SAP TechEd 2020 took place from December 8-10, making it a 48-hour non-stop tech event. Sounds intense? It was intensely enriching. Open to everyone worldwide, free event due to obvious reasons went completely digital. Our consultants from S5 Consulting couldn’t pass on such a learning opportunity and also joined the forum.
This year, SAP TechEd featured eight tracks of today’s most relevant tech topics, including Integrated Intelligent Suite, Digital Transformation with Intelligent ERP, Customer Experience, Analytics, Intelligent Technologies, Database and Data Management, Application Development, and Integration, Partner Community.
The jam-packed agenda incorporated workshops, lectures, breakouts, expert Q&As, and roadmap sessions. Of course, there is no way someone could take part in every single webinar. With a combination of live-streamed and on-demand sessions, the 48-hour event turned out to be far from an out of breath marathon. The organizers carefully curated an interactive learning journey. This structure was set to guide developers, no matter the level of expertise, through new areas across SAP.
“With this knowledge, developers will be able to drive projects forward for faster business results while expanding skills for their personal career path growth.” – Thomas Grassl, global head Developer, and Community Relations at SAP.
Okay, enough about the planned outcomes. We could address problems with access, unavailable servers, and chaotic solutions to the issues. But what is important is that after some rocky beginnings, SAP TechEd gained momentum. We like to focus on positives, especially when we gain a broader perspective on our field of expertise. Our consultants wanted to share their newly acquired knowledge with you. For those who didn’t attend, here is a condensed (if you may call a three pager condensed) summary of the most important findings and updates:
SAPUI5, as we know, is the leading user interface (UI) technology to develop enterprise-ready Web apps, including SAP Fiori apps. Here is news about SAPUI5:
- SAPUI5 adapted DOM-based semantic rendering (starting with 1.67) of the controls to improve an old string-based rendering. It is an upgrade to the performance of UI5 control rendering. Now the controls will need some remodeling. More here.
- SAPUI5 is evolving with UI integration cards and UI5 Web Components to integrate with other UI technologies stacks. CSS variables are not supported until IE11 is supported, but Web Components support them. Web Components are independent of the framework and can be utilized with other JS frameworks like Angular, Vue, etc. SAP plans to integrate Web Components with the library and ‘wrap’ them into UI5 controls. UI5 Web Components will become the basic control development model for UI5. They will support CSS variables.
- ES6 syntax and Typescript are coming soon. SAP is currently working on integrating them, and we should see some results next TechEd.
- SAPUI5 started to support the ARIA 1.1 standard with a 1.84 Version. More here.
- There is a big focus on UI5 Tooling (an extensible CLI), which supports UI5 development with many testing frameworks, modern language features, build options, etc.
- SAP Fiori 3 is still evolving, and currently, SAP works on a new visual language that combines solution-oriented messages, custom illustrations, conversational tone, etc. More here.
SAP Business Application Studio has been introduced once again as a successor of SAP WebIDE (new and improved version has all capabilities of WebIDE). It is a turnkey solution based on dev-spaces, the pre-configured set of tools to start the development. Taking from modern standards and open source, it enables simple connection to API Business HUB, on-premise systems and simplifies the development experience. It is also more flexible than a WebIDE (possible to use CLI). For offline work, Visual Studio Code is recommended, but SAP plans to release a personal BAS edition on-premise in the future. In general, SAP BAS is quite similar to VSC and provides many great possibilities with enhancements and packages. SAP officially stated the need to keep up with industry trends and the latest development evolution, which was a vital requirement from the community. BAS is available with Cloud Foundry trial now (SAP WebIDE trial on neo is switched off!). SAP Web IDE is still supported and maintained. There are currently no plans for deprecation, but BAS is the strategic direction.
The webinar about SAP Fiori tools was one of the most remarkable amongst our team reviews. “During the webinar, it took just half an hour to build a turnkey app using SAP Fiori tools, amazing, thanks for the demo.” – Ilya Amosov, Senior SAP Consultant at S5 Consulting.
Read more about Fiori Elements and Fiori Tools:
- One of the most exciting releases is SAP Fiori Tools, which supports freestyle and Fiori elements development. Fiori tools will guide a developer through the full development cycle (app generation, app modeler, driven development with code snippets, service modeler, code completion, app previews). The great thing about Fiori Tools is that it explains how to use annotations, provides wizards and many samples. More here.
- With the focus on Fiori Elements, SAP claims they should cover 80% standard use cases for S/4 HANA. Fiori Elements are generated in runtime apps based on OData and annotations. They can be initialized with no-code or low-code development. SAP plans to make FE more flexible by adding the option of SAPUI5 freestyle coding to the pages. Fiori Tools simplify the process of setting up and configure Fiori Element apps. With the UI5 Flexibility Framework addition, key users can configure their apps (adapt UI, change properties, change UI texts, create control variants, extend views) with no-development effort. It takes about 3-4 months to build expertise about SAP Fiori Elements/CDS views/Cloud Platform to deliver a set of FE apps (based on the use case presented on TechEd). More here.
Moving on to Fiori Launchpad:
- SAP Fiori Launchpad Designer and Groups will be deprecated soon (finally…). It will be replaced with the Content Manager to manage launchpad spaces and pages (new FLP objects). It looks like a new tool is a significant upgrade to the existing one and simplifies many things like mass actions, translating tiles, assigning roles, etc. SAP plans to enhance FLP and focus on implementing central FLP on Cloud Platform (which can collect many apps from different launchpads from many systems).
- Starting with S/4 HANA Cloud 2008, we have a new tile grouping level in FLP called Spaces (one role=one space). We can have many Pages in the Spaces and many Sections on the Pages. Making it three grouping levels instead of one. Now it should be way easier to create a logical structure of the tiles on the launchpad.
Turning to the backend part:
- A new long-term model for ABAP is RAP (ABAP Restful Programming Model). The most significant focus is on Draft Handling now (a solution that resolves data loss/timeout issues). The new model is a successor of the SAP Fiori Programming Model, which replaces old CDS-based BOPF (1909) with BO. SAP plans to prepare a migration tool.
- Rapid activation is the most efficient way of implementing SAP Fiori on S/4 HANA.
- SAP focuses on implementing the OData V4 standard, which will be available with Fiori Elements to boost the development experience and switch to the newer standards.
Let’s have a quick look at the Architecture:
- Recommended deployment option for SAP Business Suite – FES stand-alone/hub.
- Recommended deployment option for S/4 HANA (here the innovations come from the backend) – FES embedded.
- Another deployment option is SAP Cloud Platform Central Launchpad, but this is still an ongoing topic.
Lastly, let’s focus on Design. SAP now recognizes a 4th Design-led Development Process phase called ‘Deliver’ – in addition to Discover, Design, Develop. It’s to collect end-user, customer, and essential stakeholder feedback for driving the next solution iteration. It’s to check how well the solution works for them and plan the following activities. There are three sub-phases of the Deliver part – Check, Ask and Improve. SAP also recommends to set up cross-functional teams (UX, PM, DEV) in the projects.
In addition to technological novelties, the overall impression of our team was positive. “TechEd 2020 was really interesting. We focused on SAP Fiori, which is changing these days very quickly. I hope SAP will continue on-line sessions next year, making it accessible worldwide. The event was more like a concrete overview/demo of the things that were released earlier this year. It was also great to be a part of live QA sessions with people behind specific SAP technologies. Now it’s more clear for us what SAP plans are for the next year and the future, so we can do our part in creating new trends.” – Adrian Dengusiak, SAPUI5 Fiori Developer at S5 Consulting.
If you’re still hungry for knowledge, you can watch replays here. Make use of opportunities gathered by SAP and explore the session catalog to find 350+ sessions replays, 180+ hours of insight and learning.