Salesforce recently announced the biggest Salesforce change in many years in an online gathering Salesforce is getting a brandnew, modern, exciting user interface and opens the user interface to programmers by exposing css. The new interface is called “Ligthning Experience” (Lightning X) and is brings along a shift towards a more open, modern programming model. This is the Lightning X Homepage – you recognize Lightning X by the menu bar on the left side, while Salesforce classic has a sidebar and the classic header:
Lighning experience is a more interactive (client-driven) and responsive (device-aware) user interface. Lightning experience will streamline the user experience over all Salesforce products. Currently the user interface of Salesforce1, Sales Cloud, Sales and Service Console, Customer Portal and Customer Community (Cummunity Builder) are all different looking, making it difficult even for experienced Salesforce user. Over the next two years Salesforce will rollout the new interface to all products and objects. Lightning experience includes new features such as the Opportunity Board showing opportunities by stage:
Other new features are Sales Path (guidance thru Lead and Opportunity stages), list view charts (visualize list views), performance board (quarterly won/closed for myself or my team), Account insights (Account news from the web).
UPDATE 10th September 2015: with Winter 16 Salesforce introduces Lighning components for community builder, and there is standard components for listviews, view and edit. This outdates “force.com” sites as backbone of portal functionality, and moves Salesforce communities a large step ahead.
–Introducing Lighning experience shifts the programming paradigm from a page oriented style (Visualforce) to component and event-based programming (Lighning X). This opens a door of new
Salesforce Classic – The current user interface
The last interface change took place in Spring 10, and was a move from the Salesforce classic theme to the round, iphone like look and feed. In Apex, a users theme could be displayed via the UserInfo.getUiThemeDisplayed() method, showing “Theme3″ for the current interface, in formula fields via $User.UIThemeDisplayed. For Lightning X one can use the sforce.on utility to determine the context. Also one can use the UserPreferences which ist available in Apex and the API (SELECT UserPreferencesLightningExperiencePreferred FROM User).
While the current user interface is default enabled by the UserInterface -> “Enable New User Interface Theme” setting. Disabling this setting disables Chatter, and some environments like activation of Customer Community prevent you from disabling the “new user interface theme”.
From Winter 16 this theme will be called “Salesforce Classic”. In Salesforce classic the CSS is not exposed to the programmer. In one projec we had the challenge to change the Salesforce classic look and feel, and we did this by replacing the standard Salesforce css on the client side thru a browser plugin that replaces the CSS with a custom css. However, as soon as the system gets viewed with a different browser it will look like always.
Ligthning X availability and requirements
Lightning experience is available from Winter 16 for Professionals Edition and above.
Salesforce has learned from the experience of the last user interface rollout, and chatter rollout, which were either on or off (the profile based- rollout of chatter was introduced later and can only be enabled via support).
It is now possible to rollout Lightning X based on profiles and permission sets. For example, it is possible to rollout Lightning experience to a Sales organisation that is not using forecasting,
while marketing might still uses Saleforce Classic (because campaigns and lead qualification are not fully supported). Even more, it is possible to switch between Experience and Salesforce Classic
at any time thru the personal settings. Salesforce introduced the new “Switch to Salesforce Experience/Classic” menu entry for this purpose.
Who can currently use ligthning experience ?
Lightning X is currently an option for small new ORGs. Check the Lightning Experience Enablement Pack for checklists to conduct a gap analysis if your organisaiton is ready for Lightning x. Larger ORGs with a more complete use of funtions have to wait at least Spring or Summer 16, until more features are available in Lightning X. It will take months and years until appexchange applications are fully lightning x enabled. Large existing Salesforce ORGs will either remain on Salesforce Classic permanently, or it will take months and years to fully migrate them. Salesforce recommends not to migrate the look and feel to Lightning X while this technology is still evolving and to focus on business functionality instead. In order to translate existing Visualforce into Lightning X look and feel, the standard stylesheetAttribute of the
Cloud Professionals is one of the first companies to be officially accredited for Lightning Experience.