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promoting all salesforce metadata to production

What is the best way (best practice) to move all of our Salesforce metadata in our full sandbox to production?  Would Eclipse be the best method to do this?  Is there any metadata that Eclipse doesn't take copy?


We've had a large team working on numerous areas of Salesforce (configuration and development) and we've promoted all that code to our full sandbox. Before moving to production, we want to backup all the metadata. We are not concerned about actual data. We just want to make sure we backup all the metadata in our full sandbox, then promote to our production instance and finally do a refresh of our full sandbox.


We thought about using a change set, but that would be tedious, time-consuming and would it indeed grab all metadata?


Would creating an unmanaged package be an option? I've never done anything with packages, so I'm in the dark on that process. Would it be easy to grab all the metadata?


I've read about options using the ANT Tool, which I have no experience using and it seems to be a little tricky to setup and configure.


I use Eclipse regularly, but does Eclipse grab all the metadata (approval processes, etc.)?  If not, what does it not grab?


Thanks for any insight.




Yes, IDE does have acces to all of the metadata. You can also make use of ANT, refer following links and video for better understanding:


Hope it helps!