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Hi All,

With advent of new ( so called cool controls ) like Flash Islands, Silverlight etc developers’ headache has also increased.

Keeping in pace with the requirements; SAP also has made some standard controls based on these technologies avaliable for use to the developer community.

Now even for a simple requirement like displaying data in a bar graph (which can be easily and effectively achieved using Web Dynpro Business Graphics ) people are using these Islands as they have a jazzy appearance.

But here lies the real problem – Many ( or all ) controls based on these technologies doesn’t meet the required Product Standard Guidelines. One such case is Accessibility Product Standard.

So to achieve both – Impressive Look and Feel and Adherence To Product Standard Guidelines ; Developers now have to develop two sets of UI’s for the same functionality; one using all high end controls and other using basic primitive controls.

This has significantly increased the time involved in development plus it will also lead to more maintenance cost as now more screens need to be maintained.

I would say that SAP should come up with a set of guidelines suggesting that when to use these new controls. If some functionality can easily be achieved through normal web dynpro controls then use of these new generation controls is not at all required…

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  1. Guillaume GARCIA
    Hi,

    Web Dynpro offers accessibility right away (not dealt with this so far but if you say so ! :D), whereas when you choose to develop Islands (using Flex or Silverlight) you have to deal with accessibility yourself.
    Indeed, those RIA technologies have accessibility features but you have to implement them in addition to the “jazzy” design, advanced interaction with the UI, and so on…)

    References:
    [Flex] http://www.adobe.com/accessibility/products/flex/best_practices.html
    [Flex] http://www.9xb.com/blog/blog-accessibility-in-adobe-flex.html
    [Silverlight] http://www.code-magazine.com/Article.aspx?quickid=0810062

    I guess there is a choice to make here, either develop a Web Dynpro version along with an Islands version or a accessible Islands version.

    To put it in a nutshell, I think the problem is – as usual – more cost-related. Whenever you want to use Islands, you also have to consider the additional cost of handling accessibility.

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    1. Sandhya Hariharan
      I completely agree with Guillaume. Also another fact is that, there are UI work councils in SAP  and allocated UI gate keepers for each project which mainly works on this aspect. The RIA are meant only for those cases where it is absolutely not possible to depict using the existing SAP UI controls. So before any RIA application is created, it has to be approved by the work council based on specific guidelines. 🙂

      Best Regards,
      Sandhya

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  2. Thomas Jung
    >I would say that SAP should come up with a set of guidelines suggesting that when to use these new controls. If some functionality can easily be achieved through normal web dynpro controls then use of these new generation controls is not at all required…

    If you are talking about internal development, then we absolutely do have the guidelines you suggest.  We also have UI Governance Council.  For SAP shipping applications, they must approve the use of any and all Islands.  They are quite strict to make sure that what is in the Island can’t be done in Web Dynpro native. From the internal WIKI you can view the SAP UI Governance page and see all requests and their status.

    For customers/partners using Islands, we make these points quite clear in the rollout materials.  We have a slide that lists the pros/cons. From that slide:

    Points to Consider When Using Islands
    More development and maintenance effort will be needed
    * Specific UI programming skills needed for Adobe Flex or Silverlight (for control developers only)
    * Debugging complexity increases

    Meeting SAP accessibility and I18N standards is not automatic
    *Accessibility
      *Co-implementation of an alternative, e. g. based on Web Dynpro native
    *Internationalization
      *Provide translated texts on the server side and transport them to the client

    Performance
    *Avoid using more than 3 Adobe Flash Islands on the screen
    *Avoid data aggregation on client side
    *Provide suitable paging of data

    Some standard Web Dynpro features are not provided and must be added
    *Value help and field help (can be implemented as usual outside the island, however)
    *Configuration and personalization

    Users might realize that two different technologies are at work
    *Different styles
    *RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) behave differently from SSR (Server Side Rendering) applications

    Two development infrastructures are required
    *IDE not integrated into SE80
    *SAP versioning and transport mechanisms not before upload of application into MIME Repository

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    1. Manas Dua Post author
      Hi Thomas,

      Thanks for pointing this out. Frankly speaking, I was not aware of the guidelines being available for use of these controls. Can you please send me the link for these guidelines at my mail id. I would like to bring these guidelines to our team’s notice.

      -> *Co-implementation of an alternative, e. g. based on Web Dynpro native

      This is the reason which prompted me to write this blog. Recently we saw a internal demo in a project where a simple bar graph was created using Islands. No doubt it created a good impression with its look and feel but as a side effect team was also asked to another set of UI -another using Normal Table control.

      Also, i feel that UI experts then should strictly say no for use of these controls during UI reviews, if the functionality can easily and effectively be achieved through normal controls.

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  3. Luca Grilli
    Hi Manas,
        It is for me non really clear the reason of your blog: what’s happening around you?
    And why to foment others to barricade behind a standard guide lines for UI?
    Let people choose their preferred way to develop, weighting costs and benefits.
    I sincerely do not understand why to close the door of RIA applications.
    Otherwise the same paradigm should been applied years ago when SAP opened the door of JAVA developments. Or should SAP dismiss Java Connector or .Net connector since the final applications may not respect internal SAP UI guideline (I’d like to read them)?
    Bye
    Luca

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