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Author's profile photo Yariv Zur

Oh, the pretty colors!

As part of the upcoming release of NetWeaver 7.3 (End of this year) we will be releasing a new version of Visual Composer (surprisingly named Visual Composer 7.3). One of the major developments in 7.3 has been to replace the Visual Composer drawing board underlying technology.

 [technical part, skip if you just want to see the colors]

Visual Composer’s drawing board, ever since its inception (originally from a startup called GUIMachine) has been based on the Adobe SVG plugin. The plugin enabled creating neat graphics in a very efficient way and gave the VC drawing board a very slick user-experience and look and feel. As important is the fact that the Adobe SVG plugin is highly performant – you could have a model with many many objects without getting a performance penalty.

However, a few years ago Adobe announced that it was discontinuing its support to the SVG plugin and it was time to find a replacement to the old workhorse. We’ve looked into several alternatives, and eventually chose to re-implement the board using Microsoft Silverlight. Basically (with the help of the friends at Microsoft) we wrote the thing from scratch with a few key guidelines:

  1. We dont need to re-write the enveloping code (The VC client is written in highly performant AJAX)
  2. We reach the same performance as we had with Adobe SVG

Initially, we weren’t intending to get any ‘additional’ benefits from using Silverlight instead of SVG. This was supposed to be just a technical replacement of one underlying technology with antoher (‘Just’ turned out to be a considerable effort). However – once we finished development it was time to start playing around and making it look way nicer than it did…

[/technical part. welcome back higher management]

Here is the before and after images:






Some notes:

  1. We’ve just replaced the board, the generated UI is still Web Dynpro Java (HTML/Flex)
  2. Initially we will be releasing the board as part of VC 7.3, but we will later downport this to 7.2, 7.11 and of course – 7.0. Although the nice colors will only exist in the 7.3 version. Yet another reason to upgrade 🙂
  3. Colors are not Final… Our UX wizards are still working on this.

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      Author's profile photo Clinton Jones
      Clinton Jones
      it's interesting to see this new direction with the underlying technology, could the NWBC be next?
      Author's profile photo Chintan Virani
      Chintan Virani
      I don't know if its just me but I could see any difference between the Before and after messages.

      Also a "small thing" such as color took long time coming, don't you think?


      Author's profile photo Yariv Zur
      Yariv Zur
      Blog Post Author
      The color is of course a by-product of re-writing the entire board 🙂
      Author's profile photo Ethan Jewett
      Ethan Jewett

      They added gradients and drop-shadows 🙂 Actually, I think this is an unfortunate "improvement", as I can see the drop shadows really getting in the way when trying to position elements close to each other. This same affect could have been achieved in a straightforward way using SVG as well, but I guess Silverlight and Flash are SAP's chosen rich UI development platforms.

      Congratulations on the successful migration!


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      We at Bridge-x are a huge fan of Visual Composer but really? I am sure this is important but we could list many more important features:

      How about freeing up Visual Composer models to be deployed as widgets? Now that would be worth upgrading to.

      Author's profile photo Yariv Zur
      Yariv Zur
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Sandeep,
      Obviously - there are many other new features which are 'worth upgrading to' especially to our 7.0 customers who, with 7.3, will no longer need a seperate CE box to leverage the 7.2 and 7.11 capabilities. This is just a nice feature.
      As for the widgets - that's an interesting idea. What would be your widget engine / run-time environment of choice?
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      We've just gotten the beta version of Netweaver 7.3 BW - just the ABAP stack.  Am having a lot of fun trying out the new functionality in Integrated Planning.

      One thing I'm really keen to get my hands on is the Java stack and, in particular, Visual Composer 7.3.  Would I be correct in assuming that all the functionality available in VC in CE7.2 will be available in VC 7.3?  There's some really good integration with Integrated Planning that I'm keen to try out.

      Does anyone know when the beta version of the Java stack will be ready?

      Author's profile photo Yariv Zur
      Yariv Zur
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Tristan,
      Yes. All CE7.2 VC functionality will be avaialabe in VC 7.3.... Will be happy to get your impressions...
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      IE9 (beta) and many other web browser currently support HTML5 which having at least the functionality for Scalable vector graphic rendering without the need of browser plug-in. HTML5 should be consider for replacement of Adobe SVG plugins than silver light IMO
      Author's profile photo Yariv Zur
      Yariv Zur
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Chaisaeng, tags in HTML5. Very cool indeed. However - these are only supported in the newest browsers at this point. For sure - this is an interesting direction to look at for the future.