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I still remember the excitement when the xApps team was formed and the initial slides of what we shall be doing was presented (i.e. a 30,000 feet above the ground view). Being part of the team since inception has been a technically rewarding experience. I hope to share some of this through the weblog.

Being part of the CAF team in xApps, my focus is on technology. Whenever I tell people that I work for xApps, they get very excited and ask me – so how do you develop xApps – my short answer is abstractly. Abstractions are what xApps development is all about. Each layer of the stack i.e. User Interface, Process, Service/Object & Persistence is abstracted. Metadata is at the heart of abstraction with each layer having its own metamodel. In the UI Web Dynpro has its metamodel, in the process layer guided procedures has its metamodel, and the CAF metamodel is used for the rest. Each has its own repository into which the design time metadata is stored. The SAP NetWeaver developer studio plugins for each layer provide the design time environment based on the respective metamodels. It is important to note that each layer is decoupled from the other. Following the model driven architecture (MDA) paradigm, the runtime is generated for each layer based on the modeled design time metadata. This involves the conversion of the abstract models into real Java code on the fly. Without going into the details (it can be a topic for future blogs) it must be said that each layer comes with a lot of functionality built in. Be it Web Dynpro patterns, preconfigured guided procedures, or core services, to name a few.

My message here is that a lot of technology has been built to simplify application development. As the rubber meets the road I must say that the view below is as good if not better than that from 30,000 feet above, and the flight was great. I hope you are all equally excited and ready for takeoff.

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    1. Chris Woodburn
      Question: Can you help me to understand why/why not we should use xApps?  At our current company we’re being asked to us xApps as a place to create enhancements to SAP for most everything…example – if we want to create a custom program/report in ECC, we’re being told to do the dev in xApps, so we need to replicate the master data tables, etc inside xApps -…Ideas?
      – Chris
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      1. Srinivas Reddy Post author
        Chris,
        Its a great question. Unfortunately I cannot give you a simple answer.  As Enterprise computing moves towards ‘end-user programming’, we will see such issues being raised more often. From the ‘IT perspective’ a bigger xApp may lower TCO (my personal view), but for the end-user it may not be good enough or fast enough. But my view is that IT platform innovations (like CAF) will make creating custom applications(as described by you) as xApps competitive.

        HTH
        Srini

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