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Winter is Coming You’ve been waiting all summer, so patiently. And now, the wait is over.

The preview release notes are here, and they are chock full of great new features.

Here’s a small sampling:

Polls in Chatter
Starting in Winter ‘13, you can create a poll in your feed. Polls are a great way to get people’s opinions or gather data by providing a list of choices.
This enhancement is from an idea on the IdeaExchange.

Forecasting Custom Report Types
Administrators can now create forecasting custom report types for their users with Analytics for Collaborative Forecasts.

Automatically Saved User Sessions for the Service Cloud Console
If a Service Cloud console is set up, you can choose to save user sessions so that when console users close their browsers or log out of Salesforce, any previously open navigator tabs, primary tabs, or subtabs automatically display when they log in again.

Developer Console Enhancements – Tests Tool and Query Editor
Use the Tests tool to run Apex unit tests on the server and check your code coverage. Use the Query Editor tool to query data from your organization. Now you can edit, verify SOQL queries, debug, and test your applications without leaving the Developer Console.

Apex Code Enhancement – Global Interface Method Implementations No Longer Need to Be Global
When you implement methods of a global interface, you can declare those methods as public or global in your class. You’re no longer required to declare them as global. This gives you a choice of how much visibility you would like your method implementations to have.

Visualforce Charting – Generally Available
In addition to being available to all Visualforce customers, charting has been enhanced.  The existing Visualforce chart types (bar, line, and pie) are joined by four new chart types: area, gauge, radar, and scatter. We revised the default color scheme for Visualforce charts  to better match the colors of the Salesforce reporting and analytics charts. In addition, most charting components now support a colorSet attribute, which you can use to control the colors in charts and data series.

Retention Policy for Unused Sandboxes
With Winter ’13, sandboxes that no one has logged into for 180 days are now deleted. Users who have created or most recently refreshed any sandbox for your organization will be notified prior to scheduling the sandbox for deletion. They will get at least three email notifications over 30 days. To keep a sandbox active, log in periodically.

Ready to read the whole thing? Go for it! Winter ’13 Preview Release Notes

#Awesome graphic courtesy of Salesforce MVP Matthew Lamb (@SFDCMatt).

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