Salesforce Winter ’17 Release Notes Highlights

It’s that time of the year again!  The Release Notes have just launched and it is time to read through 425 pages of awesomeness.  Or, you can read these 27 highlight along with any of the other great release recap blog posts (I will try to keep an updated list at the bottom of this post).

My initial reaction to playing with the pre-release Org was, wow! Is it perfect?  No.  There are many gaps between Classic and Lightning still, but overall this latest release is a very encouraging sign that Lightning Experience is moving in the right direction.  They seemed to definitely improve the speed of Lightning in this release.

I will mention below the feature if there are any limitations like a feature only being available in Lightning Experience.  If you want more detail on a feature, you can click on the header to drill into the release notes.  The links to the release notes site and PDF are below:

Winter 17 GIF.gif

Visual Flow

Run Flows with a Lightning Skin (Beta)

This is one of the more exciting features for me in quite some time.  This is an out of the box clean looking Visual Flow in Lightning! So cool!  This is not only available in Lightning Experience, but also available in Classic!  Let’s see it in action:

A Lightning Page Component


A URL (via a Button or Link)

Through a Button.gif

Inside your Flow Designer


Embed Your Flows in Lightning Pages (Beta)

Available in Lightning Experience & Salesforce1

This new feature will make many Admin’s lives much easier.  Now you have a way to avoid Visualforce Pages or URLs to launch your Flow.  Let’s give it a shot and see how this works in action!

Add a new Tab to your Layout.  Click on the Label and select Custom to make it your own!


Click on the Tab in the Page.  Then drag in your Flow Component. Select the Flow you want to be visible.  This is also where you’ll assign variable(s) if you have any Input ones.  No real documentation on the naming convention yet.

Drag Flow into App.gif


You’re all set to use your Flow!


Display Flow Screens in Two Columns (Beta)

This really goes along with the new Lightning Skin.  Just another improvement to the UI to allow you some out of the box customization to help keep your Flow from being really long.  I know this was a long awaited feature from all of us Flow crazies.

2 Column Flow.png

Customize the Look and Feel of Flow Interviews with the REST API (Pilot)

This is a really cool feature that allows people to really make their Flows look even better than the new Lightning Skin.  Because this is currently Pilot, I’ve not had a chance to play around with this feature yet.  I’m not sure how many people will adopt this, but the fact that we’re not limited anymore with the UI customization is very encouraging.

rest api.png

Access Encrypted Data in Your Flows, Process Builder, and Formula Fields (Pilot)

This is a really cool feature that not only covers Flow, but also Process Builder and Formula Fields.  This is Pilot, so you’ll have to wait (or contact your AE) to get ahold of this.

Process Builder

Build Reusable Processes

Available everywhere!

A Process that is not Invocable can’t be triggered by a Record Create or Edit, and because of that I would consider it similar to calling a Flow.  At this time you are unable to adjust the Process Type when you Clone a Process Builder, so that wouldn’t be a shortcut to allowing a Process to be Invocable.  When creating an Invocable Process you simply choose the Object it starts on.  It is very simple to use, you don’t have to determine if it was just when a record was created or created and edited.


Let’s see Invoking a Process Builder in action!  When you select Processes you’ll then have to pick the SObject that you want it to be referencing.  You are just looking for the Object, not an ID Field.

Invocable Process PB

Note – Deactivating an Invoked Process will cause a Flow Trigger Failed to Execute error when the Parent Process Builder attempts to fire the Deactivated Process.


View Your Process Types in One Place

So now you’re able to sort by your Process Type and quickly find all of your Invocable Process Builders.  I’m thankful for this one, because it would have been a nightmare to manage if they did not add in this nice feature.

Process Type added

Access Cross-Object Owner Fields in Process Builder!

Previously you were not able to access the related Owner Fields.  Now you are able to Access and reference both Queue and User Fields while in Process Builder.  This is an awesome addition that will save countless Formula Fields from being built (among other things).

Pre-Winter ’17


Winter ’17



Reports & Dashboards are now available in Community Builder!

Previously you had to get creative to get your Reports and Dashboards into the Community Builder.  Now, there is a Lightning Component for a specific Report Chart or a whole Dashboard!





Custom User Profile & Search now available!

Now you can easily from your Community Builder select a custom Search Component for your Pages.  You can also override the default user component on the pages to have a custom User Profile Component.  Nifty!

Override Theme.gif

Easier than ever to control Page Access for your Community!

If you navigate to your Page Manager, you can now control the Page Access at a Page Level!  This does a great job in simplifying things for us.


Super Slick Community Creation Wizard

This is really just a cool looking update… no new features or functionality!


Rich Text Content Editor (Easily Embed Videos!!)

It has never been easier to add a video to your Community than it is now!


Chatter Related Enhancements

 Group Chatter is Now Real-Time!  No Page Refreshes!

Available in Lightning Experience

This is a very nice feature to help make Chatter real-time, and a great use case for me to sneak my wife into a post.


New Group Creation Wizard!

A streamlined Group setup experience!  Not as flashy as the Community Builder Wizard, but still it makes it very user friendly to create a new Group!


Record Types are now available for Groups!

Groups no longer has to envy other features with record types: it’s now got its very own! All those page variations you created for different group layouts can be assigned to record types. When a user creates a group, one of the first things they do is pick a record type and the variation populates. Voila! One customized group layout ready for action.


Rich Text in Chatter!

Available in Lightning Experience

You now have the ability to use Rich Text in Chatter!  You can even embed images into your messages!


Other Enhancements

New & Improved Navigation Menu!

Available in Lightning Experience

Well, one of the biggest changes that I think everyone is already aware of is the switch in the Nav bar.  I’m glad they switched earlier rather than later.  It also has more functionality than the Classic navigation menu, due to the ability to create a new record, view a previous record, or access a previous list view all from the navigation menu!


Better App Launcher now includes all your Apps and Objects!

Available in Lightning Experience

I do like this streamlined App and Object view.  The ability to use a Search on this will come in handy!


Inline Editing comes to Lightning Experience!!

Finally we can do inline editing inside Lightning Experience List Views!


Expand and Collapse Sections in record details!

Lightning Experience finally is making the Detail section like Classic.  Previously the Sections blended into the layout more, so this is something I’ve been waiting for.


Clearer Popup Messages for Records

Available in Lightning Experience

Now when you Create a Contact, miss a required field, or encounter any other Error Message, you’ll be greeted with a better error message!

Better Messages.gif

 Object-Specific Sharing Locks!

This one is surely going to save you some time if you’re a Consultant or just setting up (or updating) a Data Governance policy in your own Org.  Object-specific share locks enable you to make changes to sharing rules for multiple objects simultaneously, depending on the objects affected by the sharing rules, sharing rule type, and target groups or roles of the affected users.


Identify and Merge Duplicate Leads

Available in Lightning Experience

This is one of those features that caught my eye immediately.  I know many of my clients are going to love this one.  After playing around with it, you do need more than just a Full Name and Company match for it to show up.  You’ll see by adding a duplicate Email the Potential Duplicates is automatically populated with the other existing Duplicate Lead.


 Launch a Lightning Component from an Action

It was only a matter of time before this came out.  Just like you can embed a Visualforce Page, you can now embed a Lightning Component in your Actions.


Use Global Value Sets (previously Global Picklist) in Picklist Dependencies

Global Value Sets = Global Picklist.  This was something holding me back from using a Global Picklist in some areas.  With this improvement, managing picklist dependencies just got more efficient. You can now make a local, custom picklist dependent on a local, custom picklist that uses a global value set. The global value set is defined in one place and shared. Use that value set for as many local, custom picklists—and their dependent picklists—as you need.


Associate Permission Sets with Permission Set Licenses!

If you’ve used a Permission Set License (think Wave Analytics), you better not forget to also assign the Permission Set with that License.  Now, you don’t have to worry!  You can set a Permission Set to be included with that License.

Add and Update Campaign Members Using the Data Import Wizard

From my little time spent on the Answers board, I have seen plenty of questions around importing Campaign members.  While I don’t plan on using this myself, I know this is something many Admins will use.


Other Winter ’17 Release Highlight Blog Posts:

  1. Rakesh Gupta’s (Automation Champion) Quick Summary
  2. Jen Lee’s Blog has 5 posts on the different features
  3. Mark Cane’s Force 365







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