When designing the look and feel of Salesforce Record Pages, System Administrators usually start off by creating and arranging Page Layouts. However, more recently, Salesforce has introduced Lightning Record Pages followed by Dynamic Records.
You may have been wondering how they are different, or not, and how they actually play along? Can they be used together, or separate? What’s the deal here? 🤔
Back To The Future – An Evolution from Salesforce Classic to Lightning Experience
Let’s take a quick tour back to where things started. At the time I got introduced to Salesforce, which was still in the good old Salesforce Classic times, we used to work with Page Layouts to design and structure the contents of the Salesforce user interface (we’re ignoring any Apex coding for now and focus on declarative development).
With the introduction of the Lightning Experience (LEX) user interface, Salesforce started structuring the user interface with so-called Lightning Record Pages. Lightning Record Pages are pretty much an extension of Page Layouts. This means, Page Layouts are still being used, but have been integrated into Lightning Record Pages and appear as a Detail Tab as well as a Related Tab. Record Pages also contain many other components like a Highlights Panel or Activities and so much more, which can be added and arranged as needed. This makes the design of Salesforce Record Pages so much more flexible, allowing Salesforce Customers to tailor the record components to their specific business needs.
And that’s not all. More recently, Salesforce has released so-called Dynamic Forms. It’s an upgrade of Lightning Record Pages to make them even more dynamic. I guess that’s why they came up with the name.
How Salesforce Page Layouts, Lightning Record Pages and Dynamic Forms Get Along
Now, each has its own features and specifications and do depend on one another. Let’s go through step by step and understand when to use which one.
In case you work for a company that still uses Salesforce Classic, forget about Lightning Record Pages or Dynamic Forms, you only need to worry about Page Layouts. However, this company will eventually have to move to LEX, and other companies use LEX already anyways. So, I guess there’s no way around understanding all three. 🤓
Even though Page Layouts are an integral part of Lightning Record Pages, you still need to manage Page Layouts separately. Page Layouts are used to add, remove, arrange Fields, Sections, Related List, Action Buttons and a few other items.
When you move to set up a Lightning Record Page for the same Object, you will need to add components, including those components that represent what you build on your Page Layout.
For example: If you want to display Fields, you need to add the Record Detail component. If you want to make Related Lists available, you need to add one of the Related Lists components. If you want to display the Standard action buttons like Edit, Delete and so on, then you need to use the Highlights Panel component.
This means, as part of building a Lightning Record Page you are breaking down the Page Layout elements into its main pieces and arrange them in any order required. Every Salesforce business works differently, so it’s crucial for user adoption success, to arrange all record components in a logical and intuitive way. And that’s what we love Lightning Record Pages for.
And then it gets even better, with Dynamic Forms. Dynamic Forms allow even more creativity because you can arrange Page Layout Sections (and their associated Fields) in any form and shape. This means, with Dynamic Forms you can even break down the Record Details component into its sections. Plus, you can make fields or entire sections appear or disappear based on the Field or Component Visibility settings. And there’s more, you can even customize the Highlights Panel in order to manage every single action button.
Something like this only used to be possible with Visualforce Pages or Custom Lightning Components. But Salesforce wants to make customization as easy as possible, that’s why they introduce more and more point-and-click tools like Dynamic Forms. No more coding skills required, almost. 👏🏻
Designing Salesforce User Interfaces with Object Manager and Lightning App Builder
And now, let’s break down the steps you’ll need to follow to get things right:
|Steps||Design with||Assign to||Benefits|
|1. Create Page Layout (or use Default Page Layout)||Object Manager||User Profiles||Arrange Fields, Sections, Related Lists, Action Buttons etc.|
|2. Create Record Type||Object Manager||User Profiles||Tailor business processes and allocate corresponding Page Layouts|
|3. Create Lightning Record Page||Lightning App Builder||Org or|
App + Record Type + User Profile
|Arrange page components including Record Details (= Fields and Sections from Page Layouts), Related Lists, Highlights Panel etc.|
Use visibility settings to manage access to components
|4. Upgrade to Dynamic Form|
NOTE: Currently only available on Record Pages for Custom Objects.
Refer to Release Notes for updates!
|Lightning App Builder||as above||Freely arrange Sections from a selected Page Layout.|
Use visibility settings to manage access to single Fields or entire Sections.
Reduce number of Page Layouts
TIP: If you want to move only one field, add a section first, then move the field in there.
As you may have noticed, Page Layouts are the basis to building Record Types, Lightning Record Pages and Dynamic Forms. This may change in the future to support even more dynamic user interface designs with declarative tools, so keep your eyes open on future release updates.
Let me know in the comments if you have been using Dynamic Forms yet and how you like them.
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