This blog post is a part two to our series on how to extend and expand your Salesforce audience with Salesforce Experience Cloud. That content examines how to get your data seen and used by a much wider audience beyond your fully licensed Salesforce user base. After exploring options available, we recommend choosing one of two paths forward: Salesforce Experience Cloud embedded in your website or an Experience Cloud site.
So, you’ve picked your licenses and decided to either embed your experience or use a standalone Salesforce Experience Cloud site. Now, you need to decide which type of experience you need.
There are three framework models to choose from when implementing a custom solution.
1. Visualforce Server-rendered Sites
Visualforce is a custom server-rendered xhtml based framework. The server does the bulk of the processing and sends a fully rendered page to the client. It’s the original tool that all Salesforce UI was built with.
This framework is difficult to customize because it requires a lot of developer input. However, it integrates very well with Apex, the object-oriented programming language for executing flow and transaction control statements on Salesforce. Sites built with Visualforce are very secure and very fast.
Unfortunately, they don’t have the benefits of a single-page application (SPA):
- Fast development
- Very fast user response times
- No reload is required for different functions
Visualforce Sites also look low-quality and dated unless you apply a lot of custom styling. There is only one template you can use if you choose to use Visualforce: Salesforce Tabs + Visualforce. Soliant does not recommend this option for new sites.
2. Aura Framework Sites
The Salesforce Aura Framework is a UI framework for developing dynamic web applications.
In fact, there are 60 different pre-built components available to just drop onto an Aura Site page. These range from chat apps to report viewers to profile pages. Aura was the framework of choice until about 3-4 years ago when Lightning Web Components (LWC) became the new cool kid.
Aura’s main Achilles heel is its slowness. It uses an older security model and structure that significantly slows functionality down. It’s also harder to create new components.
Depending on need, we still recommend using an Aura template framework in many situations. This is because of the large number of components and features provided by this framework. Our Salesforce custom development team can build custom, fast, user-friendly, and secure business solutions for our clients with the technology.
If you choose an Aura framework template, Soliant can take advantage of Aura’s ability to host Lightning Web Components, which means you get the framework with the most features AND with the fastest most secure components.
Aura Templates available:
- Customer Account Portal – Customers can read FAQs, browse knowledge, pay bills, and edit their account.
- Partner Portal – Partners get lots of functionality and can interact with your data, use reports, run campaigns and a lot more.
- Customer Service – Customers can ask questions, open cases, browse knowledge and more.
- Help Center – Mainly for FAQs and knowledge.
- Build your own – If none of the above templates suit, you can opt to build your own site. You can still use all the 60+ Aura components and we can add more LWC components. However, if you choose this option, you may want to consider a pure LWR site – this will be determined by how bespoke your needs are.
3. Lightning Web Runtime (LWR) Sites
Soliant Consulting Recommended (if appropriate)
LWR sites leverage both static and dynamic content, making them about 50% faster to load and render than Aura sites. They’re also highly secure because they use web components to build all elements of the site.
There is currently only one LWR site template available – Build Your Own.
LWR sites is a powerful framework but at present requires advanced experience in Salesforce development. It leverages a unique component-based structure and offers many components to deploy on a site. Soliant will examine your use case and determine if we can build what you need in LWR.
LWR sites do have fewer components available (about 20 fewer at our last count). However, some of those are multi-use components. You can also build new components to suit your needs extremely quickly with various flexible data access options. Our team at Soliant has even developed an extensive library of existing custom components, which we are able to use in any of 3 technology platforms – Visualforce, Aura or LWR.
Experience Cloud Customizations
We strive to launch Salesforce solutions that truly address our clients’ opportunities and challenges. This almost always means our projects include significant platform customization.
Salesforce Experience Cloud Examples
In recent years, we have customized Experience Cloud sites to:
- Render a fully custom report experience that looks very similar to standard reports yet is up to 30x faster.
- Show a fully-featured chat app that gives users the ability to tag records and users in the input. This is not available to regular Experience Cloud sites.
- Make a survey component that was better able to reflect/record data.
- Create a fully-featured LMS system that allows teachers to see and edit their schedules. It also allows students to view their personal schedules and sign up for more classes. This site had over 50,000 users.
Launching a Custom Salesforce Experience Cloud Solution
Our deep bench of Salesforce experts helps companies leverage the platform as a competitive advantage. We build custom yet cost-effective solutions that connect their users with their key business data.
We tailor Salesforce to your business rather than forcing your business to conform to a standard implementation. To learn more, contact us to talk with one of our consultants today.