There is a lot going on this time of year. Vacations are ending, school is starting, Dreamforce is nearing, and most important of all, Winter ’17 is coming.  We are releasing a lot of great new features for Winter ’17, and the release notes are understandably vast. So I thought I would take a moment and provide some highlights from the Developer’s perspective.

Some of these features the are high on my list are Preview only, meaning they aren’t generally available to the public, but all should be available in Developer Edition.

Lightning Data Service

It’s like the Visualforce standard controller, but for Lightning Components. Lightning Data Service is simplified, economical, and lighting fast. Records loaded in Lightning Data Service are loaded once, and then cached and shared across all components that use that record. This also means any other component using that record is instantly notified and updated. And all this without requiring any Apex code.

Base Lightning Components

Base Lightning Components are the building blocks that make up the modern Salesforce UI, from Lightning Experience, to Salesforce1 Mobile, to Lighting Communities. And now you can use them, too! The Base Components handle HTML and CSS for you, as well as accessibility, real-time interaction, and enhanced error messages.

Service Cloud Snap-ins

While I typically focus on “pure platform” features, the Service Cloud Snap-ins are too cool not to mention. The Snap-in Chat widget makes it super easy to embed Live Agent into your website or community, and there is even a Snap-in API for iOS.  Now you can put Live Agent chat in your mobile apps!

Lightning Actions

When Lightning Experience first made it’s debut, the elimination of Custom Buttons on page layouts was a huge deal. Well, stop thinking Custom Button and start thinking Custom Action! Winter ’17 includes the ability to create a Custom Action that invokes a Lightning Component. This provides the ability to do anything you might have done in a custom button, but using the Lightning Experience user experience paradigm. Bring on the HTML5/JS/CSS!

Speaking of Lightning Experience

While Salesforce Lightning Design System (SLDS) is great, it is a bit quirky to bring in to Lightning App Components – static resources anybody? Winter ’17 introduces a new extension point at the app component level that allows you to have SLDS included in your app component simply by extending “force:slds”. This applies to Lightning App Components as opposed to Lightning Components running in Lightning Experience, which already get Salesforce Lightning Design System automatically. Not only is it simple to do, it’s also supplied by the core!

So, that’s a quick rundown of some of my favorite features coming in Winter ’17.  There are many more features, new objects, metadata types, authentication options, and APIs.  Have a stroll through the Release Notes yourself and see which features make your short list. And make sure to check out the Developer Preview Live Webinar that I hosted with some key product managers.

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