Keep calm, grab some hot cocoa and embrace Winter ‘16

So you’ve met the new Salesforce and you could be forgiven for thinking that the upcoming Winter ‘16 release is only about Lightning, but keep calm, this is not another Lightning blog! So if you are looking for the main Winter ‘16 features which are not part of the new Lightning Experience you should be reading this!

The Winter ‘16 pre-release notes weigh in at an incredible 399 pages, and even if you remove anything related to the new Lightning Experience it’s still a jam-packed release. For this release review we are going to focus on the 10 non-Lightning features we think matter most and will be widely adopted by the user community as soon as Winter ‘16 hits your org!

1. Bulkified Processes and Flows

Just about ready to kick the bucket with Processes and Flows? Wait, your chances of hitting SOQL limits has been reduced. Phew, that was a close one, no need to revert back to Apex just yet! Processes and Flows now bucket as many queries as possible, keeping SOQL queries down to just a handful and well within the 100 SOQL queries limit.

If you don’t care much for SOQL queries, then this simply means you can safely put the pedal to the metal once again and not have to worry about things like batch sizes.

But don’t forget the important word to note here from the release notes is “Reduced”, which suggests there is still a chance you could hit a limit somewhere!

2. Create 150% more roll-up summary fields per object


Yeah baby, create 150% more roll-up summary fields per object! In real terms that’s a leap from 10 to 25! Going to need to change my pitch a little around when it’s useful to create roll-ups using flow in the light of this, but that’s about it. Thank you Salesforce, much appreciated!

3. Add the files related list to page layouts


Chatter collaboration is great when centred around specific Records in Salesforce, but have you ever tried to find that one important file in the feed? Seriously! It is easy with Chatter Groups, you just view the Group Files widget. But this becomes challenging with Record specific feeds as they don’t have a similar widget and as the feed grows over time it’s becomes very hard to find that file. So this is a welcome feature addition. Admins, get ready to update those page layouts with the new files related list.

4. Choose Test Options for Change Sets

Disclaimer: only people with multiple sandboxes will benefit from this one. Tests currently don’t run when deploying between Sandboxes using Change Sets. If you are deploying changes it’s extremely advantageous to be able to run Tests or specific Tests to catch and eliminate those nasty regressions which creep in between environments. Of course if you have multiple Sandboxes in your Software Development Life Cycle then you probably should be considering alternative solutions to change sets anyway, but that’s just my opinion.

5. Auto-activate a refreshed Sandbox & Improve Sandbox Copy Engine

Staying with deployment features and a few more useful welcome additions coming in. Click refresh and it could now be job done on the Sandbox refresh, but be careful, sometimes the safety net of needing to activate the refresh can be useful. I’ve known a few organisations to change their minds last minute and abort activation in order to squeeze some last few tasks through. So maybe don’t be too lazy here!

What’s more interesting is that improvements to the overall copy process and engine now hit all Sandbox types. The normally unquantifiable amount of time a Sandbox refresh takes is now visually trackable along with other background improvements we probably already take for granted.

6. Set Audit fields and update records with inactive owners

I think this one is as much about making Salesforce’s own team more productive as well as generally less hassle for admins. Previously you had to raise a ticket with Salesforce to get this feature enabled including specifying a date to disable the feature again. 9 times out of 10 you would only have to go back to Salesforce for an extension to this. Also remember the Update records with inactive owners feature that came in a few releases back that had this nasty dependency on the Set Audit fields feature being enabled. Well both these are back in our hands and controllable using Permission Sets.

7. Format your posts with Rich Text

We think Salesforce has been slacking off a bit here, Rich text formatting is an essential part of driving deeper collaboration, the ability to clearly highlight and style short amounts of text to get points across quickly is fundamental. Better late, than never! P.S. Would have been nice to see Markdown support too…

8. New Object – Setup Audit Trail

Screenshot 2015-09-01 15.05.35

I bet most have missed this one, we almost did. Of course you can download the CSV file of the last 6 months Setup Audit changes and trawl through the detail, but just having it accessible as an object (albeit limited) opens up many more possibilities. You thinking what we are thinking? On platform reporting and alerting on the audit logs? – future post potential, stay tuned!

9. Automatically Remove Signatures from Email Reply Comments and Group Posts

It’s a real nuisance when people have incredibly loooong email signatures and they get copied into the thread with each email reply. A little bit of dashing here and there and Salesforce will ignore your email signature the best it can. Add a separator line using dashes or equals and you’re there – something like this:

Mike Gill
Awesome Admin

10. Select a record to update


Last up, something small but it’s often the smallest of things which bring the most pleasure. The Process Builder user experience is continuing to improve. Configuring the Update Records action was a little fiddly previously and not that intuitive to be honest. If you were looking to just update the same record e.g. the record which fired the process, you found yourself getting lost in the Find a Field dialogue box. With Winter 16 it is a simple Radio button choice between the record which triggered the process or related records.

That concludes our Top 10 Winter 16 features coming to an Org near you soon…

And on that note, I wish you all a good day!

Click here to view Winter 16 Release Notes



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