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Author's profile photo Angélique Heutinck

Visual Composer – EP versus NW CE

Visual Composer tool can be accessed in 2 ways:

1. opening the tool in a SAP Enterprise Portal  

2. opening the tool in NW CE via Netweaver Developer Studio

On Teched 2009 in Vienna I joined session UP104 (Visual Composer for SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment 7.2: Overview and Roadmap ) and then I realized I never see any overview and roadmap sessions or presentations on Visual Composer in Enterprise Portal Environment.

I got a feeling that SAP is not spending any money and effort on getting Visual Composer in EP on the same level of majority as it currently is as integrated part of NW CE.

As we work with VC on EP I wanted to doublecheck this with SAP. I did send some questions to the SAP VC expert community. My questions have been answered by Natty Slomianski and he is part of Visual Composer’s Solution Office team. I wanted to share this information within the SDN community  


Question 1:

UP104 session speaker told us that 7.2 Visual Composer models will not need a portal runtime anymore. He said the compiled VC models would be comparable with a normal web dynpro application so I guess we could give users a URL in the future. Is this correct?

SAP answer:

You are correct. The outcome of a compiled Visual Composer model in 7.2 (and also in 7.1.1)  is a regular WebDynpro application, so you can indeed just give the user a URL to call. You can also integrate the WD application in your 7.0 portal if you wish to do so – there is no problem to do so.



Question 2:

We don’t have NW CE installed yet, IFF is working with VC via EP. The focus in SAP presentations is mainly on VC CE 7.x via NWDS which I can fully understand. Assuming our company decides not to purchase NW CE, what features will I not be able to use in VC? I guess e.g. BPM integration will be impossible but I am also focusing on functionality related to standalone VC models (like e.g. working with simulated services and the debug tool)?

SAP answer: Visual Composer for CE 7.2 version is very powerful development and modeling tool. Beside the already mentioned features like the debugger and simulated services, I can point out many others:

a. Reusable models: You can reuse models in other models you have, e.g. prepare a standard products table that you can embed in any model you develop.

b. Life Cycle management: Visual Composer for CE can work seamlessly with NWDI and DTR. You get version management out of the box.c. BI Planning: This is only supported in VC for CE (7.1.1 and up), so if you’re interested in some BI planning functionalities, this is the version for you.

d. Enhanced connectivity: Seamless integration with Enterprise Service Registry.

e. Support for complex structures (clustered) and nested tables support.

f. WebDynpro/Flex runtime, which is more scalable than 7.0. (can be used also on thin clients).


Question 3:

Just to doublecheck on the future of the VC tool as part of EP which is not 100% clear to me yet: all features mentioned above will never be possible in VC, even when we will install NW Ehp 1 and Ehp 2 or a future release of EP (we are now on EP7)? Are there any plans to take VC tool out of the regular portal and only make it available in CE in the future?

SAP answer:

No, unfortunately VC 7.0 (portal version) is currently in maintenance mode, which means no new major features – only bug fixing and stabilization is being made. SAP does not intend to remove VC from the portal version (VC 7.0). It will continue to be part of it and maintained for the whole lifetime of the product (EP7).


To summarize:

If you want to be able to use Visual Composer in its full extend, you will have to move to SAP NW CE. Netweaver CE 7.2 is planned to be released for ramp-up customers at the end of 2009. Looking forward to it!

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      Author's profile photo Yariv Zur
      Yariv Zur
      As the person who actually did UP104, its good to see how the community complements the places which I've missed. This is certainly a very helpful post.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      To be honest, and as a Portal customer, I’m very concerned with the fact that any development news, enhancements, functionalities, technology, solutions and others, are only available for NW CE.

      Since the NW CE does not contain a full Portal solution and there is any information that will contain, what is the Roadmap for the SAP Portal product?

      Will future Portal release support, for example, all the new features of Web Dynpro runtime included in SAP NW CE?

      Author's profile photo Yariv Zur
      Yariv Zur
      There *is* a roadmap for Portal. Just look up the relevant sessions from the last TechEd (I believe UP100 was the session code) where the outlook for the next version of the portal was dicussed.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Yariv,

      Thanks for the information, but unfortunately, not all the customer can join TechEd, so it would be great if someone from SAP, could share the roadmap of Portal Solution, in fact, we still being a SAP Customer.

      Thanks & Regards