Salesforce Lightning: The Good, the Bad, + Key Takeaways

May 18, 2016 Appirio

By Andrew Davis and Jarrod Kingston

salesforce lightning

We’ve experienced a growing interest from our customers regarding implementing Lightning Experience for their projects and internally we are excited about the new UI and the possibilities. As with any new technology, there are some decisions to make to determine whether LEX is right for your organization.

What are the wins for LEX?

  • Modern Architecture: LEX reflects a complete redesign of the Salesforce UI, so that Salesforce and its partners can collaborate using the same technology.
  • Modern UI/X: More closely aligns with other commonly used sales applications and helps with adoption.
  • Lead/opportunity paths: The visuals and guidelines/notes are extremely helpful for sales teams.
  • Global actions in header: Makes it quick and easy to create tasks, events, notes, etc.
  • Better setup menu: The admin-level menus have a substantially improved structure.
  • Email functionality: The record-level email functionality is amazing (e.g., preview, pop-out, etc.).

What are the cautions for LEX?

A developer who recently ran a training for 25 other developers in Lightning Components gave this list of the most common blocking issues in LEX:

  • Some features are still not available so customers need to assess the trade-offs.
  • Onclick JavaScript buttons are not supported, although Salesforce is providing alternatives for most of the common use cases.
  • It’s not uncommon to get random errors while using LEX, especially when we are switching from classic to LEX or vice-versa; errors like cmp.isValid(), toJson(), etc.
  • Certain tags in Visualforce (VF) pages can sometimes cause the LEX UI to become unresponsive. This has prevented some customers from using VF in LEX. That being said, this should be resolved within Summer ‘16.

Appirio’s take on LEX

Despite the limitations, our teams are very excited about the technology. We are optimistic about the LEX roadmap which will alleviate some of the blocking issues which have stunted adoption in some areas. In some cases, we have created internal assets in Lightning Components that enable us to work around those limitations.
One of our project teams prepared and shared this decision tree for deciding whether to implement LEX:

LEX decision tree - New Page

(Note: “Unsupported feature” means a feature not available within LEX. That being said, Salesforce provides the ability to switch between classic and LEX, so you can still use LEX if switching is an acceptable user experience.)

Joe Fiega, one of our Senior Business Analysts, made the following assessment: “One of the key takeaways from the project is that Lightning is a great tool for users that tend to interact with the system from a very linear or single record perspective. For users that multitask, the system quickly becomes less practical for them. For example, consider a comparison between a sales user and a service user. The sales user would typically be working in a specific record — such as a lead or an opportunity — and would execute actions from that record in a very linear fashion. A service user, by contrast, could be working on multiple records and interacting in a nonlinear fashion, such as looking at a contact record, their open cases, similar cases from other customers, knowledge articles, etc. The interactions for the service user is simply easier in a console-style environment with multiple tabs, etc.”

How we currently use LEX at Appirio

  • Using the $User.Themes in newly built VF pages to identify the current theme and adapt the page CSS styles accordingly (i.e., using old classic stylesheets or new LEX design systems).
  • Updating our assets to work within both classic and LEX.
  • Creating assets which can automatically adopt the new LEX design system based on the current theme.
  • Actively spreading awareness and importance of new LEX and client-centric Lightning Components framework, so that our development team will be ready for this future Lightning-first Salesforce.

At Appirio, many of us like the technology and the idea of LEX a lot, and are grateful for the hard work that the team at Salesforce is putting into implementing, enhancing, and fixing issues with LEX. We’re looking forward to being able to use it more and more.

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