We may still be in the throes of Winter, at least we are in the UK, but the Salesforce Spring 14 release notes have been unveiled giving us a mouth watering glimpse of what we can expect from the next release of the of the award winning cloud technology. In an attempt to distill the 319 pages of new feature goodness down into something more digestible I’ve summarised my top features from the Spring 14 release and there is something in there for everyone.
1. Launch Flows from Workflow Rules – This has the potential to be a real game changer in my opinion. The freedom this will afford Administrators and BAs is colossal. Although there is no question of the capability that Flows have offered up until now they seem to make it into a relatively small number of solutions. That is mainly attributed to the fact that the only type of event that can initiate a Flow is a user’s mouse click on a button or link. Although there was always the option to leverage Flows with VisualForce you are then into developer territory so the chances are if you know how to code you would just create the whole solution using VisualForce and Apex. With Spring 14 you will be able to launch a Flow from a Workflow Rule. Trigger Ready Flows, as they will be officially known, will open up a world of possibilities for non-developers and shift the line that divides declarative solutions and Apex Trigger based solutions. So lots of requirements that would have previously required an Apex Trigger will now be possible using Trigger Ready Flows that require zero code. Don’t get me wrong, Apex Triggers will still have a place and there are lots of situations where a Trigger Read Flow cannot do what an Apex Trigger can. For example Trigger Ready Flows cannot be used with Time Dependent Workflow and not all standard objects will be supported. Also there is limited support for use with multi-select pick lists and multiple currency environments. I should point out that this is currently a pilot feature which means it is only available on request so you will have to ask you friendly Salesforce AE or support rep for Trigger Ready Flows to be enabled in your org. If all goes well with the pilot I would hope to see Trigger Ready Flows become generally available later on this year.
2. Flexible sorting in reports – This is a relatively simple one but I’m sure the research and development required from Salesforce to make it happen was anything but simple. Basically when you create a summary or matrix report with groupings you can now specify which field you wish to sort-by for each grouping. Simple yet extremely useful. Features such as this are a good thing for the Force.com analytics suite which is now showing real maturity with rich with advanced features that require no code.
3. Create Cases from Salesforce Side Panel in Outlook – Straight forward feature but the user experience in Outlook is consistently improving with each release. Mobile is clearly high on the agenda for Salesforce but it is good to see they are not neglecting key desktop integration that remains relevant to many organisations.
4. File storage increase – 612MB – 2GB – A generous increase in file storage for all users! As customers build up archives of activity and associated files the file storage limit can cause real issues and force the need for strictly enforced archiving solutions. Also as we see usage of Chatter growing at ever increasing rates and Chatter file sharing growing with it this increase is welcomed and offers some considerable breathing space.
5. Badges in Communities – Up until now badges have only been available in Work.com but it is great to see a gamification feature making its way into the core product. Users can award badges to other community members without the need for a Work.com license. Even external users in your communities can give badges to other community members.
Spring 14 is clearly going to be a strong release with some exciting features making their way onto the platform. The stand out feature is Trigger Ready Flows, even though the feature is only in pilot for now. For more details on the latest release including the release notes, training videos and developer resources check out http://www.salesforce.com/newfeatures/.
Stay tuned for my next post on the Spring 14 release when I’ll be covering more features that are included in the release.