Spring ’17 Release Recap

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.

spring17logo

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 pagesNo 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!

Utility Bar.png

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!

account_hierarchy.png

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 ObjectsI 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!

kanban_settings.png

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!

rd_reports_filter_url_params.png

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

favorites.png

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.

Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 11.27.41 PM.png

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!

Summer ’16 Release Recap

Hello all!  Apologies for the long delay.  Hopefully you caught some of my guest blog posts I’ve put out there like this one on the Salesforce community or this one on the Salesforce Developer certifications.  I’ve also made a few podcast appearances, presented at a conference, and gotten a few more certs since previously posting 🙂

For those of you unaware, one of the awesome things about Salesforce is that they release MAJOR upgrades 3 times per year, filled with several hundred new features each time.  By major upgrade, I mean almost 400 pages of notes worth!  Lucky for you, I’ve gone through this special 50th ever set of release notes for you so you don’t have to and want to share my favorite new things that are coming!  (I do highly recommend the HTML version by the way so you can skip around to your favorite parts.)

Be advised, I didn’t actually go through 100% of it, (it was 400 pages!) but I was pretty close.  If I missed anything awesome though, feel free to talk about it in the comments!  Without further ado, here are my favorite new features.  If you want to know when these are coming to an org near, you, be sure to check out the calendar on the Trust website.

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I’ve divided it into 3 sections:

  1. General Admin Functionality that all #AwesomeAdmins can take advantage of either in Salesforce Classic or Lightning Experience
  2. Lightning Experience specific functionality that will help with your argument to make the switch.  These are available in Lightning Experience only
  3. Developer features that will come in very handy for anyone doing some coding

GENERAL ADMIN FUNCTIONALITY

Remove a Picklist Field Value from Records

Have you ever wanted to cleanse your data from an old picklist value? Now you can replace an old value with another value or a blank value!

Replace a value with an empty field

Change a Record’s Owner from Salesforce1

Now you can reassign records right from your cell phone or other device!

The Change Owner action and Change Owner dialogue in Salesforce1

Processes Can Execute Actions on More Than One Criteria

Now you can execute actions and then continue down your decision tree to check more criteria to potentially take more actions!

Stop or Continue process

Save Time by Cloning Sandboxes

Have you ever been in the middle of rolling out a feature or project and then had to start creating something brand new and been bummed the only way to get a fresh environment was to start with the current production environment? Or even just wanted to freeze development in one sandbox while not freezing development altogether? Now you can by cloning your sandbox!

Automatically Get Geocodes for Addresses

Now every time you enter a standard address value, the Latitude and Longitude fields will populate with accurate data allowing you to query by distance!

  • Billing Address on Accounts
  • Shipping Address on Accounts
  • Mailing Address on Contacts
  • Address on Leads

Associate a Contact with Multiple Accounts

Ever have a contact who worked at one company but helped out with another in some capacity? While contacts will still have a primary account (direct relationship), you can now add multiple additional account relationships (indirect) to contacts.

Directly and indirectly related accounts on a contact record

Copy and Paste Text on Record Detail Pages on Salesforce1

Also a big boon to avoid having to retype things on a mobile device, you can now take advantage of the native iOS and Android copy/paste functionality to quickly make changes to your records

Share Notes with Other Users or Groups

Ever taken some notes in Salesforce that you wanted to share with others? Now you can and rest assured that while others can see your notes, only you an edit them and choose whether or not your colleagues can re-share them

Use SOQL to Identify Reports Used by Dashboard Components

Ever try to delete a report only to be told that you can’t because it’s being used by a dashboard? No more!

SELECT Id, DashboardId, CustomReportId FROM DashboardComponent USING SCOPE allPrivate WHERE CustomReportId = 00OR0000000PBZZMA4

Use Enhanced Email to Drive Business Processes

Email becomes its own object now and allows you to relate it to your other Salesforce records.  You can also modify fields, workflows, triggers, page layouts, etc on the new Email object.

Bonus: Create and Edit Records While Offline Using Salesforce1 for Android

Available just for Android and only in pilot mode for now, I’m very excited for the future of this feature!

LIGHTNING EXPERIENCE FEATURES

Customize Home for Different User Profiles

Now you can create multiple home pages in Lightning Experience for your users and assign them to specific profiles.  Think of it as a home page layout!

Create and Edit Lightning Experience Record Pages

While not 100% there, you are now able to customize the detail pages for many standard objects in the Lightning Experience similar to what you’re used to doing in Salesforce Classic

Override a View Action with Both a Visualforce Page and a Lightning Page

Did you have an action with a Visualforce override that doesn’t look great in Lightning so you’re thinking about not rolling it out to your pilot group yet? Have no fear! Now you can leave the Visualforce page active in Salesforce Classic, while your Lightning Experience users will see your snazzy new Lightning Page instead when they use that same action

Edit Objects Directly from the Setup Menu in Lightning Experience

Quite possibly my favorite feature in this release, now instead of having to navigate through Setup to make a change on an object, you can do it from the top navigation bar right from any of that object’s records!!!  Hooray for less clicks!

Edit Object in Setup

Simplify Salesforce Navigation with the User Switcher

The other contender for my favorite feature in this release, now you can finally sign into multiple orgs at once and switch back and forth!  I’m very jealous of Madison right now.

user switcher

DEVELOPMENT FEATURES

Increased Cross-Namespace Limits

Might just be a pet-peeve of mine since I recently hit this limit in my production org, but now I don’t have to worry as much about installing so many managed packages anymore that each run their own set of triggers!

View Skeleton Code for Global Apex Classes in Installed Managed Packages

Another boost for orgs that work with a lot of AppExchange managed packages, now you can better see an outline of what the code from those apps is doing to either work around it, or better integrate it into your own code.

/*
This file is generated and isn't the actual source code for this
managed global class.
This read-only file shows the class's global constructors,
methods, variables, and properties.
To enable code to compile, all methods return null.
*/
global class MyClass {
    global Decimal myDec;
    global String myString {
        get;
        set;
    }
    global MyClass() {
    }
    global Integer myMethod(Integer arg1) {
        return null;
    }
}

Get a Map of Populated SObject Fields

I can see a ton of great use cases for this one! Now when looking a particular record, I can do quick checks to see which fields are populated rather than doing a bunch of complicated logic.  I can also just look at the populated fields on my record rather than trying to parse through all the blank ones or try to figure it out on my own.

Debug Lightning Components with the Salesforce Lightning Inspector

If you’re like me and constantly have the Chrome Dev Tools open any time you work with Javascript, then you’re probably gonna love that Salesforce created its own version for when you’re building Lightning Components!  (You may also be like me and just need another excuse to start building some Lightning Components)

Performance tab

That’s it for my favorite Summer ’16 features.  Stay tuned for what I assume should be a pretty cool Summer ’16 Trailhead module coming up and don’t forget to grab your Spring ’16 badge before it gets retired next month!  Don’t forget to add yourself to the Trailhead leaderboard either 🙂