5 Things We Learned from the Lightning Product Managers AMA

Do you even Reddit, bro (or sis)?

OK, gang. This week it’s once more my turn to write our weekly blog. Unlucky you! And this is the week I travel to Barcelona for the DreamOlé conference, meaning I was half-tempted to take us a little off-track and turn this week’s post into a ‘thrilling’ account of my one-man Catalan culinary crusade. But I decided it’s best to keep it Salesforce. Slightly luckier you!

So, back to the original question. Do you even Reddit? Well, do you? I don’t. Not really. So let me turn to the trusted, definitely-not-questionable-at-all-in-any-way news source that is Wikipedia, in order to provide the context for this post.

Reddit is a “social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website” where “posts are organized by subject into user-created boards called “subreddits”, which cover a variety of topics”. One of those topics is AMA, or Ask Me Anything, which is “a subreddit for question-and-answer interactive interviews”. The range of interviewees is wide, and late last week it was the turn of the Lightning product managers to face the questions.

So what did we learn about the future of Lightning in this session? Well here are our top five highlights…

1) Density control is coming in Winter ’19

Weary of whitespace? There certainly is a lot of it in Lightning. Things got a little better recently, with some slightly increased content density arriving a couple of releases ago. But many users and admins are crying out for even more density, and even less scrolling to view all their fields.

So, good news. It sounds like this is coming in Winter ’19. And, even better, it might well be under user control (think of the Google Mail style ability to choose between Comfortable/Cosy/Compact).

2) Add Lightning Components to a Dashboard

This is one I hadn’t thought of personally, but it sounds like an interesting capability that could be extended in lots of ways: the ability to place Lightning Components onto a dashboard. Here’s an idea with some suggestions (and even a mockup) of how it could be used. And apparently it’s on the way within a year!

3) Control visibility of fields and sections on Lightning pages

The recent addition of component visibility settings within App Builder gave us the ability to set rules around when certain components should be displayed (and when they should be hidden). But we can’t yet apply such granular visibility rules at the field level. So for now we have to use old-fashioned page layouts to manage our fields, and we can’t do everything with that.

But it appears that in the future we may be able to have field-level control (and visibility rules) right within the App Builder. And at that point, is it RIP to the page layout editor?

No known timescales on this one yet, but good to know it’s underway.

4) Assign actions to related lists

If you have any kind of maturity or any degree of complexity in your org, the chances are you’ve got where you are with the help of at least one JavaScript button or URL hack. And when you look to make the move to Lightning and go through Trailhead modules relating to the migration, you’ll learn that JavaScript buttons aren’t supported in Lightning, but that – never fear – actions can replace these and can do everything you could ever want!

Well, that’s the party line, but it’s not strictly true. Because one place that you used to be able to place these hacky buttons was on related lists. But you can’t put actions there.

So I was interested to see that the Lightning team have something in mind to allow this to happen, which is the ability to assign actions to components – including the Related List Single component. Woohoo!

5) Manage record sharing in Lightning

A small one to finish off with, but an important one for many admins and for the impact it could have on Lightning adoption.

Miss that little Sharing button on records in Lightning? Yeah, you’re not alone. Interesting to learn there is a Labs app which addresses this in the meantime, but we can expect an out-of-the-box solution coming in Winter ’19.

BONUS: The Lightning PMs have a sense of humour!

You may say that anyone who delivers a product like the initial iterations of Lightning must have a sense of humour (how cruel!), but nevertheless it’s good to see that the team know how to take a joke and poke fun at themselves and their own product. Just check this out…

OK, that’s it for us this week. But if you’re interested in reading the AMA in full (like if you are interested in the Lightning Component roadmap – there were a lot of questions about that), you can do so here.

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