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Five Favorite New Features in the Salesforce Winter ’18 Release

By September 12, 2017 September 6th, 2019 No Comments

My team and I have spent the last few weeks digging through the Salesforce Winter ’18 release notes and playing with the new features directly on the platform to determine their impact for our clients. We’ve come across some great functionality! We’re looking forward to using the additions to improve the user experience and capabilities for our clients.

Everyone on my team has a few different favorites from this release. Today I’m sharing my top five. Check them out below and let me know which you find most interesting by leaving a comment on the post.

1. Completely Customizable App Pages

This new feature allows developers and admins to truly customize their user interface. You can move functionality around on a layout to reflect what users need and use the most. If you need to add a feature traditionally on another dashboard, in most cases, you can add that to your app page as well.

For example, before this release, I needed to incorporate a list view component to the toolbar for a client. Now, I can instead just rework the UI to add it directly to the side of the main page, putting it front and center for my client. Previously, my team and I resisted using a completely custom UI as a single component. We strive to empower our clients to edit the layout themselves, and custom UI is editable by only an advanced admin or developer. This is why I find customizable app pages so exciting – by using the standard UI and simply adding components, we gain access to useful prebuilt components from Salesforce, such as the task and activity timelines.

2. Click to Dial Component

While the Winter ’18 release includes many new components, a really great one that might be overlooked is the click to call component. It saves time and effort for everyone in charge of contacting other people. For a cold-calling sales team, for example, this is going to be a huge productivity booster.

Before this release, one of my clients requested this feature, but we decided to hold off, as it would have been quite difficult to implement. Now, I can easily go in and add the feature for them.

I recommend checking out the many other new components in the Winter ’18 release. One of them, dueling picklists, is much like my own Multicolselect picklist, although I think mine is just a touch better, as it incorporates drag and drop.

3. Dynamic Component Appearance Filters in Standard Pages

In Visualforce, if a component was already included in a layout, you could hide its content but never the component itself. Now, you can make that component appear (or disappear) based on an admin-defined parameter on the standard layout. For example, you could have a component appear if an opportunity amount is greater than 100,000. This is super cool!

You can also use this feature as a warnings component, for example, your “close date is only one week away.” In the past, this wasn’t feasible. Any messages would have to show a blank area. Now, you can hide them if they have no content to show.

4. Time Field Type

This feature has been a long time coming. While still in beta, you can use this functionality to track time unconnected to a specific date. Project managers and event planners will find this feature particularly useful.

Before its release, I’ve had to have time entered as a string value and then parsed into a datetime value (which of course contains a date that is probably not wanted). It worked for my clients, but it’s a clunky, temperamental solution. Now, I can set up my clients’ solutions to have time entered automatically and stored separately in the database. Phew.

5. Return Result from aura:method

This Winter ’18 feature allows for the easy use of utility components. It’s quite technical, but developers like me will love it. Once implemented, you’ll no longer need the required callback technique for utility functions (i.e. math or often repeated code). You can just include our utilities component and call it’s methods. Your utility functions will return synchronously as you would expect them to, as long as they themselves are synchronous, of course.

What’s Your Favorite?

Of course, I’m only scratching the surface of everything Winter ’18 has to offer. Are you excited about any of the five features I listed above, or do you have a favorite I didn’t discuss? Let me know in a comment below!

Caspar Harmer

Caspar Harmer

Caspar is a New Zealander working for Soliant from far-off Wellington. He loves exploring new technologies and solving problems. Caspar also loves getting into the outdoors; he runs, mountain bikes and does a lot of orienteering when he can fit it in.

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