Category Archives: twif

This Week in Fiori (2015-16)

Ariba UXGreetings! It’s time yet again to share a few newsworthy items that caught my eye this week in the world of Fiori. Let’s get to it!

Ariba Total User Experience by Ariba
We start out with something from earlier this month that just came to my attention via an article in SearchSAP – “Ariba unveils major overhaul of user interface“. At this month’s Ariba Live conference Ariba revealed their new “Total User Experience” approach to improving the user experience for their products. And it comes as no great surprise to see that it is — as SAP have been saying it would be — aligned with the SAP Fiori UX approach. Here’s a tweet from Tridip Chakraborthy:

You can clearly see the huge similarities in UX design and approach even from this one photo. The SearchSAP article states that “the Ariba UI does not share code with Fiori, but uses the same stylesheets, giving it a similar look and feel”. In a post based on my keynote at Mastering SAP Technologies conference earlier this year, titled “Can I build a Fiori app? Yes you can!“, I’d written:

If you think about it, that abstraction, that distinction between philosophy and practicality, is the one way SAP can continue to forge ahead with some sort of (eventually) unifying user experience strategy while at the same time dealing with the reality of products from differing sources, with differing frontends – Concur, Ariba, Lumira, and more.

That abstraction is clearly in evidence here. I’d be really interested to see more details of how Ariba’s SAP Fiori UX “Total User Experience” looks under the hood, to discover how it ticks. It certainly looks great on the surface!

SAP Fiori Practitioners Forum by Katie Moser
Katie announced this back in January but I’ve only recently joined and I’m looking forward to getting involved and sharing best pratices with the other members. According to the post, this monthly forum is “designed to help you drive the successful deployment of SAP Fiori in your organisation”.

I understand that the sessions so far have been very useful. As we have all discovered already, Fiori is a multi faceted thing, and a place to discuss practicalities from design & configuration through rollout and beyond, with like minded individuals is a great idea. (Note that it’s sensibly only open to those that have installed Fiori).

SAP Fiori Theme for Kendo UI by Telerik
Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 11.18.16Well not only do we have Ariba now embracing Fiori, but also a JavaScript UI framework by the name of Kendo UI. This framework is jQuery based, with AngularJS integration and support for Bootstrap and more. Unlike OpenUI5, which is the version of SAPUI5 (that powers SAP Fiori UX) that SAP open sourced, Kendo UI is software that comes in the form of a 30-day free trial, with a purchase required after that.

I watched the short video demo and it’s an interesting prospect. It’s not exactly the same, but pretty close. If you’re like me, one who has pored over the controls in UI5 for a long time, things are not quite the same, although from a distance you could almost be forgiven for mistaking it for “the real thing” (how that is defined is another story).

It’s worth bearing in mind that no amount of styling of controls will make an app into a Fiori app; while the styling is incredibly important and goes along way to helping the developer build Fiori apps, it’s just one pillar that supports the whole Fiori UX approach. The other pillars are responsiveness, design patterns and the other constraints and that are well described in the SAP Fiori Design Guidelines.

Well that’s just about it for this week. Until next time, share and enjoy!

This Week in Fiori (2015-15)

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 09.13.55Well hello there folks. This week sees the start (for me) of a week off on holiday, but not before I put out this latest episode of TWIF for a quick roundup of things that caught my eye in the world of Fiori. If you have any stories to share, let me know!

SAP Fiori Application Development in the Cloud by Monika Kaiser & Karl Kessler
The subtitle of this article in SAPinsider magazine is “Building, Deploying and Mobilizing Applications for Today’s Enterprises”. And as a great introduction, it certainly delivers on that. Not surprising given Karl’s pedigree in knowing about and writing about SAP technologies :-)

This is very much a getting started article, but where it scores is in the detailed and annotated set of screenshots that are useful for introducing folks to the whole process of building a Fiori app. Not generally, but specifically using SAP’s HANA Cloud tools, including the SAP HANA Cloud Platform, the SAP Web IDE and SAP Mobile Secure.

The article does remind me of the conversation I have with many developers at customers and partners as well as with individuals. It usually starts like this: “Q: Should I use SAP Web IDE as my main editor?” closely followed by “A: Well, it depends …”. There’s a mentality, or a mindset, amongst SAP developers that is hard to shake, because of decades of the same experience. As ABAP developers, we’ve been used to having to use SE38, SE80, SE24 and the like. Having the tool question pre-answered for us. And many of us have waited on SAP’s every word, even in the dark days when Eclipse was recommended as the development platform**. Now we have a choice, but many are looking to SAP for recommendations. And it makes some sense – SAP need to invest in building tools for the army of SAP programmers out there for many reasons. With the SAP Web IDE, they’ve landed with both feet on the ground, in that it’s not unpleasant to use and it comes with great productivity features that Just Work(tm). What’s more, no-one is saying that SAP Web IDE should be your only editor.

**yes, I know that SAP Web IDE is based upon Orion, but you’re not going to convince me that it’s the same thing

I use SAP Web IDE to start some projects off; I’ve even dabbled with the great plugin and templating system (see “SAP Fiori Rapid Prototyping: SAP Web IDE and Google Docs“), and the test offline version (see “SAP Web IDE Local Install – Up and Running“). But I don’t religiously stay with that as my main development environment … for that, I prefer a combination of a local NodeJS based server and the Atom editor right now. Mostly because a lot of the time I’m developing, I’m on the move, with little or no Internet access.

Today we’re in a very nice situation where there are tools from SAP available, and we can choose to use them as much or as little as we see fit. For me that’s a great improvement on earlier periods. Take a look at this article if you haven’t seen the SAP Web IDE yet, and you can make your own mind up.

SAP Web IDE: The Simple Way to Build and Extend SAPUI5 Applications by Yaad Oren
While we’re on the subject of the SAP Web IDE, here’s an opportunity to learn more about it specifically from one of the many great folks involved in its development and nurturing.

It’s an hour long video, and includes a presentation from an SAP Web IDE user, PepsiCo.

(I wish SAP would make these videos available on YouTube too – I manage 95% of my viewing activities there, with playlists and “watch later”, and can sit down in front of the TV to catch up. Please, SAP?)

User Experience sessions at SAPPHIRE NOW 2015 by Peter Spielvogel
I don’t normally talk much about Sapphire Now, I’m much more interested in SAP’s main annual event – SAP TechEd && d-code :-) But of course, without the business, SAP, primarily a software and platform company that just happens to write business applications**, would struggle to survive.

**yes, of course that was a troll, but I make no apologies for saying it

With huge emphasis on the User Experience (UX) you can expect plenty of sessions covering this topic and related topics too. The subtitle to Peter’s blog post is “SAP Screen Personas, Fiori UX, Design Services”. As you can imagine, being a conference focused on the business rather than the technology, on the surface rather than on the mechanics underneath the surface, you’re not going to find much in the way of the toolkit that *powers* Fiori – UI5. There are a total of 8 sessions that I could find, via the agenda builder, that mentioned SAPUI5. But that’s sort of the point. Much more important are the myriad sessions that Peter lists in his post, covering personalised user experiences with S/4HANA, SAP Screen Personas, SAP Fiori LaunchPad and more.

The UX topic is wide and varied, and while I will continue to loosely categorise SAP Fiori as a strategic approach and SAP Screen Personas as a tactical approach to UX, the fact is that with the LaunchPad becoming the new portal, and with businesses wanting access to more than what the current collection of SAP Fiori apps covers, there will be, for a long time, a hybrid solution to the overall user access and user experience to business data and processes.

What’s important is that we understand where SAP Screen Personas fits in, and with HTML5-based version 3 of the product (with JavaScript scripting support and more), just around the corner for all comers, we can easily imagine a cross-technology approach to all the tools required for a business user to carry out their responsibilities. With judicious use of theming and styling, we could move one step closer to that nirvana of a unified UX.

 

This Week in Fiori (2015-14)

Well hello again, this episode is brought to you from my woodstore at the bottom of the garden, where it’s actually warm enough to sit outside for the first time. The birdsong is prominent, I guess their user experience is improving with the ground softening and the worms and grubs becoming more accessible. Let’s go!

FIORI Notes 1 : One UX to Rule them All by Wilbert Sison
This week saw a simple post by Wilbert summarising a few of the key places to visit on one’s journey to Fiori enlightenment: The Fiori Cloud Edition Trial, the Fiori Apps Library and the UI5 Explored app within the SAPUI5 SDK (the more I ponder the name and the purpose and what it’s becoming, perhaps we should rename it from Explored to Explorer). What caught my eye with this post is that it was published in the ABAP Development section of the SAP Community Network, and it also gave rise to a short discussion on UI access to HANA.

First, the place the post was published. Fiori, and by direct inference UI5, is a cornerstone technology for SAP’s product landscape. What this means in practical terms is that we as SAP technicians need to embrace UI5 as much as we embraced dynpro technologies in the past. It’s that big. Having given a 3 day course on Fiori, UI5 and Gateway/OData last week, with my co-presenter Lindsay Stanger, to a collection of Web and ABAP developers (their own self-descriptions), it’s worth re-iterating the reality for many of us out there; many of us so-called ABAP developers. For me, the concept of an “ABAP developer” is somewhere between “meaningless” and “unneccessarily restricting”. Yes, there are developers out there that call themselves “<language> developers” or “<platform> developers”, and that is their perogative, but it’s an artificial constraint that is not helpful, and reminds me of “COBOL developer”. There will always be (in the forseeable future) demand for some COBOL skills, but is that the entirety of your outlook? If a mainframe dinosaur and ABAP developer like me can embrace UI5, so can you.

Then, there’s the question of UI, that came up in the comments to Wilbert’s post. It reminded me of a great Twitter thread initiated by John Moy where the frontend future for S/4 was discussed. I’ll leave it to you to enjoy reading that thread, but the takeaway for me was that people do understand that while wall-to-wall Fiori might be the vision, the reality will be different, particularly in the transition period while the Fiori app suites are constructed and made available. And for those of you pondering the earlier point about ABAP, and this one where SAPGUI and therefore dynpro is not going to disappear any time soon, think of COBOL again ;-)

April New App Distribution via SAP Fiori Apps Library
The SAP Fiori Apps Library is lots of things rolled into one. It’s a nice talking point and focus for the Fiori pundits, an example of a publically accessible Fiori App (where, being Web native, the frontend source code is available for perusing and learning from), and a good source of information on current Fiori apps. And I don’t mean just human readable information, but machine readable data too. I’d exhorted SAP back in August last year (in TWIF episode 2014-35) to make the data available, to supply “a machine readable dataset”. And that they have done, as of course the backend data source to the SAP Fiori Apps Library tool.

This of course is an OData source, from a HANA backend, and rich in information. Not only is it useful for powering the Fiori Apps Library app itself, but also for our own data-based analysis. You might have seen my post from earlier this year, where I showed you how to pull data from this very OData source into a spreadsheet:

Fiori App Data into a Spreadsheet? Challenge Accepted!

Thing is, while this data is valuable in and of itself, if you add a further dimension, time, it becomes perhaps even more valuable. What are the apps that are appearing over time, over the different waves? Are there any that are disappearing? Current total app count as of today is 541. Last month (an unscientifically and deliberately vague point in time, for now) it was 495. So that’s 46 new apps that have appeared (none disappeared, I also checked).

Screenshot 2015-04-05 at 13.46.17

I think it might be a worthwhile exercise to pull this app data on a regular basis, for comparisons over time. So as a starter, I have an experimental spreadsheet, Fiori Apps Data, with two snapshots, March and early April. I’ve added a few analysis tabs and one of the products is this breakdown of new apps by area, that I’ve titled “New Apps Distribution”.

Do you think this is useful? What other information can we work out with this new time dimension? How often do you think we should or could take a snapshot? Weekly? Daily? Could this be a community curated data set?

Answers on a postcard (or in the comments) please!

This Week in Fiori (2015-13)

Well, another week has gone by, which means it must be time for This Week in Fiori! The Fiori juggernaut continues to rumble on, and this week was no exception. Let’s get to it!

Build Your Own SAP Fiori App in the Cloud by openSAP
This week saw the start of the new free course at openSAP, which, according to the description, is all about “building your own SAP Fiori app that’s just as delightful and user-friendly as any of the hundreds SAP has built directly”.

This is great news, especially for those of us who had signed up to the earlier course “Introduction to SAP Fiori UX” but had been rather disappointed that it had had nothing much to do with Fiori UX, and more to do with deployment and setup. I wrote about this in TWIF episode 2014-40. A number of us did have a dialogue with the openSAP folks at the time, and I’m delighted to see our comments were taken on board – this new course looks to be what we have been waiting for.

So we’re into Week 1 of this new nine week course, and already in the last unit of Week 1 — Unit 5, Introduction to SAPUI5 and OData — we’re seeing JSON and XML on the slides, HTTP headers, and even a small glimpse at the superb UI5 toolkit, including a tiny controller and an XML View definition. This is more like it! Technical details on the slides.

Don’t get too excited, however. I spotted some errors in this unit that aren’t trivial. I’ve built courses before and I know how hard it is to get things consistent, but one thing you must do is be accurate. Here are some of the things I spotted:

“OData … is using SOAP and REST to communicate between systems”
OK, so first, REST isn’t a protocol, it’s an architectural style, so it is difficult to use a style to communicate between systems. But that is sort of forgivable, in that perhaps more accurately one could say that the OData protocol has RESTful tendencies. But SOAP? No. OData has nothing to do with SOAP, in fact, one could say that the OData protocol is orthogonal to SOAP.

“One of the most important libraries we have today is sap.ui.m”
I’m guessing that’s just a typo that found its way up through the layers to the actual presentation script. Because while there are libraries with the sap.ui prefix, there is no sap.ui.m. What the instructor is referring to is sap.m. The m originally stood for “mobile”, but now stands for “main”. The sap.m library is one of the main collections of responsive controls which are used to build Fiori apps. For more info, you might want to read “M is for ‘responsive’“.

“We have a library [sap.ui.table] for table, and that provides me with the ability to create a table that is very rich in data but also responsive”
For responsive tables, you probably want to look at the sap.m.Table control, rather than the sap.ui.table library, as the former is designed from the ground up to be responsive, whereas the latter is more for desktop apps.

MVC – View <-> Model data binding
In slide 13, there’s a classic MVC style diagram, but the data binding relationship between the view and the model seems to be shown as one way only:

Screenshot 2015-03-28 at 14.12.27

One of the many features of the powerful model mechanism and the data binding therein is that you can have two way binding. So I’d have drawn that arrow pointing both ways.

XML View definition
Being a stickler for accuracy (perhaps to the point of pedantry, of which I’m proud, not apologetic :-), this XML View definition on slide 14 is not quite accurate:

Screenshot 2015-03-28 at 14.15.27

The View is within the sap.ui.core.mvc namespace, not the sap.ui.core namespace, so the root element here should reflect that, like this:

<mvc:View xmlns:mvc=”sap.ui.core.mvc” …

Router? Bueller?
So if I’m going all out, I might as well mention that one thing that I think slide 16 could have benefitted from is mention of the Router in the architecture overview diagram. I do appreciate that these slides may have come from a time before the Router concept was properly established, but the Router is an incredibly important part of any Fiori app, so it would have really helped to see it here.

Screenshot 2015-03-28 at 14.21.38

That said, now you know, you can go and find out more about it! :-)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited about this course, and these issues can be ironed out now they’ve been surfaced. I’m looking forward very much to Week 2.

Fiori Breakfast Event by Brenton O’Callaghan, Lindsay Stanger and me
On Tuesdsay morning this week in London, Brenton, Lindsay and I, along with other great Bluefin folks, ran a breakfast event all about Fiori. It was a really successful gathering, with business and technical attendees from SAP customer companies who were already, or were about to, or were just interested in embarking upon their Fiori journey. We had a special guest from one of our clients too, and to be honest, she stole the show :-)

It was clear from the event that people are realising that Fiori is not only here, it’s here to stay, and it’s a journey that is not just about new apps, but about a new SAP. If you’re reading this TWIF column, you already know that. It’s a genuinely exciting time for us as customers, partners and consultants, not only because of the UX aspect, but also because the present and future that is Fiori is based upon open technology standards that are right. SAP has grasped the nettle of user experience, and embraced the right tools and technologies. Good work!

Well that was rather a longer post than usual, so in the interests of keeping this to something you can read in a coffee break, I’ll leave it here, and wish you well. Until next time!

 

 

This Week in Fiori (2015-12)

Greetings! Last week saw the return of the This Week in Fiori series, with a video from me and Brenton. More on that video shortly. Before last week, the previous episode had been in October last year. So much has happened in the Fiori world that it would be crazy to try and cover it all. Instead, over the next week or two, I’ll pick out some items that stand out.

So let’s get started with some picks for this week.

Filtering Fiori Apps by Release by Gregor Brett
In last week’s video, we looked at the Fiori Apps Library app and found that it wasn’t easy to identify the latest apps. I mentioned that while the Fiori Apps Library app itself didn’t expose the information in that way, the data was actually available, and laid down a challenge for anyone to make the app do just that.

Screen Shot 2015-03-20 at 16.03.06Just a few days later the first response appeared – Gregor Brett came up with a nice solution, which was to patch the running Fiori Apps Library app, adding a new View Settings Filter Item to the filterItems aggregation of the actual View Settings Dialog used in the app. The items within that new View Settings Filter Item were bound to a data collection that was already being exposed by the backend in the OData service, namely the Releases_EV collection, which gave information on Fiori Wave numbers and dates.

Bingo! Nice work Gregor.

 

The Fiori Community by the SAP Community Network
Since the last episode of TWIF last year in October, SAP have created a new community within the SAP Community Network for Fiori. There’s already a community for SAPUI5, but now there’s a specific community for Fiori. I spoke about this in my keynote at Mastering SAP Technologies last month, and it’s an interesting and important distinction that SAP are making.

If you think about it, Fiori as an umbrella term is gigantic. It could be seen as a lot of things to a lot of people. Separating out the technical underpinnings (UI5) from other aspects (Fiori application configuration, extension and maintenance, UX design, deployment and platform subjects, and more) was only going to be a matter of time, if only to make the subjects more manageable.

But also remember that future Fiori offerings from SAP may not be powered by UI5. Of course, all of the Fiori offerings now and in the near future are, including all the S/4HANA applications such as the SFIN set, but when you consider SAP’s purchases – Ariba, Concur and SuccessFactors to name but three – a unified UX strategy is not going to happen from re-engineering the whole UI/UX layer of those (previously) third party products.

Visit the new SAP Fiori community and have a look around. It looks like it’s here to stay :-)

Planning the Fiori ABAP Frontend Server (FES) – Architecture Questions by Jochen Saterdag
Getting your Fiori apps served to the frontend involves making the following things available: the OData services, the Fiori Launchpad, the Fiori app code (views, controller logic, and so on) and of course the UI5 runtime. SAP has been slowly but surely socialising the term “frontend server” to refer to a system that fulfils this role. I first heard the term from SAP Labs folks in Israel back in 2013 (see “An Amazing 36 Hours at SAP Labs Israel“), and it’s becoming more pervasive these days. In modern parlance, perhaps, it’s now properly “become a thing”.

Of course, there are always considerations when planning such a server, and Jochen does a good job with this overview blog post. He answers some important questions, including whether you should use an existing PI system as the base for such a frontend server … the answer, clearly, is “no”.

10 tips to get you started on your Fiori development journey by me
Well, what’s the point of having your own blog post series if you can’t talk about your own content now and again? ;-) As I mentioned earlier, I spoke at the great Mastering SAP Technologies Conference in Feb this year. I wrote up my keynote into two blog posts, the second of which was a “top ten” style list. I’m sure there are many of you looking to embark upon this journey, so I thought I’d put together tips on what worked for me. If you’re interested in the first of the two posts, it’s “Can I build a Fiori app? Yes you can!“.

Well that’s about it for this week. See you next time!

This Week In Fiori (2015-11)

Well hello again and welcome to TWIF readers old and new alike.

Last year I started the “This Week In Fiori” (TWIF) series looking at news, events and articles in the Fiori world. The last post (2014-43) was in October 2014, written by Brenton O’Callaghan.

The Fiori world is growing and spinning even faster, and Brenton and I decided it was time to pick up where we left off. To get the ball rolling, we recorded a half-hour session at the end of this week, looking at some news in the Fiori world. This time we took a more technical flavour, remembering that Fiori is UX, but built ultimately built with UI (see “Can I Build A Fiori App? Yes You Can!” for more on Fiori UX vs UI) – there are always two sides to any single coin.

If you have any news, or any suggestions for future TWIF episode topics, just let us know!

Here’s this week’s episode. Thanks Brenton!

Share & enjoy!

This Week in Fiori (2014-43)

Hello everybody,

Brenton here in for DJ this week. For those of you who don’t know me, I work in the Fiori and User experience space with DJ and I am a fellow SAPUI5/OpenUI5 advocate for a long time now. I focus more on the mobility side of things more than anything else but for me it’s all about bringing amazing solutions to end users and having a bit of fun while doing it :-)

So this week of course was the beginning of what I call TechEd season or now I suppose we have to call it d-code season. Last week saw SAP TechEd and d-code take place in the wonderful Venetian resort in Las Vegas. Now that I am starting to get over my jet lag, DJ asked me to jot down a few of the highlights for this edition of “This Week in Fiori”.

SAP Executive Keynote from SAP TechEd & D-code by Steve Lucas
The first mention has to go, of course, to the keynote with Steve Lucas. With a relaxed and developer focused atmosphere it was an incredibly enjoyable 75 minutes covering some of the amazing things that people are doing with SAP software. The reason it gets a special mention here is because it was (for me anyway) the first time I saw SAP Fiori on a watch. Steve introduces a real-time Fiori application on the HANA cloud platform which was integrated with and primarily used on Samsung’s latest smart watches. The demo is at about 59+ minutes for anybody interested. In fact, the entire keynote is well worth the time as it really brought to life some of SAP’s new technologies.

SAP Fiori Launchpad Overview by Aviad Rivlin
Aviad does it again with this excellent overview of the SAP Fiori Launchpad in this voice-over session. Talking us through the Launchpad itself, it’s capabilities as well as an overview of how the launchpad could work in a Hybrid scenario where some functionality is based on-premise and some based in the cloud. Well worth a watch for anybody interested or working with the Launchpad.

Unified Inbox with SAP Fiori by Ramana Mohanbabu
This was quite an interesting session I enjoyed covering the connection of the SAP Fiori Unified inbox to multiple systems to give an end user access to all of their SBWP items in a much more usable way.

Swell Analytics by Clint Vosloo and Chris Rae
Although competing directly with myself and John Appleby during this years DemoJam I am always more than happy to give credit where it is most definitely due and these guys deserve it! They created an amazing application using OpenUI5 to identify, predict and rate the quality of swells for surfers (yes I said surfers!). Well worth a watch and shows off the awesome stuff you can build with OpenUI5.

These are just 4 of the very many Fiori and OpenUI5 related sessions from Las Vegas that caught my eye. If I was to mention all of the sessions, you would get bored far quicker than I can type so I won’t even try. But please do check out the rest of the sessions covering all SAP’s new offerings from the HANA Cloud Platform (HCP), SAP Mobile Secure right through to the easy way developers can try all this out for themselves at hcp.sap.com.

So all that is left for me to do is thank DJ for allowing me to post on some of my experiences from Las Vegas. TWIF is an excellent series and one I love reading each week!

Comments most welcome as always!

Brenton.

This Week in Fiori (2014-42)

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 21.27.11Well hello again, I’m back. I couldn’t miss the most significant week number, now, could I? :-) And next week I have something special for you — the TWIF episode will be written by a guest author. Really excited about that! If you’re interested in becoming a guest writer for this series, get in touch! Ok, let’s get to it.

SAP Portal and SAP Fiori – Common Architecture by Aviad Rivlin
Aviad has been at it again producing great content and bringing more clarity to this important subject. Although only a short post, it’s worth mentioning here, because it helps crystallise SAP’s intentions in this space (readers of this TWIF series have seen many mentions of this subject in the past) and also because it points to a whitepaper “SAP Enterprise Portal and SAP Fiori – Common Architecture Recommendations” which is worth a read.

What’s New in SAP Fiori Launchpad by SAP
For the UI Add-On for NetWeaver, otherwise known as UI2, version 1.0 SPS 10 is now available. This is a layer of software that provides a lot of the Fiori services and infrastructure (yes, there’s more to Fiori than just UX, you know ;-) including the UI5 runtime, the personalisation services and the Launchpad. While the individual Fiori apps are of course the main event, without this layer, without the Launchpad, the experience would be lacking something.

This What’s New document, in the UI2 section of help.sap.com, gives us a good overview on what have been the important areas of focus for SAP in the recent period. Notably, these areas are for Portal integration (the headerless mode) and performance. With performance, there have been various improvements, from moving the storage of personalisation information from an XML document to database tables (who thought using XML documents for storage of large amounts of data was a good idea?) to cacheing of target mappings in the browser. Nice!

SAP Fiori, Demo Cloud Edition by SAP
Well, it was a long time coming, and it’s still not ideal, but it’s THERE! An online, available, demo version of SAP Fiori. For folks to get a better feel for the Launchpad, for some of the apps, and to experience the UX first hand. Not only will this be great for all of that, but for those implementing their own Fiori apps, it will also serve as useful and hopefully always-available reference designs, alongside the SAP Fiori Design Guidelines I wrote about in TWIF episode 2014-28.

Why not ideal? Well, it only contains a very small number of apps from the 300+ available, and the sample data is a little flat. Here are the apps available:

  • ERP HCM
    • Approve Timesheets
    • Approve Leave Requests
    • My Benefits
    • My Leave Requests
    • My Paystubs
    • My Timesheet
  • ERP SD (Logistics)
    • Change Sales Orders
    • Check Price and Availability
    • Change Sales Orders
    • Track Sales Orders
  • ERP Accounting
    • My Spend
    • Customer Invoices
  • ERP Logistics (MM)
    • Approve Purchase Contracts
    • Approve Purchase Orders
    • Approve Requisitions
    • Order From Requisitions

It’s early days for this demo, and I’m hoping to see a lot wider variety of apps available, along with more meaningful sample business data, in the next iteration. But until then, so far so good!

SAP Fiori & UI5 Chat, Fri 17 Oct 2014 by Brenton O’Callaghan and me
Earlier this year, Brenton and I ran a webinar “Understanding SAP Fiori Webinar” which was well received. I wrote it up in a post on SCN “The Director’s Cut” and also on Bluefin’s website “Webinar & More: Understanding SAP Fiori“, and in fact we’ll be running another SAP Fiori related webinar in December, watch this space!

Last Friday Brenton and I decided to sit down and shoot the breeze again on the subject of Fiori, this time looking at an SAP Fiori app that allows you to explore what Fiori apps are available. We looked at it from above, and from below, and had a great time doing so. It’s 30 mins long, so grab a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit and have a look: “SAP Fiori & UI5 Chat, Fri 17 Oct 2014

Until next time, share & enjoy!

This Week in Fiori (2014-40)

Screen Shot 2014-10-07 at 07.33.51Another week, another set of Fiori links. Let’s get to it!

Fiori App Reference Library app, via Luis Felipe Lanz
Well it was bound to happen, and I’m celebrating that. Luis tweeted a link to a lovely Fiori app, the Fiori App Reference Library, which contains details on the 300+ Fiori apps so far. Of course, the original meta Fiori app, the SAP Fiori App Analysis application (which I mentioned in TWIF 2014-31) is still going strong – find out more about this in this 5 min video “The SAP Fiori App Analysis application“.

But what about this new app from SAP (rather than from me)? Well, there are a couple of parts of the URL (https://boma0d717969.hana.ondemand.com/sap/fix/externalViewer/) that suggest to me that it’s possibly temporary, or still in development (there are some active debugger statements in there too), but apart from that, it’s a fine example of a classic Fiori app and uses a 1.24 runtime of UI5. I’m tempted to dig in right now and start exploring how it’s put together, but I’ll leave that for another time. I’ll just point out that the data it uses is from a proper OData service which is in itself more useful than you might think – an official machine-readable detailed list of Fiori apps from SAP. Let a thousand consumer apps bloom!

SAP CodeJam on RDE at Ciber NL organised by Wim Snoep
SAP River RDE, or to give it its new name SAP Web IDE (hopefully it won’t change again :-) is an important topic to understand in the world of Fiori. It’s what many developers (although not all) will be using to manage Fiori apps from a creation and extension point of view. RDE has been a long time in gestation but today’s incarnation is very accomplished and those looking to understand what SAP’s approach to software management in the Fiori age is, need to spend some time investigating this.

One of the “Dutch SAP Mafia” members Wim organised an SAP CodeJam on RDE which looked to be a great success. The developer ecosystem is not just about the languages (say, JavaScript) and frameworks* (UI5) but also about the tools and environments within which one works. So this CodeJam was ideally suited to learning more about SAP’s environment. The day saw developers build Fiori applications in RDE, and I was happy to see that our TechEd hands-on session content CD168 Building SAP Fiori-like UIs with SAPUI5 — which was created for last year’s SAP TechEd events but has seen action ever since — was put to good use for this event too.

*actually one should refer to UI5 as a toolkit rather than a framework, for reasons too long and detailed to go into here :-)

Introduction to SAP Fiori UX by SAP 
I’ve written about this course from Open SAP before, most recently in the previous TWIF episode TWIF 2014-39. Well, I thought I’d give a quick update on my perspective … to say that I’ve abandoned the course. Fiori is a huge topic, and one can’t expect a single course to cover everything. But I did expect some UX content, as it’s an incredibly important aspect of the Fiori experience. Unfortunately I didn’t find any, and I noted that I wasn’t alone in this regard either.

With the combination of this issue and the as yet unresolved issues from Week 2, I decided that give up on the course and I’d devote the time I’d allocated for study to other more UX/UI related matters, in particular by studying further the SAP Fiori Design Guidelines that I wrote about in TWIF 2014-28 along with details of the latest responsive controls in the UI5 toolkit. Whether you’re following the Open SAP course or not, I’d encourage you to do the same, too.

I must say that I’ve not given up on Open SAP as a whole – in fact I’m eagerly awaiting the next Fiori related course … now that Fiori installation and configuration is out of the way with this first course, it could be full steam ahead for the UX part!

Update 20 Oct 2014: Since this post, there has been some discussion internally, on various email threads and also publically here and on Twitter. And today SAP posted “Help Shape the Next SAP Fiori Course” which acknowledges the issues with the lack of UX content and solicits input to determine the content for the next course. Well done Open SAP! This is a conversation in action. I’d encourage you to go over to the survey and add your thoughts.

Until next time, share & enjoy!

This Week in Fiori (2014-39)

Hello there folks. That time has come around again to pull together a few links on some of the Fiori related stories and articles this week. Let’s get right to it.

Transactional Fiori App Certification by Chiranjivi R D
I touched on certification of Fiori apps in an earlier TWIF episode 2014-31 where I pointed to a Partner Co-Innovation Workshop that mentioned certification of Fiori apps developed therein. Certification, at least to me, is not automatically a good thing. I’m strongly ambivalent (if that’s possible) on certification generally, of consultants specifically, and of apps particularly.

This week, this article on Fiori app certification was brought to my attention by friend and fellow SAP Mentor Tobias Trapp. It’s all about the certification of transactional Fiori apps built by partners. With Fiori, there’s great emphasis on the UX principles, and rightly so. There are also of course also the Gateway and Business Suite add-ons too, but for me the primary goal for certification in this area must be how the Fiori app works from a user experience point of view. My general certification ambivalence is then given a run for its money here; I for one do think that without some kind of standards enforcement, the Fiori approach may be diluted. I’ve seen apps that are purportedly “Fiori” but just don’t feel right.

Only time will tell. What is your experience of custom Fiori apps? Have you seen Fiori apps that, well, aren’t?

User Experience Sessions at TechEd: SAP Screen Personas, Fiori, UX Strategy, Design Services by Peter Spielvogel
SAP TechEd && d-code, arguably the most important event in SAP’s annual calendar, is fast approaching. Already, the Las Vegas edition … which I like to call the “warm up before the main European event” :-) … is less than a month away. I noted the Fiori related sessions in a previous TWIF episode 2014-35 and just this week Peter Spielvogel from SAP writes this post detailing some of them. Ironically, he does this in the SAPGUI area on the SAP Community Network (SCN).

I pointed out in TWIF 2014-35 that there didn’t appear to be enough Fiori related sessions (although some folks on Twitter are complaining that all they hear about in relation to TechEd is Fiori and HANA, c’est la vie) but I’m hopeful that there will be at least some coverage in the “hallway track” and in the Code Jams and hands-on activities that run throughout the week.

In particular, I’d encourage you to look out for the SAP Web IDE stuff. This is the new name for SAP River RDE, which has also some history in the Web Application ToolkiT (WATT) and prior to that the SAP App Designer. What ancestry already! While some of us like to build Fiori apps from the ground up (coding view elements directly in XML, with our UI5 stickers adorning our laptops) there are a great number of people who need guidance. Guidance in both forms – technical, and design (see the certification piece earlier). And for these folks, and those looking for the right tools to extend existing SAP Fiori apps, the SAP Web IDE is something not to miss.

Introduction to SAP Fiori UX – an update
I wrote about this course back at the beginning of August. Today, along with many thousands of co-participants, I’m well underway with the course materials, into Week 3. For those of you not taking part, here are the the topics covered:

Week 1: SAP Fiori UX Basics
Week 2: SAP Fiori UX Deployment
Week 3: SAP Fiori UX Configuration
Week 4: Securing SAP Fiori UX
Week 5: SAP UI Tools
Week 6: Extending SAP Fiori UX
Week 7: Final Exam

Despite these topic titles, I must admit to having expected a little more on the “UX” part of the title. So far, I don’t remember seeing any real Fiori screen, much less an analysis of how and why it might have been designed that way, and certainly nothing about what lies underneath (the controls in the UI5 toolkit). But it’s still relatively early days, and I haven’t given up hope.

One thing I’m also not giving up hope on is the approach Open SAP will have to rectifying incorrect “correct” answers to questions in the weekly assignments. For those of you on the course (and therefore with access to the discussion areas), here’s an example of where a question was asked, with the officially correct answer actually being incorrect. (There are other instances of this happening on the course too, but I think those are down to oversights rather than anything else.)

The answer in question, so to speak, related to the deployment steps for frontend and backend Fiori components, and whether they were the same. Of course, with the variations on system landscapes, ABAP and HANA stacks, and even the deployment tools themselves, the answer is “no”. But this has been marked as incorrect by Open SAP. While in the grand scheme of things this hardly matters, to those taking the course, it’s both a matter of principle and an area that one would feel strongly about, being the type of person taking the course, i.e. one that enjoys exacting detail.

I’m sure that the Open SAP folks will sort this out before the course is over.

Before leaving this subject, I would also like to point out that the course content has been rather dry so far. For example, this week’s lectures entail the long winded description of configuration (especially in the area of role assignments in PFCG), only backed up by static slides. Unless I missed it, I didn’t see any actual real live screencasts of configuration in action. I don’t know about you, but I can only take so many slides with theory on them, I need to see things in action. As one of my favourite TV characters likes to say, “let the dog see the rabbit”!