What Are Third-Party Lightning Components on the AppExchange?

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A Component is a section of your Salesforce user interface that serves a specific function. These are used as building blocks to customize Lightning pages or build apps on the Salesforce Platform (no coding or Developer required!)

The way we develop and expand the applications we look after is key. With a new challenge or business requirement, I don’t just jump the gun! To avoid reinventing the wheel, I first have a look on the AppExchange to check if a Component already exists that fits my requirements.

“Conga"

This post will give you a quick overview of Component-based Architecture, how to find Components on the AppExchange, and a few of my favourites.

Quick Overview of Component-based Architecture

A Component-based Architecture breaks down interface design into defined parts that serve a specific function. These components contain methods, events, and properties. You may have heard similar from the concept of ‘Separation of Concerns’ in Computer Science.

The Lightning Component Framework, therefore, is the UI framework that Salesforce Developers can build components on, for use on mobile and desktop devices.

What is the AppExchange?

The AppExchange is the leading enterprise cloud marketplace with ready-to-install apps and solutions that allow you to extend your Salesforce – ready-baked, off-the-shelf. The solutions are developed and listed by Salesforce partners, which is why these solutions are referred to as ‘third party’.

Don’t be fooled by the name! The AppExchange is not only about apps – here are other types of solutions you can find on the marketplace:

  • Apps: increase productivity and growth through a proven ecosystem of pre-integrated apps with millions of installs and customer reviews.
  • Bolt Solutions: deploy industry solutions and communities faster with pre-built templates
  • Flow Solutions: accelerate your automation with pre-built business processes and flow building blocks.
  • Lightning Data: find the right data and connect it to your org with real-time enrichment.
  • Components: build apps and customize pages in Lightning Experience, no coding or developer required.

Components on the AppExchange

As I mentioned, use Components as building blocks to build apps and customize pages in Lightning Experience, without requiring a Developer.

Once the components are installed to your org, as you would do with apps, follow the installation instructions of each but generally should be as easy as opening the Lightning App Builder and just drag and drop into the canvas:

Like anything in the AppExchange is a marketplace like android or the App Store, so some of the things on there will be paid, some free, others offering a free trial.

Go to the AppExchange and select Component under the Solution Type, you have tons of filters to refine the search results from there.

One of the things I’d advise is to check out the reviews, that goes also for apps and partners too, customers that have installed before leaving their honest feedback, ideas on their use and all sorts, so well worth to check those out.

My Favourite AppExchange Components

I spend a lot of time browsing the AppExchange to see what innovative things other Salesforce professionals are up to! In this section, you will find 4 of my favourite components from the AppExchange.

There are many listed by the Salesforce Labs program. I think these may be a smart way for Salesforce to test potential new functionality for future releases!

CMTD Enhanced Related List

Give more record context to your users. With no-code configuration, you can define the fields of your related list component and then filter and sort them. Check out my previous article here.

Carousel and Banner

You can highlight important information on your Salesforce Community using either the carousel or the banner components, which you can drag from the communities builder (also supports images and videos!)

Record Hunter

You can customise a search box to find any records on your org (in addition to Lightning, you can use it on mobile and in Communities).

Launch Flow in Modal

Just as the name suggests – launch as a pop-up without navigating your users away from the page they are looking at.

Now your turn! Which Components grab your attention? Check them all out here.

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