Visualforce versus LWC for new custom development in 2024. What should you pick?

Custom development in Salesforce can be approached through two primary frameworks: Visualforce and Lightning Web Components (LWC). Each framework has its design philosophy, strengths, and use cases, affecting how developers choose between them for specific projects. This analysis will delve into the architectural differences, performance considerations, developer experience, and use case applicability between Visualforce and LWC.

Architectural Differences

  • Visualforce is a framework that allows for the creation of custom, page-centric user interfaces in the Salesforce environment. It relies on a tag-based markup language that closely resembles HTML and is designed to facilitate the development of custom pages within Salesforce Classic and Lightning Experience. Visualforce pages are served from the Salesforce server, with the option to use Apex controllers for business logic, enabling a mix of server-side and client-side logic.
  • Lightning Web Components (LWC), on the other hand, is a modern web development framework introduced to align Salesforce development with contemporary web standards. LWC leverages web components, a standard for encapsulating JavaScript, HTML, and CSS into reusable components. Unlike Visualforce, which relies heavily on server-side rendering, LWC adopts a client-side-centric approach, allowing for the creation of highly dynamic and responsive user interfaces. This framework is inherently designed to work within the Lightning Experience and can coexist with Aura components, offering a pathway for modernizing Salesforce UI development.

Performance Considerations

  • Visualforce pages can experience slower performance compared to LWC, primarily due to their reliance on server-side processing and full-page reloads for dynamic content updates. The performance gap becomes noticeable in applications requiring high interactivity and real-time data updates.
  • LWC is designed for performance and efficiency, leveraging client-side rendering and modern web technologies to deliver faster load times and more responsive interfaces. LWC’s component-based architecture enables lightweight DOM updates and efficient data binding, leading to an improved user experience, especially in complex applications with real-time data interactions.

Developer Experience

  • Visualforce provides a straightforward development model for those familiar with traditional web development, including HTML and server-side logic. However, it can feel dated compared to modern JavaScript frameworks, and developers may find it limiting when building highly interactive applications.
  • LWC offers a more contemporary development experience, embracing modern JavaScript (ES6+), web components, and other cutting-edge web standards. This framework requires developers to have a good understanding of modern front-end development practices, but it also empowers them to build more sophisticated and interactive web applications.

Use Case Applicability

  • Visualforce is well-suited for applications that are form-heavy, require extensive server-side processing, or need to integrate tightly with Salesforce Classic. It remains a viable choice for extending or maintaining legacy applications within Salesforce.
  • LWC is preferred for new development projects aiming for high performance, scalability, and modern user experiences. It is particularly effective for creating highly interactive applications, single-page applications (SPAs), and custom components within the Lightning Experience.

Transitioning and Coexistence

  • Salesforce supports the coexistence of Visualforce and LWC, allowing developers to embed LWC components within Visualforce pages and vice versa. This hybrid approach enables gradual migration and modernization of existing applications, leveraging the strengths of both frameworks.


The choice between Visualforce and LWC for custom development in Salesforce hinges on several factors, including the project’s specific requirements, the desired user experience, and the development team’s expertise. Visualforce remains relevant for certain use cases, particularly those aligned with its server-side processing strengths and legacy support. However, for new projects aiming to leverage modern web technologies and deliver superior performance and user experiences, LWC is the recommended approach. As Salesforce continues to evolve, the trend towards modern web development practices suggests that LWC will play an increasingly central role in the Salesforce ecosystem, making it an essential skill for developers in this space.

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