Winter ’21 Release – Top 10

As with all releases, Winter ’21 is packed with new features. Here are the top 10 that jumped out at me – my bias is towards Platform, Service and CPQ as you’ll see! Flows team in particular continues to create at an incredible pace.

Preparation notes from Salesforce.

Many prominent community contributors have provided great reviews – these are a few I would recommend (and sorry for any I’ve forgotten):

unofficialSF / Alex Edelstein:

forcePanda / Narender Singh:

Automation Champion / Rakesh Gupta:

Jen W. Lee:

10. Flow Builder – Record Triggered Entry Criteria

Record-triggered Flows are taking off quickly! Now entry criteria can be applied so that only qualifying records are evaluated. This means you don’t have to use a decision element first thing on launch.

9. Apex – Safe Navigation Operator

Developer are very familiar with NullPointerExceptions, and developing to avoid them. The new safe navigation operator can be used to not evaluate following a null value so as to avoid this error. There are a few examples in the release notes, and here is a good visual.

This example shows a single statement replacing a block of code that checks for nulls.

// Previous code checking for nulls
String profileUrl = null;
if (user.getProfileUrl() != null) {
	profileUrl = user.getProfileUrl().toExternalForm();
// New code using the safe navigation operator
String profileUrl = user.getProfileUrl()?.toExternalForm();

8. CPQ – QLE Dynamic Field Set for Quote

CPQ’s Quote Line Editor previously supported dynamic Quote Line level field sets (layouts). This functionality is now extended to the Quote level fields as well, which means a field set can be applied dynamically based on certain criteria. As a result, a more targeted layout is now possible at Header/Quote level.

7. Flow Builder – Debug as Another User

Flows are often run in user context, meaning that behavior will differ based on who has launched the Flow. This makes for a challenge while building Flows as it is not possible to fully debug all scenarios prior to Activation. But no more with this change that allows running a Flow in Debug as if you are logged in as another user.

6. Field Service Mobile – Action Launch Redesign

Salesforce Field Service (renamed from FSL) had a different action layout between iOS and Android, which created confusion. This is resolved in Winter ’21 with action menu redesign to consolidate the views. Importantly header sections will help in organizing actions. Further details will need to be gathered upon pilot release.

5. Field Service Mobile – Custom notifications

Previously Salesforce Field Service (renamed from FSL) supported only standard notifications for the mobile application. With Winter ’21 it will now support custom notifications types to be generated and sent to Mobile application. This means better targeting of messages to the field users.

4. Billing – Create Orders without a Quote

The Billing package now allows creation of ‘Standalone’ Orders and Order Products without requiring a predecessor Quote. This change makes it possible to utilize the Billing engine on the fly. Imagine the scenario where quoting is being done outside of CPQ package, or where an Order needs to be generated based on ad-hoc activities. This update should allow for these types of requirements.

3. Flow Builder – Access related objects without Get Record

This change applies to the quickly developing Record-Triggered flows only. Winter ’21 brings the ability to easily reference related objects without Get Records elements. This will make building and managing Flows even easier, and it is very nice that it is coming so early before most have widely adopted this new Flow type.

2. Flow Builder – Custom Operators on All Elements

It was a tight battle for 1st place, and I may regret making this change the runner up. Custom operators are now allowed on all elements, which will be especially important on Get Records/Record Choice Set elements. Prior to this change, the ability to query was pretty limited, but Winter ’21 will solve this issue.

1. Flow Builder – Auto Layout

Easy choice here. Complex flows can quickly get out of control in terms of keeping all of the elements arranged. The picky ones among us may have lost a lot of sleep due to this very issue, but Winter ’21 to the rescue. Auto-layout has come to Flows.

Thanks for reading, and hopefully this gets you excited for Winter ’21 !

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