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Project Muse

A couple of weeks ago in Sapphire Orlando, SAP introduced the world to a new user interface, code-named “Project Muse”. I thought I’d give the SDN’ers a quick overview of what it is. Basically, Muse is a new interface thru which SAP users can access any SAP application directly from their Macintosh, Linux or Windows client device, and in the future from integrated mobile devices.

Project Muse is being built from the ground up as an open, standards-based architecture– using Flash and Flex technologies from Adobe/Macromedia. Project Muse can be easily extended to deliver applications, composites and any other service-enabled software from SAP and its partners or from other solution providers (think: ubiquitous business user interface for all your enterprise systems). The new client adds the richness of desktop software to the deployment efficiency of Internet software, delivering on SAP’s vision of simplifying the user experience and the software ownership experience.

I’ve created a short (8 minutes) demo of Project Muse so you can get a good sense of what it’s capable of. There’s also a fact sheet that was distributed at the Sapphire launch.

Overview:

Muse consists of two basic elements: The “Frame” and the “Canvas” .

The Frame contains standard menu items across the top, thumbnails of open sessions and transactions for easy navigation back and forth between screens. On the left side of the canvas, users have role-based functionality.

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Underneath the top level navigation and left side navigation in the frame, users see the Canvas , which displays the actual screen or transaction where they’re doing their work. The canvas is a native representation of whatever technology the source application provides its screens in. So, if the transaction you want to consume in Muse is only available in HTML, the user will have the Muse Frame in Flash and the Canvas in HTML. You can display almost any type of standard UI technology inside the canvas.

Here’s a few examples of what the “native” screens look like inside the Muse frame.

Dynpro Screen

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Adobe PDF

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HTML

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Guided Procedure

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Active X (MSFT Office)

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WebDynpro/Visual Composer/Flex Screen

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A quick FAQ:

Where did the idea for Project Muse come from? Its an extension of the work we’ve been doing over the past couple years with Adobe on Interactive Forms and with Macromedia on the Flex client for WebDynpro and Visual Composer. Its another step SAP is taking to simplify the end-to-end user experience in SAP environments. Check out wikipedia for a description of why we thought Muse was a cool project name for such an “inspirational” user interface.)

Is this a replacement for SAP GUI? Yes and no. It is clearly designed as the next-generation user experience for “professional” SAP users, but that’s not to say that SAP will be getting rid of SAP GUI any time soon. Over time, SAP customers will be able to roll out Muse clients at their own pace, gradually eliminating the need for SAP GUI for increasing numbers of SAP users. That doesn’t mean you have to switch all your users to Muse or that SAP will de-support SAP GUI. With Muse, SAP users will still get all the functionality they have today in SAP GUI and all your SAP GUI screens will work perfectly inside Muse. SAP does think that long-term, most professional SAP users will prefer the extended capabilities of Muse over SAP GUI, but ultimately its the user’s choice how they want to interact with SAP. Its highly probable that a user can do purchase orders all day in Muse, do Employee Self Service in the Portal, book time and expenses in Duet and approve workflows on a mobile device. All the processes are happening in the backend SAP systems, but the user can choose the UI they prefer to interact with the business process. SAP is also putting a great deal of effort into making sure that Muse is so intuitive and familiar to users who are highly proficient with SAP GUI today, that it should only be a matter of a few minutes of familiarization for somebody to transition to Muse. And for the IT department, moving to Muse is pretty easy since its just the front-end that’s changing, nothing in the backend systems has to be changed or modified to enable Muse.

How does Project Muse work with the SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Portal? The Portal is a fundamental part of Muse (just like in Duet)– its behind the scenes doing a lot of work (roles, security, etc), but the end user doesn’t see portal content thru a browser, its displayed in the Muse canvas instead. By using the Portal framework together with Muse, we can do all the types of “management” functions that are in the Portal most people know today, but we can take it much further because with Muse on the actual client device, and not running thru a web browser, we’re not bound by some of the typical limitations of web-based interfaces. Muse is actually the best of both worlds: Robust “thick client” capabilities that seamlessly consume and interact with web-based “thin client” capabilities. iViews and other Portal content are easily consumed in the Muse canvas, so you don’t have to rewrite anything to display Portal screens inside Muse or duplicate any of the backend portal framework capabilities to use Muse. Its built on the same infrastructure, so its an easy extension from all your existing NetWeaver landscape into the Muse world.

What are the SAP prerequisites? mySAP ERP 2005 and SAP NetWeaver 2004s. Why? Because of the services-based nature of Muse, it can only function if it has a backend application and infrastructure that is capable of providing and consuming enterprise services (and a lot of other really technical reasons). Muse isn’t just a better looking SAP GUI, its an entirely different usage experience for SAP applications– so there’s a different paradigm involved with how the user “consumes” SAP and other non-SAP apps thru Muse. Muse supports all existing SAP user interfaces including Adobe’s Macromedia Flash, Adobe PDF, HTML, Web Dynpro, and Dynpro screens. Whatever screens you have in an ERP05 system today is where you will start with Muse. Over time, SAP will be providing updated and “beautified” screens for its more heavily used horizontal and industry transactions (in bundles throughout the next several quarters). Customers and partners can also use the same WebDynpro and Visual composer tools that SAP is using to update any custom screens that they’ve created.

What are the desktop prerequisites? Muse will run on Adobe’s new Apollo framework, which is basically a merger of Acrobat Reader and Flash Player technologies. Over 98% of computers in the world already have the basic prerequisites for running Muse. SAP and Adobe will be jointly engineering the deployment model for Muse on Apollo over the next few months—stay tuned for more info about that. Because of the close collaboration with Adobe, Muse will look, feel and behave exactly the same on whatever client OS being used. However– since its able to consume web services, there are some very cool possibilities for OS-specific extensions.

How does Project Muse work with all the other SAP interfaces? Muse is one of multiple ways for end users to access SAP business processes. SAP doesn’t think there’s only one way to consume SAP, so we’re providing multiple ways for users to consume SAP the way that they would prefer. Kind of like Burger King: Get SAP “your way”. Here’s a list of a few of the different ways that end users can get SAP functionality, even if SAP is “hidden” behind the “face” of another technology.

     

  • SAP® xApp™ Analytics leveraging Adobe’s Macromedia® Flex® software
  •  

  • Duet™ software for use with Microsoft® Office and SAP software
  •  

  • Interactive Forms based on Adobe® software
  •  

  • SAP NetWeaver® Portal
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  • Mobile and voice solutions

When can a customer or partner get their hands on Project Muse? SAP aims to make the new user interface available to customers running mySAP™ Business Suite applications, delivering it with mySAP ERP 2005 in waves through a series of enhancement packages. The first customers and partners will get access to beta versions later in 2006 and it will be made widely available in 2007.

Can Project Muse be extended or modified by SAP customers/partners? Absolutely. Since its based on ubiquitous Adobe technologies and is entirely services based, customers/partners can have a great deal of flexibility to modify the Muse interface to their needs. You’ll be able to “skin” it with branding and integrate almost any services-based functionality from other enterprise or web systems.

How much does Muse cost? SAP hasn’t announced any pricing details and typically doesn’t discuss that type of thing in public. What I can say is that Muse will be very cheap to acquire, deploy and administer in an enterprise due to the ubiquity of the Adobe products that are already installed on everybody’s computers today. (really, how much time does the IT department spend managing Flash Player or Acrobat reader?)

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      1. Jeffrey Word Post author
        Previews and downloads will be made availible down the road (no date yet).  The key point is– If you have ERP05 and NW04s, you’ll be able to plug in Muse easily when its availible.  So, get on the latest releases with the existing UI’s (Portal, Duet, SAP GUI, etc) and plug in Muse once its availible. 
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        1. James Ibbotson
          Looks fantastic.

          We have a go live next August, for about 6000 end users, with a big linux and mac community involved.

          Were using SRM, XI and ECC for the implementation, would you be able to plug the SRM web gui into muse ?

          This would be brilliant at it would allow mac and linux users to have the same feel and UI as windows users….

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          1. Jeffrey Word Post author
            James-

            Can’t comment on that exact scenario right now, but that’s definately close to our goal of providing an identical experience regardless of the client OS.

            You’ll need to be on ECC for ERP05 and NW04s to use Muse. 

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        2. Anonymous
          Hi Jeff,
          I’m currently working on a project to present MUSE to Partners, are there any demos available?
          Thanks
          Carlos
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  1. Sudhir Gupta
    this looks really very funky and cool.. taking sap experience to a new level….
    I have a question here.. how SAP is planning to take care of so many User interfaces and platforms.. if there is any solution matrix is proposed for the same??

    Thanks for sharing this with us.
    Regards

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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      The beauty of Muse is that it runs on Adobe/Macromedia Flash Player (and future Apollo runtime).  As such, the client is completely supported on all OS/HW combinations by default.

      As far as other interfaces to SAP, we’re trying to provide as many ways as possible for users to consume SAP business processes.  We’re also re-architecting our core functional assets so that all UI’s will share a common set of “predicate” actions.  This will provide a very similar experience for the user if they’re working on a PDA or Duet or Portal or Muse.  Things will “look” a bit different, but “feel” the same since the actions and steps will be consistent.

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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      There will be demo versions availible for download later on (no specific date yet).  First customers will get it for testing later this year, mass availibility in 2007.
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      1. Mats Ostlin
        Hi Jeff,
        Is there a possibility to download your 8 minute demo, referenced above in your initial text, for offline-viewing? E.g. to view and share it where there is no network access. I assume your answer to the other download question relates to the download of the Muse software, and that one I can wait for until it is released.
        Thanks / Mats
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  2. Peter Inotai
    Hi Jeff,

    This GUI is really impressive, I’m sure users will like it.

    Can you provide some info how the logon works? Is it based on SSO?
    In your demo you logged on to portal, normal SAP GUI, webdynpro, etc, however there was no logon popup, everything happened in the backgound.

    Thanks,
    Peter

    PS: I’d also love to play around some kind of sneak preview version.:-)

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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      Logon, security and permissions are all managed behind the scenes by the portal framework.  That’s why users never see anything.  That’s why you can’t have Muse without NetWeaver– it relies heavily on all the capabilities of the portal framework, etc in order to be so simple for the end user. 
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    1. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
      Simon:

      Maybe it’s not impressive if you’re a Developer or a functional kind of user…But for end users, I think it’s great…Have you already see the demo??? I got a lot of improvements…Create an Invoice and get it on PDF with just one button? I think that great…And what about the Flash and Flex pie graphics??? And the ALV is no more…You just see a beautiful webdynpro alv table -;) Anyway…AFAIK is  a project going on…not a finished product -:)

      Greetings,

      Blag.

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    2. Jeffrey Word Post author
      It really is designed for end users, not developers.  Its beautiful in its simplicity, so that end users have a more enjoyable SAP experience and are sheilded from the complexity of the SAP system behind the scenes.
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  3. Arthur Miller
    Jeff, will the Muse appbe based on a live connection to a backend Muse repository/server, where the roles, connectivity settings, etc. would be stored?  Or do all role & configuration settings exist solely on the end user’s PC?
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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      All of the roles, etc are managed in the portal framework and backend systems.  Just like the portal, once a user logs in and authenticates– they’re screen reflects the role-based functions they can perform.  So, you can pass thru an SSO certificate from the desktop logon, thru Muse to the portal.  But, roles and security settings are managed on the backend (portal and ERP), not in Muse.  There are quite a few configuration settings that will be managed in Muse, but much more like browser settings & skins.  There’s a clear division between client and backend, just like in the Portal or SAP GUI today, but much more end user customization and extension capabilities on the client than before.
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  4. Twan van den Broek
    Hi Jeff,
    Thanx for sharing the sneak preview on MUSE, it really looks awesome.
    Question: how about ‘old-skool’ navigation with transaction codes and within the transaction with the PF keys?

    Kind regards
    Twan

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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      The best analogy I can think of is DOS and WinXP.  When most people use WinXP, they don’t realize that DOS is still there, in the background.  Experts or people who need special features know about RUN >CMD and can do some heavy lifting in that environment.  Muse will be kind of like that.  Most users won’t need to know transaction codes because they’ll have most of their role-based activities at their fingertips, just like in the portal.  And, thru the simplification efforts (like Guided Procedures), most of the common transactions and screens won’t be “driven” by typing in transaction codes– the user will follow the GP.

      But, if you’re an expert and need to get to SE80 or something like that, you’ll be able to get there pretty easily too– just not so obvious as the transaction window in SAP GUI today. 

      Transaction codes are NOT going away, but users won’t interact solely with transactions in the future.  We’re “hiding” most of that complexity from the end user, but experts will still have it readily availible.

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  5. Srinidhi Rayasam
    If muse is going to act as a thick client for the end users, then wouldn’t we be contradicting the use of portal as a web based interface, where in we can access any of the applications under portal anywhere through a web browser.

    Srinidhi

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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      Muse is a combination of thick and thin client functionality.  Users will access the portal for certain activities and Muse for certain activities (and Duet, and mobile, etc).  There is no longer only ONE way to interact with SAP– there are multiple access points for multiple types of usage.  There are many transactions/activites that are much better accomplished thru a portal than thru a thick client today. 

      In any case, Muse relies heavily on the portal infrastructure, so even though you might not SEE the portal, it is very much behind the scenes doing lots of work

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      1. Matthias Zeller
        Some additional thoughts.
        I would categorize Muse as a Rich Client, or Rich Business Client. It combines the benefits of the thin/web client (web based distribution and maintenence of application, cross-platform) with the benefits of a thick client (rich UI, offline capability, integration with OS and local applications).
        Someone mentioned before that this sounds like a step backward in a world where every application is designed to be Browser based. I see it as an evolutionary step forward. The Browser was designed many years ago as an application to browse web content, but not as a runtime platform for applications. Actually a lot of the Browser functionality is meaningless if you run an application (vs browsing content) in a Browser (e.g. back and forward button, print page). I have talked to many application UI designers in the past and many feel that standard HTML functionality is just to limiting for engaging application user interfaces. Thats why we see the rise of technologies like Flex/Flash and AJAX. I think it is just the logical next step to have these applications run standalone on the client (given the developer even more control on look-and-feel as well as usability and offline support). This will not replace the web broser but supplement it.

        I agree that this is a very new concept so I am happy to dicuss.

        Matthias

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        1. Anton Wenzelhuemer
          sometimes I really wonder whom (which users) product managers talk to…obviously not the kinds like me…

          I am doing

          -) e-banking
          -) electronic stocks management
          -) buying stuff at amazon and alike including availability checking, etc
          -) doing my tax declarations and other eGov
          stuff
          -) live betting for FIFA world cup of soccer
          -) manage my webspace over a nice webinterface
          -) reading my favourite newspapers from around the world including discussing things by means of forum postings
          -) browse, search and buy airline tickets needed professionally as well as privately
          -) read my email and manage my appointments via a webinterface
          -) etc, etc, etc, etc, etc

          You know whats the best about this?

          I can do it fromm everywhere in this world. Find a computer and GO. On holiday on the maldives? No problem. Find ANY computer and GO. Ineternet cafe wherever? Excellent. GO.

          No need to install or require any proprietary SHMOOSE.

          Just an ordinary web browser. No need for a broadband connection (though better of course). That’s what I really love about it.

          I really want to know if some fat client aficionados regard above mentioned ‘usage types’ as non-enterprise-fit.

          I work in this business for quiet some time and I don’t know anybody who really desires to have a necessity for a number of different proprietary fat clients, except – strange coincidence – macromedia, who for years again and again tried to position their stuff as a challenger to HTML based thin clients and some long time (old time) SAP users.

          My bet: Apollo will have to report another problem.

          just my 2 cents.
          anton

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          1. Matthias Zeller
            Hello Anton,
            I think there is a big difference between a fat client (e.g. need to install a Windows executable) and a Rich Client, which I see as a web application which runs outside the browser. But lets see what I am using on my computer, maybe starting with the tabs I open automatically every morning in Firefox:
            – My Yahoo (for general news, stocks, business news, German news, Weather)
            – Google Homepage, incl Google Reader for my favorite Blogs (SDN Blogs, TechCrunch, Adobe Blogs, Flickr Photos from friends), Gmail overview, Adobe Labs News, Slashdot)
            – Gmail
            – Inside Adobe Intranet
            – Movable Type
            – Netflix
            – Techmeme
            – del.icio.us
            – My Breeze Room (for online collaboration)

            Other Web apps I use regularly:
            – Amazon etc. for buying stuff
            – Various e-banking web sited
            – Yahoo Maps, Beta
            – Mortgage Website
            – Orbitz, Southwest, etc. for flight tickets (occasionally)
            – All types of websites related to Babys (will be father soon)
            – Zagat Restaurant Guide
            – LinkedIn and OpenBC
            – etc.

            And I agree it is great that I can access this from any computer, but personnally I use my laptop 99% of the time to access these sites.

            On the other hand I am annoyed by the fact that I can access this information only when I am online. Here is what I would like to do additionaly to accessing the websites above:
            – Read my latest Gmail emails when I am offline
            – Answer emails
            – Compose Blogs and have them syncronized when I am online
            – Being able to write SDN comments offline and without the concern that my Browser session timesout and I will need to re-type all of this 😉
            – Get Stock Ticker right on Desktop
            – Find Locations, Stores, etc. with Yahoo Maps and then take it offline so I can access them while on the road
            – Review info about my travel reservations offline (e.g. when I am already on the road)

            -> Yes most of the above I can do by installing traditional client software on my computer (e.g. Email client, MS Maps, Stock ticker application), but what I want to do is just take them offline outside the browser without worrying about a lengthy install and maintaining versions… And thats the promise of a Rich Client runtime

            So now lets see what I have additionally installed on my computer:
            – Instant Messaging software (various clients)
            – iTunes
            – Quicktime
            – Google Earth
            – FTP Client
            – Plazes Location software
            – Riya Photo client
            – Flickr Uploader
            – Groove Virtual Office Trial Version
            – SAP GUI
            – Pretty much most of the Adobe applications
            – MS Office
            – SAP Web AS Java, NetWeaver Developer Studio
            – etc.

            Now I understand that a Web AS requires installation procedures. Also very complex desktop applications (Photoshop, InDesign, Excel) I understand the need to install them locally. However for all the lightweight apps (Uploaders, Messaging, even thinks like simple editors, etc) I would rather prefer a distribution and install mechanism similar to calling a Rich Internet Application in the Browser (which is pretty much that it runs without install).

            Now think about the companies developing the software. It is a significant overhead today to develop client software for different operating systems (especially if you want to look like an OS native app). It would be significant easier (and allow more feature development) if you have the need to develop client software (because a browser based UI is not sufficient for your use case) to develop it once (like a Web App using web technologies like HTML and Flash) and run it then as a client on various OSes (Linux, MacOs, Windows).

            So frankly I think there is a lot of room for improvement. What I think is important to involve endusers very early in the development process and “release early and often”. Thats what we plan for Apollo, which is in its very early stages right now (actually a big shift for Adobe. A couple of years ago we would have not been allowed to talk about this until the software is released).

            Another point I wanted to make is that the majority of the client infrastructure required for Apollo is already installed on the vast majority of computers (Flash Player and Adobe Reader).

            Cheers,

            Matthias

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            1. Anton Wenzelhuemer
              http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html

              …Any Web 2.0 vendor that seeks to lock in its application gains by controlling the platform will, by definition, no longer be playing to the strengths of the platform.

              This is not to say that there are not opportunities for lock-in and competitive advantage, but we believe they are not to be found via control over software APIs and protocols. There is a new game afoot. The companies that succeed in the Web 2.0 era will be those that understand the rules of that game, rather than trying to go back to the rules of the PC software era.

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  6. Rajan K
    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for a lovely preview of Project Muse. Amazing to see how SAP is making things more easier for end users…but some doubts..

    1) How do I login to Project Muse. Although you mentioned that EP is required in the backend to manage login, security and permissions, does the user have to login to EP first and then click Muse. This is a bit confusing. Can you highlight this part.

    2) Will the Portal roles and detailed navigation be automatically converted to Role-based Navigation(EP Detailed navigation) and Native Canvas (EP iviews).

    3) Would Muse be using ITS at all..?? Sounds ITS is soon en-passe..

    Waiting for some inputs from you on the same.

    Cheers,
    Rajan.K

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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      1) Logon will probably be done similarly to today, but without all the standard SAP Logon stuff.  Can’t provide details yet on the mechanics, but we’re going to make it very, very simple from the end user perspective. 

      2) The Muse client will very closely mirror the role-based functionality in the portal since the portal framework is managing all that behind Muse.  You’ll get a much richer and faster experience in Muse versus the same transaction in the portal, simply due to the fact that you’re not bound by so many server round trips and page redraws in a browser (and a lot of other limitations of the browser).  The SAP transaction is the exact same for both. Having Muse as the client will give you the cool look and feel of a browser app, but the performance and power of a thick client. 

      3) AFAIK:  Muse doesn’t directly use ITS.  But, we’re putting a lot of effort into being able to consume many, older UI technologies if they’re being used thru the portal in NW04s.  In general, ITS isn’t being used by SAP in any of our newer stuff– WebDynpro and Visual Composer are some skills you should definately pick up fast.

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  7. Normen Deutschmann
    Spoken from a Designing perspektive (which has the end user constantly in mind) it is a good demo for showing inconsistency. It is a good usability approach, offering a one click pdf creation functionality, no doubt. But why only that flashy Navigation but still the old content screen and workflows? Hopefully that will change as well…..
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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      Normen– The Muse client is only half the effort.  The rest of our work is being done on simplifying the SAP screens and transactions and “beautifying” them. (see the Guided procedure & WebDynpro Flash screenshots)

      Fact is–there’s a lot of Dynpro screens out there (over 100,000)  SAP can’t convert them all overnight, and most of our customers have built custom Dynpro screens too.  SAP will be using WebDynpro and Visual composer to upgrade large groups of screens and delivering them to customers in ERP05 over the next several quarters.  Plus, customers can use the same tools that SAP is using to upgrade all of their custom screens.  Once you have the majority of your upgraded screens/transactions in Muse, you’ll start to get the “full” experience

      But just having Muse with older screens will still provide a lot of value 🙂

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  8. Dharmesh Thakkar
    At this point I think SAP is confusing the hell out of customers on their UI strategy. While the idea of accessing SAP any ways you like (office, muse, sap gui, portal) sounds great but it adds confusion, cost and management headache for most enterprise.
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  9. muñoz agustín
    Hello,

    Every body talk about portal, but many customer have, and they will continue having, a sad and lonely ERP2005 without SAP EP. They can use this “High-Tech” GUI 😉 for their transaction?

    Other question, we have integrated SAP GUI inside local aplications with SAP GUI scripting. Has Muse any similar object oriented interface?

    Thank for the preview

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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      You don’t have to have a full blown portal implementation to use Muse, but you will have to have a portal infrastructure deployed– Muse can’t work without all the backend portal services.  Think of Muse as a desktop client for the portal in that sense, just not a browser. However, all the ERP05 functionality is being consumed in Muse thru the portal infrastructure.  We’ll make a lot more techie info availible in the next few months on how to get to Muse from various platforms, but you will have to have NW04s and ERP05 at a minimum for Muse.

      Not sure about the SAP GUI scripting, but there will be lots of capabilities to extend Muse for other applications.

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  10. Alessandro Guarneri
    I think SAP is wise enough, generally speaking, to know what market and (end)users are ready for.
    At a glance I don’t love this new toy (I know there’s a lot of work behind, don’t misunderstand).
    It looks to me like having a new little Operating System inside Win, Mac or Linux…
    Who said “Forget ALT-TAB”? I like it, I couldn’t live without it.
    And again, many of the object embedding Muse is doing could have been done with SAPGui as well. Or is there a really brand new technology operating the whole stuff?

    Keep going. I think end users will like it despite my (and other tech guys’) comments!

    Alex

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    1. Anton Wenzelhuemer
      Hi Alex,

      I share your thoughts on the client, though I don’t know it’s only a techie feeling.

      Especially I ask myself if it isn’t against all trends to come up with another fat (or thick) client, probably with it’s own usage concepts (usability, expectability, navigational structure, etc..) while the rest of the world tries to find common such concepts (usage patterns) using a common (thin) client.

      But, try it. The world is changing and maybe we’ll see a comeback of the concept of various thick clients on our desktops.

      anton

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  11. Michiel Jeuken
    SAP Wingui is unsafe as the connection is not encrypted by default. userid/password, sap login ticket and the connection data can be sniffed.
    I assume that the muse client uses HTTPS, which makes suitable for use in open networks ?
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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      Micheil–
      Sorry, I don’t have an answer to this yet.  Security is one of the top priorities for Muse, but I’ll have to dig into this a bit to get your answer. 
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      1. Matthias Zeller
        The Apollo client runtime will support HTTP/S. I assume Muse will leverage this capability. However we are in the very early stages with this project. A lot has to be worked out and developed over the next coming months and years. This is a signifcant new way of running web based applications on a local machine and even so it is based on very stable technologies (Flash, PDF, HTML) there are still a lot of details to be worked out when running standalone outside of a browser.

        Exciting times in front of us.

        Matthias

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      2. Paul Snyman
        Jeff,

        Do you have any further info on this security topic. From what I can see the NWBC as I presume it is now being called references embedded SAPGUI so my interpretation of this is that the underlying SAPGUI programs/libraries are being called and that the effective protocol is SAP GUI’s DIAG and not HTTP/HTTPS?

        If native SAPGUI is being used then Muse will need to support SNC scenarios as implied originally in this thread or do you know of something I don’t 🙂

        Regards,
        Paul

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  12. Jean-Sébastien Monteil
    Hi,

    Muse looks great, but really SAP-centric.

    Through the Portal, we are providing users with a single point of entry to different sources of content: SAP and non-SAP.

    How Muse will integrate non-SAP Iview (for example OpenText Portal Integration Kit, or Java development, etc…)?

    How could we build composite interface with Muse (dev, next generation of business packages, etc…)?

    What is the SAP vision for the Portal as user interface vs Muse?

    Thank for your answer.

    JS

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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      Muse will be able to display anything currently rendered thru the portal, without any extra effort.  Think of it as a “business browser” in that sense, just like a web browser, but with a lot of extras.  So the portal won’t render the iviews in a browser, it will render in Muse instead.  Not a big deal.

      Muse will be very extensible, so it can consume any number of standard web services (XML/SOAP/AJAX, etc).  Again, think of it as a “business browser” with all the same capabilities of a regular web browser (so you don’t lose anything) but you gain a whole lot from the added capabilities in the “Slim Client”

      The portal isn’t changing, the web browser as a consumption mechanism for portal content is changing.  The portal is turning into a “services” provider– it doesn’t care if it’s rendering content into Internet Explorer or Muse.

      So your question really is “what is the vision for web browsers as an interface?”  That entirely depends on each customer’s users and business processes.  SAP feels that end users will determine how they want to “consume” SAP.  At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter to SAP if end users want to book vacation time in a web browser, Muse, Duet, an Interactive Form, mobile device or in SAP GUI. 

      The transaction is the exact same in the backend.  But the user can determine how they want to interact with each business process, and can choose multiple ways if that’s what they want.  

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  13. David Gay
    A nice piece of technology, but a shame SAP is only promoting it for the new versions of SAP. Looks like 4.6C need not apply, and frankly, that’s a shame. Considering the cost of SAP, we try to get the most mileage out of the ERP we buy. I personally do not consider 4.6C old by any stretch of the imagination, we’ve worked with way older legacy systems and were still to build on top of them.

    Progress, gotta love it (but only if you got the cash for disposable ERP suites)

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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      David– such is the tradeoff with technology.  The migration to ECC in ERP05 from 4.6c is actually not that big of a deal, we have many clients that do it in 60 days. 

      The fact is, Muse MUST have a services-enabled backend and infrastructure to work properly.  SAP isn’t going to ever take anything away that you have today, but you will eventually have to move up to “newer” versions in order to get all these wonderful enhancements.  Its simply impossible to do with “older” versions.  Think Windows 95 versus Vista (or Mac OS 8 vs OS X). 

      Key thing for our customers is building the right business case to upgrade.  Muse can be the icing on the cake, but you need to really plan out your migration path now.  4.6c is great, but there’s an overwhelming demand for the “new” stuff that SAP is putting a lot of its efforts into. 

      If 4.6c does what you want and you’re happy– stick with it for a few more years.  SAP wants you to get every last bit of ROI out of it.  But, if your users are demanding more fuctionality, more capabilities and all the great new stuff SAP is building so that they can run their business better– you’re going to have to move up to ERP05.  That’s the “new” 4.6c of the next generation– its going to be around for a while.

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      1. David Gay
        Good day, Jeff

        Thanks for your reply. You are correct about us having to upgrade eventually, either because of the maintenance agreement or the technology evolution or even the supported platforms for SAP (I noticed OS/400 is not on the list for the latest versions of ERP2xxx).

        I really do like Muse, it is most impressive technology. I am just suffering from a case of GUI-envy after seeing your presentation. But when we do migrate to the newer version (of which I understand Netweaver is bundled with), we will be in a position to take advantage of Muse

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  14. Anonymous
    Can you please tell me if Muse will work with the several different BW client applications?  These are written in VB or similar and currently only work on a Windows platform. 

    We also need to log on to each BW client application separately.

    If Muse can supercede these clients then I would be truly impressed.

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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      Muse will definately work with any of the analytic screens on top of BW created with Visual Composer.  Additionally, any BW content that can be displayed in the portal or Excel should be easy to do. 
      Don’t know about the VB stuff or seperate log ins, I’ll have to check. 

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      1. Falko Schneider
        As already mentioned the whole BEx Web runtime incl. Information Broadcasting, Collaboration functionality etc. will be integrated into Muse. We will also have an integration of the BEx desktop tools in the sense, that you will be able to launch these tools from Muse. Since these tools are .NET based the dependency to the Windows platform remains.
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  15. Anonymous
    One of the goals of MUSE is usage on mobile devices. How about creating a “portable” GUI meaning I can carry my GUI on an usb stick.
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  16. Dimitar Margaritov
    Hi,
    I learnt about Muse project only today as it was announced in SAP SDN newsletter. It seems that some of you have known before that.
    Anyway, I tried to find some information about the Apollo framework but could not find anything. Any ideas of where I can find something about this?
    I think the idea is greath. I even think SAP had to look for such a solution a long time ago.
    And I am looking forward to see the first preview. Are there any newsletter list about this project like for Duet (Mendocino) or I have to regularly check this blog?
    Best regards,
    Dimitar Margaritov
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    1. Matthias Zeller
      Hello Dimitar,
      Apollo is an Adobe development project to deliver a universal client runtime platform which allows web based applications to run online and offline. Apollo will support Flex/Flash, PDF as well as HTML. For SAP we are also discussing a kind of “Native Canvas” which would allow SAP to run SAP GUI and Active-X controls in Apollo on Windows.
      Since it is an early development project we have no official announcement yet, but we started to demo and present the technologies at our developer conferences. You can find additional info here:
      http://www.crn.com/sections/software/software.jhtml?articleId=189401290

      http://www.pdfzone.com/article2/0,1895,1965150,00.asp

      http://www.adobe.com/devnet/platform/

      http://www.digitalbackcountry.com/index.cfm/2006/6/13/i-have-seen-apollo-and-it-is-awesome

      Obviously Flex/Flash will be a key Apollo UI technology. To learn more about the upcoming Flex 2 release and download a free Beta version of the development environment see http://labs.adobe.com/

      We hope to get the first external Beta version of Apollo out by the end of this year. We clearly want to get a lot of developer feedback so we will release early and often. This is a pretty signficant project and I predict will change the way people interact with web based applications in the future.

      Cheers,

      Matthias Zeller
      Group Product Manager, Adobe Systems

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  17. Thomas Nguyen
    When will the functionality of integrating with mobile device be availabled?  What type of devices and mobile operating systems (Windows Mobile 2005, etc…) can it runs on?  Will the transactional data be stored on the handheld or PPC?
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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      Thomas–

      We haven’t annouced availibility for any of the Mobile technolgies associated with Muse.  They will most likely follow the main desktop release.

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  18. Kersten Herrmann
    Hi Jeff,
    this MUSE looks great and offers a lot of nice features on top of existing SAP UI technologies:
    however – as some other collegues have stated – we do not get rid of our various UI approaches with this UI.
    What confuses me is how we position it with SAP Portal or SAP UI’s that offer also a role and user navigation component like the new CRM WEBClient UI (CRM 2006s)
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    1. Jeffrey Word Post author
      Kersten–

      SAP is not going to a unified UI “client”.  We’re going towards a unified UI paridigm, with multiple clients accessing the UI.  The roles and navigation will be very similar (if not identical) in Muse, Portal, Duet, Mobile, etc.  How an end user chooses to “consume” those is up to the user, not SAP.  SAP can only provide the capability to access our systems from any “front end” that the customer wishes to use. 

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  19. Kilian Kiko
    Hi Jeff,

    What exactly is the difference between a web browser and the Business Browser? Don’t you use a web browser engine (the IE or an Adobe engine) in the background? How do you display HTML and Portal content (WebDynpro) otherwise? Will there be a new rendering engine inside EP or in Apollo or in the MUSE client?

    I cannot explain how you realize “less server round trips and page redraws in a browser (and a lot of other limitations of the browser).”
    Can you explain your statement?
    “Having Muse as the client will give you the cool look and feel of a browser app, but the performance and power of a thick client.”

    Thanks Kilian

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  20. Joachim Marx
    Jeff,

    could you please have a look at these points!

    – are there more details about technology and potential (if any) impact to runnng desktop configurations?
    – how and when will the new UI be delivered – component by component / in one-go?
    – when will be possible to organize workshop for business partners / outsourcers?

    Thanks and regards,
    Joachim

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  21. Eric Bruner
    Hi Jeff, looks nice!  How does the guided procedures get updated?  Does it automatically match the transaction flow as amended by individual customers?

    Also, how are help texts and mouse over field definitions updated for customization, personalization, localization and translation?

    Thanks, Eric

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  22. Alexandra Kornfeld-Gran
    Hi Jeff.
    looks great. Do you know, if the project MUSE is relevant for access to the CRM applications as well?
    As you might know, there will be a new interface technology (based on Interaction Center WebClient Technology) for the CRM applications with the next release, but it seems to be something different than the MUSE intitiative?
    Where exactly is the difference between both projects – or where do we have overlappings?
    Thanks and warm regards
    Alexandra
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  23. Sergio Gómiz
    Hi Jeff,

    I would like to know how-to shows the standards dynpros in the canvas, using its components of was?

    good work!, the presentation is very nice.

    Best Regards.

    Sergio Gómiz.

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  24. Andreas Diebold
    Hi Jeff,
    three more questions:
    1. Is there any way to navigate between different UI-techniques e.g. from a web dynpro ABAP UI to a classic SAP-GUI UI by clicking a link? What about OBN (Object based Navigation in Enterprise Portal)?
    2. In the Enterprise Portal it is possible to show e.g. a 4.6C transaction in a SAP-GUI Iview. Is this also possible in Muse, supposed you have a Basis 7.0 system including the portal core to host the Muse backend.
    3. Could you position project Muse against NWBC (Netweaver Business Client)?
    Regards
    Andreas
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    1. Anonymous
      Did you get an answer for the question
      “1. Is there any way to navigate between different UI-techniques e.g. from a web dynpro ABAP UI to a classic SAP-GUI UI by clicking a link? What about OBN (Object based Navigation in Enterprise Portal)?”

      ???

      Thx Thomas

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    2. Sergey Vlasov
      1. Yes, it is possible from Enterprise Portal by defining IViews for SAP-GUI UI components.
      2. It is possible to show a ECC 6.0 transaction in a SAP-GUI IView from the Enterprise Portal.
      3. Muse is the internal project name for SAP NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC).
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  25. Mark Berkhoff
    Jeff,
    Will the MUSE GUI still support the old dialog protocol which today connects the old GUI to an application server? Or will this be completely replaced by HTTP(S)?
    Thanks.
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