Since it seems to me, that a lot of people still need sidebar workarounds, I would be interested to learn about the use-cases, experienced challenges and (most important) possible strategies to avoid them by using different approaches. This is related to the methods discussed here: End of javascript sidebar workarounds?

In my experience there are a few extremely important and constantly repeating patterns, which to my knowledge are still very hard to be solved using more official techniques. I will also contribute my own top-N use-cases, which are mostly related to UX and UI concerns. You are very welcome to add your own scenarios as answers and add comments on how you would avoid a workaround. My dream would be to team-elaborate strong and repeatable solution-patterns for the most common use-cases.

Finally I would be interested in the experiences of all of you who participate in the Aura pilot, which hopefully could make this kind of workarounds obsolete.

6 Answers 6


Use Case: Embedded Visualforce Page on Layout

My top1 is to embed Visualforce Pages on standard layouts with a dynamic height of 100% of it's content instead of a fixed height in px - which can not be anticipated in most cases at design-time. This happens quite often if you display dynamic data like tables or lists with variable content. Within the supported functionality, you end up either with huge empty screen-areas or scrollbars inside scrollbars or both and as an result with a very poor UX. This is a well-known limitation: https://success.salesforce.com/ideaView?id=08730000000BpiMAAS but open for 6+ years. Default Situation


Injecting a addEventListener("message",...) into the top-frame and using postMessage() to request an iframe resize. Typically you will repeat postMessage() everytime when the iframe content changes or when the iframe will be resized (this happens because of it's 100% width by default when users change the window size). The pattern is simple, only a few lines of code.

There is even a public listed App which is using this workaround: https://appexchange.salesforce.com/listingDetail?listingId=a0N30000004cEEyEAM - I didn't check if it still works after the recent summer'14 enhancements to html-areas. But it's an unmanaged package and reading End of javascript sidebar workarounds? you can easily fix it.

I remember the App as quite bulky. Since the pattern is very simple, a rebuild from scratch will take only a few lines of code.


As expected, the resizing happens seamless and without issues. UX and Look&Feel is almost perfect. You can use this pattern for multiple Iframes on a single layout. Adjusted Situation

Avoid Strategy

Override the the entire View by a Visualforce Page. This is a very radical and non-cooperative approach. Downsides:

  • loss of customizability
  • if you want to install 2 apps which both come with overrides for e.g. Opportunity, you can only use the vf-page provided by one.
  • you loose the Force.com Quick Access Menu
  • 1
    How does this work if you can no longer inject javascript in to the main page? I thought that was the whole point of this exercise - to get around that limitation. Jul 30, 2014 at 22:29
  • 1
    @RyanElkins : the use cases here show requirements and possible solutions using the workaround. It still works salesforce.stackexchange.com/questions/38918/…. But what I'm also looking for are alternatives. At least, if there are any. I mean if I could solve this dynamic-hight-issue in a way which is officially supported, I would obviously prefer the official solution. These kind workarounds are created after we have tried everything "official" we know about before. But maybe there is a way. Or a way comes up by a new release. We want to know.
    – Uwe Heim
    Aug 22, 2014 at 9:56
  • 1
    I would add hiding the component to resizing it as part of this use case.
    – Adrian Larson
    Sep 29, 2015 at 15:33

Use Case: Wide Input Controls for Edit and Inline-Edit

By default the inputs on record edit pages are very small. This comes because there is no with set and the browser comes up with a default width of about 140px. Even on small screens with 2-column layouts the UX is very poor. E. g. longer Account or Opportunity names are not fully readable without moving the cursor inside of the edit. Long textfields make text hard to read and edit and a lot of scrolling is necessary. All this while vast amounts of screenspace are wasted for the background. Nearly the same applies to inline-edits. Default Layout

Default Inline-Edit


Inject JS or CSS to set width:100% for all inputs, selects and textareas. Additionally add few exceptions for rare places where 100% width can't be used (e.g. column-picker for manage campaign member)


The results are amazing. With less then 10 lines of CSS the usability of all salesforce pages enhances dramatically. The fluid width smoothly adapts to small and large screens. No screen-space is wasted. Looks less cluttered. Adjusted Layout

Adjusted Inline-Edit

Avoid Strategy

Use Grease-Monkey to inject local JS/CSS. Donwsides:

  • Huge effort for all clients.
  • Does not work on IPad in full-site mode.

Here's a few more use cases for having to go to hackerama land:

  1. Run Assignment Rules Box on Page layouts: This is located at the bottom of the "Edit Page" layout, it cannot be moved, it has little if any explanation, users can click it, unclick it - firing off assignment rules that may or may not be necessary. This should be a standard - moveable field that can be placed in strategic places on a page - related to other fields that are used for Assignment purposes. Making it selectable on an inline basis would also be a help - but I'd do backflips if I could get SFDC to include some incredibly useful and leading edge functionality in place - that would allow me to "move a field" on a page layout.

  2. Removing Buttons from Related Lists - Case Object - the email related list has a button called "Send Email" This cannot be removed. It can be removed on every other object, just not cases. Seriously. Also, this Send an Email button takes a user to a different email sending process using a completely hard coded template with it's own buttons that cannot be removed. It also
    changes the From: email address to that of the user - rather than the main emailtocase address which means that customers then would be replying to an email address that is not going to attach an update to the case thread - ugly stuff.

  3. There are literally dozens of these types of things sprinkled everywhere in the application and most of them seem like they are just plain lazy errors from SFDC's developers.

Use Case: Override Quote View

It seems to be not possible to override to View of Quotes. The Override is the typical official solution pattern when it comes to embedding of custom vf-pages on layouts and you need more features like dynamic-height or top-window-reload. Now on Quotes, the override option as avoid-pattern is not present. enter image description here


Inject a JS and trigger window.location.href of the pattern https://*.salesforce.com/0Q0???????????? for quote view and reroute them to your custom vf-page providing record-id as parameter.


As expected

Avoid Strategy



Add Google Analytics to a lot of standard Salesforce pages to be able to see what users are doing and get some meaningful analytical data that could be used when working to improve stuff and where to target customization efforts. The sidebar has it's limitations of course, you can't make it add stuff to the Console or get data from the reports-tab, but it is/was a lot better than having nothing at all.

I can't post an example of the code to do this (wasn't very complicated) because it's gone and I'm not sure I've saved the code anywhere. The functionality is blocked anyway and I'm not going to post any analytics screenshots from our org, sorry.


Use Case: Change owner, notify new owner checkbox can only be defaulted for assignments to users. The notify new owner checkbox cannot be defaulted for use with queues, which is very useful for handling cases. We could alternatively trigger a custom notification however, in the event that the checkbox is selected the user would receive both notifications. Note the standard notify new owner checkbox field is not exposed via metadata/apex.

Use Case: Breadcrumb trails, when overriding pages sometimes you need to update the standard breadcrumb links to work correctly.

Use Case: Add Tool/Report Links, a tabs landing page sometimes includes a standard section that contains links to utilities or reports, and it's nice to add custom links to these standard sections.

Use Case: Update UI for agents, indicating that a community user added a new comment or attachment to a case, after the case was created.

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