How to use Git for Salesforce development within IntelliJ IDEA

Learn more about how Git can help in the Salesforce development process, possible Git and Salesforce workflows, and how to work with them within IntelliJ IDEA.


How Git can help in Salesforce development process

Git is the most used, open source and free Version Control System (VCS). It is targeted to track file changes in your project, store the history of these changes, and resolve conflicts if multiple developers trying to change the same file simultaneously.

Every change is linked to a particular developer so you always know who did what. Each change has an associated comment so you always can explore why it was made.

Git allows you to go back to any point from history and set it as the current project state, unlike the standard salesforce development process where is no way to do such things after saving code changes in Developer Console.

Moreover, Git allows you to use Git-based collaboration platforms like GitHub. It provides tools for code review, exploring the work of your teammates, and integrations with the test, build, and rollout systems.

Salesforce and Git Workflow

There are many cool posts about the best practices how to use Salesforce and Git for development process. I will not duplicate them here and just share some links. Our goal is to figure out how to interact with Salesforce and Git within JetForcer and IntelliJ IDEA.

Checkout Salesforce project from Git

IntelliJ IDEA provide two ways to create project from Git repository:

  1. Use Get from Version Control action on the Welcome screen.
  2. From the main action toolbar select VCS | Get from Version Control

After invoking the action, IDEA will show Get From Version Control dialog. Press Clone to continue.

Get from Version Control dialog

When cloning is done, you will be asked to import a Salesforce project from downloaded sources. Press import in the shown popup.

Import JetForcer project from Git

On the Account dialog select or create Salesforce account related to this Git repository and press OK. After that, IDE will configure project structure, initialize Apex VCS state and download Apex Built-In stubs.

Account dialogProject Import

Now the project is ready to work.

Compare Git sources and Salesforce Org state

JetForcer has Compare Tool which lets you compare a file from your local working copy with its version in the Salesforce organization. We can compare a particular file or even a whole project state.

If you want to compare a particular file state, just invoke the context menu right in the editor or from Project View. IDE will show you Diff dialog.

Compare with Remote actionComparison Dialog

To perform bulk metadata comparison choose Salesforce -> Compare Metadata... action on the main toolbar.

IDE will show Compare dialog. In this dialog, specify Primary and Secondary accounts, choose desired metadata, and press the Compare button.

Compare Metadata Toolbar ActionBulk Comparison

Switch Between Git and ApexVCS

IntelliJ IDEA has powerful support for several Version Control Systems (Git, Perforce, Mercurial, etc.). Briefly, this support includes several important features:

JetForcer reuses all these features by implementing its own VCS - ApexVCS.
In terms of ApexVCS, Salesforce Organization represents a remote repository state, and project sources is a local repository state.

Find more information in ApexVCS docs.

But IntelliJ IDEA doesn't support multiple VCS which enabled simultaneously. That's why JetForcer provides Switch VCS widget on the status bar which allows you to switch between Git and ApexVCS whenever you need it.

Switch VCS

Push changes to Git and Salesforce

By the way, we don't need to switch between VCS for deploying changes to the server (in terms of Git push changes to the repository), just choose one of the VCS -> Commit to ... actions on the main toolbar.

Deploy to VCS


Here is a very concise overview of some JetForcer VCS features, just to give you a quick start. To submit feature requests or just report bugs, use the plugin’s issue tracker. A more detailed tutorial on how to use the plugin along with its features description can be found on the plugin’s site.

Make sure you follow @JetForcer on Twitter to be notified about updates, features, new releases and interesting facts about the JetForcer plugin.

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