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Spring ’17 Developer Preview

Salesforce’s Spring ’17 release is coming soon, and with it comes a lot of great new features designed to make developers’ lives easier. Of course, at Cloudanswers we’re stoked and excited to share what’s new in Lightning, Visualforce, and Apex.

Lightning

Lightning experience in Salesforce continues to improve, with new features and and increased parity with Visualforce coming in every release. Here’s what’s new:

Lightning container components

In Spring ’17, Salesforce introduces a preview of Lightning Container Components which are natively hosted javascript apps that can be dragged into your Lightning apps using Lightning App Builder, just like you would build an app with any other lightning component.

This will allow developers to create Lightning components using their preferred javascript libraries, and make them available in lightning experience, hosted in an iframe.

Lightning container components will be hosted on Salesforce as a static resource, and become available in Lightning app builder once uploaded. Although in an iframe, these special components are API session enabled, and have access to a messaging service which allows your container components to interact with other custom components on the same page despite the iframe limitation!

New Standard Components

Spring ’17 comes with a few exciting new standard components for use in your lightning apps!

  1. Search Input A new lightning component that will let you search for and select related records using SOSL or even Apex!
  2. File Upload Input A new standard file input will become available for developers in Spring ’17
  3. Rich Text Editor A standard rich text editor for lightning components. Finally! Simply add your first one using the <lightning:inputRichText> tag!

Better error reporting in lightning experience

By popular developer demand! Now you’ll be able to see a meaningful error message, complete with line numbers and stack trace when an error is encountered in one of the components on the page. Here’s a blurry screen shot I took from the webinar!

Error Message

Locker service

Locker service has changes which are available as a critical update in Spring ’17 Sandbox and Developer orgs. The update will tighten Content Security Policy (CSP) to eliminate the possibility of XSS attacks. You can turn the update on and off so that you can test your components and apps before locker service becomes the law of the land in Summer ’17

Lightning Console Apps

Many of you are already familiar with the Service Console and console apps. They’re awesome! Even more awesome is that coming in Spring ’17 admins and developers will be able to create lightning-ready console apps with custom functionality, for use by other teams in your business.

Console apps are configurable so that the tabs and objects you use most are right at your team’s fingertips.

Lightning Console Apps will also have a configurable utility bar, which is essentially a set of lightning components that stays docked and always visible as you navigate the different tabs of the console app!

Custom record detail pages in Lightning App Builder

This one is sweet and ties in with console apps. Customize your record detail pages in lightning app builder, and even add new tabs beyond the standard “Feed” and “Detail” tabs, and assign any tab as the default. New lightning detail pages can be assigned to your console apps, with business unit-specific components added to each one!

Apex Stub API goes GA

The Apex Stub API, which provides developers with a suite of classes and methods used for stubbing and mocking for their unit tests, was available as a pilot in Winter ’17. With the introduction of Spring ’17, this functionality will become available to all orgs. More info on the Apex Stub API can be found at https://developer.salesforce.com/docs/atlas.en-us.apexcode.meta/apexcode/apex_testing_stub_api.htm

Salesforce DX

This is the one that dropped every jaw in the room when it was announced at Dreamforce ’16. Salesforce DX is an integrated suite of tools designed to make development easier for teams of developers, and individual developers alike. Salesforce DX is going to be delivered as a “plugin” to the Force.com IDE (Eclipse), and also come with a command line interface. The plugin uses the CLI to do its work, which means anything it does can be scripted!

There are so many awesome things coming with DX (Developer Experience) that I could spend all day talking about them! But since you probably have better things to do than read my blog, I’ll try to keep it short and sweet 🙂

Move source of truth from Sandboxes to Source Control

As many Salesforce developers are well aware, managing salesforce metadata with version control is a necessary but not always easy task. The folks at Salesforce are finally listening and delivering a tool that will change the paradigm so that the source code, not a sandbox, is the system of record for managing and delivering (yes, delivering… more on that below!) your salesforce configurations and code.

Pilot CLI for DX

This is where things get really exciting. Salesforce DX is introducting a CLI which can do nifty things like spin up orgs, populate data, apply configurations, assign permissions, run tests, etc. all from the command line. The CI/CD implications here are monumental! Imagine a world where you can spin up a salesforce org using a JSON config file stored in your repository. How about doing those things automatically through your CI tool like Jenkins? Neat stuff.

Asynchronous server updates

Currently when developing Salesforce code and config, we need to save files to the server, and each time we do that, our IDE makes us wait before we can do the next thing. Sometimes we spend lots of time looking at the screen while our code awaits judgment from the server-side gods. With DX, each save operation is its own thread and executes asynchronously which should speed development times tremendously. Don’t worry though, we won’t tell anybody if you still decide to stare at the screen once in a while 🙂

DX is extensible

In addition to all the cool things it can do out of the box, DX and the CLI are extensible by simply writing some NodeJS. Sweet!

How to get DX

DX is a “closed” pilot for Spring ’17, but we’ve been led to believe that those who sign up are likely to get a taste. Here’s how:

  1. Go to http://developer.salesforce.com
  2. Click on “Products” on the menu and choose Salesforce DX
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page that comes up
  4. Click the button to be the first to learn more about it
  5. Provide your info in the form and submit

We expect that you’ll receive an email about how to participate in the Pilot sometime in February.

Salesforce DX

Conclusions

As always, Salesforce is positioned to deliver another set of awesome features in their upcoming release that will make the platform more robust. This article only touches on some of them, but there are a lot more things coming in Spring. Check out the full release notes here

 

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