Salesforce Classic vs Lightning

In this article, Lucy Mazalon, Pardot & Salesforce Consultant asks the question: is anything still missing from Salesforce Lightning? Is Salesforce Lightning on parity with Classic? Here’s what she found out.

Manual sharing is one highly requested feature that’s finally made its way into Lightning, due for general release in Spring ‘21. With the “Sharing” button available, users will now be able to share a record to a user, or group of users, just like back in the day with Salesforce Classic.

This is, perhaps, the final piece of key functionality to transition to Lightning. While missing from Salesforce Lightning, users were switching back to Salesforce Classic to do what they needed. We saw other examples of this – the recycle bin, for one – causing temporary functionality gaps and admin bugbears.

On the other hand, some features were left behind in Classic. These have now been replaced by even better iterations of their predecessors – for example, Account contact roles, are now ‘contacts to multiple accounts’, which I’m sure you will agree, is far superior.

Salesforce Classic vs. Lightning – Background

In releasing the Salesforce Lightning Experience, 2016 was marked as a key milestone in the platform’s history – a complete redesign of the user interface that was touted to truly modernize Salesforce and to support Salesforce for the next 20 years.

Lightning is not an extension of Classic:

“not a reskinning, updates of font and colours…moving to Lightning is a change management experience, it’s not a ‘lift and shift’”

Source: True to the Core Live

Alongside the enhanced interface, ‘Lightning’ also encompasses the Lightning Design System (HTML framework for building components) and the Salesforce Lightning App Builder (declarative app building and Lightning interface customization).

Compared to Salesforce Classic, its predecessor that had served Salesforce users for over a decade, Lightning supercharges admin/developer capabilities, is scalable, and…sexy.

Salesforce customers were tasked with migrating to Lightning by running the Lightning Readiness Assessment. The transition turned out easy for some, however, organizations with tons of custom code and Visualforce pages found themselves bogged down and unable to switch. Other reasons to resist were performance issues (ie. page loading times) and, of course, functionality gaps.

Which Salesforce Classic Features are Missing from Lightning?

If you are looking for an in-depth comparison, this is the resource you’re wishing for. What I found most interesting, was not where the gaps lie, but what we have gained with Salesforce Lightning! Path, Activity Timeline, Kanban, News, Row-level formulas, dashboard themes, and palettes …to name a few.

If you want to take the investigation a step further, this page links out to “What’s Different or Not Available in Lightning Experience” for a number of categories, updated with each release.

I asked the community for their key Lightning gaps:

  • Similar opportunities (not planned)
  • Opportunity split details in the opportunities list
  • Follow reports
  • Entitlements: although these are in Lightning, they are not like-for-like with Classic
  • Management of Entitlements and Milestones (and everything related)
  • Service Console: features such as interaction logs, custom keyboard shortcuts, and ‘forget open tabs’ are either missing or not like-for-like with Classic.

Performance in Lightning vs. Classic

Salesforce Lightning Performance has been on everyone’s radars from day one. It did not take long for complaints to begin bubbling up about page load times and the processing speed in parts of the application. Lightning is a rich interface – however, some prefer speed over aesthetics.

While not pointing to specific features, performance is one reason why people disagree that Lightning is at parity with Classic.

Lightning Page Load Times

“Page loading time for some setup pages like Profiles takes more time in Lightning than in Classic”, said one respondent.

They’re not alone. We know from the True to The Core Live session, that this has been a focus for the Platform product development teams over the past 4 years – and will continue to be (you only need to read the ‘Lightning speed please’ IdeaExchange topic to see how hot this is).

Read more: True to The Core Live: Inside Look into How Salesforce are Developing Salesforce

There’s some positive news. Over 4 years, median page load times improved by 60%; as this is a median figure, some orgs have seen even greater improvements than 60%!

While the teams work tirelessly to improve this, some of the responsibility has been handed to Salesforce customers. Admins now have the ‘Analyze’ button to identify how to improve page load speed, keeping within the bounds of best practice page composition.

Report & Dashboard Performance

Everyone knows that reports and dashboards are one of the major selling points of Salesforce. Personally, I love the Lightning report builder – compare it to Salesforce Classic, and it’s day vs. night to me.

“I want to love Reports and Dashboards in LEX but they are too damn slow! The amount of times I’ve switched back to Salesforce Classic recently to run reports is shocking.”

Again, Salesforce took a step in the right direction the ‘Update Preview Automatically’ toggle. The open-ended question here is whether users consider this enough to embrace Lightning reports as equals to Classic reports?


Lightning is not an extension of Salesforce Classic. Although, at first glance, one may think it’s a reskinning of Salesforce, the complete redesign of the user interface is intended to support Salesforce for the next 20 years – and with it, the Lightning Design System and Salesforce Lightning App Builder.

As Salesforce release Lightning versions of Classic features, or supersede Classic predecessors with better functionality, we must bear in mind that the product teams have to content with prioritization and dependencies – plus always choosing longer-term benefits over shorter-term gains when faced with trade-offs.


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