One of the great things about Salesforce is that they have releases 3 times a year with 250-300 new features each time! One of the not as great things about Salesforce is that means reading through very long documents (466 pages this time) if you want to keep up. Fortunately for you, this and other blog posts can give you a taste of the new Spring ’17 release without having to navigate all 466 pages on your own!
If you’d like to check it out for yourself though, feel free to peruse the HTML or PDF versions. I’ve included links to the portions that I mention in the titles of each subsection. You can also check out the summary videos for each cloud on the Salesforce website.
General Salesforce Enhancements
Here the my favorite General Salesforce Enhancements for this release. These changes apply to both Salesforce Classic and Lightning Experience.
View and Edit Converted Leads permission:For a few releases now, you’ve been able to check a couple different permissions to allow users to view and edit leads after they’ve been converted. Now that permission has consolidated into 1!
Use the Salesforce Lightning Design System (SLDS) in Visualforce pages: No longer do you need to continue to upload the latest SLDS as a static resource! You can also now access SLDS components using the $Asset tag
Share Lightning Components Publicly: Similar to my Trailhead leaderboard, you’ve been able to make Visualforce pages public by putting them on public Sites or in Salesforce public Communities. Now you can do the same with Lightning Components by putting the allowGuestAccess tag on them! I haven’t been consistently building these yet but I love seeing the functionality continue to increase
Community Workspaces: Not used by everyone but I think it’s pretty cool, I was never a big fan of the old Communities interface. It’s now been completely revamped and should make things even easier to create communities! There was a ton of functionality added to Community Cloud in this release and you can read more about it in Phil Weinmeister’s review.
Lightning Experience Enhancements
You may have noticed that I didn’t find too many amazing new general features and I think that’s the point. As much as we all love Salesforce Classic, Lightning is the future and it’s here to stay. That being said, there were some pretty cool enhancements made to the Lightning Experience that make me more and more anxious to start using them! Here are a few of them.
Improved UI Event Log Tracking: This may be the most important addition to this release. Now you have the capability to track user interface Interactions, Errors, Page Views, and Performance statistics in Lightning Experience. I think this will not only help admins and developers, but also Salesforce themselves identify where improvements need to be made. Very encouraged by this addition.
Utility Bar: I think of this like the bottom bar on my iPhone. No matter which home screen I’m looking at, the key things I might want to click on are always still there. It’s similar to the Footer in the Salesforce console but no longer restricted to consoles!
Account and Campaign Hierarchy Tree View: This is something that has always annoyed me about the Account Hierarchy, I never felt like I could visualize it properly. This feature definitely helps with that!
List Views Default to Last One Viewed: Another “feature” that’s always annoyed me is the “Recently Viewed” default list view on all objects, when 99% of the time I want to get to the view that I most recently looked at. Now I can!
Sales Path renamed to Path and Available for Custom Objects: I always thought one of the cool features of Lightning Experience was the ability to configure Sales Path (now called Path) for Leads and Opportunities. I’m thrilled to hear that I can now create them for my custom objects as well to allow my users to take advantage of the same experience no matter my business process!
Customizable Kanban and Kanban on Custom Objects: Another feature I really liked about Lightning Experience was the brand new Kanban view. Previously only available on Opportunities and predefined to use group by stages and summarize by amount, I can now customize how my Kanban is displayed and use it on (almost) any object I want!
URL Parameters in Reports: Too many times I’ve created a report, only to then have to create a separate report so I can save the one filter I’ve wanted applied to it or to send it to a co-worker. No more! Now you can add URL parameters in reports to filter them. It looks a little clunky at the moment but it seems like it will come in very handy!
Debug Managed Packages in Subscriber Orgs: This might be my favorite new features in Spring ’17! The ability for ISVs to debug the managed packaged code in your org. I think there’s only one debugging session at a time, it can only be done in a sandbox, and the ISV is the only one with the permission to do it, but glad to see the option is there! I’m hoping this feature gets expanded in future releases.
Files in Folders: It may just be me, but I’ve always been annoyed about having one giant files repository. Now I can keep everything more organized!
Add Favorites: Similar to a favorites bar in your browser, Lightning Experience now gives you the options to favorite records, reports, dashboards, groups, and list views! I’m guessing we’ll see expansion on this feature in future releases as well
Lightning Experience Quest for Parity
Wasn’t sure what to call this section but as Lightning Experience gets closer and closer to parity with Salesforce Classic (on top of adding a ton of cool new functionality!) the argument will become stronger for everyone to make the switch. I believe there were big updates in this release to Person Accounts, Quotes, and Orders but I don’t have too much experience with any of those so while I encourage you to check out the updates yourself, I’m not going to focus on them here. In my opinion, while there is still more work for Salesforce to do, all of these features definitely relieve a great deal of worry for my future using Lightning Experience.
Inline Editing in List Views: One of the biggest road blocks to switching to Lightning in my own primary dev org has been the lack of inline editing capability. That is possible now with Spring ’17!
Better Error Messages: Nothing is more frustrating than getting an error message that basically says “Something went wrong.” with no explanation or root cause identified. Salesforce has recognized this and improved the errors that show up while navigating the UI.
Duplicate Management: I think this is a very underrated feature that I hope encourages to get built out and allow for increasing customizability. You can now add the Potential Duplicates component to your Lightning record pages as well as allow users to merge records.
To Be Determined but Love the Potential
This last section is for those items that I’m not sure are ready for prime time just yet, but I love the fact that they’re out there and am extremely excited for how they expand in releases to come!
Einstein: If you attended Dreamforce this year, or have been anywhere near the Salesforce ecosystem in the last few months, you’ll know that Salesforce Artificial Intelligence layer, Einstein, has now arrived! This release offers Lead Scoring, Account Insights, Opportunity Predictions and a few more things for an additional cost. If you’re like me and not quite ready to start using Einstein just yet, I highly recommend checking out the Trailhead modules on it at least!
Lightning API: Not exactly sure how I can put this to use just yet, and seems to only be available in Developer orgs but I’m betting that it will come in handy very soon! It appears to be similar to the Tooling API in that it allows you to create your own apps only with all the Lightning Experience metadata you could ask for.
Predictive Vision Service: I think this may fall under the Einstein/AI umbrella but I’m separating it out anyway. This was the feature that they demoed at Dreamforce where you could upload a bunch of beaches and mountains to train Einstein so that it could tell if you new pictures were of beaches or mountains with a certain level of certainty. Coming from SolarCity, I really loved the use case of being able to detect flat roofs vs. angled ones. I’m not quite sure how I’ll use this yet at my current role, but I like knowing that it’s there and hope to find a use at some point! For now I’ve signed up for the Developer Preview.
As always, this was a pretty heavy release and while I did my best to read most of the 466 pages, let me know if I missed anything awesome!