Salesforce app developers have a number of options when deciding how best to build and structure their applications. One is to rely solely on Lightning Experience, Salesforce’s out-of-the-box page layout framework. Another is to rely on custom Lightning Web Components, which means investing in custom code. And still, another is to combine Lightning with a platform like Skuid to improve its capabilities without the time and expense custom code often requires.
In this post, we’ll go through some situations when combining Skuid with Lightning makes sense and how Skuid can extend Lightning’s out-of-the-box capabilities to create more functional and user-friendly Salesforce applications.
What exactly is “Lightning?”
The phrase “Salesforce Lightning” is used so frequently that its meaning is not always clear. When it comes to the Salesforce platform, “Lightning” can describe an entire collection of brands and concepts. For our purposes, Lighting Experience, or LX, will refer to Salesforce’s revised standard layout framework that comes “out-of-the-box” with the software.
Finally, the Lightning App Builder is an integrated environment where admins can combine standard LX components with LWCs to create integrated business applications for their users. This configuration is done without any custom code, making it ideal for non-technical users.
So, how does Skuid fit in? Within the Lightning App Builder, a Skuid page can be deployed right alongside standard LX or custom LWC components in a combined page. In many cases, Skuid builders use the Lightning App Builder simply to deploy a single Skuid page to their org.
Making the most of Lightning
The standard Lightning Experience (LX) is a powerful and reliable framework for creating applications in Salesforce. In particular, it works very well for page layouts, dynamic forms, and flows. However, it does have some weaknesses, especially around UX, branding, and multi-object pages.
To get your Salesforce app or Lightning page to look and function exactly the way you want to, you’ll likely find yourself considering custom LWCs. Not only does that require developer resources, it takes a significant amount of time that could be better used elsewhere.
And this is where Skuid really makes a difference. Let’s go through a few scenarios in which you might want to use Skuid instead of writing custom LWCs within your Salesforce app.
1. When you need multiple objects and multiple records to accurately depict a business process
One of the main limitations of Lightning Experience is the lack of support for multiple objects within a single page. Salesforce’s standard interaction patterns only allow for interaction with one object at a time, meaning that users have to jump back and forth between different record detail pages, lists, and tabs to do their jobs. In the schema-based UX that Salesforce provides out-of-the-box, complex data architecture doesn't allow users to do what they need to do, where they need to do it.
With Skuid, however, users can flatten the data hierarchy to be able to not only view records across multiple related objects but also interact (create, update, delete, etc.) with records across multiple objects — no back-and-forth required. Skuid also lets you easily hide the complexity from the user doing data entry while still maintaining the integrity of the business process and data model necessary for reporting and effective data management.
2. When you want interactions that don’t fit with “standard” SFDC models
Many Salesforce application designers have found Lightning Experience to be limited with regard to page arrangement, controls, and means of doing data entry. While Salesforce’s most recent updates have made improvements in some of these areas, they simply can’t reach the level of flexibility that designers are often looking for. For example, LX now allows users to conditionally hide a whole section on a page or app but not a particular subset of fields.
Skuid’s flexibility of page construction and interaction with your data is without peer unless you are planning to rely heavily on custom code. With Skuid, designers can create custom UI by leveraging individual and related groups of components already available out of the box. Additionally, components deployed in Skuid do not require the same level of maintenance as those built with code. While you shouldn’t “set and forget” your Skuid pages, their maintenance is less developer-intensive and costly than that of custom code.
3. When you want an application to match very specific branding requirements
When it comes to design customization, LX is especially limited with what can be done out of the box. To create fully branded, visually appealing, and easy-to-navigate apps and experiences, designers need to turn to custom code.
Skuid, however, enables pixel-perfect representation. This is especially important for external-facing applications, like employee or partner portals. Today’s business users have high expectations around design and UX, and you want your app to deliver. With Skuid, you don’t have to compromise on either design or functionality, which means higher app adoption rates, user satisfaction, and goodwill toward your brand.
Do more in Salesforce with Skuid
Both in combination with Lightning Experience and on its own, Skuid can help you create more intuitive and enjoyable app experiences. For a deep dive into Skuid and Lightning — in all its forms — explore our robust Skuid and Lightning documentation here. If you want to see Skuid in action, schedule a custom demo.