Top 4 Dreamforce ‘21 announcements for testers

Published by Samuel Arroyo, September 22, 2021

Salesforce highlights the power of Trailblazers and businesses to repair the world and build trust at Dreamforce ‘21.

Salesforce kicked off their annual conference with a wave of optimism, positivity, and acknowledgment for the Trailblazer Community, an enormous community that has made such a huge impact in the life of their members, their local communities, and their companies over the past year.

Though a small group of around a thousand people are attending the event in San Francisco, the conference is being followed online by tens of thousands of viewers through the new Salesforce+ media platform with on-demand content for new product updates, interviews, demos, and more. Continue reading this blog to learn about some of the top Dreamforce ‘21 announcements for Salesforce UI and UX innovations.

Marc Benioff’s solutions for a world in crisis

During the opening keynote, Marc Benioff thanked the 15 million Trailblazers that empower the Salesforce ecosystem, while providing examples of how they have made an impact in society during these last few months.

Marc also commented on the current challenges that society is facing due to the pandemic, calling attention to three specific crises:

  • The trust crisis (e.g. lack of trust in institutions)
  • The sustainability crisis (e.g. climate change, deforestation)
  • The workforce crisis (e.g. the great resignation, the great relocation)

As his vision for a way out of these crises, Marc called business to action as the greatest platform for change, a topic which he expands on in his book “Trailblazer”. These changes were grouped in 5 categories:

What is coming next on Salesforce UI and UX

The Salesforce product teams spotlighted in one of their developer episodes some existing and new features and products that will impact the way we go about testing on the Salesforce platform.

Build rich experiences with Lightning Web Runtime, now available as an NPM package

At TDX, Salesforce introduced a new way in which they are architecting the Salesforce platform: Lightning Web Runtime (LWR). LWR leverages microservices and heavily cached content to enable performant, highly scalable, and rich experiences such as the new Salesforce Developer portal. LWR powers Experience Cloud to enable customers to enable customers to build websites, portals, and Commerce solutions. LWR in Experience Cloud has been GA since Spring ‘21.

Greg Whitworth, Director of LWC and LWR, announced that now LWR is available to customers as an NPM package for early testing and feedback.

As a Salesforce tester, the chances of companies using LWR on and off the Salesforce platform will increase as the technology is adopted, which may make their testing fall under our remit. That is why it is important to understand how we can test those UIs. Feel free to visit the LWR official website for more information.

Bring native device capabilities to LWC with Nimbus

The mobile team at Salesforce currently supports developers providing recommended practices and guidelines, programmatic validators in VS Code for base components, CSS and offline ability, and simulators and emulators to preview components locally.

Sue Berry, Senior Director of Mobile Platform, introduced the Nimbus service, which allows developers to access native capabilities such as the camera & gallery or the location, update records with Device Media, or access to the device’s calendar events.

As developers start adding more interactions with the native device to their apps, UI testers will find it more complicated to test those mobile applications. Keep an eye on this evolving challenge.

Customise LWCs and express your brand with Styling Hooks

Styling Hooks are CSS custom future-proof properties that make it easy to modify the visual output of many of the Lightning base components. This enables companies to customise the look and feel of custom LWCs so they better match their branding and design guidelines.

Currently, this feature is in beta, but Aneesha Kommineni, Senior Product Manager of the Lightning Design System, announced that they are planning to go GA with the Spring ‘22 release.

As companies start asking their developers to style their custom LWCs, it is to be expected that some locators used for UI testing may need to be updated; this is a topic that may impact you as a Salesforce tester in the future.

To understand more about how Styling Hooks work, check out their official documentation or play around with their demo sandbox.

Get ready for a new UI Test Automation Model (UTAM)

UTAM uses the page object design pattern to construct abstractions of page components, allowing for more robust UI testing. It provides both a framework for authoring page objects via JSON grammar with per-language compilers as well as an initial library of page objects that can be used to validate multiple Salesforce components. Developers can write and execute UTAM tests easily from VS Code on desktop browsers, as well mobile apps.

Greg Whitworth announced they are planning to go GA with UTAM for the Spring ‘22 release, supporting both Java and Javascript at launch, and committing to enhancing their programming language support, as well as support for components in the future.

As a UI tester, it is always exciting when new technologies appear that make our jobs easier, while allowing us to write tests that execute faster and are less prone to breaking. Still, developing tests using the UTAM framework requires coding and may not be intuitive enough for non-developers. For more information on UTAM, please visit their official website.

Here’s where Provar’s intuitive way of building unbreakable, polymorphic tests adds to the ecosystem and further empowers testers.

Closing thoughts

Dreamforce ‘21 started with a lot of energy to compensate for the lack of many that wished to attend in person. Thankfully, this year Salesforce+ is making the content available to all of us so we don’t have any excuse to miss out on the exciting announcements, amazing interviews, industry sessions, and topic deep-dives.

Keep an eye out on the UI/UX features that are soon to be released, so that you are prepared and up-to-date with the latest technologies that can propel your company to the next level. Learn how Provar is providing scalable test automation for our community on Salesforce+.

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