Monday, January 11, 2016

Tips for Working in Multiple Salesforce Environments

password-managersHow many different Salesforce environments do you work in - 1, 2, 5, 20, more?  I tried to count up all the different logins I have and gave up after hitting 50.  The ease at which you can sign up for a free Salesforce org is one of Salesforce's greatest strengths. However, it contributes to org sprawl and the need to manage multiple usernames and passwords.

In addition, as a Salesforce ISV/SI partner there are development orgs, branch orgs, packaging orgs, testing orgs, patch orgs, release orgs, trial orgs, and more.  Throw in my company business org, the Salesforce Success Community and Partner Community just to make it fun.  That's a lot of org credentials to remember and access on a daily basis.

Here is how I keep track of it all.  My focus is on using Chrome, as it is my browser of choice and is available across platforms.


Force.com Logins Extension

First of all, Force.com Logins, an extension for Chrome is my best friend.  This extension helps manage login information across multiple environment with one-click login.  With support for production, developer, sandbox and pre-release orgs, it covers all my needs.  You can easily add a login/password for an org and assign it to a group.  Optionally, include a description and the security token, which helps when using development tool.  Then with one-click from within Chrome, you can launch a new tab, window, or incognito window and automatically log in.

To keep similar org credentials together, you can define your own set of custom groups.  Then assign specific accounts to a group, which will keep similar accounts next to each other.  I put together all of my pre-release orgs, beta testing orgs, trialforce orgs, and so forth together in their own groups.  For example, under my Trialforce group, I have a login for the TMO (Trialforce Management Org), and different TSO (Trialforce Source Org) variations.

logins

Finally, be sure to use the Options tab to enable encryption and understand the security implications of stored usernames/passwords.  If you are working across computers, an Import/Export option allows the data you have entered to be moved.

Update (January 11, 206): Force.com Logins has updated their extension and license terms.  If you have 10 or fewer logins, it is free. If you have more, there is an annual fee (currently $3/year).

Login Naming Scheme

With all the different orgs to track, I follow a naming scheme for my logins.  First, I have admin accounts in just about every org.  However, I also tend to use other user accounts for demo or testing purposes.  For example, an internal and external user account when working with communities.  To try an keep the scheme easy to use and remember.  Here is what I do in three simple steps
  1. All logins take the form of an email address - prefix@domain.com
  2. The type of login goes as the prefix.  For example, all of my administrator logins are admin
  3. I add a suffix based on what the org is for.  For example, .dev or .demo
I apply the same scheme to my other types of logins.  So across my environments, I know at a glance who to log in as and where I am logging in - admin@domain.com.dev or external@domain.com.dev in my development environment and admin@domain.com.test or external@domain.com.test in my test org.

Another option is to include the suffix as part of the name, which works just as well.  The key is to find what works for you so you don't spend time trying to remember logins. 

Salesforce My Domains

With so many different orgs, it's rare that I am in just one at a time.  However, when trying to log into different orgs via login.salesforce.com in different tabs in the same browser, trouble ensues when the instances are the same.  My Domains is a great solution to allow different org logins across tabs in the same browser window.

Using My Domain, you can create a custom a Salesforce domain to use for login.  In a production org, there are business benefits, such as company branding.  My Domains can also be used in development environments. 

Go to Setup | Administer | Domain Management | My Domain and pick a name.  The domain will be in the form of https://<your name>-dev-ed.my.salesforce.com.  You will have to check for availability and it cannot be changed.  So act fast before all the good names are gone.  Starting with Winter 16, My Domain is required to use Lightning Components.  So getting it in place now is a good idea.

After the DNS change as propagated by Salesforce, the admin is notified by email that the new domain name is ready for use.  Now you can log into different orgs via the custom domain without having to worry about using a different browser. 

For those using Force.com Logins, there is an Other option for Org Type.  Be sure to provide your custom domain when setting up or editing an org login.  This ensures you can login to different orgs within the same browser.

Chrome Person Profiles

So this takes care of the majority of my use cases.  However, my usage pattern includes certain orgs that I am in all day as well as a bunch of others others that I tend to hop in and out.  For example, my main business org is open all the time.  This is also the org I use to authenticate to the Salesforce Partner Community as well as the Salesforce Success community.  As these communities have time outs for inactivity, I find I have to reauthenticate multiple times a day.  If I have another developer org open, often the wrong credentials are passed over.

To solve this issue, the ability to setup multiple users in Chrome comes to the rescue.  You can easily add multiple people to Chrome.  Once you are signed into Chrome, the current user is shown in the upper right hand corner of the title bar.  If you click on it, there is option to switch persons.  From the next screen, you can add another person. 

You will have to setup a separate email/password or use a guest account.  Once another person is setup, you only have to right click on the user to switch to a different one.  You can also opt to pin the browser to the task bare with the different users logged in.

With two Chrome person profiles, I keep one open with my main business org and the communities.  The other is used to log into various environments with My Domains enabled.  

Chrome Incognito Window

My setup is almost complete.  Every now and then I have a one-off need to access an org.  Perhaps this is for a customer or to help another person.  In this case, I will simply open a new Incognito Window in Chrome.  This provides a clean environment that I can use for the one-off org that is cleaned up when I close the window.

Recap

So that’s my setup to help make managing an abundance of Salesforce logins manageable.
  • Force.com Login Chrome Extension
  • Use of My Domains
  • Separate Chrome Person Profile for main org and the rest
  • Incognito Window for one-offs
Let me know if you have additional tips and tricks to share.

Additional Resources

While I do not end up working much in Sandboxes, those who do may find the Salesforce Sandbox Favicon extension for Chrome useful.  This adds a 'S' to the cloud Favicon for all tabs open in a Sandbox org.
Environment Hub allows you to view, connect and log into multiple Salesforce orgs from within one org.  As I have multiple logins for an org (admin, external community, etc.), I tend not to use it.  You may find it beneficial based on your use case and should check it out.

2 comments:

  1. Excellent information even today. over a year later. I use similar info. Instead of the FORCE.com Logins, I use LastPass, which is free. The drawbacks to this is that if using My Domains, LastPass doesn't recognize subdomain and I'll end up trying to login to .force.com instead of login.salesforce.com. It isn't a huge problem though. I will typically keep the SF home page as my browser home page and then just hit CTRL-H to open the home page and login. It's certainly not as nice as Force.com Logins, but it's the free way around it.

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