User Interface technologies : Problem of too many?
After spending years working on different SAP UI technologies still the basic question which hounds me sometimes is that “Am I in the right field”? “Where is SAP positioning UI to other technologies like ABAP”, “Should I stick to UI or move over to the favorite arena like BASIS, ABAP”.
The question kicks in because of many reasons:-
1. SAP’s strategy (or lack of it) to have one uniform UI technology and framework for support. Currently there are plethoras of options Portal, Web Dynpro, Adobe Forms, Adobe Flex, BSP, PDK, Visual Composer, NWBC. I agree all have their own roles but then there is always a heated argument when it comes to which one is better when compared to the requirements? Is WD Java better or should I do the same in WD ABAP or can I have a BSP or implement an Adobe form for it?
2. The UI strategy has been evolving at a rapid pace when previous versions/technologies have not found their foot either.
3. SAP UI technologies lacks what an end user wishes. Take up any UI technology and I am sure you must have faced or come across with statements like” Oh Is this not possible, what’s use of SAP then” or “SAP wants me to do things in a way I don’t like” or “You say it’s possible but why is this so complicated”
Why has this happened? If I look back 5 years and verify SAP came out with NetWeaver. While the NW “products” are still finding it’s place among customers, there is hardly time for customers and partners to adapt to new technologies.
With NetWeaver 04 there was Portal Development Kit, then came in Web Dynpro and people got excited about it. Customers wanted everything under the sun to be implemented in Web Dynpro but over a period of time soon realized that many things were not possible. So what happens? SAP came in a new “improvised” version NetWeaver 7.0 (changed the naming convention at very end….which again confuses everyone….let me leave it for some other time).
Just when things looked bright for Java folks, SAP did not want to leave it’s ABAP folks lagging in the race either. So out comes Web Dynpro ABAP where you can build nice Web applications and use the “power” of ABAP infrastructure. No overhead of installing and maintenance of NWDI as case with WD Java.
Should I start with ABAP, well hold on here comes CE 7.1 with new functionalities for Rich Internet applications. Around same time SAP started pushing (or may be customers got excited about using ) SAP Interactive Forms By Adobe as the “next” big thing. Customers wanted to have whatever their Internet applications could do inside a form failing to understand the basic goal of Adobe forms was to replace the paper based processes and not replace the Web based applications.
Cut to today, what we hear is that CE 7.2 is on its way and there are plans to release NetWeaver Business Client as well which again is being referred to as next level of GUI experience from SAP.
My question is why do we have so many versions especially in field of User Interface coming out every year, should not SAP have a release strategy like MS where an new version comes out only after 3-4 years and in between occasional Service Packs.
Does SAP expect that every customer understands the benefits of switching to latest version and technology so easily?