Salesforce Spring 13 Release Notes Rapid Reaction
I love Salesforce release notes so much that I took them with me on vacation as my poolside reading. Spring 13, while not a thriller that I couldn’t put down, didn’t disappoint in the functionality department. This is the release that I’ve been waiting for from Salesforce for almost a year now. A no frills, lean, “tidyup” style release that isn’t filled with pilot or beta features that only a few customers get to use. I feel like this is the kind of release that should come along every Spring. The Winter releases are the glitzy and glamorous ones because they coincide with Dreamforce, Spring comes along afterwards and cleans up all the good core low hanging fruit. Here are a few of my favorite features - some large and some a just a blip in the release notes, yet I find them very necessary.
Tasks in Chatter Feeds
For the last few years I’ve been trying to explain to our clients that the notion of “notes” and “activity history” is being phased out in favor of Chatter. This feature brings this notion closer and closer to a reality. An admin must turn on this feature to allow task generation in record feeds and once they do a post will be made when a task is created on a record. This is very helpful for people working from the Chatter tab. If you follow a record and a task is created you will be notified via your feed and not by having to run a report or having to navigate to a record to look at the Activity lists.
Some considerations are listed in the release notes such as if the task is related to multiple records two separate posts are generated - a user may see both of these posts depending on what they are following. Similarly if a task is reparented it doesn’t move from the Chatter feed of the original record nor does a task show up on the new record where it is now related. I’m sure these items can be cleaned up in future releases with some help from some Ideas on the IdeaExchange.
Add A Single Contact to a Shared Activity
A small yet necessary feature my opinion. Ever since shared activities was rolled out we lost the ability to simply click in the Name field on the task and type in a Contact’s name - we were brought to the multi-contact selection screen even if we were only adding one Contact. This was not a desirable experience and thankfully Salesforce listened to this idea (sorta) and decided to once again allow users to click within the Name field to relate a task to only one Contact.
Email Replies to Like Posts and Comments
I can’t tell you how often I reply to emails these days with one word - “Like”. Seriously, I do this all the time and now you can do it too and have it actually mean something inside of Chatter. With Spring 13 when you receive a Chatter post email you can reply with the word like (case insensitive) and it will register as a Like inside of Chatter. I LOVE this functionality and I know users will too. People still live in email and they still are used to taking action on things from email hence the reason why reply to Chatter is so popular as is the reply to approval process email notifications. This is a natural extension of those features and will make liking a Chatter post that much easier.
Visualforce PDF Rendering Engine Improvements
This is an under the hood improvement that developers and users alike will all enjoy. We do a lot of PDF generation from Visualforce pages for our clients and we are very happy to see that an update to improve consistency and compatibility is being delivered. There isn’t too much detail on what exactly this release “does” but the notes specify that certain images and resources such as CSS would previously not render correctly and now they will. Obviously this one will need some testing if you have a page that doesn’t currently render correctly but anything that Salesforce does to make features more reliable and consistent is alright by me.
Clickable Column Headers in Search Results
Not much to say here but FINALLY. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve searched for a Contact’s name and wanted to sort by the Account and been presented with a “doh” moment. For every object on the global search page you will now be able to sort by any column presented in the results. This is the type of small usability feature that gets me really excited.
There are far more features than just the five I’ve mentioned above. It was a big release for Data.com which I haven’t talked about as well as some enhancements and general availability for some of the developer specific announcements from Dreamforce such as Canvas and Connected Apps. All in all Spring 13 to me turned out to be a great mix of small yet necessary usability enhancements, productivity boosters, and custom development improvements.
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