The Summer ’13 release notes are now available, find below a brief introduction to 10 Force.com highlights (in no order of significance).
1. New Setup interface. Clean new interface for the Setup area, with a top-level “Setup” link in the header region. Administration and Personal settings are now separate, the latter is accessed from a “My Settings” menu option – available on the user name titled menu in the header region. Streamlined and convenient.
2. Record Type assignment via Permission Set. Non-default custom record types can now be assigned via Permission Set, strengthening the concept that Permission Sets encapsulate application permissions.
3. (Universal Single Sign-on) Multiple SSO service provider configurations. A single org can now be configured as a service provider for multiple identity providers. Previously federated SSO required all users to be authenticated by a single IDP, an unrealistic situation where the org services user populations in disparate IT environments.
4. Test methods must be defined in test classes. Anything that enforces good behaviour is a positive step in my mind. A scattering approach to defining test methods can be a maintenance nightmare.
5. Consolidated asynchronous execution limits. Batch Apex, Scheduled Apex and @futures now share a single set of limits calculated as 250k or 200*standard user count per 24 hour period, whichever is greater. This is really great news for orgs with low standard user counts that utilise @future calls (callouts in trigger scripts perhaps). Such orgs have been prone to limit exceptions.
6. System.scheduleBatch(). New Apex method to enable onetime scheduled invocation of batch Apex class. A nice convenience.
7. Sandbox Templates. For full copy sandbox refreshes, template can be defined to specify the objects for which data is copied.
8. Sandbox refresh copies Custom Settings data. This is a long awaited improvement, applies to all sandbox types. Additionally the new Sandbox page UI shows the availability of the different sandbox types.
9. Domain Management. Force.com Sites (and Site.com sites) can now share domains – Custom URLs are defined between the Site and the Domain enabling a many-to-many relationship. For example it is now possible for a custom domain to host a mixture of sites each with a different Custom URL. A new page “Setup>Administer>Domain Management” enables centralised management of domains and custom URLs.
10. Approval Process deployment via Changeset. Ideally this would also be the case with the Metadata API, that said anyway to automate deployment is great news. The manual configuration of Approval Processes can be a time expensive process, and historically has been one of the issues detracting from the value of deployment automation.