Spring 09 Release - A Whole New Force.com or Just a Few New Goodies?

After attending the Spring 09 Release the other day in hope of seeing at least some of the good ideas making way to force.com platform, features such as inline editing for Visualforce pages, more flexibility with custom of related-lists, flexibility on using the advanced Apex features to create customized reports and dashboards, etc following observations were concluded:

Well not all of them made it! in fact, we can summarized the release merely around some enhancements here and there in the platform.

Some of you would even think that in this economic downturn, one can not expect more than this from IT companies. Should this thought ever cross our minds, I would not rule this factor out as an impact on this release!

Let's have a look and quickly browse through the enhancements of the Spring 09 release:

  1. Force.com Sites Improvements

    • Audit Trail:
      Now you can track all the changes made to your sites by different users.

    • Sites Robot.txt and Fav Icon:
      With this release you will be able to set a robot.txt for you force.com site which enables you to better control how search engines should index your site's pages. Fav Icon is also a useful way of personalizing the browser in showing an icon next to the title of your website (in tabs) and also in favorites/bookmarks.

    • Standard Pages:
      Allows you to bring selected standard pages and expose them to the public via your force.com site (suitable for ideas page, etc).

    • Sites Packaging:
      With this feature we can package force.com sites, apex code, etc and install them into other instances.

  2. Force.com Web Service API Improvements

    • Improvements in the timeout limits of the callouts:
      This is potentially good when the code takes a longer time to process and bring back the results. Now we can configure it in a way to have extended timeout periods resulting in more run-time stability.

    • Also Wider range of WSDL types are supported by Spring 09 release.

  3. Database and Reporting

    • Summary Report Data Snapshots:
      Previously data snapshots were available on reports, however, with this release you can use snapshots across large amounts of data, where only the summaries will be stored, as well as create historical views of metrics, KPIs and other summary data.

    • Data Grouping Functions:
      This is actually a very useful upgrade, now you can group the entries of a report to better analyze aggregate data.

    • Delegated Data Administration:
      This feature allows you to grant permission to non-admin users to report, search, modify, transfer, share, unlock, or approve any record regardless of sharing settings on an object basis.

    • Dashboard Finder:
      This enhancement allows you to search through your dashboard items (a real time-saver!).

  4. Force.com IDE

    • Apex Code Auto-Complete in Force.com IDE:
      Finally! When you are coding in Eclipse (force.com IDE) auto-complete feature will be available to assist you with writing the code.

  5. User Interface

    • Enhanced Page Layout Editor:
      This one is my favorite enhancement, using this feature now you can create much better layouts. You can drag and drop fields and items around, "save as" a layout, leave a spot empty (blank spaces), design the mini-layout, etc.

  6. Services

    • Cross-Object Workflow:
      With this feature you can update a field on a parent record within a workflow!

    • Access to Email Logs in the Application:
      This report shows you whether your outbound emails were received or bounced back and basically gives you a comprehensive log of your outbound emails.

  7. Force.com Logic

  8. Mobile

    • Mobile Web Tabs for iPhone
      You can now create mobile-ready Visualforce Tabs for the iPhone. This enhances the client with a near-limitless method of extension - enabling you create content for the iPhone using the Visualforce user interface framework. The hybrid iPhone client that supports this functionality will be released next month.


  1. Nice summary! I think a more accurate summary of the Sites Packaging is: you can now install packages that use sites features into an org that doesn't have sites enabled, without failure. :-)


  2. Keep the articles coming:) I was very happy about the code completion in the IDE but now (for myself and a fellow team member) it has stopped working. Ever come across this?

  3. Great blog. I recently found it and i find it to be very insightful.
    Can you help me with the below?
    I created a custom object called "SE Assets", and its parent is Oppty. So SE Assets is a related list under Oppty.
    When a user creates a new SE Assets and clicks Save, i want them to be taken back to the Oppty detail page. Currently it takes them to the SE Assets detail page. What would be best way to achieve this?