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I can see that documentation says that in order to remove a VF page we first need to get rid of all the references to Apex classes from that page and only then, in the next release, should we remove the page itself.

This is described here https://developer.salesforce.com/docs/atlas.en-us.packagingGuide.meta/packagingGuide/packaging_managed_component_deletion.htm

We forgot (or didn't know about it) to do the first step but we were able to successfully release a new version of a package without the VF page that we intended to remove. But now all orgs that have our package installed can't upgrade it because Salesforce says that it removes a page that is still being referenced by something.

What are the options from that point? It looks like we can't release a new version that re-adds a page too, SF just won't let us create a page with that name again.

UPDATE we are not Salesforce Partners, this makes it impossible for us to release a patch version

  • Try uninstalling and reinstalling the package. You'll probably lose all the data, I believe. – SE_User May 18 '17 at 11:45
  • I'm pretty sure support can fix this for you, but you yourself cannot fix the problem. Assuming the latest version is not installed anywhere, ask for the version that is messed up to be rolled back to a beta version. This should allow you to fix the mistake and try again. – sfdcfox May 18 '17 at 13:06
  • They wouldn't fix it when I made the same mistake. What they did do is repeatedly point me to the article saying you shouldn't do this. The only option I had was to uninstall/re-install. Fortunately for me, only one org affected with no data impact. – Phil Hawthorn May 18 '17 at 14:32
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You have to create a patch org, and remove all reference of that VF. But create the same VF without body and release a package from that patch org. After that install the package to the orgs.After that point you should be able to upgrade the package the way you want.

  • You'd have to create the patch org for the previous release though right? Otherwise, wouldn't the patch org get created with the page already deleted? – Phil Hawthorn May 18 '17 at 12:06
  • Exactly, from any version that VF exists. YOu can not create anything in patch org, – erkan çipil May 18 '17 at 12:20
  • I'm afraid we are not partners, making it impossible to make patch releases :/ – nikita2206 May 18 '17 at 12:26
  • There is no other way, sorry. you have to create patch org somehow. – erkan çipil May 18 '17 at 14:20
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Did you checked this https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=000212807&type=1

Background: ​In Spring'15, as part of the Flexible Managed Packages initiative, we enabled the removal of Visualforce (page, global component and static resource) from published managed packages. This should help you ­ owner of managed packages ­ in getting rid of obsolete VF. (Flexible Managed Packages is an initiative that enables the removal of components from published managed packages. So far, the supported component types are custom tab, field,object, validation rule, record type, field set, button, link, VF page, global VF component, staticresource.) Close to Spring'15 release date, we discovered a scenario that we had not previously addressed. Before describing the scenario, it is helpful to discuss the behavior of apex w.r.t. packaging.

Apex and Packaging: Ever since Apex and VF were made package­able, public apex classes and public VF components are delete­able from published managed packages. If you go to your packaging org and delete any public apex class / VF component, the result is the deletion of the same in the subscriber org upon upgrade to that version of the package. The subscriber has no role in the process. When we built the Flexible Managed Packages ​initiative, we did not want to delete any metadata in the subscriber org. For E.g.: if you delete a custom field or validation rule in the packaging org, upon upgrade, these "deleted" components have the "Delete" button/link in the subscriber org, but the upgrade process does not delete anything in the subscriber org. This way, the subscriber sys admin has the flexibility to analyze the impact and then delete things as needed. We have remained consistent with this model and even when you delete VF (page, global component and static resource) in the subscriber org, we do not delete metadata; we just enable the delete button.

Inconsistency: As a result of the above, there is an inconsistency. Public apex classes and public VF components are deleted in subscriber org upon upgrade, whereas the same is not done for VF pages and global VF components. (This is all subscriber side behavior; in packaging org, when you delete any of these, they are gone for good). After a lot of deliberations, we decided to live with this inconsistency as we wanted to err on the side of caution (don't delete metadata in subscriber org as part of flexible managed packages initiative).

Scenario: Now coming back to the scenario .. One example of the simple scenario goes like this: you have VF page p1 referencing public VF component pc1. So in 1.0 of the package, it is p1 => pc1. In ver 1.1, you decide to get rid of p1. Let's suppose we enable you to upgrade your customer from 1.0 to 1.1. The issue with supporting this is, the subscriber may not delete p1 after the upgrade even though they have the ability to do so. In your packaging org, since p1 is gone, there is nothing preventing you from deleting pc1 from your package. Let's suppose you delete pc1 and release 1.2 of your package. Now if the subscriber upgrades to 1.2, the VF page p1 will fail to load as it depends on pc1 that was deleted upon upgrade. Now this p1 may be a business critical VF page and the customer ends up experiencing a serious disruption of functionality.

Resolution
Fix: To fix this proactively so that we don't get to a situation where a VF page or global VF component in the subscriber org is broken, we came up with the following solution: during upgrade (in the example above, upgrade from 1.0 to 1.1), we will check to see if there is any VF page or global VF component that is in DELETED state AND is referencing some public apex or vf component. If the answer is yes, we block the upgrade so that we don't put the customer's VF in bad state.

Action from your side: So, you may be wondering, what should we do to ensure package upgrades are not broken? Taking the above example, create a patch version 1.0.1 off of 1.0.In 1.0.1, edit the VF page p1 and remove reference to pc1. Upgrade your v1.0 customers (using push functionality) to first 1.0.1 and then to 1.1. By doing this, you are breaking the reference that p1 has on pc1 at 1.0.1. Then the upgrade to 1.1 will go smoothly. We understand that the 2­step process is cumbersome, but by imposing this constraint, we are ensuring that your customers will never end up in a state where any part of your app is non­functional. (Also, when you try to delete a VF page or component in the packaging org, we describe aspects of this in a warning message so that you are aware of the 2­step process.)

  • Op made comment they are unable to create a patch org. – Eric May 22 '17 at 4:08
  • Well that was useful in a way that I now know what was a reason for them to add these, seemingly arbitrary, limitations. Thanks – nikita2206 May 22 '17 at 10:10

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