We are beginning to put Aura-based Lightning Components, the existing Salesforce Lightning® custom-development technology, behind us. While Aura has its advantages, the global marketplace voted to proceed in a different direction.
But there’s good news: Lightning is enhanced by something even better. And not only is the World Wide Web is lining up behind the new direction1, it is both a Salesforce supported solution and open source2 to further align the Salesforce platform to modern web development.
We’re talking about Lightning Web Components (LWCs) for custom development on the Salesforce Lightning platform which offers multiple advantages. For IT, LWCs facilitate easier staffing, make developer training more efficient and improve developer productivity. For end users it delivers yet another enhancement in user-centric design: LWCs run fast and look great.
You’ll need to expand training
The most significant short-term impact of LWCs is on developer staffing and training. Now you’ll need two different training initiatives addressing two separate programmer constituencies.
Salesforce developers, unlike people who are new to Salesforce, already know how to connect components to Salesforce and they already know Apex. We need to train those developers on the specifics of LWCs instead. There is not a massive difference between programming Aura Components and new LWCs conceptually, but there is enough difference to want to upskill existing Salesforce developers on LWC best practices.
Other impacts: testing and development operations
Fortunately, Salesforce is offering a strong DevOps toolset for LWCs to support development —but there are new technologies there too. LWCs align to Salesforce Developer Experience (SFDX) and presume the use of code repositories and the SFDX CLI in place of historical Change Sets. At the same time, the Eclipse Integrated Software Environment is being retired for Salesforce in favor of the no-cost Visual Studio Code. And Salesforce has already yet other LWC development toolings available, such as shared playgrounds which allow for rapid prototyping, sharing, and collaboration.
Support also has a to-do
Existing LCs and the newer LWCs run side-by-side in the same Lightning applications, so there is no rush to re-write Aura-based Lightning Components as LWCs. Over time, it will make increasingly less sense to maintain training and support capability for both Aura Components and LWCs. We would look to retire any remaining Aura Components at that time.
To get started …
Accenture has a long list of Salesforce things to keep up with, so we were initially not too keen on adding LWCs to our to-do list right now. But LWCs are better than Aura Components due to the broader support of the underlying framework and Salesforce’s clever adaptations for its platform, so we are enthusiastically making the switch to LWCs as quickly as possible. Once you wade in, we are confident that you’ll feel the same. And with the upcoming LWC support for Lightning Out, stand-alone Lightning Apps, and email client containers, now is the time to explore net new architectural options for LWC-based Salesforce solutions.
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