Spring ’21

After a long 2020, looking for some things to celebrate in 2021! I wanted to start by saying that I’ll miss Wade Wegner and Sofia Rodríguez, who are leaving Salesforce to continue their careers elsewhere. Wade has been one of the leaders in charge of SalesforceDX and Sofia worked closely with the MVPs on the Salesforce Community team. I also wanted to congratulate Sarah Franklin on her promotion to Salesforce Chief Marketing Officer (formerly EVP of Platform and Trailhead) and Amy Weaver on her promotion to Salesforce Chief Financial Officer (formerly Chief Legal Officer). Hopefully there is great career news for you this year as well!

In regards to Spring ‘21, the Release Notes have a new home and are now at help.salesforce.com. I think the UI is a bit better and probably good that it’s more consistent with the rest of the Salesforce documentation. Here are my favorite 11 features I’m looking forward to using.

Flow Updates

Reference Prior Values in Flow

Once again, it’s a huge release for Flows, as we take another step toward building non-code triggers! Now you can compare the old value of a field to the new value of a field within your Flow and take action accordingly. Love seeing Flow get more and more advanced and reduce the need to have to code.

Schedule Trigger Based Flows

One of the reasons to keep using Process Builder over Flow is now no more! Triggered Flows can now schedule triggered actions in the future, similar to Process Builder. While I don’t think that Salesforce will deprecate Workflow or Process Builder any time soon, it’s more than clear that Flows are the present and future of Salesforce automation.

Cleaner Flow UI

One of the most frustrating things in the past about using Flow was the clunky UI. Yet another UI improvement arrives with Spring ‘21 in the form of a pill to describe the value you’re using rather than the complicated code-like syntax. Even as a developer, I was never a big fan of seeing the old syntax.

Platform Updates

Lightning Experience Manual Sharing

I have NO IDEA why this feature took several years to get parity with Salesforce Classic, but Manual Sharing is now in the Lightning Experience! It’s a long time coming but one of the final stragglers has made its way into LEX!

UI Updates

An under the radar update but I like seeing that Salesforce is replacing more standard Aura components with Lightning Web Components behind the scenes. Any time we can get OOTB performance improvements, I’m all for it!

Lightning Page Performance Analysis

Get more information about how long your pages take to load and find out what specifically is causing the performance issues. The more ways we can identify how to improve our performance the better!

Community Cloud Rebrand 

Community Cloud is now Experience Cloud! While it’s hard (and sometimes annoying) to sometimes keep track of all the new names (Wave -> Analytics Cloud -> Einstein Analytics -> Tableau CRM), I think this one actually helps better define the custom experiences you are building.

Code Updates

SELECT * IN SOQL

While not exactly the “SELECT *” functionality, the new FIELDS() functionality in SOQL will allow you to essentially do the same thing! Similar to functionality that exists in SOSL, now you can run SOQL queries using FIELDS(ALL), FIELDS(STANDARD), and FIELDS(CUSTOM) keywords to simplify your queries and quickly gather all data for your objects. This might just be my favorite feature in the Spring release!

Sandbox Source Tracking 

One of the great things about Scratch Orgs when working with Salesforce DX is the ability to track changes to easily keep track of what has changed both on your local version of the org and the org itself. Now the same can be done with sandboxes! I think this will make Sandbox development much easier, while still sticking with the standard Salesforce DX processes that take advantage of modern software processes.

Access MDT from Static Methods

One of the drawbacks to using Custom Metadata to Custom Settings was the fact that Custom Settings were easily accessible in Apex, while MDT required a SOQL query. While it didn’t count against the limits, it was still slightly annoying, at last to me, to write and look at. Now you can use your MDT just like you would your Custom Settings! 

Salesforce Functions (Beta)

Another step toward writing non-Salesforce code on Salesforce! Salesforce Functions (formerly Evergreen) is in Beta now, and it appears to allow you to write JavaScript and TypeScript that run on Node.js on top of Salesforce.  

LWC Actions (Pilot) 

Only a pilot for now, but great to see another development on the LWC side that previously existed with Aura. Soon we’ll be able to create Custom Actions using Lightning Web Components, to further customize the standard Salesforce UI.

Let me know what else you’re looking forward to in Spring ’21 and 2021!

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