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Visual Composer or the successor to GUI factory is the answer to the problem of developing a fast graphical display for analytical business content apart from other things. The tool supports connections to disparate data providers like R/3 systems through BAPIs, BW content, XML content etc. and allows a platform to design time configure a scenario which spans across multiple systems. With the introduction of Flash engine now there is even an option to test the scenario by generating a flash movie. Apart from Flash the tool generates HTML/B, DHTML or webdynpro code too. Thus it is a typical example of the way we want to develop applications now – support for model driven design time activities in a tool and then code generation in the back end using engines.

However it should be realized that VC is a tool in the development stage and has its own limitations e.g. table input for BW queries are not supported etc. Plus it definitely takes more than couple of hours to create a useful business model. Thus right now calling VC the answer to all the problems of a solution manager is an over estimate I think but I do believe that the tool is a step in the right direction. Incase of partners this tool would help them develop analytical applications for the customer faster and also add value at the scenario level. So now do we have another new UI technology to deal with apart from web dynpros, HTML/B, SAP GUI? I dont have the answer to that but I do believe that if used in the right context the tool can really speed up building scenarios spanning multiple data centers. SAPPHIRE would be the first testing ground for the initial set of analytical applications which are being built using this tool and no doubt a close eye would be kept at the response of the customers to these nice looking graphs and pictures.

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  1. Prakash Singh
    Sorry to bring down your excitement but SAP doesn’t recommend using Visual Composer for complex web application. It’s mainly meant for simple application and proof of concepts. You are probably wondering where i got this information. I am an Ex-SAP employee.
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    1. Mario Herger
      Well, then I you are already outdated and missed the developments in the last couple of weeks. Today at the keynote for the SAP BW & Portals conference there was a more sophisticated analytical application with VC, BI, Office-integration and Macromedia shown and there will be some more surprises at the SAPPHIREs nect month.

      From where do I know that? Well, I actually still am an SAP employee 😉

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      1. Prakash Singh
        I would politely disagree with you. Analytical application doesn’t make it a complex application. I was at Infodays in Orlando in February this year and i attended few of the Visual Composer Class. The RIG people didn’t recommended using Visual Composer for heavy development. Sorry if i am outdated in one month.
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        1. Mario Herger
          What you have seen there is the released version. The last months were heavy investments done for enhancing it in all directions. Analytical Applications is only one part of the enhancements, transactional enhancements are the other part and will be presented at SAPPHIRE with a fullblown complex application. As I am involved with my team in the development, I am a little bit closer to what’s going on. Stay tuned and let yourself be surprised…
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        2. Rick Bullotta
          Wait until you see the new Visual Composer at Sapphire this year.  You will be suitably impressed.  It is, in many ways, a different product than what you’re familiar with.  I must be respectful of NDA’s, but suffice to say, the improvements and expanded capabilities are considerable.
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        3. Scott Jones
          Prakash,

          As one of the “RIG guys” you may have seen at InfoDays, I’d like to respond to your comments in this thread.    Context is everything, and I think you’ve omitted it here. 

          SAP has a very rich toolkit for portal content development ranging from standard iView templates delivered with the Portal Content Studio up through the Visual Composer and on into the NetWeaver Developer Studio with its WebDynpro and PDK perspectives.  We’ve developed and delivered tools for each content development community:  Content Administrators can work in the Portal Content Studio; Technical Business Users can work in the Visual Composer, and Java Developers can work in perspectives in the NetWeaver Developers Studio.  The Visual Composer’s purpose is to enable non-technical, business-savvy users to develop and deploy sophisticated portal content without writing Java code.  It achieves that purpose extremely well.    It is not itself a Java IDE, however, so no, you’d not do “heavy” Java development in it.   That is not its purpose.

          SAP has been extremely clear about positioning the SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer and the NetWeaver Developer Studio into their respective content development communities.   And, we’ve provided a variety of tools along a continuum of ease-of-use and technical complexity.  To devalue VC because it is not a “coding environment” misses the point entirely.

          Scott Jones
          SAP NetWeaver Foundation Regional Implementation Group (the RIG) 

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  2. Kavitha G
    Hi Vishal,
    Is VC 7.0 recommendable for a POC.I went through the discussion in ur blog and understood that VC is not recommended for complex applications.How about a simple application or a POC? I’m working on the same and find few dis-comforts/bugs while developing my application in VC 7.0.Pls advise.
    Thanks in advance,
    Kavitha.
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    1. Anonymous
      Hi Kavitha,
      In my present tasks I have not been following much the developments on the VC front but I would definitely recomment it for POCs or even further based on my experience with it earlier.
      Infact in my present project we are investing to see whether VC can be utilized as a development environment option.
      I would suggest to contact the VC Toolkit support team for any technical issues you are facing.
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