2020 Outlook

As we start Salesforce’s new Fiscal Year, I’ve had some time to take a breath for a few months following Dreamforce, I thought I’d share some thoughts on where I see Salesforce going this year based on what I’ve seen from Dreamforce and the Spring ‘20 Release. While I may not have any more success than Harry Potter at looking into a Crystal Ball, hopefully these predictions will be a little more evidence based.

Admin Takeaways

1. Dynamic Layouts are coming!

As the most requested feature on the Idea Exchange, it is very exciting that truly dynamic layouts are on the way! Soon we’ll be able to customize layouts at the field level and truly give users the fields we want for the use cases we need. Definitely a win for #AwesomeAdmins. It sounds like this feature is in pilot now but should hopefully be GA sometime in 2020!

DynamicLayouts

2. Flows are about to become stronger than ever

I’ve been hearing some rumors that Flows are about to get even MORE powerful than ever before and (spoiler alert from the Spring ‘20 release notes, they did) this was furthered by a slide shown during the Admin keynote. Unclear what “Before Triggers” will mean for the future but if more functionality can be built into flows, including more functionality that currently requires triggers, that’s yet another tool that Salesforce Admins will have that won’t require any custom development. It also sounds like Process Builder functionality may start moving more and more into Flow (as evidenced by Process Builder being listed under the Flow section of the Release Notes). I’ve been hesitant to become a “Flownatic” for a long time but seeing things like this are great reasons to start diving in!

Unlimited_Power_Banner

3. Permission Set Groups are changing Salesforce security for good

This is a pretty big change to how security works in Salesforce, and appears to be the first step in “discouraging admins from relying on profile for permissions management going forward” according to this Salesforce Admins blog post. Without a doubt, the ability to assign users multiple permissions at the same time, as well as being able to mute permissions within the group without needing a whole new permission set, is a win for admins. It’s also a win for Devs who have been frustrated about the inability to utilize profiles effectively in Salesforce DX. Definitely excited to see things move in this direction, while there may be some short term pain in having yet ANOTHER place to configure Salesforce security (as per CTA Steve Simpson there are already 17!), it will allow for greater customization, which is always a good thing.

PermSetGroup

Ways of Sharing

Dev Takeaways

1. Non-Salesforce development languages are coming (Evergreen)

One of the big things I suspected Salesforce was going after when launching Lightning Web Components was developers currently outside the Salesforce ecosystem. They wanted to be able to tell ALL developers that they can start developing on Salesforce. This theory of mine is further confirmed by a demo during the Dev Keynote, Evergreen functions. This will allow you to write standard Java or Node.js on Salesforce and integrate it into your Salesforce code. I suspect this is only the first step as Salesforce continues to cater to more developers, allowing their dev ecosystem to explode and truly become a platform that all developers can use! While it keeps us current Salesforce developers on our toes, I think it’s ultimately the right strategic move and will encourage Salesforce developers such as myself to expand our skills and boost our own careers.

2. Local Development is here

One of the problems with the current Salesforce development experience is that you need access to a Salesforce org in order to see what your components look like. No more! Now you’ll be able to spin up a server on your laptop and get a preview of your component without needing to connect to an org to do it! Very important for developers who want to iterate quickly, especially for UI changes.

LWCLocalDev

3. LWC is the future but the present too!

2 of the biggest takeaways I came away with from Dreamforce though, were from 2 sessions by Greg Rewis, Product Manager of Lightning Components.

  1. Lightning Base Components are now open sourced
  2. Don’t ever write another new Aura component again

One of the increasing trends that Salesforce has embraced is Open Sourcing their technology, and I’m all for it! For those unaware of the term, it basically means they’re revealing the source code behind these products, so that you can download them and customize it yourself!

Don’t know how a component works? Look up the code! Don’t like how a base component works? Download the code and make the edits you want! I think this is very exciting for the future of Salesforce development.

The other thing that I took away from Dreamforce was straight from the mouth of the Product Manager for the technology himself “In Aura we had to take your ‘JS’ file, which was really JSON, compile it, parse it, and turn it into real JS! No wonder it was so slow!”

Greg also shared that all Aura components are actually LWC under the covers. You’re just essentially implementing an intentional performance hit with every Aura component that you build! Based on this information, it’s pretty apparent to me that ALL new component development should come from LWC rather than Aura wherever necessary. This will not only be good to keep up with the latest Salesforce technology, but it’ll be working with more standard technology in general, and help Salesforce devs take the next step to truly becoming Full-Stack Developers. It also continues the trend of allowing non-Salesforce developers to start doing their work on the Salesforce platform!

Summary

As Salesforce continues to grow at incredible rates, it’s extremely important for the community to go along with it. Salesforce jobs have been some of the hottest around and it’s great to see Salesforce investing in bringing more and more Admins and Devs to the platform. By moving toward industry standards with LWC, open-sourcing the base components, and starting to allow for non-Salesforce code to run on the platform, it is clear that Salesforce is increasing its addressable market of Developers and that’s a good thing. There were also billboards all over Dreamforce this year about people who went from “cashier to engineer” or “driver to developer”. 

With flows becoming even stronger and the addition of Permission Set Groups, it’s clear that the role of the Admin is continuously increasing as well. With each new release it seems that Admins can do more and more without needing a Developer and that’s also a good thing!

Salesforce’s approach to open sourcing Lightning Web Components and allowing for non-Salesforce code with Evergreen, are also welcome developments to not just Salesforce developers, but non-Salesforce developers as well who are thinking about getting into code! Seeing a Beta exam opportunity for a “JavaScript Developer” cert is even more proof that the time is right to get into front-end development if you haven’t already!

 

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