Why Lightning Experience is like Brussels Sprouts

“Hello, my name is Chris Edwards, and I never used to like Brussels sprouts.” It’s not the most traditional opening line for a user group presentation, I will admit, but this is how I began my talk to the London Admin User Group earlier tonight.

So why was I stood there, sweating in the London heat on the hottest day of year, talking to a Salesforce user group about that winter favourite, Brussels sprouts? Well, I wasn’t really. Not exactly. Officially I was supposed to be talking about some of the new Lightning features in the Summer ’17 release – particularly the Lightning Console which we demoed earlier in the release cycle.

But I wanted to make the point that, until pretty recently, I had taken the same approach to the Lightning Experience as I took to my little green spherical friends. Which is to say that I thought they were both great ideas in principle, and yeah I’m sure many people enjoy them, but – well – they weren’t for me.

Then came the inevitable moment, the one I had been avoiding: THE question…

“Well, have you ever actually tried them?”

Now, in the context of Brussels sprouts, this question came from my wife – ever the voice of reason in my life. For Lightning Experience, I posed myself the question when an opportunity recently came up to take my first, real, proper dip into the Lightning Experience waters.

In both cases, the answer was no. I was saying I didn’t like these things, saying they weren’t for me, when I hadn’t actually given them a chance. So, I soon put that right, and what did I find?

Well, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the Lightning Experience a lot better over the last couple of months. We all know it looks extremely appetising (unlike sprouts), but actually it does pretty well on the taste test too – it’s a pleasure to configure (I especially like messing around with the possibilities in the Lightning App Builder) and it’s way faster than I had been led to believe. And, like driving the newest model of your favourite car, or getting the latest iPhone, it just feels like the future.

Yeah, I’ve found a few things I’ve needed to work around, but you know what? The workarounds I came up with are actually better than what I needed to replace. An example: I’ve eliminated a few clicks by moving from JavaScript buttons to quick actions which I could get in front of the user earlier in the click path.

So, if your org is one of those still wondering if and when Lightning Experience is right for you, I have three key messages:

You’ll Never Know Unless You Try

You have to make your own mind up. Don’t be swayed by the positive or negative experiences of others. See if it’ll work for you. I’m sure there are some orgs out there where Lightning will not work quite yet, or would take a lot of changes, workarounds, or sacrifices to get there. But don’t fall into the trap of assuming that’s you.

And don’t let your judgement be coloured by any criticisms you might hear – especially if they were from a while back. LEX is improving all the time, and I think Summer ’17 shows the best improvement yet, especially in terms of application performance. So – do give it a go. Only then can you say whether you really like it or not.

The Right Time to Try is Always Now

OK, so you’ve decided to give it a try. But when? When is the best time to try it out? Now. Always now. Do it while you think about it, before something else comes along and distracts you. And, yeah, it may make sense to try it out around release time to make sure you’re getting the latest and greatest features. 

But *which* release? I have two answers to that: THIS RELEASE and EVERY RELEASE. Give Lightning as many chances as it takes. Try it now. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. And if you still think it is missing something you need, give it another runout in the next release. And the next one. And the next. This thing is constantly improving. Don’t be left any further behind.

Try It in a Sandbox

Context is everything. You’ll only know if Lightning Experience is right for your org if you try it out within the context of that org. Yeah, it can be tempting to take the safer option and just look at it in a fresh developer org, but that won’t tell you where the gaps are for you, and it won’t inspire you to try new ways of doing things.

Look at it this way. If your first taste of Brussels sprouts is in something crazy like a sprout smoothie, of course you’re going to hate them. But introduce them within their natural habitat – like as part of a good old fashioned roast dinner, or maybe fried off with some bacon – and it’s a different story. If you can find it in your heart to give Brussels sprouts a genuine chance, then it’s the least we can do for Lightning.

And, if you need one final reason to tip you over the edge and give you yet more encouragement to turn LEX on in your sandbox, it’s this… Don’t listen to me; listen to the release notes. It is plain to see (and readily admitted) that all new feature development on the platform is focused on Lightning. The longer you cling to Classic, the fewer and fewer new toys you’ll get to play with.

So, I leave you with this as a call to action: Eat your sprouts! You might like them, you’ll never know until you try them, and if you don’t eat them up then you won’t be getting any pudding!

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