Hello Lightning Experience, Goodbye URL Hacks
On August 25, Salesforce held a special event to reveal the new User Interface (UI) for Salesforce. This is the first major UI change for Salesforce. The last “change” was essentially nothing more than changing some of the colors and white spacing. You can watch the announcement made on the 25th here: https://www.salesforce.com/form/conf/events-global-preview.jsp
This new UI, called Lightning Experience, brings the look and feel from Salesforce1 to the desktop. This is a major overhaul. It is such a big change, that Salesforce is starting to upgrade with the Sales Cloud first. https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2015/08/future-of-crm-salesforce-lightning.html
Let’s take a look at an example. Below is a screenshot of the new Dashboard. Some of you will notice that there are more than 3 columns of charts (Huzzah!). Some of you will notice that the “Tab” view is gone and replaced with a menu bar along the left, similar to Salesforce1. Did you also notice that there is no URL?
Let’s take a look at a different example. Let’s start with a record page. This template is pretty darn nifty. We have some very important information at the top, the Account, close date, amount and owner. We have a progress indicator of how far along the sales process this opportunity is, with the current stage highlighted in blue. The layout out moves the “related” list from the bottom of the page putting some of the information off to the right. This is the Activity view, so we’re looking at the tasks and next steps to complete this Opportunity. We need to click on “Collaborate” or “Details” to get to the Chatter or additional fields.
There is one thing that is glaringly missing. There are no buttons. No edit buttons or custom buttons displayed. Just like Salesforce1, buttons no longer exist and have disappeared into the ether. Let’s think this through. We have no custom buttons. There is not URL. This means there will be no URL Hacks. No more URL hacks to be able to create a dynamic report by sending a user to a report and passing the filter value (pv0). No more URL hack to take a user to an edit/create screen for a record and pre-populate data. No more URL Hack to take the user to the “Send an Email” page and pre-fill the recipients and select the template. This also means that our custom buttons to integrate with other products disappear as well. We won’t have buttons to open a visualforce page or to send data to another system. For example, I’ve been recently using Conga Composer (an amazing app) which currently relies on a custom button to use. I’m sure vendors like Conga will find alternatives in the Lightning world, but beware – it may not be available immediately upon release.
The world isn’t all dark and gloomy. There’s a lot to be excited about. For instance, you’ll be able to drag and drop your Opportunities to update their stage and immediately get feedback on what the total Opportunity value. That’s pretty awesome. I’m not sure how well this will work for people that have validation rules that require Opportunities to meet certain criteria before the stage can be change. This is still a very cool setup.
Here’s the new Homepage, which has been long overdue for an update. I think this looks amazing.
Still, for many people Lightning Experience is going to be a major change for people. This is especially true for organizations that use URL Hacks or integrate with other vendors through custom buttons.
So what can or should I do?
The great news is that Salesforce is making Lightning Experience an opt-in setup. As an administrator you can give Lightning Experience access through a profile or permission set. In addition, user’s with the permission can toggle between using Lightning Experience and the current Aloha interface. I would strongly recommend reviewing your processes and uses for custom buttons before you enable Lightning Experience. I would also recommend starting with a “pilot” group. Think of it as a focus group within your organization. Ask for volunteers, or pick some people from a variety of roles to try the new User Interface and give you feedback. I would recommend creating a chatter group for this feedback so people can put comments in as they’re experiencing it. This should help you identify the benefits and possible hiccups of enabling Lightning Experience for your whole organization.
I know Salesforce is going to try to help us replace our URL Hacks. Actions can go a long way to helping, but do not currently address everything. What URL Hacks do you use? What types of custom buttons are you using now? Leave a comment and let me know. I’ll love to point to the comments in this blog and share this information with some of the Product Managers at Salesforce.
Quick Update 9/4/15
I take my first hands-on look at the Lightning Experience with my pre-release org. You can check out the video here: https://thewizardnews.com/2015/09/04/wizards-apprentice-lightning-experience-a-first-look/ and a follow up looking at the Sales Board feature and showing custom buttons not being available on the new UI: https://thewizardnews.com/2015/09/06/wizards-apprentice-lightning-experience-sales-board-and-custom-buttons/