When you want to deploy changes from one Salesforce org to another, you can choose any of the following tools to transport changes from one Salesforce org to another Salesforce org.

  1. Change SetsDeploy components from one Salesforce Org to another
  2. Force.com Migration Tool (ANT based)
  3. Force.com IDE
  4. 3rd Party AppExchange Product (e.g. Dreamfactory)

All these tools use Metadata API to extract and deploy changes. (Tools like “Force.com Migration Tool”  can also be used to  automate the backup your Salesforce org’s configuration).

However, the point to note here is that not all configurations are available through metadata API. For example the following configuration components cannot be deployed using any of the tools mentioned above.

  • Account Teams
  • Activity Button Overrides
  • Analytic Settings
  • Auto-number on Customizable Standard Fields
  • Campaign Influences
  • Case Contact Roles
  • Case Feed Layouts
  • Case Team Roles
  • Console Layouts
  • Currency Exchange Rates
  • Data Category Visibility Settings
  • Delegated Administration
  • Divisions
  • Email Services
  • Fiscal Year
  • HTML Document and Attachment Settings
  • Lead Settings
  • Mail Merge Templates
  • Mobile Administration
  • Mobile Users and Devices
  • Offline Briefcase Configurations
  • Opportunity Big Deal Alerts
  • Opportunity Update Reminders
  • Organization Wide Email Addresses
  • Partner Management
  • Predefined Case Teams
  • Product Schedule Setup
  • Public and Resource Calendars
  • Quote Templates
  • Salesforce to Salesforce
  • Standard fields except for Picklist and Lookup fields
  • Search Settings
  • Self-Service Portal Font and Colors
  • Self-Service Portal Settings
  • Self-Service Portal Users
  • Self-Service Public Solutions
  • Self-Service Web-to-Case
  • Sharing Organization Wide Defaults
  • Site.com
  • Social Account/Contact Settings
  • Solution Categories
  • Solution Settings
  • Tag Settings
  • Territory Assignment Rules
  • User Interface Settings (except calendar features, which are supported in ActivitiesSettings)
  • Web Links on Person Account Page Layouts
  • Web-to-Lead

Such components will need to be manually created in the target Salesforce org.

Also if you are taking backups of your metadata using any of the tools mentioned above, then you should also consider documenting  the configuration settings of unsupported components  so that they can manually be re-created if required.

Salesforce comes up with 3 product releases every year. The list of components mentioned above may get supported by Metadata API in new releases.  To view the updated list of components that is NOT supported by Metadata API, please visit URL http://www.salesforce.com/us/developer/docs/api_meta/Content/meta_unsupported_types.htm .