Apps built using SAPUI5 can be connected easily to any kind of back-end system or even simply can be deployed in the browser itself without needing a back-end system altogether. Though the main objective of SAPUI5 in the time of its launch was centered on building app framework for only SAP environments, today the toolkit after its open source version OpenUI5 release became available for the wider audience beyond SAP environment.
Before discussing on the key benefits of SAPUI5 let us begin with the basic aspects
SAPUI5 and the key advantages
- SAPUI5 is a framework that consists of a rich collection of JS libraries which can be used for building web apps for both desktop and mobile devices.
- The JS libraries within SAPUI5 are used side by side CSS for building rich and engaging web apps.
- SAPUI5 is built by jQuery open source library and further the components have been customized by SAP. SAP developed the custom UI components like Controls and Layouts to give it a more user optimized flair.
- SAPUI5 has extensible features allowing us to extend, control and define the controls in our own way.
SAPUI5 is now available in two distinct flavors though the core programming model and tools remain the same. Here are the two flavors of the toolkit available now.
- A full-fledged desktop version offering a robust set of UI controls useful for building sophisticated web UIs.
- A custom mobile version offering robust support for all major platforms including Apple iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Microsoft Windows.
The added new features with V1.12
It is important to get an idea of the new features recently added with the V1.12 version of the toolkit. Here we mention them briefly.
- Components: One can bundle together within components a lot of UI5 objects such as modules, controllers, views etc.
- New view: There is declarative HTML view which can also be found in SAPUI5 Eclipse tools.
- New desktop controls: There are new desktop controls like Form, ResponsiveLayout, Autocomplete, Collection Inspector, FormattedTextView, Notetaker, DateRangeSlider, SplitButton, etc.
- There is also mobile demo application depicting the best practices.
- New mobile controls added like SplitApp, PullToRefresh, MessageToast, MessageBox, ActionSheet, InputDateTime, etc.
- There are also some new experimental controls added like TileContainer, TabularList, Shell, Accept/Reject Switch, GrowingList, IconTabBar, ActionSheet, DateTimeInput, Link, ObjectHeader, TextArea, URLHelper, Calendar, ProgressIndicator, TabContainer, etc.
- Some new mobile features like Configurable background images for App, SplitApp, Shell, etc. are also added.
- Mobile library with new themes like Blue Crystal theme can now run on smartphones, tablets and also on desktops. The feature is experimental and offers Charts in sap.viz library, Basic touch support new charts, new Icon fonts, API for device and feature detection and media query support, calculated fields in data binding, etc.
What developers perceive
SAPUI5 offers robust support for application developer in respect of building fast paced and easy app UIs conforming to HTML5 standard. With that typical definition, a lot of things remain unsaid.
We can try to describe SAPUI5 in the manner developers know it practically. It can be defined as a framework and cluster of libraries using which front-end developers can develop really compelling, feature rich and high performing HTML5 apps. It is a robust toolkit that includes highly popular jQuery and offers a wide range of UI controls
Build outside and integrate when required
The toolkit is thoroughly focused on relevance and usefulness. Your app UI does not get constrained by a hordes of irrelevant technologies within the SAP environment. Thanks to the toolkit you can build your UI with more ease and restraint-less flexibility. You can build an UI outside of SAP environment and then can bring it in the SAP system.
This approach has lot of implications. Thanks to this the work of non-SAP developers can also be integrated into SAP system with ease allowing broader scopes of value addition. For SAP, it is extremely crucial as it has an objective to reach one billion users.
SAPUI5 among other aspects offers support for data bindings for raw XML, JSON and OData and this makes UI construction further easier and value packed. This will allow faster and real time data consumption making the job easier for the developers while ensuring the highest quality standard for the user.
SAPUI5 has been released just months back and is in early beta now. Ever since its release, it continued to remain as the buzzword for worldwide developers because of the shift of paradigm it brought. With hordes of documentation, interaction driven examples and a really exhaustive range of components, it came as a godsend for many developers. The next release of the toolkit is said to be packed as a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering from SAP which is going to be codenamed as Neo. So, there is really lot to come for the UI developers.
To conclude, we must acknowledge the paradigm shifting effect of the toolkit in SAP based UI construction. By unleashing the open source version in recent time the company made the right approach for developers worldwide.