Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs: Disposable Dev Environments

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs

What are Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs?

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs are temporary, disposable environments for developing and testing Salesforce applications. They’re created on-demand and reflect a clean slate, replicating production environments for accurate testing. Developers use them to isolate changes, collaborate, and experiment without affecting other parts of the system. With defined configurations and data, Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs streamline development workflows, allowing teams to iterate quickly and ensure seamless deployment to production. They enhance agility and facilitate collaboration in Salesforce development projects.

How are Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs different from Sandboxes?

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs and Sandboxes serve different purposes in Salesforce development. Scratch Orgs are lightweight, disposable environments created on-demand for specific development tasks. They’re isolated and temporary, ideal for agile development, testing, and experimentation. In contrast, Sandboxes are persistent copies of your Salesforce org, used for development, testing, and training. Sandboxes retain data and configurations across sessions, providing a stable environment for larger-scale development efforts, user training, and integration testing. Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs prioritize agility and isolation, Sandboxes offer stability and persistence for broader development needs.

What are the benefits of using Scratch Orgs for Salesforce development?

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs development offers several significant benefits that streamline the development process, enhance collaboration, and improve overall efficiency. Here’s a detailed look at the advantages:

1. Isolation and Cleanliness:

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs provide isolated environments that are pristine and free of any existing data or configurations. This isolation ensures that developers work on a clean slate, eliminating the risk of interference from existing data or configurations present in production or other environments. It also facilitates consistent and reliable testing of new features and customizations.

2. On-Demand Creation:

Developers can create Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs on-demand, allowing them to spin up new environments quickly whenever needed. This feature is particularly useful for parallel development efforts, feature branching, or testing different configurations simultaneously without waiting for provisioning times associated with traditional sandboxes.

3. Configurability and Customization:

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs can be easily configured to mirror specific aspects of production or other target environments using configuration files or CLI commands. Developers can define the desired Salesforce edition, features, and settings, making it easy to replicate complex setups for testing or development purposes. This flexibility enables teams to iterate rapidly and adapt environments to match evolving project requirements.

4. Version Control Integration:

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs seamlessly integrate with version control systems like Git, enabling developers to manage code changes, track revisions, and collaborate effectively. By linking Scratch Orgs with version control repositories, teams can maintain a clear audit trail of changes, manage conflicts, and ensure consistency across multiple development branches or environments.

5. Agile Development Support:

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs are well-suited for Agile development methodologies, allowing teams to iterate quickly, experiment with new ideas, and deliver incremental updates to stakeholders. With the ability to create, modify, and discard environments as needed, developers can respond rapidly to changing requirements, feedback, or market demands, accelerating time-to-market for Salesforce applications.

6. Dependency Management:

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs facilitates dependency management by automatically resolving and deploying dependencies when creating Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs or deploying changes. This simplifies the development process and reduces the likelihood of errors caused by missing dependencies or inconsistent configurations. Developers can focus on writing code and building features, confident that the platform handles dependency resolution efficiently.

7. Parallel Development and Testing:

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs support parallel development and testing workflows, allowing multiple developers to work independently on different features or user stories simultaneously. Each developer can have their own Scratch Org to implement and test changes without impacting others’ work. This parallelism fosters collaboration, reduces bottlenecks, and improves overall team productivity.

8. Testing Capabilities:

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs enable comprehensive testing of Salesforce applications, including unit testing, integration testing, and user acceptance testing (UAT). Developers can execute automated tests, perform manual testing, and validate functionality in a controlled environment before promoting changes to production. This robust testing framework improves code quality, reduces defects, and enhances the overall reliability of Salesforce applications.

9. Scalability and Resource Efficiency:

Since Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs are temporary and disposable, they consume fewer resources compared to traditional sandboxes or development environments. This scalability enables teams to allocate resources more efficiently, optimize infrastructure costs, and accommodate fluctuating development workloads without overprovisioning. Developers can create Scratch Orgs as needed and discard them when no longer required, minimizing resource wastage and maximizing efficiency.

10. Improved Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing:

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs facilitate collaboration among development teams, enabling seamless sharing of code, configurations, and best practices. Developers can collaborate on common projects, share Scratch Org configurations, and leverage each other’s expertise to solve challenges more effectively. This collaborative environment fosters knowledge sharing, encourages innovation, and strengthens team cohesion.

11. Streamlined Deployment Process:

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs simplifies the deployment process by providing built-in tools and commands for deploying changes from Scratch Orgs to other environments, such as staging or production. Developers can use CLI commands or continuous integration (CI) pipelines to automate deployments, ensuring consistency and reliability across environments. This streamlined deployment process reduces manual effort, mitigates deployment risks, and improves deployment velocity.

12. Security and Compliance:

Scratch Orgs offer a secure development environment with access controls, permissions, and data isolation mechanisms similar to production environments. Developers can develop and test customizations, integrations, or new features in a controlled environment without compromising sensitive data or violating compliance requirements. This proactive approach to security and compliance reduces the risk of data breaches or regulatory violations during development.

How do you create a Scratch Org and configure it for development?

Creating and configuring a Scratch Org for Salesforce development involves several steps that leverage Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs tools and commands. Here’s a detailed guide on how to create a Scratch Org and configure it for development without diving into code:

1. Install Salesforce CLI:

Begin by ensuring that Salesforce CLI is installed on your local machine. This command-line interface provides tools for interacting with Salesforce orgs, including Scratch Orgs. You can download and install Salesforce CLI from the official Salesforce Developer website.

2. Authorize Dev Hub:

Before creating Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs, you need to authorize your Salesforce Dev Hub org. The Dev Hub org serves as the central hub for managing Scratch Orgs and tracking development activities. You can authorize the Dev Hub org using a command provided by Salesforce CLI.

3. Define Scratch Org Configuration:

Create a Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs Definition File, typically named project-scratch-def.json. This JSON file specifies the configuration and features of the Scratch Org you want to create. Define parameters such as the Salesforce edition, features, and settings required for your development environment.

4. Create the Scratch Org:

Use the Salesforce CLI command to create a Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs based on the configuration defined in the Scratch Org Definition File. This command initiates the creation process, and once completed, a new Scratch Org is provisioned based on your specifications.

5. Open the Scratch Org:

After successfully creating the Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs, you can open it in your default web browser using another Salesforce CLI command. This action allows you to access and interact with the Salesforce environment directly within your browser.

6. Configure Development Environment:

Scratch Org is open, you can configure the development environment according to your preferences and project requirements. This may involve setting up custom objects, fields, profiles, permission sets, and other metadata components using Salesforce Setup or Metadata API tools.

7. Pull Source Code:

If you’re working on an existing Salesforce project, you can pull the source code and metadata from a version control repository (e.g., Git) into your local development environment. This step ensures that you have the latest codebase synced with your Scratch Org.

8. Develop and Test:

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs configured and source code pulled, you can start developing and testing your Salesforce application or customizations. Utilize your preferred development tools, such as Salesforce Extensions for Visual Studio Code, to write Apex code, Lightning components, Visualforce pages, and other customizations.

9. Push Changes to Scratch Org:

As you make changes to your Salesforce project locally, you can push those changes to the Scratch Org for testing and validation. Salesforce CLI provides a command to push changes from your local environment to the Scratch Org, ensuring that your modifications are reflected in the Salesforce environment.

10. Repeat as Needed:

Throughout the development process, you can create multiple Scratch Orgs, iterate on features, and test different configurations as required. This iterative approach enables teams to experiment, collaborate, and refine their solutions before deploying them to production or other environments.

What are some best practices for managing Scratch Orgs in a development team?

Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs effectively within a development team is crucial for maintaining productivity, consistency, and collaboration throughout the development lifecycle. Here are some best practices for managing Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs in a development team:

1. Naming Conventions:

Define clear and consistent naming conventions for Scratch Orgs to ensure clarity and organization within the team. Include relevant information such as project name, developer initials, environment type, and purpose to make it easy to identify and track Scratch Orgs.

2. Use Scratch Org Definition Files:

Standardize the use of Scratch Org Definition Files (project-scratch-def.json) to define the configuration and features of Scratch Orgs. Store these files in version control repositories to ensure visibility and consistency across the team. Update the files as needed to reflect changes in project requirements or configurations.

3. Dev Hub Limits:

Monitor and manage Dev Hub limits effectively to avoid hitting usage limits or encountering unexpected restrictions. Keep track of allocated Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs, expiration dates, and usage statistics to optimize resource utilization and avoid disruptions in development activities.

4. Scratch Org Lifecycle Policies:

Establish clear policies and guidelines for managing the lifecycle of Scratch Orgs, including creation, usage, and deletion. Define criteria for when to create new Scratch Orgs, how long to retain them, and under what circumstances they should be discarded to prevent clutter and resource wastage.

5. Automate Scratch Org Creation:

Utilize automation tools and scripts to streamline the process of creating Scratch Orgs. Implement CI/CD pipelines or custom scripts that automate the creation of Scratch Orgs based on predefined configurations and trigger them as part of the development workflow.

6. Source Tracking and Synchronization:

Enable source tracking and synchronization features in Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs to facilitate seamless integration with version control repositories. Ensure that changes made in the Scratch Org are tracked and synchronized with the local development environment, allowing developers to work collaboratively and maintain code consistency.

7. Implement Role-Based Access Controls:

Define role-based access controls (RBAC) and permissions in Scratch Orgs to restrict access to sensitive data and functionalities based on user roles and responsibilities. Implement least privilege principles to minimize the risk of unauthorized access and data exposure during development activities.

8. Monitor and Manage Scratch Org Usage:

Regularly monitor Scratch Org usage, including resource consumption, license utilization, and activity logs, to identify any anomalies or inefficiencies. Implement monitoring tools or dashboards that provide real-time insights into Scratch Org usage and performance metrics.

9. Optimize Scratch Org Configurations:

Continuously optimize Scratch Org configurations based on evolving project requirements, performance considerations, and feedback from developers. Review and refine Scratch Org Definition Files to ensure that they reflect the latest best practices and optimizations for Salesforce development.

10. Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing:

Foster a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing within the development team by encouraging developers to share insights, best practices, and lessons learned from working with Salesforce Scratch Orgs. Organize regular knowledge sharing sessions, code reviews, and discussions to promote cross-functional learning and innovation.

11. Document Processes and Workflows:

Document processes, workflows, and best practices for managing Scratch Orgs in a centralized knowledge base or documentation repository. Include step-by-step guides, troubleshooting tips, and FAQs to help developers navigate common challenges and optimize their workflows.

12. Provide Training and Support:

Invest in training and support resources to help developers gain proficiency in using Scratch Orgs effectively. Offer workshops, tutorials, and hands-on training sessions that cover best practices, advanced techniques, and troubleshooting strategies for managing Scratch Orgs in Salesforce development projects.

13. Regularly Review and Refine Practices:

Regularly review and refine Scratch Org management practices based on feedback, lessons learned, and evolving industry trends. Solicit input from developers, administrators, and other stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and implement continuous enhancements to the process.

The creation and deletion of Scratch Orgs in a CI/CD pipeline?

Integrating the creation and deletion of Scratch Orgs into a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline is essential for streamlining Salesforce development workflows and ensuring consistent, reliable deployments. Here’s a detailed guide on how to incorporate Scratch Org management into a CI/CD pipeline:

1. CI/CD Pipeline Setup:

Begin by setting up a CI/CD pipeline using a CI/CD platform such as Jenkins, CircleCI, or GitLab CI/CD. Define the stages, steps, and triggers required to automate the build, test, and deployment processes for your Salesforce applications.

2. Scratch Org Creation Stage:

Create a dedicated stage in your CI/CD pipeline for creating Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs. This stage should include the necessary steps to authenticate with the Salesforce Dev Hub, define the Scratch Org configuration, and initiate the creation process.

3. Authenticate with Dev Hub:

Use Salesforce CLI commands to authenticate with the Salesforce Dev Hub org, which serves as the central hub for managing Scratch Orgs. This step ensures that the CI/CD pipeline has the necessary permissions to create and manage Scratch Orgs.

4. Define Scratch Org Configuration:

Provide the CI/CD pipeline with the Scratch Org configuration details, such as edition, features, settings, and duration. This configuration can be specified using a Scratch Org Definition File (project-scratch-def.json) or passed as parameters to Salesforce CLI commands.

5. Create Scratch Org:

Use Salesforce CLI commands to create a Scratch Org based on the defined configuration. Ensure that the creation process is triggered automatically as part of the CI/CD pipeline execution, allowing developers to work with fresh, isolated environments for each build.

6. Execute Build and Test Steps:

Once the Scratch Org is created, proceed with executing the build and test steps defined in the CI/CD pipeline. This may include compiling source code, running unit tests, performing static code analysis, and validating functional requirements.

7. Deployment Stage (Optional):

Depending on your CI/CD workflow, you may include a deployment stage in the pipeline to deploy changes from the CI environment to the Scratch Org for further testing and validation. Use Salesforce CLI commands or deployment tools to automate this process.

8. Test Execution in Scratch Org:

Execute automated tests, integration tests, and user acceptance tests in the Scratch Org to validate the functionality, performance, and reliability of the Salesforce application. Capture test results and generate reports to track test coverage and identify any issues or regressions.

9. Deployment Approval (Optional):

Implement approval mechanisms in the CI/CD pipeline to ensure that changes are approved before deploying them to production or other environments. This step may involve manual review by stakeholders or automated checks based on predefined criteria.

10. Scratch Org Deletion Stage:

Create a dedicated stage in the CI/CD pipeline for deleting Scratch Orgs after the build, test, and deployment processes are completed. This stage ensures that resources are released and recycled efficiently, minimizing resource wastage and reducing costs.

11. Delete Scratch Org:

Use Salesforce CLI commands to delete the Scratch Org once it’s no longer needed. Specify the name or alias of the Scratch Org to be deleted and ensure that the deletion process is triggered automatically at the end of the CI/CD pipeline execution.

12. Cleanup and Teardown:

Implement cleanup and teardown procedures to remove any artifacts, temporary files, or configurations associated with the Scratch Org from the CI/CD environment. This step helps maintain a clean, efficient CI/CD environment and ensures that no residual data or configurations are left behind.

13. Logging and Monitoring:

Implement logging and monitoring mechanisms to track the creation, deployment, and deletion of Scratch Orgs in the CI/CD pipeline. Monitor resource usage, execution times, and error logs to identify any issues or bottlenecks and optimize the pipeline accordingly.


Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs revolutionize Salesforce development by providing developers with lightweight, disposable environments for building and testing applications. These temporary orgs offer isolation, configurability, and on-demand creation, enabling agile development practices and seamless collaboration within teams.

With Scratch Orgs, developers can iterate rapidly, experiment with new features, and validate changes without impacting production environments. The integration of Scratch Orgs into CI/CD pipelines further enhances development workflows, automating the creation, deployment, and deletion processes for streamlined delivery.

By leveraging Scratch Orgs, development teams can optimize resource utilization, maintain code consistency, and accelerate time-to-market for Salesforce applications. Overall, Salesforce DX Scratch Orgs empower developers to innovate, iterate, and deliver high-quality solutions that meet evolving business needs in a fast-paced, competitive landscape.

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