Salesforce.com is launching the Community Designer as part of their Winter ’15 release. With this product launch there are now three core tools available, Site.com and the Force.com being the other two, to customize a Salesforce Community. Here are some considerations to help you make the selection that is right for your business and technical skills.
- Community Designer (coming Winter ’15): If you need to get a self-service Community up and running fast with few choices to make outside
of branding, the Community Designer may be the solution for you. You can apply your branding without writing CSS and use the Site.com Studio to move sections around within a predefined page. The templates are targeted for self-service (case deflection, case submission, etc.) and would not work well as they are today for a Community that incorporates anything beyond support. As the product is in Beta, there are some known limitations and we are expecting this to get more robust in the future and cannot wait to see where this tool goes! Important: The new Community Designer is an excellent replacement for the PKB3 package on the AppExchange.
- Site.com: Site.com is best used in Communities that have a single type of member and need more customization than the Community Designer offers but do not need to support complex processes or complex, targeted messaging. A 100% Site.com approach tends to work better in Customer Communities than Partner Communities which tend to have many different audiences (ISV,SI, etc.).
- Force.com: If you need a Community that will support complex business processes, packages from the AppExchange (i.e. a Learning Management System), or multiple audiences with different permissions, we would recommend using classic Force.com for customization. This is where most of our customers find themselves landing currently. Using standard configuration tools as well as Visualforce, you have the ability to easily support multiple audiences and complex business processes inside of a Community. Using this approach also means that you can take advantage of Site.com to create custom pages that are heavy in web content and expose them to Community members through a custom link or tab.