Salesforce release

  • DevOps Centre

    The new Spring ’23 Release from Salesforce is almost here. And it brings with it a big change that will help Admins and Developers alike manage their environment setup. Let’s jump in ‘deep dive’ into at the DevOps Centre, released as part of Salesforce Spring ’23 Release.

    DevOps Centre – Now ‘Generally Available’

    Yes, Salesforce DevOps Centre hits the ‘GA’ (Generally Available) milestone in the Spring ’23 Release.

    This is potentially big news for a lot of organisations! Let’s take a step back and see why there is a lot of noise around this in the Salesforce community.

    Quick note: I am going to try and walk the fine line between dev and admin here in this post... I am aware some of these concepts will be very new to some people.  If this is you, please check out the Other Resources section at the bottom of the page.  Where I have tried to include a few links to help provide additional background/context.

    Brief history of Change Sets

    If you have any experience managing Salesforce as an admin or dev, you would likely have used Change Sets. They are ubiquitous with Salesforce. And have helped users move changes from one environment to another, without having to ‘redo’ the work manually.

    A change set in action

    For a long time now, a Salesforce user with appropriate permissions could prepare a number of changes in an environment, like a sandbox (eg page layout changes, new fields, custom metadata/settings, etc). And then use Change Sets to group these changes together and move them between various connected environments.

    It has been a very useful tool, but not without its limitations. Especially as the Salesforce platform rapidly expanded beyond ‘simple’ changes and products over the years!

    As development requirements progressed and orgs became more sophisticated, organisations looked for specific tools to manage their Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery efforts (commonly referred to as CI/CD).

    Many organisations have also required the ability to not just deploy changes. But also track version history and changes made to elements within Salesforce.

    As teams developing/configuring Salesforce environments scale in size, Change Sets simply haven’t been able to ‘keep up’. Especially with some of the alternative methods to manage deployments now available to organisations. Dev tools now manage Salesforce components via Metadata API and integrate with platforms specifically made for this situation (eg Github Actions/Bitbucket Pipelines).

    Why ‘DevOps Centre’?

    This leads us to the problem Salesforce is trying to fix. Why is Salesforce is releasing the new DevOps Centre?

    Simply put, Change Sets are not ideal when dealing with complex releases. Having to rely on someone to manually track the changes (like field updates, page layouts, profiles, setup options, etc) and then add all of these changes into a Change Set, is an extremely cumbersome process.

    An example of a CI/CD pipeline for Salesforce (Source: SalesforceBen)

    This is why tools like the above mentioned CI/CD pipelines, actually exist in the first place.

    By integrating with a source control system (eg Github/Bitbucket/etc), DevOps Centre gives Admins/Devs immediate access to track changes made within an environment.

    Additionally, most orgs these days, have Admins and Devs alongside additional project support staff (like Business Analysts/Release Managers/etc). Using these tools and having a release governance framework, allows everyone to track the same changes included in release.

    Yes, there is a bit of a learning curve.

    Althought Dev teams are typically who would use a Source Control system, there is huge value in Admins learning how to use these tools too.

    Imagine being able to easily understand how/why a formula field was changed! Or avoiding two people updating the same page layout and losing the changes.

    Alternatively, if you have deployed a change set and need to ‘roll back’ a change because something has gone wrong. Having this version control/history available helps to restore your environment quicker.

    DevOps Centre – Setup

    Setting up DevOps Centre will take a little bit of time and planning. Especially if you are new to things like source control systems (primarily GitHub).

    There is a great guide on Salesforce Knowledge Centre, which covers enabling and installation through to managing your environments and how to troubleshoot issues.

    Overview of Features

    DevOps Centre works by utilising the ‘source tracking‘ feature of Salesforce DX. And allows users to ‘pull changes’ from a linked sandbox into a new work item:

    Source: Salesforce

    Track Changes & Work Items

    In this example, you can see the in progress changes to a number of elements from the sandbox (Karen CB1 Dev1). These changes include two profile updates, along with a new custom object and page layout.

    You then you can also view the Activity History, much like Activity History on an account/contact record, this section allows you to view the change history of the work item and even search for specific changes:

    To then help coordinate the environment management, DevOps Centre also allows pipelines to be setup. Imagine a pipeline, as simply a defined way to release things from one sandbox to another. Based of your change management governance, all changes can be routed through a pipeline to then be deployed into the appropriate sandbox/environment.

    Pipeline / Environment Management

    From the Pipeline screen, you can define and connect various sandboxes to the different stages of release management.

    Source: Salesforce

    Imagine each admin/developer works in a different sandbox to make their changes. Each person might do a Work Item for their changes in their sandbox.

    Then merge all the pending changes together into a single Integration/UAT environment, DevOps Centre integrates with GitHub to group all the changes to be released together. And then manages the deployment into the environment.

    Take a moment to imagine doing that via only Change Sets…

    Don’t other tools already do this?

    In my opinion, I will say DevOps Centre isn’t really unique in doing all of this.

    As mentioned above other tools have existed in the past, which do a very similar job. Though they have typically been focussed on developers, and less on the ‘point and click’ crowd.

    The benefit that I see with Salesforce DevOps Centre, is if your team uses GitHub (or similar) already for development you can now include your Admin team. This should reduce the learning curve that comes with GitHub for people new to version control. While allowing developers/users who already use Salesforce DX, for example, to continue to work with their repository/project.

    If you have everyone that configures/develops Salesforce all working in a similar way… When to comes to releasing new customisations/development, the process should be smoother for everyone involved.

    There is nothing more frustrating than updating a page layout or profile, only to have someone else overwrite your change and then you have to try and find out why/when it happened. Especially when you have to trawl through different versions of the same Change Set. 🙁

    DevOps Centre – Who can use it?

    This change applies to Lightning Experience in Developer, Professional, Enterprise, Performance, and Unlimited editions.

    As per Salesforce Release Notes: Salesforce DevOps Center hasn’t been tested and isn’t recommended for Government Cloud/Government Cloud Plus.

    Other Resources

    If you want a broader background on CI/CD, this SalesforceBen article covers a lot of the background and planning side involved with CI/CD and Salesforce.

    To get you started there is a great guide on Salesforce Knowledge Centre. This covers installation and initial configuration/linking to GitHub repository.

    There are a number of use cases available to read through, on the Learn Moar page for DevOps Centre – which was released when the beta trail started. This looks at use cases including developers and admins. And also how DevOps Centre can integrate into your existing way of working, if you work with third party dev tools.

    Additionally, Trailhead now also includes modules relating to DevOps Centre.

  • Spring ’22 Release for Developers

    The next Salesforce release is upon us, and with a new release comes a new API version… API Version 54 to be exact. So, we take a look at the Spring ’22 Release for Developers, what are the key features and changes we need to know to be ‘release ready’?

    Let’s dive into the Spring ’22 Release, and see some of the key features heading our way which may be relevant for you and your development team(s).

    Looking for an overview of the top features? Check out our breakdown for Sales/Service/Experience Clouds.

    Spring ’22 Release: Key Dates

    The dates you need to keep in mind for Spring ’22 Release are outlined here in detail.

    Sandbox Previews have commenced, and the rollout globally should be completed within the next four weeks. With the Spring ’22 Release available for some orgs this weekend (14th Jan 22). Most orgs will receive it on the weekend of the 4th Feb or 11th Feb:

    Keep these dates in mind as you plan your org's release preview for new features and enhancements.
    Key Dates (US date format), for Salesforce’s Spring ’22 Release
    (Source: Salesforce)

    Spring ’22 Release: Enforced Release Updates

    Starting off, let’s take a look at the Release Updates which will be enforced as part of the release.

    General Salesforce Platform/Security Updates:

    Enforce CORS Allowlist for Lightning Apps
    The CORS allowlist in Setup isn’t currently enforced for Lightning apps on the server, although it’s enforced on the browser. This update enforces the allowlist on the server so that disallowed requests are blocked earlier and not processed on the server.

    Login Credentials Using URL Query Strings Are Disabled
    To improve security, users can no longer log in to Salesforce by using a username and password as URL query string parameters to the login URL. Any users who try to do so are redirected to the login page.

    Require Multi-Factor Authentication for Logins to Subscriber Orgs
    With this update, we secure access to subscriber orgs by requiring multi-factor authentication (MFA) when logging into the License Management Org (LMO). MFA is required only for LMO users who require access to the Subscriber Support Console.

    Enable Visualforce Expression Language Apex Method Access Modifier Enforcement
    When accessing Apex methods defined by custom controllers, the Visualforce Expression Language doesn’t correctly validate the access modifiers of the method. Developers can sometimes access unauthorized data on managed and system classes. To improve security, this update validates the Apex method access modifier and throws an error if the Visualforce Expression Language can’t access it.

    Product Specific (CPQ):

    Get Ready for Browser Performance Improvements for Salesforce CPQ (Release Update)This update allows Salesforce CPQ to run faster in supported web browsers by employing new Web Components V1 technology.

    Plan/Roadmap for Summer ’22:

    And looking forward, remember to also review and start preparing for the enforced Release Updates in the Summer ’22 release, which is due for release around mid June 2022 for most orgs.

    The key Release Update that is planned for Summer ’22 is the retirement of legacy APIs – this will only impact older orgs. But the headline: if your org is using API version 7 to 20 for SOAP, REST, or BULK APIs – you’re going to need to plan and make changes before the Summer ’22 release.

    Spring ’22 Release for Developers: Key Features/Changes

    Now let’s turn our attention to some of the new features being introduced.

    This list is in no particular order and I am focussing more of general platform items that may apply more broadly. So product specific changes for Marketing Cloud/Wave/etc aren’t listed, as always please refer to the Release Notes for a complete list.

    Workflow Rules & Process Builder Phased Retirement:

    As per the announcement last year that Process Builder and Workflows will be retired. Salesforce has launched a beta of the new ‘Migrate to Flow’ Tool, aimed at helping Admins and Developers migrated existing Workflows to Flow.

    Spring 22 Release: The workflow rules page in Setup, with a banner asking you to consider migrating your rules to flows.
    Spring ’22 Release for Developers: New banner in Workflows, and accessing ‘Migrate to Flow’ tool
    (Source: Salesforce)

    Lightning Web Components (LWC):

    Enable Third-Party Integrations with Light DOM

    There is a new beta feature being introduced to give developers and integrations more control of the DOM. Salesforce is introducing the ability to render LWC via the Light DOM. By default Salesforce LWCs render in the Shadow DOM which presents developers some challenges re: global styling and third-party integrations.

    With this beta, we can now set the renderMode static field in your component class.

    Read the release notes for this beta feature here – as they outline how to use this new feature, and highlights a number of considerations about when you should/shouldn’t use it.

    Secure Your Components Better, Stronger, Faster with Lightning Web Security

    The Spring ’22 Release also sees Lightning Web Security (LWS) become ‘generally available’.

    Lightning Web Security aims to replace Lightning Locker for Lightning web components. LWS works along with Lightning Locker, which is still used for Aura components.

    Session Settings page with selected checkbox for Lightning Web Security (LWS)
    Spring ’22 Release for Developers: Lightning Web Security is generally available via Session Settings
    (Source: Salesforce)

    LWC – New Module:

    lightning/uiRelatedListApi (Beta)

    This new module includes new wire adapters to get records, metadata, and record count for a related list.

    • getRelatedListRecords—Returns record data for a related list.
    • getRelatedListInfo—Returns metadata for a related list.
    • getRelatedListsInfo—Returns metadata for multiple related lists.
    • getRelatedListCount—Returns the record count for a related list.

    LWC & Aura – Changed Components:

    LWC: lightning-datatable 
    Aura: lightning:datatable

    This component introduces a new method openInlineEdit() allowing developers to programmatically change an editable focused field to edit mode from an external element such as a button. There are also some additional column properties introduced in this release.

    To see this change in action, you can pop over here to read more.

    Apex:

    The Schema Namespace also includes a couple of method additions to the DescribeSObjectResult class:

    • getAssociateEntityType() method returns an associated object of a specified parent but only if it’s a specific associated object type
    • getAssociateParentEntity() method returns an associated object but only if it’s associated to a specific parent object

    The example provided in the developer documentation highlightsAccount &Account History: Invoking the method on AccountHistory returns the parent object as Account and the type of associated object as History

    Also another addition of note is relating to the System Namespace.

    With a number of new Classes and Methods added in this release to help with hostnames and domains which are used within your org. This will reduce the need to create ‘workaround’ methods to calculate domain/hostnames when dealing with Lightning, sandbox names or Experience Cloud hostnames from within an org.

    • System.Domain class:
      getDomainType() method returns the type of domain
      getSandboxName() method returns the name of the associated sandbox.
    • System.DomainCreator class:
      getLightningHostname() method returns the hostname for your org’s Lightning pages
      getExperienceCloudSitesHostname() method returns the hostname for the system-managed domain for your org’s Experience Cloud sites
    • System.DomainParser class:
      parse(hostname) method to parse a Salesforce owned hostname for your org, such as MyDomainName.my.site.com
      parse(url) method to parse a Salesforce URL for your org, such as https://MyDomainName.my.site.com
    • System.Test class:
      As mentiond below in Security, there is a new method introduced calculatePermissionSetGroup()

    SOQL:

    FIELDS() function

    There is a change to improve the consistency of results and reduces errors when using this function in Apex.

    Security Related:

    • Enable Stronger Protection for Your Users’ Personal Information
      Enable Enhanced Personal Information Management to prevent external users, such as portal or community users from accessing other users’ personal information.

      This feature, which replaces the Hide Personal Information setting, secures more personal identifiable information (PII) user record fields. You can also decide which custom and standard user fields are considered PII.

      This update is available in Spring ’22 under Release Updates.

    • Create HTTPS Hyperlinks by Default
      When you save content in Salesforce that contains a URL without a protocol, Salesforce converts it to a hyperlink by assigning the HTTPS protocol. For example, if you type example.com in a Chatter post, Salesforce converts it to https://example.com when you save the post. Previously, Salesforce assigned the HTTP protocol for hyperlinks. If a link requires the HTTP protocol, enter the http:// prefix as part of the URL.

  • Salesforce Spring ’20 Release – Top Features & Release Date

    For most of us now, the holiday season is behind us, and Salesforce Spring ’20 Release is almost here. With less than a month to go, let’s take a quick look at the latest release from Salesforce.

    When is Spring 20 release scheduled?

    For most environments globally, you can expect Spring 20 release on the weekend of Feb 14th 2020.

    To check the date and schedule time of the release for you specific org, you can check the Maintenance Calendar. Just scroll through the list and check your Salesforce instance against the release dates listed in the calendar.

    Top Features of the Spring 20 Release

    In the Salesforce release cycle, it is the Spring releases which typically deliver refinements and usability improvements. And Spring 20 is no exception.

    Let’s jump in and take a look at what is coming out way.

    Opportunity Scores using Einstein Opportunity Scoring

    Spring ’20 Release will see Salesforce start to roll out some of Einstein features at no extra cost for existing Sales Cloud users.

    Introducing Einstein Opportunity Scoring!

    It is a nice way to get a bit of a taster, of the benefits Einstein AI can bring to your org.

    Opportunity scoring component now available in Spring 20 release for all Sales Cloud users
    Spring 20: Einstein Opportunity Scoring now available for free

    Einstein Voice Assistant (Beta)

    While we are talking about Einstein, Einstein Voice Assistant is now also available to customers in beta.

    You can create specific skills for use with Einstein Voice Assistant, or use default ones such as: Log a Call, Create Contacts or Update Opportunity.

    To watch a video overview of Einstein Voice Assistant in action:

    Einstein Voice
    Einstein Voice Assistant home page on mobile, Spring 20 Release
    Einstein Voice Assistant

    Merge Cases

    One thing which has been missing from ‘out of the box’ Salesforce for a very long time – yet offered on a lot of other service ticketing platforms (like Zendesk) – was the ability to merge cases.

    We saw the beta release in Summer 19 release. But it is now promoted to ‘generally available’, meaning it is ready for prime time now!

    Read more here.

    Related List showing cases that comprise the new merged case in Spring 20 Release
    Spring 20 Release: Merge Cases becomes Generally Available

    Assign Tasks to a Queue

    Another feature which fits in the ‘why wasn’t this already available’ – and has been on the IdeaExchange for 10years.

    But better late than never! And we now can allow a queue to be accessible to Tasks object and allow your users to assign tasks to a queue.

    This is great if you have a team which shares work, like a Sales support team for example.

    Read more here.

    New task creation window in Spring 20 Release, which is showing queues as an option for the Assigned To field
    Spring 20 Release: Assign Tasks to a Queue

    URL Hacks are back! (Aka Default Field Values)

    It has been a few years now, without the ability to create a new record and pre-populate field values via a custom button and the URL (often referred to as URL hacking in the Salesforce community).

    The only way was a Quick Action, and prepopulating the fields via the Action Layout.

    But now, Salesforce has created a way to recreate this Admin favourite way of creating a new record with values pre-populated.

    Admins: Read more here on how to create a button/link using this new feature.

    For developers out there, this is also accompanied by a change to the way to you create/navigate in your components, with new lightning/pageReferenceUtils module and lightning:pageReferenceUtils Aura component. Although this won’t be available in LightningOut/Lighting Communities.

    Devs: Read more here re: Navigate Users to a Record’s Create Page with Default Field Values

    Change Lightning Experience with the Lightning Extension for Chrome

    Salesforce, in Dark Mode? Yes please!

    As part of Spring 20, Salesforce has published a Chrome extensions allowing users to take advantage of a few new UI features, such as Dark Mode, Link Grabber and Component Customisation.

    No doubt, this is the start of new user specified customisations you can allow and enable for your users who want it…

    Read more here.

    Lightning Extension Setup page
    Spring 20 Release: Settings for Lightning Extension for Chrome

    Clone Objects and Related Records

    Cloning records helps speed up the creation of new records, but when you have to then recreate child records – you aren’t saving that much time.

    Classic previously allowed certain records on certain objects to be cloned with their child records. Like Opportunities with Products, for example.

    But Lightning will see this new Clone with Related available across more objects, and allow you to pick and choose which related records are relevant to your new record.

    Read more here, including setup instructions.

    The Clone with Related action on an opportunity, and the dialog where you can choose to include products and contact roles in the new opportunity
    Spring 20 Release: Clone with Related Records

    Official Resources to get Release Ready

  • Salesforce Summer ’19 Release for Admins

    Get ready for the next release from Salesforce, with Summer ’19 Release just around the corner. What new features are in store for your org and when can you access it? In this post we will take a look at the top new features for admins, so read on to find out more.

    Salesforce Summer ’19: Top Features

    Overall, most of the features in this release seem to be geared towards general improvements to the Lightning UI.

    A lot of this release feels like it is further ‘sanding back’ some of the edges of Lightning and improving productivity further for users.

    The ‘Summer’ release from Salesforce, does historically tend to be more focused on general improvements. And this year is no exception…

    Why? Well, keep in mind this is the release before Dreamforce (where a lot of the new and big features tend to be announced). And most of the Dreamforce announcements tend to be piloted/beta released in Winter or Spring, obviously depending on the dev teams progress…

    With that said, let’s take a look at the top features for Sales/Service Cloud in Summer ’19 release.

    Lightning Transition: Critical Update & Tools

    As announced in Spring ’19 release, from Winter ’20, any user which has the Lightning Experience permission will be automatically switched over to Lightning UI.

    So as part of Summer ’19 (the last release before Winter 20), there are a number tools and updates to support Admins this transition.

    There are a number of tools and tweaks which help, and they are outlined here.

    These aren’t ‘sexy’ features, but they will help with your transition if you are still planning on the move.

    Related Lists in Lightning

    Summer ’19 brings with it a few tweaks to List Views in Lightning.

    First up, we have ‘Enhanced Lists’. “A what?” I hear you ask… An Enhanced List will now allow for up to 10 columns to be displayed in Lightning (rather than the previous limit of 4).

    Enhanced Lists also allow for columns to be resized… YAY!

    Summer 19 Enhanced List Views
    A normal Related List (top) vs an ‘Enhanced’ Related List (bottom)

    Quick Filters on Related Lists

    When viewing ‘all records’ from a related list, you will now have Quick Filters available.

    Opportunities related list open quick filter icon highlighted and quick filter panel open.

    Speed Up your List View Search

    Previous releases introduced the ability to search within a List View, allowing you to speed up the process of finding what you were looking for. Though they didn’t support picklist values, only text.

    Well Summer ’19 release fixes that, and picklist values on a record will also be searched if using the List View search feature.

    Keep the Record Context when switching UI

    Another minor but useful tweak, when switching between Lightning UI or Classic (and vice versa), the record context will be remembered.

    This means for example, when you switch to Lightning from an Opportunity record within Classic UI – you will now be taken to the relevant record you were on but in Lightning UI (if it is available).

    Search Results That Reflect How You Navigate

    Another one for usability, how you navigate in Salesforce will be used to present to you the Search results from the Global Search, including any personalisations the user has made to Navigation Bar.

    This is quite an interesting tweak, and should help once again speed up the process of finding what you are looking for within Salesforce.

    Sales & Service Cloud – Core Improvements

    A number of the feature improvements for Sales and Service Cloud ‘Core’, are bringing in a number of features to increase feature parity between Lightning and Classic. And as a result, closes out the list of features not available in Lightning.

    Sales Cloud: Customisable Product Schedules

    Summer ’19 release brings with it the ability to setup and customise the Line Item Schedules object in Lightning UI.

    You can now enable and setup this object like any other, and create custom fields, buttons, validations, triggers, etc.

    Sales Cloud: Quotas Now in Setup Menu (in Collaborative Forecasts)

    Collaborative Forecasting has also FINALLY received the ability to edit and setup Quotas for Forecasting Users via the Setup menu. Gone is the need to update and add quotas via API / Dataloader.

    Quotas for Collaborative Forecasts is now available in Setup, thanks to Summer '19 Release
    Quotas for Collaborative Forecasts is now available in Setup, thanks to Summer ’19 Release

    This spells the end-of-the-line for Customisable Forecasting (the earlier version), which Salesforce has also announced will be retired after Summer ’20 (next year).

    Sales Cloud: Enterprise Territory Management

    Another one that has finally made it to Lightning, is Enterprise Territory Management, with the relevant object now showing in Object Manager within Lightning.

    And remember you can also forecast against territories in Lightning too. With Summer ’19 adding a new way to view your team’s Territory Forecasts.

    Finally, Salesforce has also announced the original Territory Management module will also be retired in Summer ’20 too.

    Service Cloud: Knowledge Enhancements

    There are a number of improvements to Knowledge in Service Cloud. Starting with in-line editing for article drafts.

    In-line Editing for Articles now available in Lightning
    In-line Editing for Articles now available in Lightning

    You can now also add the Knowledge component to more objects within Lighting, which will speed up the searching for Knowledge Articles.

    Other Knowledge updates are also included in the Summer ’19 Release, including improved reporting, paste images into Rich Text Articles, and more.

    Service Cloud: Merge Cases

    Summer ’19 introduces a new ‘Merge Cases’ feature, though keep in mind it is currently beta.

    It is a feature that has been available in competing platforms for quite a while, but never the less a very handy feature to clean-up your cases.

    And if you have used the Merge Accounts feature, it will look very similar to you…

    Merge Cases from within a case
    Merge Cases option, available in Summer ’19 Release (beta)
    Select the field values to merge
    And the merge wizard allows you to pick the fields to keep/retain as you merge cases together.

    Service Cloud: Improvements to Lightning Flows (aka Guided Action List)

    Another product has changed names, with Guided Action List becoming the new Lightning Flows. But the change also brings with it a few changes and improvements too.

    You will be able to reorder Actions and Recommendations as you like.

    Guidance can now also be added to additional objects: Orders, Products and custom objects.

    Actions and Recommendations now available on additional objects.
    Actions and Recommendations now available on additional objects.

    When will Summer ’19 Release be available?

    As we enter May, the Summer ’19 Release may already be available in a number of pre-release orgs and sandboxes.

    As per Salesforce’s blog, we have now passed the May 3rd cut-off date for sandboxes to be refreshed to gain access to the preview release.

    Production orgs will start to receive the release from this week (May 8th) for some US instances. And for everyone else, we will receive it either June 8th, and June 15th.

    Find your release date:

    • Go to the Trust website
    • Click on the button: ‘Status’, next to the status.salesforce.com text
    • Type in your Instance or Domain
    • Go to the ‘Maintenances’ Tab
    • Scroll and search for: ‘Summer ’19 Major Release’
    Summer'19 Release will hit EU16 on the 9th June.
    Example of the Trust site from Salesforce.

  • Winter ’19: Top Sales and Service Cloud Features

    The first release of 2019 is almost here… Yes, I typed that right, 2019!  I was sitting in a meeting today, and we were planning the roadmap out to 2021.  It’s crazy to think…  But as the seasons change, we hit the start of the three-releases-a-year cycle with the Winter ’19 Release from Salesforce.

    winter19 - snowboarding Astro
    Winter ’19 – Snowboarding Astro

    Now I have to admit, I was caught a little off-guard by the release.  It wasn’t until I saw the new snowboarding Astro in a developer sandbox, that I realised I had completely missed the normal pre-release build up. :-O

    Where did the last 2 months go?!

    At least there is plenty of time until Dreamforce 😀

    Is it just me…?

    I struggle to be “wowed” with this release.  Now don’t get me wrong, there are some nice usability tweaks for sure.  And some additional features which do really help make Lightning a more robust and complete user experience.

    But I am left wondering, where is the “Salesforce magic”?

    Maybe there is more to be announced shortly at Dreamforce?  But what about Dreamforce last year?  Where is “myTrailhead” (there is an answer buried in the FAQ)?

    I assume the strategy for this year must be revolving around bedding-in the various acquisitions and general improvements to Lightning Experience.

    Top Features of Winter ’19 Release

    Stepping down from my little soap-box now…  And I will admit there are some really useful and cool usability features coming our way!

    So let’s have a look at the top features focusing on improvements to Sales/Service Cloud.

    Search List Views & Bulk Change Records

    List views have received some attention this release, and now have a cool ‘Search this list’ feature.  Such a simple idea, but I am hooked to using it now in my sandbox environment.

    Winter 19 Release: Search List Views

    You can now also do a number of bulk actions from the list view too, such as selecting multiple records and changing the owner.  This now brings yet another ‘small’ but useful feature from classic into Lightning Experience.

    Enhanced Run Page in Reports (Beta)

    Another cool feature – albeit a ‘beta feature’ – is the new Enhanced Run Page within Lightning Reports.  You can easily adjust what is displayed in the report, without having to edit the report and re-run…

    Also drilling down into a group/column is now a whole lot easier, matching Classic.

    winter19 - Enhanced Run Page in Reports
    Enhanced Run Page in Reports

    Joined Reports in your Dashboards

    Finally!!! Joined Reports can now be used as components on a Dashboard….

    Winter19 - Joined Report as a Dashbaord component

    Forecasts

    From memory it has been a little while since the last touch-up to Forecasts.

    Winter 19 will bring a number of new features, including the ability to now forecast by territory.

    Email tracking for your Sales and Service users

    In Lightning you can now track email responses, seeing if the email has been opened.  And actually displaying this information back in the Activity Timeline within Lightning, presenting this back in a way that is easy to view.

    Winter 19 - Email Tracking

    Live Agent Setup in Lightning

    You will now be able to setup Live Agent in Lightning Experience.  Another small thing, but one less reason to have to switch back to Classic!

    Bonus: Flow Builder

    So although not technically part of the Winter ’19 it was announced alongside the Winter ’19 release…  Early next year (likely Spring ’19 release), we will have a new Flow Builder.  Which will get a much-needed redesign.

    Removing the dependency on Adobe Flash is a huge benefit and one of the things I am most excited about.  It feels like every second day, I have to update Flash before I can then use Flow Designer.

    Salesforce's new Flow Builder
    The new Flow Builder… Coming soon!

    Wrap Up

    So aside from me being a little jaded, there are some nice usability features being added in this release which add a bit more flesh onto Lighting Experience.  (And if you haven’t migrated to Lightning yet, what are you waiting for?!)

    There are a lot of new features overall to the platform, and I am not sure if it is just the sandbox instance we are using or if it is the release… But Lightning Experience does feel a bit more responsive overall too.

    What are your top features?  Have I missed something?  Feel free to tell me / yell at me in the comments 😀

    Resources

    Other resources to help get #releaseready with the upcoming Winter 19 release.

    Salesforce Official resources:

    And the blogosphere:

  • Summer ’18 Release: Top Sales & Service Cloud Features

    Time marches on and 2018 continues hurtling towards summer (or winter for the southern half of the planet).  But it is that time of year again where we get to investigate and plan for the Summer ’18 release from Salesforce, which is due to be released to most orgs within the next month.

    Additionally, we see Lightning continue to be the primary focus for Salesforce with a number of key new features, as predicted, being included as part of this release.

    Release Notes – New breakdown

    Firstly, you may notice a subtle but helpful new format of the Release Notes.

    New sub-headings in the Summer '18 Release Notes
    New sub-headings in the Summer ’18 Release Notes

    Most features and changes included in the release notes, now appear to be broken down into easier to digest sub-headings covering the all important: Where/Why/How/When/etc.

    It is a subtle but useful change, given the volume of information in the 478 page document!

    Summer ’18 Release: Features Breakdown

    As with any Salesforce release nowadays, there are thousands of new features, and narrowing them down to a is getting harder and harder!  But let’s dive on in, and take a look at the Top Sales & Service Cloud Features.

    1) Lightning Console – To feature parity and beyond…

    With Summer ’18 Release, we see Lightning Console pretty close to matching Classic Console, with some additional new features added in for good measure.

    Now I know I am cheating in the top 10, as I am going to group a couple of features together in this one… But it will be worth it 🙂

    For the console changes, click here.

    Console specific features in the release include:

    Guided Engagement with Flow

    But the pièce de résistance though is the new Guided Engagement Console feature.  Allowing you to combine the power of Console and Flows, to give your users guided forms/scripts to work from:

    Summer '18 Release: Lightning Guided Engagement
    Lightning Guided Engagement

     

    2) Reports & Dashboards

    Summer ’18 Release from Salesforce includes a bonanza of features and updates for all things Reports & Dashboards… So again, I am grouping a few distinct features under one topic here – otherwise my top 10 would just be reports and dashboards!!

    For all Report & Dashboard features, click here.

    Lightning Report Builder

    First up, Summer ’18 Release sees Lightning Report Builder come out of beta, and become Generally Available.  With a few extra tweaks since Spring ’18 also added in!

    Summer '18 Release: Lightning Report Builder

    One thing to note: the user permissions have changed due to the feature becoming ‘generally available’, and this now allows you to hide Classic Report Builder from users, if you wish to…

    Lightning Joined Reports (Beta)

    Additionally, we see Joined Reports enter public beta within Lightning!  There are a few limitations listed in the release notes, but the biggest appears to be having to use the Salesforce Classic Report Builder

    Summer 18 Release: Joined Reports now available in beta
    Joined Reports (beta)

    Get organised: Folders and sub-folders

    I have to admit, this one makes my inner Salesforce geek very happy!  And I wrote about it in the predictions post back in January… As soon as I heard it was on the roadmap for this year, I have been eagerly awaiting this feature!!!

    Sub-Folders, within Folders!  OMG! 😀 😀 It is Lightning Experience only – but this has been a pain in the backside of many Admins, since even before I started working with Salesforce!

    Summer '18 Release: Report Sub-Folders
    Report Sub-Folders

     

    Export reports & keep your formatting

    Lightning Experience now allows you to export your report and keep the formatting of the report.  Simple…

    Filter History Reports by Old and New Values

    In Classic, another bug-bear of mine (and many others) was the fact you could not filter a History Report by the old or new field values…  It would only display them in the report or the history related list if the field was tracked.

    This ended up with a lot of reports being exported and then working with the data in Excel… GRRR

    But GRRR no more! With the ability to now filter by these values!

    Salesforce Summer '18 Release: Filter by Old or New Values on History Reports

    Thank you Salesforce!

     

    3) Lightning Experience improvements

    Another area with a number of smaller feature improvements, Lightning Experience continues to get refined with each release.

    Click here for all of them…  Otherwise, read on!

    Speed up your search

    Summer ’18 Release will allow your users to search by specific objects, from the global search bar…

    Summer '18 Release: Search by specific object

    Boom!

    Dependant picklists and Path

    Path is an amazing feature, allowing you to guide users through almost any process just based on a single picklist.  But with Summer ’18 release, any dependant picklists will now also prompt users when they move steps.

    Summer '18 Release: Update dependant picklists

     

    Group by Topics

    Topics are now available in Lightning Experience!

    Many users used Topics in Classic, and it is great to seem them ported over to Lightning Experience now.

    If you haven’t used them before, it allows your end-users to group and organise records, by a topic.  Imagine it like a #tag on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn/etc, allowing you to then search for the topic and get all related records.

    Salesforce Summer '18: Topics now in Lightning

    4) Privacy (Support for GDPR)

    With the upcoming GDPR changes, Salesforce has continued to add in features to assist businesses (and us Admins) to get ready.

    Changes to Individual object

    The Individual object was a little limited when it was first released in Spring ’18.  The object wasn’t like a standard object, meaning access was very limited.  And creation of records/etc Apex coding was required…

    But no more!  In Summer ’18 the object is now a standard object with all the bells and whistles that comes with that – including the ability to now use workflows/process builder!

    You will be able to now:

    • Create custom actions, buttons, and links for Individuals
    • Create different Individual record types
    • Undelete an Individual that you had deleted
    • Use Individuals with workflows or with Process Builder

    Make a Users’ personal data unusable

    As part of the new privacy regulations, and the ability to request your personal information is removed from a system, presents a bit of a challenge for anyone who has a user record within Salesforce.  These could be community users or internal users…. And is due to the fact you cannot delete a Salesforce user record, ever.

    So to get around this, Salesforce is now including a new system method ‘obfuscateUser()’ , which will scramble user information.

    This one definitely falls into the ‘advanced’ category, as it requires Apex knowledge (or how to invoke Apex via Process Builder/Flow).

    And would require planning and testing, as Salesforce is warning: that it cannot be reversed!

    Scramble user data before and after

     

    Summer ’18 Release: Key Dates

    There are a number of key dates you need to know for Summer ’18 Release.  So to help highlight what they are, here is a handy infographic from Salesforce.   Remember the dates shown below are in US date format though…

    Summer 18 release - key dates

    What is the release date for Summer ’18 Release?

    The release weekend for your org will depend on the instance it is on, but the release will occur on the weekend between the 18th May – 8th June 2018.

    Summer ’18 Release: Additional Resources

    Official Salesforce resources

    Other blog resources

  • Winter ’19 Logo Contest…

    UPDATE: Read the latest post covering the Top Features of Winter’19 release.

    The Winter ’19 Logo Contest is now open…. Even though Summer ’18 release is not even released yet!!   Salesforce is already planning ahead to the Winter ’19 release.  (Yes I did type ’19 as in 2019!!!  **GULP**)

    But do you know what that means?

    For those who want to join in the Logo Contest for the next release, the vote is closing tomorrow! To get involved in the Winter ’19 Logo Contest is now open in the Trailblazer Community.

    Winter ’19 Logo – The Finalists

    Here are the finalists which you can vote on:

    Salesforce Winter '19 Logo Contest
    Salesforce Winter ’19 Logo Contest

     

    FYI – voting ends Wednesday 9th May at 12 pm PST, so get your vote in now…  #teamsnowboard

  • Time to prepare for Summer ’18 Release

    It only feels like a few months since Spring ’18 release… Oh wait, it was.  As time marches on, we are now due for the next release from Salesforce with Summer ’18 release.  Over the coming weeks we will start the normal release readiness prep, but what are the key dates of the release?  And when will Summer ’18 be released? Additionally what features might we expect to see from Salesforce Summer ’18 release?

    Summer ’18 Release: Key Dates

    As with every release, there are a number of key dates you have to be aware of.

    Most of this is sourced from the Release Readiness Group and you can download a handy infographic here (source: Salesforce).

    April 19th – Pre-release orgs are available to preview the new release.

    April 23rd – The Preview Release Notes will be published.

    May 4th – Sandbox cutoff date.  Remember to check here for instructions on which sandbox instance a refresh will land on.

    May 18th, June 1st, June 8th – there are three release windows for Summer ’18 into production environments.  Which depends on your Salesforce instance.  You can check the dates relevant for your instance, here.

    There will also be a number of Release Readiness webinars, and sessions which will be posted via the Release Readiness Group in the Trailblazer Community.

    Summer ’18: Possible Features

    Because I am not one to generally wait…  Impatient, I know…  So I started searching the product roadmaps to see what is likely to be released as part of the Summer ’18 release.  Combined with a number of webinars I have watched, this is a list of some of the features likely to show in this release.

    But please note – this list isn’t definitive or guaranteed list.  And we will get official confirmation within the next week as the Pre-Release Orgs & Preview Release Notes become available. 

    So let’s jump in and speculate as to what we might see…

    Lightning Report Builder & Dashboards

    We are likely to see a lot more features being rolled out to the new Report Builder feature.  These are likely to include:

    • Joined Reports, finally in Lightning – albeit this is likely to be a beta/pilot release
    • The ability to create field to field filters. This will allow you to compare two fields directly within the report builder, without needing to build report formulas or custom fields. For example you could run a filter where Created Date equals any custom date field on your object.
    • The ability to create reporting sub folders.  So you could setup a ‘Sales’ folder, but then have sub folders for each sales team within it.
    • Ability to sort columns based on a summarised/aggregated value.
    • Setting dashboard schedules for multiple users

    Files

    Files is likely to see the introduction of a Library-type functionality.  This will be no doubt be a nudge for users still on Content/Libraries to move over to the newer Files functionality.

    Platform Enhancements

    The rollout of branding/themes started with the last couple of releases.  We will likely get the ability to now theme/brand each app individually (rather than one theme applying org wide).

    List views will also see Mass Quick Actions rolled out to more objects too.  While Persons Accounts should get the ability to create custom Quick Actions on the object.

    And Product Schedules should finally become available in Lightning Experience.  This should stop users having to switch back to Salesforce Classic to enable product schedules, or to establish/modify schedules for products.  Which is something one of my orgs uses alot, and has blocked Lightning roll-out for that team.

    Wrap up

    We will see if these possible features are actually included in Summer – and no doubt there will be a number of other additions which haven’t been included here… There are always 1,000s of features in each release – so I know we only touched the surface here!

    Appendix

    If you want to know more, one of the most helpful videos outlining some of the new features on the roadmap, is this one: True to the Core, which was originally included in my last post Dreamforce 2017 roundup.

    Also the Lightning Roadmap is available here, but a little out of date now Spring ’18 is in preview, it is available here.

    Hope that helps with exploring in more detail.

  • Secrets of Spring ’18: Hidden Formulas

    Spring ’18 is now live for most orgs, but there appears to be some changes included in the release which haven’t been documented :-O The great news for us Admins, the changes actually resolve a number of ‘simple’ problems we have when trying to calculate values in formulas.  So in this quick update we look at some of the new ‘hidden formulas’ included with Spring ’18 and some of the use cases where you might be able to apply them…

    Update: 26/Feb  – Eagle-eyed Ekaterina has pointed out in the comments, there are even more additional formulas available!  Here is a link to her blog if you want to read more…

    Update: 01/Mar – Salesforce have now scheduled an update to the Known Issue and scheduled an update via the Spring ’18 Patch 11.0.  To see what’s included, click here.

    Hidden Formulas: ADDMONTHS

    The first of the hidden formulas included in Spring ’18 is the new AddMonths function.

    Imagine you need a formula to calculate a date, which based off another date entered on a record.  For example, you could see this in action in Contract End Date (contract start date + 2mth duration = contract end date).

    The formula to add 2 months, while only using point and click Admin features, is quite little long winded (if you want to accurately account for Leap Years):

    IF(
      MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 2,
      IF(
        DAY( date ) > 28,
        DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH( date ) + 2 ) / 12 ), 3, 1 ),
        DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH( date ) + 2 ) / 12 ), 2, DAY( date ) )
      ),
      IF(
        OR(
          MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 4,
          MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 6,
          MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 9,
          MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 11
        ),
        IF(
          DAY( date ) > 30,
          DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH(  date  ) + 2 ) / 12 ),
           MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) + 1, 1 ),
          DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH( date ) + 2 ) / 12 ),
           MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12), DAY( date ) )
        ),
        IF(
          MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12 ) = 0,
          DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH( date ) + 2 ) / 12 ) - 1, 12, DAY( date ) ),
          DATE( YEAR( date ) + FLOOR( ( MONTH( date ) + 2 ) / 12 ),
           MOD( MONTH( date ) + 2, 12), DAY( date ) )
        )
      )
    )

    GULP!!

    But, now you will be able to use the AddMonths formula…

    So you want to add 2 months, to a field containing the start date of the contract, it is now as simple as:

    addMonths(date, 2)

    To see more details, until the official documentation is available, visit Ekaterina’s post here.

    Hidden Formulas: WEEKDAY

    Salesforce WEEKDAY formula
    Salesforce WEEKDAY formula

    Also in Spring ’18, and a little more obscure, is the new WeekDay function.

    It allows you to return a number (from 1-7) which indicates the day of the week, based on a date field within Salesforce.

    Before, once again, you could retrieve this information – but it was again a bit cumbersome:

    CASE(
      MOD( DATEVALUE(CreatedDate) - DATE(1900, 1, 7), 7), 
         0, "Sunday", 
         1, "Monday",  
         2, "Tuesday", 
         3, "Wednesday", 
         4, "Thursday", 
         5, "Friday", 
         6, "Saturday",
         "Error"
    )

    But now – simply use:

    WeekDay(date)

    And it will return for you, a number which represents the day of the week:

    1 = Sunday
    2 = Monday
    3 = Tuesday
    4 = Wednesday
    5 = Thursday
    6 = Friday
    7 = Saturday

    Hidden Formulas: CURRENCYRATE

     

    Salesforce CURRENCYRATE formula
    Salesforce CURRENCYRATE formula

    The next hidden formula in Spring ’18, is CURRENCYRATE.

     

    This formula will return the conversion rate used for a record’s currency code.

    So for example, if you have the default currency as USD.  But the record’s currency is GBP – you can now retrieve what the conversion rate is between those currencies.  And then display it as a formula field or use it in reports.

    CURRENCYRATE(IsoCode)

    As a possibly obvious tip, Currency Management will need to be activate in your org before you can use this…

    The returned value will be a number showing the currency conversion rate, eg 0.717412 (but you will be able to control how many decimals are shown).

    Hidden Formulas: MFLOOR & MCEILING

    Salesforce MCEILING formula
    Salesforce MCEILING formula

    These two final formula functions go hand in hand.  And now also available in Spring ’18!!

    Previously, we did have access to ROUND function:

    Round(decimalNumber, 2)

    Where you could round a decimal number to the number of decimals you specified in the formula.  But you couldn’t force Salesforce to round up or down… Until now!

    MCEILING will round a number up to the nearest positive whole number.  Whereas the MFLOOR will round down to the nearest positive whole number.

    Both functions will return 0, if the input number is a negative.

    So for example, if you have a number field which contains decimals but you want to round up or down, you can control this with these functions.

    To round up, to nearest whole number:

    MCEILING(number)

    To round down, to nearest whole number:

    MFLOOR(number)

     

    Found any others?

    No doubt Salesforce will be updating all relevant documentation and the Help site soon.  But if you have found any others, add them to the comments below!

  • How to Plan Your Move to Lightning Experience

    For many businesses, now is the time to move to Salesforce Lightning.  But moving to Lightning can feel like a daunting task.  Where should you start?  How to you make sure you don’t disrupt the business?  So in this first post, we will take a look at how to plan your move to Lightning Experience.

    In the next post, we look at how to implement your plan and go-live!  But in the meantime, if you have any tips of your own, feel free to add them in the comments section below.  And let’s start planning…

    Planning your move

    migrating to Lightning is all about planning

    Before we start, let’s just clear the air.

    As an #AwesomeAdmin you probably already know there is planning required to make the switch over.  The old adage – ‘failure to plan, is planning for failure’ – is never truer than when changing how a user works within a system.

    But driving user adoption and making the transition as smooth as possible, doesn’t need to be overly complicated process though.  And by planning your transition you set yourself up for the best possible result.

    So let’s get started.

    WIIFM?!… What’s In It For Me?

    One of the first steps to planning any change should to be understand the ‘what’s in it for me’.  It is the first question most users want to know about any change…

    Salesforce Lightning adoption - answer 'What's in it for me' from your end-users point of view
    Understanding ‘What’s In It For Me?’will help drive adoption…

    Sure Lightning Experience looks great.  You can now customise the colours to match your company identity…

    But that doesn’t really engage end-users in using the platform.  After all we want them to use the system once we make the change, don’t we?…

    Be honest with yourself.  Would a typical sales, customer service or partner really care about that?

    Answering this question for each type of stakeholder is one of the best ways to ensure everyone buys-in to making the move.

    A great example is dealing with a stakeholder from Sales.  Lightning offers many new features which benefit most sales users.  Here are a few…. Sales Path to guide on what to do in the system to move to the next stage.  Kanban board for managing your pipeline with drag-and-drop ease.  What about Sales Console?  Use of macros practically anywhere in Salesforce?

    The point here is to you need to demonstrate you understand your end-users by understanding their problems.  If you understand the problem, you can effectively position a feature or benefit that solves it.  And this helps engage these stakeholders early on…

     Why should we invest in making this change?

    The next step is to develop a business case.  It sounds horrible, but it can really help in convincing your senior stakeholders on why they should support the change.  And to drive adoption when launched, you need their support…

    Salesforce Lightning Experience across multiple devices
    Even Astro loves Lightning Experience…

    This may not be applicable for all business, but I always try to work out a rough cost/benefit to any changes my team make.  Even if it is just an estimate.  And this loops back to understanding the WIIFM within your business.

    Every business problem – and in turn the potential solution – have a potential time/cost associated with them.

    This is the gold dust in developing your business case to answer the question most senior stakeholders within business would ask,

    As an example, a simple cost-to-benefit calculation could be based on decreasing sales admin time.  By improving the time taken to process and close a contract within the system, you can quantify the potential upside to the business.

    So if an average salesperson closed an extra 2 deals a day/month/year due to improving the sales workflow in Lightning, how much is that worth to your business?  (average contract value * extra deals per day = potential upside).

    Keep in mind, this is only an estimate.  But it can be a useful way to engage the business and to capture metrics relating to the success of the project once completed.

    Mind the gap…?

    Salesforce has spent the last couple of years attempting to make Lightning match the features of Classic.  But there are still some gaps between Classic and Lightning Experience.

    The next item on our list is to check what these gaps actually mean your org.  By doing so you ensure your users can still use all key features they need.

    If there is a feature gap or limitation, the next step should be to look at the publicly available roadmap.  This outlines the upcoming features planned for release and may cover the feature that is a priority for you.

    Also each published version of the release notes now include a section on what is and what is not included in Lightning Experience.  For the Spring ’18 section, please have a look here.

    Side note: The roadmap is scheduled to be updated after the Spring ’18 release, but a handy video to watch about the Force.com platform and upcoming features is the True to the Core video.  Or there is a breakdown of the expected features in the 2018 predictions post here.

    Resources

    Salesforce is clearly invested in supporting all orgs to move to Lightning Experience.  Releases now introduce most new features as Lightning Experience only.  But to help, there is a wealth of content available for free to sink your teeth into.

    For starters there is a great Trailhead module specifically on getting hands-on with a Lightning Experience roll-out.  There is also a quick overview of the steps on the Admin blog.  But personally I highly recommend jumping to the Power of Us site, which has been setup to cover best practice for making the jump to Lightning.

    Each and every org now also has the Lightning Readiness Check built-in.  And the check gets an update every release to give you more and more insight into your org’s compatibility into making the change.

    If you want more information about how to take a business-first approach to rolling out Lightning, I found this article over on SalesforceBen.

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