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Introduction

Since SDN has a link up to the WebDynpro Client (available with SAPGui 640 SP14), I thought I would give it a try against a NetWeaver04S system and ABAP WebDypnpro. In this weblog I will show you real quick how you can setup a link in the SAPGui to a ABAP WebDypnpro application. And I will share some screen shots of what the new WebDynpro client looks like (for those of you who might not have a system to run it against).

This weblog does assume that you have already completed the steps from the linked article in SDN that changes your registry entry and that you have the correct version of the SAPGui installed.

Looking up the ABAP WebDynpro URL

Before we can create a WebDypro item in our SAPGui, we need to lookup the URL for our WebDynpro application. We are just going to test initially with a simple demo application (demo_table).

Since this is WebDynpro ABAP we will naturally turn to SE80. We will pull up the WebDynpro Component DEMO_TABLE. We can then see that there is an application node also called DEMO_TABLE.
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If you select the application from the navigation window, the details will open on the right side of the screen. In the administration Data section of the Application Details window you will find the complete URL. This is address that we will need for the SAPGui part of the setup.
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Creating the link in the SAP Logon

If you have followed the steps to setup the beta WebDynpro Client, when you launch the SAP Logon you should have a new tab called Web Dynpro Applications. We will select the New Item to create a link to our Demo application.
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A new window now launches that allows us to input the URL we got from SE80.
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Launching the WebDynpro Application

We are now ready to run our WebDynpro Application. First though I thought I should run it from the browser. I wanted to make sure that I had picked a good application that actually runs. I also wanted to be able to compare the look and feel of the two applications.
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It worked fine. Now I am ready to double click on my new item in the SAP Logon window. The screen that it brings up looks very much like the system logon that you see when running a WebDynpro (or ITS/BSP) application from the browser.
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Alread you can see that there are some interesting menu options at the top of the WebDynpro Client window (we will at them a little closer in a minute).

Once we authenticate, we are in and looking at basically the same WebDynpro screen as the browswer. The colors seem a little difficult read (hey this is a beta afterall). But the table control scrolls nicely like you would expect from a rich client.
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Next I thought I would give the new client a real workout. I would use the WDR_TEST_UI_ELEMENTS application. This is very similar to the BSPEXT_*HTMLB programs in the BSP world. Basically this application lets you try out all the possible UI elements and all their options (just great for this kind of testing – plus a great learning tool). You can see from this screen shot how the two client’s compare (browser on top and new beta WebDynpro Client on the bottom).
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WebDynpro Client Options

There appear to be many interesting options on the menu bar of the new WebDynpro Client. First we have the ability to view the source code of the page we are looking at. Of course this isn’t HTML/JavaScript coding. It is the XML that is sent and then consumed by the WebDynpro Client for processing as native windows controls.
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Next up we have the themes section. In addition to the normal WebDynpro Themes we also have the older SAPGui Enjoy themes. I wonder how this is going to work out with Mime objects? The UI elements do seem to take on the Theme settings in the client. I also wonder what impact this might have on using custom themes?
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Finally under the Tools menu there appears to be lots of settings that can be tweaked. We obviously have many options for better visual effects than you can easily produce in a browser based application.
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6 Comments

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  1. Thomas Jung
    I see a couple a reasons that make this tool look interesting. 

    The first is User Interface Experience.  If you are working in the same transaction all day long (as many people do), don’t you think you would get tired of the way that table view’s scroll in WebDynpro. 

    It may seem small, but it is a major irritation for many users.  User’s expect immediate response and want to be able to just drag that scroll bar to the section they want. 

    Second is that the browser isn’t necessarily appropriate for running business applications in.  This is the same tool that people use to download the news, lookup sports scores, pirate music, and look at porn (hopefully not at work).  The security restrictions necessary to surf the web can be seriously restrictive to the corp applications developer.  I for one am not sure that an all purpose, do-everything tool is necessarily the right way to go. Our internal security group spends way too much time trying to lock down the browser, but at the same time not break internal business applications. 

    You also have to look at where major players like Microsoft are going with Vista and Avalon. Smart, yet still relativly Thin, Clients are catching attention and this tool fits directly into that category. 

    It is also important for SAP to prove that WebDynpro (and its metamodel approach to development and UI design) really is portable to more than just the browser.  They are showing that “future-proof” really is more than just a marketing term when it comes to WebDynpro.

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    1. Scott Barden
      I wonder whether a goal might be to be able to view WebDynpro apps directly from within the SAPGUI.  It might be that in the future some transactions will be implemented as WebDynpro apps and so doing /nXXXX (no, that’s not a porn transaction) will navigate inplace to the WebDynpro application.

      Cheers,
      Scott

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      1. Thomas Jung
        > to view WebDynpro apps directly from within the SAPGUI
        Actually you can do this to some extent already.  We do this with BSP Applications hosted within a SAPGui HTML View Control.

        Users simply launch a TCode like any other and don’t really need to know that they are actually running a web based transaction.

        There are methods that support session handling and SSO through the HTML Viewer.  There are even some interesting Hacks to pass data back and forth between the two sessions (although this is certainly complicated and would be more difficult in the WebDynpro environment). 

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        1. Michael Moram
          I think there are valid arguments for both sides in this case.  For pure Java developers coming from the non-SAP world, the idea of a dedicated client goes against everything they believe in.  On the other hand, for developers coming from the ABAP world, they see the browser as a step backwards in terms of a feature-rich UI.  I like the idea of a WebDynpro client as a common ground between the two.

          In the near term, it will at least help companies integrate their ABAP Dynpro and Java or ABAP Web Dynpro applications under one roof.  Of course, the other alternative is ABAP Dynpro through the ITS/WebAS – a very ugly and nasty beast.  Until such time as all ABAP Dynpro is replaced by Web Dynpro, or perhaps even pure J2EE, I think the SAPGUI/Web Dynpro Client combination will be a viable alternative for many companies.

          Plus, who’s to say in the long run that browser technology will not advance to the point of providing smooth scrolling and other features we are used to with dedicated clients …

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      2. Brian McKellar
        Yes, we have integrated Web Dynpro ABAP into the Easy Access menus, and have this time build and support functions to run them either inplace or in external browser. With this, we then do things such as session management and cleanup. We also have a function that can be used to launch a WDA application into a HtmlViewer on your DYNP somewhere (or it brings its own DYNP with it).
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    2. Daniel McWeeney
      Given SAP’s current direction of decoupling the UI from the “business logic” as much as possible ( see every piece of marketing discussing ESA ) wouldn’t it be a prudent step to re-think the SAP GUI as a whole.  As you refer to the “thin-client” most of us already have an interesting platform to build upon  sitting on our desktop’s, it’s light weight; a meger 4.7 meg download and best of all it’s 100% free ( as in beer ), can you guess?
      Firefox!
      Firefox allows developers to build extensions that can be anything from little weather checkers to full-blown applications!  They have all the UI building blocks already available to them, tables, trees, buttons, frames, etc and on top of all this, there are ways of connecting these UI object directly to XML data feeds!  In essence, you would not download the SAP Gui anymore you could just install the “SE80” extension into your Firefox browser, which could be served from the mime repository on any WAS.  Talk about portability, logic decoupling, and ESA.

      For additional information, check out these links:
      http://www.xulplanet.com/
      http://www.mozilla.org/projects/xul/
      http://www.google.com/mozilla/google.xul
      http://www.hevanet.com/acorbin/xul/top.xul

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