This year’s Dreamforce completely changed my outlook on the industry and my life.
Yes, it was that big and eye-opening. Every Dreamforce is. But 2015 was the boldest.
Let me share with you my thoughts and what this means for your career:
Before Dreamforce 2015 even started, everyone already knew about the new Lightning UI. It was uncharacteristically the worst “reveal” of any Dreamforce I’ve ever been to. Heck, I’ve known about the new UI for months – Salesforce brought me to their headquarters to help design it!
But I had no idea how earth-shattering this new UI would be to the Salesforce industry. Going to Dreamforce and experiencing the keynotes immediately revealed to me the gravity of this change – and I don’t think any of our careers are ever going to be the same from here.
Let me put this in perspective for you. In 16 years of Salesforce’s history, they have never done a UI change even remotely close to this. And for good reason – you can imagine how difficult it would be to launch this sort of thing while keeping in mind the infinite customizations that have been built around the world.
That’s why the new UI is such a big deal. It’s not a new UI – it’s a completely different way of building Salesforce. The old UI had extremely limited customizations that we’ve worked around for years. The new UI unlocks essentially unlimited customizations using a new “component” system. Basically, the entire layout can be customized down to the pixel, with or without code due to AppExchange components. Oh yea, everything looks 2015 modern as well, including reporting/dashboards, which got a complete UI refresh that matches it with Wave.
Take a moment to let that sink in before I tell you why it’s so important to you…
My outlook on future of the Salesforce industry
The new Lightning interface introduces more than just a UI change – it’s a completely new way of designing and building Salesforce orgs. Previously, it was so expensive and time-consuming to build custom UIs in Salesforce that few orgs even attempted this. Most would use 90%+ standard UIs, with minor Visualforce here and there.
Now, Salesforce has democratized UI. Components can be added anywhere in any dimension. With the AppExchange, you’ll find pre-built components that you can immediately add to your pages. Unlike embedded Visualforce, components are built to and encouraged to interact to each other. The possibilities here are endless and Salesforce is almost forcing you to try radically different UIs inside your org.
With these changes, I expect Salesforce orgs to be even bolder with their customizations. The introduction of components on the AppExchange will open up a whole new “open source” community on the platform that’ll take the UI/UX to far greater heights than could be achieved with Salesforce classic. It will take time for companies to adjust to this new framework but Salesforce has already put the pieces in place for this to happen.
Changes to the admin/developer career landscape
I’ve talked about how major shocks to industries can open up huge new opportunities for people. Think Tesla and the introduction of the electric car. Now, think Salesforce and the Lightning framework.
Some people think that the gap between admins and developers is shrinking, especially with the introduction of Process Builder. I actually think the gap is widening, and here’s why:
Yes, automation that used to require triggers can now be done declaratively using Visual Flow or Process Builder. There’s plenty of automation that still requires triggers, but, the gap here is closing. This is just one small piece of the pie however.
The bigger picture – Lightning components. These are now the fundamental building blocks of Salesforce orgs, the “Legos” you could say. They open up a whole world of possibilities in orgs that we once could only dream of. And with great power, comes great responsibility. Because Lightning components are more powerful, they require more code to build. I know – I’ve been playing around with them.
What I’m trying to say is the Salesforce world needs a new generation of developers that can code Lightning components. Being a new technology, no one has mastered these and there will be a steeper learning curve. The level of customization is now significantly higher than the average admin is willing to handle. The gap is bigger than it has even been, and I believe it may get bigger as Lightning matures.
This is probably scary, exciting, and intimidating for you at the same time. It certainly is for me.
But remember, since there are no Lightning “masters” in the world right now, this is an opportune moment to become one. You are now at the same level as advanced developers around the world when it comes to Lightning components… absolute zero.
Use this to your advantage in leap-frogging your Salesforce career. Changes like these are the best thing that could ever happen to people looking to break into an industry. If you’re a newbie developer – you’re in luck! If you’re a seasoned Salesforce developer… time to hit the books and start learning again!
Lots more work for me but I’m excited to start learning again – this time a brand new technology!