Migrating from a portal to a community #2 — Begin the build

by Chris Gardner

In part one of this series, we discussed the importance of developing a plan before migrating to the new framework. In part two, we’ll discuss the build process.

Now that you have your plan and personas in place it’s time to build your new community. Begin by entering Salesforce setup and selecting ‘Enable Salesforce Communities.’ You‘re now able to choose your URL, enter information, and choose a template to begin your build.

Stay in preview mode as you build, then activate the community when it comes time to launch. From this point, the community build process typically branches into a few work streams: technical and functional. Let’s go over each.



On the technical side, you need to establish your sharing and visibility model. If you’re satisfied with the sharing and visibility of your current portal, you’re all set. However, if you want to make changes now is a great time to build new profiles and permission sets for your community.

Next review any code that needs to be modified for the new community. If you are using Visualforce pages rebuild them as Lightning components. Be sure to include the implements=”forceCommunity:availableForAllPageTypes”   code in the header of your components to ensure they’re available within the community builder.

At this phase of your development, you’ll find it very helpful to create skeleton components to function as placeholders. This allows the functional build and design teams to incorporate the look and feel you desire. Use Lightning components containing dummy data and classes and allow those to be used. In-depth development can continue in the sandbox, and be migrated into production, replacing the skeleton components. This method allows work to happen in parallel, speeding up the completion of your project.



Outside of the technical build, take advantage of the opportunity to review the functional nature of your new community. Invest some time to improve the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). As mentioned in a previous article, the Community Cloud acts as an engagement layer for your business. You have the unique chance to create a UI custom designed for your user personas.

As you craft your plan, determine what level of UI/UX design is possible for your community. Salesforce provides pre-built templates that can be lightly customized to your brand, or a more customized look can be obtained by creating your own Lightning template.

Whichever path you choose, spend some time with your personas and map out some journeys. Try to anticipate what your users will want to accomplish in your community. What is the most important content? How can processes be streamlined and made easier?

General website UI/UX best practices are also applicable to your Salesforce Community. Design the layout of your community in a way that guides users to priority content.


With the build phase of your migration complete, you’re setting yourself up for a great go-live. But first, be sure to check out the final installment of this series, where we’ll discuss how to test and launch your new build.


Chris GardnerChris is a Salesforce Consultant and Developer with Simplus. He is an experienced leader with a focus on implementation, best practice consulting, and marketing. Chris has over ten years of experience in consulting for small to large businesses. He fosters healthy client relationships from initial engagement through handoff. Chris is skilled in turning client requirements into actionable system designs and following best practices to implement and optimize Salesforce solutions.

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