesforce DX

What is Salesforce DX?
Salesforce DX is a way to shift your development lifecycle and to manage your source of truth. But don't consider Salesforce DX is going to do any magic, as a developer/release manager/lead you need to come up with your own strategy to manage your releases, other challenges like code conflict, urgent fix etc.

Why we need Salesforce DX?
I think the best way to answer this is with some real time scenarios.

Recently I was working with one of my customer who was having multiple sandboxes like DEV, SIT, QAT, UAT. A typical scenario. Now every time there was any kind of production issues, development team tried to find out the root cause and also tried to find out if the issue was due to some of the recent releases. But since all sandboxes were having the same code as Production, there was no way to find out previous code base. So in this situation normally developer request for a new sandbox with production code and fix the issue. This type of development is known as "Org Based Development".

But consider if the code was present in some source control repository then developer can easily get the previous code base, compare code between recent releases (basically comparing between master and branches). But does that really solve our problem? Somehow, but not fully. So basically we need to create an org from code present in source control repository(specifically from branches). Salesforce DX will provide us this option. This type of development is known as "Source Based Development".

Salesforce DX introduces a new type of org known as "Scratch Org" which can be created from source control repository.

What are Scratch Orgs?
Salesforce DX can be enabled for any Salesforce instance. They are known as Developer Hub. Winter'19 will provide us the option of enabling Salesforce DX even in developer org. From Developer Hub, we can create multiple scratch orgs. Scratch orgs are basically temporary org which can be created from source control repos and can be used to build some functionalities, perform proof of concept, test and finally create packages. Once done, developer can deploy the package into sandbox, push the code into repos and finally delete the scratch org.

Install Salesforce DX
Install Heroku CLI and then run the below command to install Salesforce CLI
heroku plugins:install salesforcedx

We need one repository to work with Salesforce DX. We will work with the this repository. So let's start by cloning the repository.
git clone https://github.com/forcedotcom/sfdx-simple
cd sfdx-simple/
You will see the code is being checkout in your local machine with below folder structure

Authorize Salesforce DX to login into Developer Hub
Execute the below command which will authorize Salesforce DX to login into Developer Hub. -d will make this as  the default org and -a will set Sudipta as the alias for this org. Setting alias is really helpful to execute the command without typing the username every time.
sfdx force:auth:web:login -d -a Sudipta
Now if you execute the below command, you will be able to see the list of orgs authorized with Salesforce DX
sfdx force:org:list
Here is the result. See the alias in set as Sudipta. D indicates this is my default org and status is Connected.

Let's create Scratch Org
The important file to create scratch project-scratch-def.json file. It will be stored inside the config folder. This is the place where you will put the configuration of your scratch org. Here is the documentation which lists all the scratch org definition configuration values. In Winter'19, you can specify scratch org settings or org preferences in this file , but not both. Since Salesforce is going to deprecate support for org preferences in this file from Spring'19, it is recommended to convert org preferences to scratch org settings. How to convert is documented here.

Below command is going to create the scratch org. -d specifies with configuration file, -a sets the alias as FirstScratchOrg and -s is making this is as the default scratch org
sfdx force:org:create -f config/project-scratch-def.json -a FirstScratchOrg -s
You will be given below information

Now running the command will display DevHub and newly create scratch org as -

Open the Scratch Org
Below command will open the scratch org in browser. See the beauty of alias as you don't need to remember the username and password to login to your scratch org.
sfdx force:org:open -u FirstScratchOrg

Push code into Scratch Org
To push code into scratch org, you need to configure sfdx-project.json file. This is the file where you will define Namespace, Package Directories, API Version etc. Once defined, the below command will push the code from your local  machine to scratch org
sfdx force:source:push -u FirstScratchOrg
You will find the confirmation message like -

Find out the differences between Scratch Org and Local
Below command will show the differences between your scratch org and Local
sfdx force:source:status -u FirstScratchOrg
Now I have created one custom field in Account object, updated FLS in few profiles, added the field in page layouts. I also have made some changes in DemoController.cls in my local machine. So the above command will give me the below result. Important column is STATE which will indicate where the changes happened.

Pull Changes from Scratch Org:
Below command will pull changes from your scratch org
sfdx force:source:pull -u FirstScratchOrg
Here is the outcome -

Running Test Classes
Execute the below command to run test classes in your scratch org. This will provide the job id which you can use to fetch the report of your test execution

sfdx force:apex:test:run -u FirstScratchOrg
Here is the screenshot from my scratch org -

Generate Password for Scratch Org
Below command will generate the password for your scratch org.
sfdx force:user:password:generate -u FirstScratchOrg
You will  get a message -
Successfully set the password "P7(pD|ca57" for user test-imv1gedrvlxi@example.com.

In future if you want to know the password, execute the below command -

sfdx force:org:display -u FirstScratchOrg
It will provide many informations including password -

Deleting Scratch Org:
Once you are done with scratch org, you can delete the same with below command -
sfdx force:auth:logout -u FirstScratchOrg
Here is the message -



  1. This post of yours is really good. I think you should also consider adding steps to pull data from Source Org and Push to Scratch org. To me that is very important in this context

    1. Thank you for your feedback. I will definitely include the steps to pull data from source org and push to scratch org in my next post. I agree with you this step is very important in this context.


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