Kudos to Charles Schulz, the long-time ‘Peanuts’ cartoonist. When he created the character Linus and gave him a security blanket, he got it right. Linus adores his blanket, he carries it everywhere, and he gets very upset when it's being washed. Every parent knows how deep this kind of affection can be.
Oracle Service Cloud Product Managers (like me) spend a great deal of time and effort creating features for you that you will love as much as Linus loves his blanket. And that’s a good thing, we think. Good features, like a warm blankie, SHOULD be loved.
But there can be a downside to this deep affection: most blankets are not made to last forever. There are times when we need to give you to give up that blanket. In the world of software we call this blanket removal a ‘deprecation’. And since it’s an ominous-sounding word I decided to Google it and, as usual, the Wikipedia does a good job: ‘...an attribute applied to a computer software feature, characteristic, or practice to indicate that it should be avoided (often because it is being superseded)'.So you need to make time to 'migrate' away from that deprecated feature and start using the replacement feature if one is available. To put it in Linus-speak, you need to get rid of the blankie before it is taken away from you.
Every week I chat with Oracle Service Cloud site owners and admins, and the topic of deprecations is always (yes, always) on the agenda. So I thought I’d recap a few of the common (and commonly misunderstood) deprecation questions.
‘How long do I have to migrate?’. Most deprecations have a 2 year countdown to that feature’s ‘removal’ in a future release. Once removed from a specific release, you won't be able to upgrade to that release until you migrate off that feature. (And youARE upgrading regularly, right? Oh, wait, that’s the topic for my next blog…)
‘What if I need to ask questions about a deprecation?’. Keep an eye on the Developer Community Forums, as Product Teams post major deprecation news there. This is your chance to ask direct questions of the very folks that want you to give up that blankie!
‘What’s the absolute BEST way to handle deprecations?’. It can be summarized in two simple words: DON’T WAIT. The 2-year countdown for a deprecation can pass by quickly and bigger sites might even have more than one deprecation that needs to be addressed.
‘What’s the absolute WORST way to handle deprecations?’. The biggest mistake you can make is attempting to perform a deprecation migration during your site upgrade. They should be completely isolated from each other.
‘Where can I get more details about Service Cloud deprecation policy?’. OK, this one doesn’t get asked as often as we like. Nonetheless,we’ve written the formal stuff in this KnowledgeBase Article and we keep it up to date with links to detailed ‘What, Why and How’ Articles for all our major deprecations. (Pro tip: find the ‘Subscribe’ button at the bottom of that Article and click it so you’ll get a notification when we add new major deprecations to the list.)
Sure, deprecations might sound a bit scary when the topic first comes up. But, like Linus, you can handle it. (Do you have a recent experience with a deprecation? If so, tell us all about it in the Comments!)
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