The 7 Best (Non-Lightning) Features in the Salesforce Winter ‘16 Release

October 2, 2015 Nicole Klemp

winter release copy

Anyone who livestreamed or even read about the Meet the New Salesforce event won’t be surprised that Salesforce’s Winter ‘16 release is all about the Lightning Experience. By now, you’ve likely heard about some of the new release’s major features.

But when we got our hands on the Winter ‘16 Release Notes, we wanted to bring you some notable nuggets that maybe you haven’t heard about yet. We asked 2 of our Salesforce experts to share their favorite non-Lightning Experience improvements. Don’t get us wrong, we at Appirio are all about the new Lightning Experience, but we also want to talk about the best new “Salesforce classic” features for those who can’t flip the switch just yet.

Meet the experts:

nicholaswhitneyNicholas Whitney is a Senior Technical Consultant at Appirio with 4 years of experience partnering with clients in diverse verticals including collaboration, education, nonprofits, and real estate to build robust and scalable solutions. Nicholas has Admin, Advanced Admin, Developer, Sales, and Service Certifications. Outside of work, Nick likes searching out spicy food wherever his travels take him.

nathalieDNathalie Le Guay is a Senior Salesforce Consultant at Appirio with 5 years of experience implementing solutions for companies in various verticals, including education, financial services, social media, and health care. Armed with Salesforce’s Admin and Advanced Developer certifications, she has worked for both Salesforce end users and as an ISV partner, on projects that range from small trigger automation to large multi-phase corporate processes consolidation. Outside of work, Nathalie recharges her batteries doing Tahitian dancing.

Here are Nicholas and Nathalie’s top 7 picks for the Salesforce Winter ‘16 release:

  1. Writeable external objects

Using an asynchronous set of Apex operations, users can seamlessly manage data residing in another system using Lightning Connect external data sources. Previously, users were able to view these records in the Salesforce interface, but updating the record would have required them to leave Salesforce and access the record in the external system.

  1. Warn mobile users about duplicate records as fields are completed

Salesforce recently released their new Duplicate Management feature, and there have been several enhancements to it since then. The default behavior on mobile devices is now to alert users to duplicate records as they are entering data. This will speed up data entry and improve data quality, but more importantly, users will also be notified, so they have accurate data at their fingertips when they are on their mobile device and talking to clients.

  1. SOS video chat and screen-sharing (on mobile)

Service Cloud mobile support is now available on Android and iOS devices. Not only are users able to interact with a live support representative, but they can now do screen sharing, annotations, and 2-way video chat to ensure their case is resolved — and within the first call.

  1. Choose test options for change sets

Previously, using the migration tool, developers could deploy and specify a subset of test classes to run in production. This will now be available on the UI using Change Sets. Here is a reminder of the functionality: you can run All Tests (local test classes + managed package test classes), run Local Tests, or Run Specified Tests.

The code coverage requirements when running a specified list of tests will be to have at least 75 percent for each class/trigger deployed as part of the change set. The overall requirement for 75+ percent code coverage still applies.

  1. Developer Console: can select to run test methods within test classes

For those who excel at the games offered by MavensMate while waiting for test classes to run — or for those studious individuals whose test classes take 10 minutes to run — here’s a reason to rejoice: You can now run a subset of test methods of a test class, saving you a lot of time. (To run a single test method, open the Developer Console, select “Test” in the top menu, then “New Run”)

  1. Reorder your batch jobs in the flex queue programmatically

Previously, admins were able to reorder the jobs submitted to the new flex queue, but there was no way to programmatically reorder the flex queue jobs. Now there are new methods that allow you to monitor the order of current jobs and change the order they will execute. This will ensure that the jobs you want executed first are the first in line to be processed.

  1. Configurable access to custom metadata

In the Summer ‘15 release, Salesforce developers gained access to a powerful new tool — Custom Metadata Types. This feature, accessible to developers via the API, is now available through the Setup, which will save a lot of time for developers, and now makes it accessible to administrators. As a reminder, this powerful functionality allows developers to build custom metadata, which is a layer above other metadata types provided by Salesforce. Rather than using metadata provided by Salesforce (e.g. Custom Objects, Custom Fields), admins can create their very own metadata types.

After metadata are configured, they can be deployed with their records, to the target environment. This is not only important for ISV partners — who then don’t have to manually set all customer orgs (or have the customer set it) — but can also be used by admins of any org to avoid the easy-to-miss step of creating data in the target organization. With Winter ‘16, admins now have access to these configurations in Setup. Access can be controlled and changes will now show up in the audit trail.

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