Calling all Customer Portal (also known as Service Cloud Portal) SME's(Subject Matter Experts) to clarify and hopefully document the level of customization possible on a Customer Portal. For e.g. The extent of modification allowed in terms of look and feel. Can all pages be built using Apex & Visualforce?

Apart from some disjoint tips like this, located in the depths of developer.force.com, I am not able to ascertain the complete list of customization allowed by the platform.

I'd really appreciate if you could provide the complete list of customization possible.

  • 1
    You might already be aware of this, but one thing that you cannot customize is the secure URL, although there has been some discussion on alternatives. Feb 3, 2013 at 19:34

2 Answers 2

  1. Yes, all pages can be (re)built using Apex & Visualforce if you attach your Portal to a Force.com Site. But at this point, the only thing remaining of the "Portal" is the user licensing model ;-)

    • the native Ideas tab comes with a search-while-you-type de-duping function which is lost,
    • customizable Page Layouts will be lost for editing Cases if overriding the native UI,
  2. If you want to leverage the existing functional offering, "customization" is limited to the insertion of the flat header/footer per commentary like this where:

    • you can load JavaScript (carefully),
    • stylesheets can be included (carefully),
    • you can customize the Views (eg on Case tab) which you expose,
    • a Portal User's Session Id is a first class citizen and can be used to call APIs etc,
    • Remoting is available but not on the Home tab (although could be hacked during v25.0),
  3. The "Chatter Communities" pilot enables the native Salesforce UI which aaobviates a lot of the customizations needed (in terms of UI being acceptable)

home page new case


The answer is you can do "almost" anything using visualforce pages and apex. We build http://www.change-machine.org entirely on the customer portal and force.com sites.

It's very much a work in progress but it has givem us the ability to use salesforce as our CRM and our user account admin, while allowing us to control the experience for our users.

We even completely restyled parts of the application that are using standard page layouts just by using custom css, and custom headers and footers. The ideas page is an example of that. You cant see it without logging in but this is a screen shot.

I hope this helps

Change Machine Ideas Page

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