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Comparing Salesforce UI Frameworks: LWR vs Aura - Which to Use on Your Next Project?



What is Aura & LWR Runtime?

 

Aura Runtime is a front-end framework provided by Salesforce in 2014 to allow partners and customers to build web applications and components on top of the Salesforce Platform. Aura has been the predominant framework in the last 10 years.

To accelerate web application development, Salesforce has provided through the years several ready-made templates. These can be used almost out of the box and cover the basic functionality in their respective domain, but they also can be customized as per the company’s specific requirements. Such templates are the Customer Portal and Partner Portal.

 

LWR Runtime (Lightning Web Runtime) has been released ~2021 and is the latest front-end framework provided by Salesforce. It provides greater performance, flexibility, and security.


One of the main drawbacks is that LWR is recent and there are still some gaps between it and Aura. However, Salesforce is currently predominantly investing in LWR and the ecosystem around it. Currently, the Aura framework is considered a legacy stack and will move on support and minimal investments.


Q3 2023 a major update to the LWR was released called ‘LWR-enhanced’. It is a flexible new system that enables websites built on LWR to work with the Salesforce CMS system’s latest feature. The public site of FSB is currently being built with the ‘LWR-enhanced’ technology.

 

Aura and LWR Templates

 

Salesforce has built many Aura-based templates through the years including Partner Portal and Customer Portal.


In parallel with the LWR release, Salesforce as a company has shifted its focus to e-commerce. Between 2021 and 2023 Salesforce created new complex ‘LWR-based’ templates for their B2B and D2C products. In addition to the e-commerce templates, Salesforce has provided an empty LWR-based template called – Build Your Own Template. This is essentially a blank sheet (with a login/registration page provided) that allows companies to build their site or portal from scratch using standard and custom components.


Currently, based on our knowledge there are no plans by Salesforce for Customer or Partner Portal to be released.

 

Benefits/Drawbacks between Aura and LWR

 

Aura:

 

Benefits:

  • predefined portal and customer template available

  • many more standard components that can be used

  • if we control the requirements, it’s more efficient to deploy Aura

  • Drawbacks:

  • less flexibility

  • it’s a legacy front-end framework.

 

LWR:

 

Benefits:

  • greater performance, scalability, security, and flexibility.

  • greater control over the look and feel of the website.

  • Salesforce will continue investments in LWR.

Drawbacks:

  • will require greater developer effort in implementing custom LWC components.

  • no accelerator template, fewer standard components available

  • there are unsupported features in LWR, listed here

 

Summary

 

Based on the above, and the conversation we had with a Salesforce employee on 24 Jan 2024 we can summarize the following:

  • In the general case, LWR is the recommended framework for website development in Salesforce.

  • There are no accelerator templates for portals for the LWR framework, and there are less LWR-supported standard components.

  • Aura can be recommended as the better option if requirements are close to the provided template, certain functionality cannot be achieved due to LWR limitation, and a more budget-efficient approach in deploying a portal is desired.

  • The efficiency of using Aura for portals instead of LWR depends heavily on the control of the requirements and customizations for the portals.

 

References:

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