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Overcoming Challenges in Test Automation for Salesforce Applications

Overcoming Challenges in Test Automation for Salesforce Applications

Introduction

Testing Salesforce applications, especially in end-to-end scenarios, presents unique challenges. At Forte Group, we’ve seen these difficulties firsthand and have developed a framework to address them efficiently.

 

The main challenge in test automation for Salesforce applications lies in the intricacies inherent to the platform’s Lightning interface. As a beacon of customization and user-centric design, Lightning’s environment presents a unique set of obstacles for testers. In this blog post, we’ll break down the specific difficulties that arise with end-to-end Salesforce testing and share Forte Group’s strategic solution to tackle them.

The complexity of the Lightning interface for automation

Salesforce’s Lightning interface is a modern user experience framework specifically tailored for the Salesforce ecosystem. It streamlines processes and enhances productivity with a range of custom and reusable components. However, this sophistication comes with its own set of challenges, especially when it comes to automating tasks and testing customized interfaces. Here’s a look at some of the complexities that make automation in Lightning a tricky endeavor:

 

  1. Dynamic Rendering: Lightning pages don’t render all elements at once. Instead, they load dynamically, which means that the content of the page can keep changing even after the initial load appears complete. This continuous process makes it difficult to determine a reliable point at which the page is fully ready for interaction.

  2. Complex Document Object Model (DOM): The DOM of Lightning pages is often deep and complex, with multiple nested elements. This complexity can lead to challenges in identifying specific elements for automated scripts or even for users navigating the interface.

  3. Use of iFrames: Salesforce Lightning utilizes iFrames to encapsulate certain functionalities or third-party applications within the main page. iFrames create isolated browsing contexts, which complicates the automation process because interaction across different frames requires switching contexts within automation scripts.

  4. Shadow DOM: Salesforce also incorporates Shadow DOM, which further encapsulates and protects elements, providing a layer of separation between the document’s style and behavior and the page’s script. While this is useful for modularity and encapsulation, it adds another layer of complexity for UI testing as traditional methods of accessing DOM elements may not work.

  5. Lack of Element IDs: In many web applications, elements are assigned unique IDs that make them easy to locate and interact with. However, in the Lightning interface, these IDs are often dynamically generated or absent, necessitating a more sophisticated locator strategy for identifying elements consistently.

  6. Custom Elements: Salesforce’s Lightning interface allows for highly customized components tailored to an organization’s specific needs. These custom elements may not adhere to conventional patterns, making it hard to predict their behavior or assign fixed locators for them.

Why out-of-the-box solutions are limited

  • Off-the-shelf solutions offer ease and efficiency, yet often fall short when applied to Salesforce’s complex environment without considerable modifications.
  • Even though some low/no-code offer specific Salesforce support, they eventually fall short in other areas, such as allowing for specific customizations or handling large -and growing- suites of test cases.
  • Organizations usually need to go deeper, and in order to do so, customized solutions are the way to go.

Forte Group's Salesforce Automation Framework

We have developed a framework to address Lightning’s complexities by integrating modern automation tools such as Playwright to efficiently navigate through the intricacies of Salesforce testing. This solution is engineered to tackle dynamic rendering, complex DOM structures, iFrame and Shadow DOM navigation challenges, and the nuances of custom elements. Our comprehensive approach ensures tests are not only reliable but also maintain minimal code complexity.

How it works

Salesforce’s testing terrain can be tricky, as traditional methods of finding elements on a webpage, like IDs or specific names, are often not available in Lightning. Our solution bridges that gap by abstracting Lightning elements, making what was once hard-to-reach, readily accessible for streamlined and efficient test automation, all without adding an extra layer of code complexity.


Auto-wait for lightning pages and elements to load before performing actions

Automations often fail intermittently when interactions are performed before the page is completely loaded. Our solutions tracks the EPT (Experience Page Time) metric to accurately tell when the page is ready.


Built-in abstraction for non-standard lightning components

Lightning UI components often have uncommon functionality that requires custom logic to handle. Our solutions uses inheritance to overwrite custom functionality only when needed, ensuring minimal code. Additionally, locators in our framework are designed to continuously track elements despite Document Object Model (DOM) changes, and sophisticated locator strategies are capable of seamlessly traversing ShadowDOM and iFrames—two common hurdles in web component testing.


Apex and SOQL for Enhanced Scalability

Our framework features dynamic configurations to adapt to expanding test requirements, guaranteeing maintainability even with complex test suites. Integrations with RestAPI, SOQL, and Apex calls enable efficient data setup and reduce UI interaction. These capabilities ensure that our framework scales sustainably, supporting continuous advancement in application quality.

Conclusion

Managing the complexities of end-to-end testing for Salesforce applications requires deep understanding of the platform, particularly within the Lightning interface. Forte Group, backed by over 25 years of industry experience, offers organizations the refined expertise needed to tackle these specialized automation needs. Our approach to Salesforce-specific testing is informed by a blend of industry best practices and innovation, influenced by emerging trends and technological advancements.

By understanding and mitigating the nuances of Salesforce-specific testing, our solution offers a comprehensive and efficient approach to end-to-end testing in Salesforce, empowering businesses to ensure the reliability, performance, and scalability of their applications.

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