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Frontiers of Salesforce - Part 3: Lightning Experience

This is the final blog post in the trilogy on my experiences with some of the newest offerings of the Salesforce product suite.

 

In this post, I will focus on Lightning Experience. This is a new user experience with a new user interface (UI) that moves away from the previous version, Salesforce Classic, which was characterized by tabs at the top the UI. This capability has been introduced with a lot of fanfare and seems to be the general direction in which Salesforce.com is headed with its product suite. Of course, from a developer's point of view, the definition is more complicated and that eventually has an impact on the direction your organization may take with respect to this capability.

 

In an implementation for a client, we had to address a question - To build on Lightning Experience or Salesforce Classic? My observations from that experience:

·         Once Lightning is enabled for your Org / Instance, as a user you can switch between Classic and Lightning UIs from the drop down under your name at the top right corner of the screen. You will observe that the screen tabs in Classic that are at the top of the screen are displayed on the left corner of the screen in Lightning pretty much as it appears on the Salesforce1 app screen on mobile devices like iPads. When you click on a tab, say Opportunities, the data is displayed as a list (reminded me of an Excel worksheet, which isn't a bad thing given our love for spreadsheets!). And when you click on a record there, the data is displayed with a flow that is distinctly different from prior experiences. Obviously a lot of plusses here.

·         From an implementation point of view, the picture gets a bit complicated. As the Lightning platform is still evolving when compared with the Classic platform that is as stable as it gets, there are considerations that the Technical Architect on your team is likely to present to you that will call for a good deal of planning (like which objects can be built on Classic vs. Lightning, what will be rendered when a user sees the screen in Lightning, which objects are supported or not in Lightning, impact on interfaces and so on).

·         In addition to the technical nuances of this decision, you also need to factor in additional UI designer capability into your development team as we are talking about an experience that is unlike the Salesforce Classic's typical navigational flow.

 

Eventually we chose to stick with Salesforce Classic to build our solution with the expectation that when the Lightning Experience stabilizes in future, we would revisit the solution to assess a need to move to Lightning completely.  

 

Is you Org setup for the Lightning Experience? How is your UI experience? I welcome your comments on this thread.

 

With that, my trilogy on the frontiers of Salesforce comes to an end. Regardless of how my experience was with each of the capabilities, one thing that I am sure of is that it is exciting to be experiencing the cutting edge offerings from Salesforce.com as the domain of CRM moves from strength to strength and we evolve from one technology platform to the next better one.

Comments

Thank you for three valuable posts. When you say,"from a developer's point of view, the definition is more complicated" in Lightning; you assume a complication that does not outweigh its benefits. Under another point of view it may be worth it to meet the future head on, as in Star Wars!

Good point James! My message in this blog post is that (sticking with your Star Wars comment) if we were finalize the battle plan before the attack on the Death Star, there are greater chances of success i.e. plan for Lightning in advance as opposed to trying to change course from Classic to Lightning after the sprints have begun.

Great blog.Thanks for the sharing.

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