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An ANT Migration Tool is a Java-based command-line utility for transferring metadata between a local directory and Salesforce Org. They are majorly used for retrieving or deploying Salesforce artifacts stored on local machine using the command line interface. This blog will give you information on what is ANT migration tools, and steps for installing and using ANT migration tools. Here are the reasons why should you use the ANT migration tool.
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If there is a development project for which you have to set up the testing environment with a lot of setup changes, then you can use ANT migration tools in that case. Making these changes with the help of a web interface is usually time-consuming and tough to manage.
A typical development process follows iterative building, testing, and staging before a product is released to the production environment. A scripted retrieval or deployment of components can make this process more efficient, and this is possible through ANT migration tools only.
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If you need repetitive deployment, then you should use ANT migration tools. It allows you to retrieve the metadata in your organization, make edits, and deploy a subset of components. To repeat the process several times, you just have to call the deployment target again.
If someone prefers deployment in a scripted environment, then ANT migration tool can be the most familiar process here.
If you want to deploy any product in midnight without disrupting users, you can pull down changes every day with ANT migration tools.
As we have discussed in the introduction part, An Ant Migration Tool is a Java-based command-line utility for transferring metadata between a local directory and Salesforce Org. So, what is Salesforce Metadata API? Let us discuss the same in our next section in detail.
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Metadata API is a set of objects that contains customized information for an organization and the SOAP calls and manipulate those objects. Here are some facts what metadata API can do for an organization:
Although organizations can write their own apps for using Metadata API and SOAP calls, Salesforce offers ANT migration tools to retrieve and deploy metadata and APEX. Metadata API usually work in a package-centric way that contains one or more components as per the requirement. It is possible installing packages from Salesforce AppExchange. At the same time, ANT migration tools in Salesforce are limited to work in a single package or there is no package at all. A package can be divided into three major categories.
A single managed package can be used or installed by multiple organizations together. They are different from unmanaged packages because they are possible to manage even after the installation. However, managed packages obfuscate certain components to protect the intellectual property of an organization.
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Before you install ANT Migration Tools, you need Java and ANT installed on your system. After these installations, you can download ANT migration tools from Salesforce. If Java and ANT are installed in advance, you should not install them again. It is possible checking installation from the command prompt
Java 1.7.x version or later is recommended for better security controls and TLS security protocols. Here are the steps on how to verify the Java installation on your system.
java version "1.7.0_21"
java(TM) SE Runtime Environment (build 1.7.0_21-b11)
java HotSpot (TM) 64-Bit Server VM (build 23.21-b01, mixed mode To enhance the security, you should Java 7 or later versions and ANT Migration Tools version 36.0 that contains TLS 1.2 for secure communication with the Salesforce. The tool avails TLS 1.2 explicitly. If you are using Java 8, then TLS 1.2 is used by default. For Java version 6.0, TLS 1.0 is used and not supported by the Salesforce these days. Alternatively, if you are using ANT Migration Tools 36.0 with Java 7, you don’t have to upgrade version of tools, but you can use ANT_OPS environment variable as shown below. –
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This command enforces TLS 1.1 or TLS 1.2 for ANT Migration Tools on your local machine. If Java is not installed on your system, then you can install it from the link - http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javase/downloads/index.html and get the latest version of Java JDK. Once the Java installation is finished, you can check again by typing the Java -version at the command prompt.
If you want to check either ANT is installed in advance or not, you should use the following steps:
Apache ant version 1.7.0 compiled on December 13 2006
If ANT 1.5 or earlier version is installed, then you should upgrade it to the latest version. Please note that even if ANT is installed on your local machine, you should put bin directory on your local path. If you are using a Windows operating system, then you should set ANT_HOME or JAVA_HOME variables as follows.
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Once you have installed JAVA and ANT successfully, it is the time to install ANT Migration Tools on your local machine. Here are the steps for installing ANT migration tools:
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Here is the general procedure to follow when using ANT Migration Tools to copy metadata from one Salesforce organization to another.
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Common Migration Issues
There are several issues you may run into while migrating metadata or deploying changes. These issues are broadly grouped into three categories.
This is a meaningful guide on installing and using ANT migration tools in Salesforce. It gives you a depth idea of installation and a step-by-step process to complete the installation in the first attempt. To know more about Salesforce and similar concepts, you should join the Salesforce certification course at JanBask training and gain practical knowledge to become a valuable IT resource and a demanding Salesforce professional.
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