Ease Your Lightning Transition

Liu Nagayoshi
Feb 25 · 8 min read

Migrating to Lightning? Here’s what to expect as you prepare to switch so you can make the most of the what Lightning can offer, fast!

As a Salesforce customer or practitioner, you understand why you need to transition to Lightning: an updated interface, increased features, and a boost to user productivity. With the Winter ’20 release, there is even more urgency with standard profiles automatically pushed into the Lightning Experience on a rolling basis.

Source: Total Economic Impact Study on Salesforce Lightning
Source: Total Economic Impact Study on Salesforce Lightning
Source: Total Economic Impact Study on Salesforce Lightning

Even under these circumstances, many customers still struggle to make the switch. The effort seems overwhelming when you consider the years of customizations built on Classic, coupled with ingrained user and administrator habits. Although changing behavior is difficult, customers will continue to miss out on new features when they don’t transition, unable to take advantage of the vast array of functionality that Salesforce releases each year.

There are many useful articles, blogs, and even Trailheads that describe using the Lightning Experience Transition Assistant and the benefits of transitioning. However, there aren’t many articles that dive deeper into what customers should expect and what they should consider as they make the switch. For these reasons, we will focus on the key areas that customers and practitioners should consider as they navigate through their own Lightning migration journey, making their transitions easier and seamless.


What should I expect in my Lightning Experience Readiness Report?

Source: Are You Ready for Lightning Experience?

During a Lightning migration, there will be seven (7) major areas customers and practitioners need to be aware of. Although this is not a comprehensive list, most users will see these items come up throughout their transitions.

Let’s begin!

  1. Visualforce pages

Many of the Visualforce components that were created to extend Salesforce functionality become stumbling blocks to converting; certain pages render differently in Lightning, the Classic themed styling differs with the Lightning themes, and pages need to be removed or updated when it comes to Visualforce overrides. The introduction of Lightning Web Components (LWC) has also made some Visualforce features obsolete because LWCs can easily replace certain Visualforce features.

Tips:

■ Use this time as an opportunity to inventory all Visualforce pages and tabs. It’s always surprising to see what features can be discarded when you take the time to assess what is needed. Just because a Visualforce page works in Lightning does not mean it should stay. Determine whether these pages should be retired, turned into a LWC, or even replaced by standard configuration based on usage metrics (see methods of viewing Visualforce metrics here). Although this is time-consuming, this will pay dividends in the future through less administrative overhead.

■ Regression test all Visualforce pages in Lightning. Testing will help determine what needs to be fixed, kept as is, or improved. This is also a good time to update APIs, extensions, and controllers running behind these Visualforce pages (if applicable).

2. Updating custom buttons/links/email templates

The next step is to ensure that custom buttons, links, and email templates are Lightning compatible. For example, you will want to make sure your custom links redirect you to Lightning pages rather than Classic pages.

Tips:

■ Due to the security challenges of combining un-trusted Javascript from multiple sources, Lightning phases out Javascript buttons in Lightning. Instead, these buttons must be recreated using Quick Actions, Custom Buttons, Apex or Lightning Components. For many customers, this may be a big change. Read more about this change in this Trailhead module.

■ Similar to the Visualforce pages section, take a full inventory of what buttons, links, and email templates are still leveraged and need updates to work in Lightning. It’s not uncommon to find buttons that don’t reference anything and links that are no longer used. Rather than converting everything, use this as a time to begin deleting these items and clean up your org. This will reduce the time to convert.

3. Files and Enhanced Notes

In Lightning, the Files and Enhanced Notes related lists replace the Notes & Attachments related list (Spring ’17 release). This creates a need to add the Files and Enhanced Notes related lists onto page layouts for objects that use them and to transfer the data in Notes & Attachments to Files and Enhanced Notes. For customers that depend on attaching Power Points (PPTs) or PDFs to records, this will be an important transition.

Tips:

■ For transferring data from Notes & Attachments to Files and Enhanced Notes, Salesforce offers an AppExchange product called Magic Moover, which has a strong track record when it comes to assisting with this migration.

■ Check out the Files and Enhanced Notes Trailhead to dive deeper into understanding the new features.

■ It’s still possible to have the Notes & Attachments related list listed on a Lightning page layout. However, this feature will be retired, so it will be best to transition to Enhanced Notes and Files when you can — Salesforce also encourages this.

4. AppExchange Upgrades

Make sure any AppExchange products being used are Lightning compatible. Most AppExchange packages have a “Lightning Ready” icon tied to them that signifies their Lightning compatibility. For those that are not Lightning compatible, think through whether these packages should be uninstalled, replaced by similar Lightning Ready packages, or recreated using custom development.

Tips:

■ Some AppExchange products have the Lightning Ready icon tied to them, but do not contain the Lightning User Interface (UI). They merely work in Lightning using Classic themed Visualforce pages. Make sure you do your due diligence when it comes to selecting or continuing the use of an AppExchange product by testing them out in your orgs, especially if you expect your Lightning Ready packages to have the Lightning look and feel.

■ This is also a good opportunity to upgrade your AppExchange versions (if they are not updated regularly).

5. Feature Gaps

Although Salesforce continues to build on Lightning, there are multiple Classic features that don’t exist in Lightning. While some are listed in Salesforce’s roadmap, others seem to be phased out by Salesforce altogether (ex. Data.com) or not on the roadmap at this moment (ex. manual record sharing).

Tips:

■ With an extensive list of differences that are available here, it will be difficult to catch every single difference between the two experiences. The best path forward is to review and understand what may impact your company or client the most based on usage. If reports and dashboards are heavily adopted company-wide but Chatter isn’t used frequently, understanding the report and dashboard differences should take priority over understanding Chatter differences.

■ There is a vast set of features that exist only in Lightning that you can find here. Consider how your org can take advantage of these new features immediately!

6. Lightning Apps, Pages, and Mobile

One of the exciting aspects of a Lightning transition is updating the UI of standard and custom objects. With the App Builder, take advantage of features such as dynamic Lightning pages, customizable object layouts (different from page layouts), and the new mobile experience. For each step, think through what layouts will reduce clicks and drive a better user experience by surfacing information that drives desired outcomes (ex. timely opportunity updates).

Tips:

■ Many users request a single page where they can monitor everything relevant to them (ex. deals expected to close soon, urgent leads, unopened cases). Take time to invest in the new Home page to showcase list views, reports, and dashboards that surface important information for users to act on immediately. Home page experiences can be controlled through profiles and permission sets and remove the need to navigate through individual reports or click through objects.

New Home Page Experience:

Source: Build a Custom Home Page for Lightning Experience

■ With dynamic pages, you can surface relevant information (ex. reports or custom components) to particular users based on criteria such as profiles. This feature is available on both home pages and customizable object layouts. By leveraging this feature, you reduce the overhead of managing multiple different home pages or object pages.

■ Simplify, simplify, simplify. If you think you have too many fields on your record pages or too much content to scroll through, use this time to clean up your layouts. This can involve removing fields and related lists from page layouts and creating a more cleaned up view leveraging Tabs. Tabs help compartmentalize certain features into dedicated sections on a record page. View the Contact page below to see Chatter and Activity labeled in their own compartment rather than embedded alongside fields.

Example of a Contact page:

Source: Customize the User Interface

■ With the Winter ’20 release, Salesforce has done a great job of beginning to create parity between the desktop and mobile experiences. Certain features such as the App Launcher, easily accessible navigation bars, search functionality, and actions bring the new experience much closer to what users expect when they’re on their desktops.

■ As early as the Spring ’20 release, Salesforce will automatically convert all customers to the new mobile experience, so keep an eye out for it!

New Mobile Experience:

Source: Get Ready for the New Salesforce Mobile App Spring ’20 Auto Upgrade

7. Browser Strategy

For enterprise customers in particular, keep an eye out for what browser you use. Remaining on Internet Explorer (IE) will cause many issues to surface (ex. Visualforce pages rendering incorrectly). It’s recommended to use an alternate browser to have the most optimal Lightning experience.

Tips:

● The recommended browser experience is Google Chrome. Although other browsers such as Firefox, Safari, and Edge work well, Chrome provides the best experience for speed and loading times. In addition, users can use Chrome extensions to enhance their experiences on routine tasks such as logins.

● If your company is a heavy user of IE, begin conversations of transitioning away from the browser as early as the Lightning migration work begins. With customers’ policies and preferences, changing browsers could be a significant undertaking.


There you have it! We covered a lot of content, but we hope this helped you understand the complexities of a Lightning migration. There are many things to think through, but if you are aware of how to approach the conversion and make a plan, your transition will undoubtedly be successful.

Slalom Technology

For perspective and analysis on everything IT: cloud…

Thanks to Jenny Framularo

Liu Nagayoshi

Written by

I am a Salesforce Consultant @Slalom in the Chicagoland area.

Slalom Technology

For perspective and analysis on everything IT: cloud computing, security, blockchain, AWS, Salesforce, and more!

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