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Im a previous VF developer, just getting into Communities and Lightning Components. I was trying to figure out if a Napili Community could work for our application, vs going with a Force.com site.

Many older articles say that if you need custom code, you need to go with Force.com sites. But in my inexperience, it seems that the inclusion of Custom Lightning Components in Community Builder will now get you a long way, and allow you to stay within a Community even if you need custom code.

We have Custom Community Plus licenses. In our first phase, we are looking to (overly simplified):

  • Store documents with some additional metadata fields
  • Custom objects to store various data points
  • Editable grids
  • Use sharing rules/Apex Sharing to grant group access to certain documents/objects

What am I overlooking? Is there a need for Force.com Site, or will Lightning Components, SLDS, and Community Builder allow us to create a responsive, custom site for Large and Small devices?

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Lightning components with community builder has complete flexibility in terms of UX and UI from past two releases .

Most of the use cases you have listed is covered but i would request you to spin a simple developer org and map all your business needs to the functionality provided and see what are the gaps .

Obviously many of the gaps can be easily worked creating custom components .The underlying object model and functionality and workflows is still driven by the platform so you should have no problems .However doing a quick POC for your requirement will enable you to discover any blockers ahead of time .

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