Skip to Content

KIA, MIA, AWOL or retired?

Where have they gone? It was very recently that I heard that ALL future SAP development for ERP would be using the Web Dynpro ABAP FPM. Yet looking through the abstracts for the various sessions at TechEd in the custom development track – I can’t find a reference to them. (Perhaps they are there and I’m not seeing them – I often get accused of this by my wife when I’m looking for things in at home.)

Are we all experts now?

Well, looking at the  questions on POWL in the forums, we’re just starting to embrace use the technology. People are finding that new solutions are using the FPM and POWL and are desparately trying to find out how to use them. So I’d suggest – that we are far from being experts at these topics. Certainly in the SAP ERP HCM Employee Self-Service questions about POWL take a long time to be answered.

So perhaps we don’t need them?

Again, look at the forums – the Floorplan Manager for Web Dynpro ABAP is not used much, and there aren’t that many questions in the Web Dynpro ABAP about POWL (the forum is supposed to also cover POWL). But I wouldn’t put this down to there not being a need. As go the SAP ERP HCM Employee Self-Service and I find that many people are asking about POWL – as they try to deal with and adjust SAP implementations of the technology.

It is about people not knowing about the tools

I think we’d have the demand for the sessions if it were clearer to people why they should be using these patterns. I see many many discussions in the Web Dynpro ABAP where people are clearly developing WDA applications that do not use the FPM. I suggest that they might, and that it might be a good solution to their issues – but I think I’m mostly too late by the time the developer has got the spec and is working on the solution.

So is there no perceived need within the community to educate people about the two patterns? Well, perhaps there is and it is just that the broadcast is still happening at the functional level? In a year’s time it might have filtered down to the technical level. But should SAP not be a little more proactive about telling people that this is the way to go?

Or perhaps these aren’t as “standard” as I believe?

Or perhaps these patterns don’t have the support of SAP that I thought they did? Now that would be a blow. I don’t think that is the case. But some sessions to educate us on how best to use them would be a step in the right direction I think?

To report this post you need to login first.

18 Comments

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

  1. Thomas Jung
    Yes both POWL and FPM are very important frameworks that add value to Web Dynpro ABAP. They are both used widely in standard SAP applications and both are encouraged for usage by customers.

    At TechEd 2009 we had a sessions – UP162 – that was a 2 hour hands-on dedicated to FPM. Although this session isn’t repeated this year, it is still available in the virtual TechEd library.

    At this year’s TechEd there is a new hands-on workshop CD163 that covers the Local Page Builder – a tool that can be used in connjunction with FPM (and often is combined via the Side Panel).

    There is also CD105 – Updates in 7.01 and 7.02. There is a large section on FPM this year since we have expanded this lecture from 1 hour to 2 hours. I will take your feedback about POWL (which generally doesn’t get as much attention) and be sure to include some POWL materials as well.

    There is also CD160.  This is the introduction to WDA 4 hour hands-on. Although in the introduction we don’t get into such advanced topics as FPM and POWL in the exercises, I do include a demo of FPM to make people aware of the advanced topic.

    This year there is also the CD203 2 hour lecture session that will explain some best practices and performance aspects of WDA. Some of the techniques (like avoiding cross component context binding) are quite good for support FPM or POWL application even if they aren’t discussed directly in that context.

    Finally there is CD266 – Update Your ABAP Development Skill… 4 hour hands-on.  About 1/3 of the session will focus on UI and we will specifically do FPM – Feeder Classes and Generic UIBBs.

    (0) 
    1. Chris Paine
      Wow! To put in terms that my wife uses – I obviously only did a “man look”.

      That’s great news! It does reassure me that I’m going in the right direction using these frameworks and encouraging others to do so.

      Very interested in CD163 – now just have to convince work to fly me to Vegas!

      Thanks for the detailed and incredibly quick reponse to the blog!

      Chris

      (0) 
      1. Manas Dua
        ByD ( Business by Design ) also uses sort of advanced version of FPM…you have floorplans like QAF, OIF, GAF etc..and the best part is that they can be put to use without any coding..and using a floorplan is required for creating any UI ( i mean u can’t creating any screen without using any pattern )

        So, in my opinion FPM is one of the remarkable tool created by SAP..and it is used widely across all areas ( in one form or other )

        (0) 
  2. Ian Stubbings
    It is my observation, that although I personally embrace this approach, and we would love to utilise FPM on every new implementation, there is not always the time to educate the (often offshore) development communitity and the project timescales do not allow for investigation of newer technologies. Ordinarily we use tried and tested methods of development which tends to mean ‘old school’.

    Cheers
    Ian

    (0) 
    1. Chris Paine
      Thanks for the comment and observation Ian. I also find it a struggle sometimes to justify using FPM and similar patterns. However, so far I have been successful in selling the case – mainly because of the attraction of having your custom development fit the same pattern as standard development, and therefore require less end user training. But as far as ensuring you have the skillset to implement, it certainly is another learning curve – and having those that you are training remote from you can make it even harder. Which is one of the reasons I was dispondent when I couldn’t see the references to POWL and FPM in the TechEd session descriptions – SAP need to be proactive about encouraging the use of these patterns, so that their solution – custom developed or standard delivered looks and performs better – and is easier to maintain and enhance. Thus pushing a lower TCO.

      I would even argue that I can throw together a transactional screen faster using POWL, WDA and FPM than I could using normal dynpro programming. But it certainly took a time to get to that level.

      However as to SAP’s support for the patterns/tools, I am hugely reassured by Thomas Jung’s comments (below/above depends on your sort order ;-).

      Thanks for your comments,

      Chris

      (0) 
      1. Ian Stubbings
        I totally agree, Chris. I attended Thomas’ session on FPM at last year’s TechEd but apart from ‘playing’ with it since have not had the opportunity to progress with it (moved from WDA development to HCM P&F).  Hopefully I will get the chance to influence the development on my next project earlier during blueprint rather than arrive during realisation as is most often the case.

        Cheers
        Ian

        (0) 
  3. Michelle Crapo
    I’m glad to read about the TechEd sessions.  I will be there!  (At TechEd and at the WDA sessions.)

    I work as an “in-house” developer.  My company decided to start a project that will use these “new” technologies.   We brought an instructor in and all of the developers attended NET310 – Fundamentals of Web Dynpro for ABAP.

    So I am very new to this.   It was a great class and well worth the time.  Peter was an amazing instructor.

    There is a point to all this.  After the class we wanted to bring in an expert consultant to help us with the project.  Granted the project was small – it is a proof of concept.  So the duration would not have been very long.  BUT we couldn’t find anyone with even as much experience as we had.  The phone interviews were horrible.  The technical questions we asked were not answered at all.

    So the demand is out there.  However the supply of consultants is very limited.  And before I get a ton of e-mails – We ultimately decided to develop the project with our “in-house” developers.  So I get to play with the new technology.  (So does Zenna another employee.)  Very cool.  I’m excited.  BUT I would have loved to learn more from an expert.  Without the expert, Zenna and I are spending a lot of time on research.  SDN is our starting point.  SAP books and Google is our friend.

    The consultants are just not out there. That makes it hard. It’s always nice to learn from someone who had “been there, and done that”. 

    Michelle

    (0) 
    1. Suresh Datti
      I agree & we are pretty much in the same boat.. but did you look at the DEMO* WDAs in SE80 on your system? that should give you a head start?
      (0) 
    2. Chris Paine
      Hi Michelle,

      It seems you are well resourced now for this challenge 🙂 But were you, or others, to find yourself needing to locate assistance – it is worth considering an unlikely source. The FPM is built as very much a mirror (albeit enhanced) of the Web Dynpro Java code of the same name. If you can find a Web Dynpro Java coder with FPM experience, they _should_ understand the data flow, context, control models and should be able to very easily migrate this into WDA FPM. That said, I’ve run projects with several WDJ coders working for me coding WDJ FPM components and I’m not sure if they actually _understood_ what they were doing and why.
      Good luck with your projects, and don’t forget you can always post your questions in the forums should you need any help.

      Cheers,

      Chris

      (0) 
  4. Bertram Ganz
    Hallo Chris,

    you can find the video recording of our SAP TechEd 2010 lecture session ‘CD203 -Best Practices for Designing Web Dynpro ABAP User Interfaces’ on http://www.virtualsapteched.com under http://tinyurl.com/2bqqpte. Tom Jung gives an intruduction to the Floorplan Manager at 1:33:30 (around 5,600.00 on slider) time. In the last part he also covers the Floorplan Manager Architecture comparing difference and pros&cons between a Shared Data Component vs. a Singleton Class based central storage of data.

    Regards, Bertram

    (0) 
    1. Chris Paine
      Thanks Bertram,

      Hopefully everyone who watches will now fully understand that to have a 100% UI element the container its in needs to be 100%…

      I was surprised that the FPM event loop didn’t get more a shout out in the data sharing alternatives of the FPM – as this then nicely frees each UIBB of any external dependencies. But it is great that the lecture is now freely available.

      Thanks for updating this post with the details,

      Cheers,

      Chris

      (0) 
  5. Robert Montage

    So what’s the verdict on this great article, 4 years later?

    Are POWLS and FPM still relevant?

    I don’t think FPM really took off did it?

    And now that Fiori is here, is there really a need for anything else?

    (0) 
    1. Chris Paine

      Hi HM,

      I’d disagree, FPM took off big time and is still very relevant! I personally would not hire a developer that did not have a reasonable understanding of the framework.

      Is an understanding of SAP UI5 and gateway more important today?, I’d not yet say this is true. But in 2 years time I think I will be of a similar opinion about hiring people that don’t have knowledge in those areas.

      Being able to support WDA FPM code, will for the foreseeable future (especially in HR) be very relevant.

      Cheers,

      Chris

      (0) 
      1. Robert Montage

        Thanks for the reply Chris!

        I come from a SAP ERP background and I haven’t come across any FPM, hence my lowly opinion of it. There also isn’t any demand for it from our users. They’re quite happy with how things are.

        My friends who work in other companies are also the same.

        Certainly SAP ERP 7.31 doesn’t have FPM within it’s transactions.

        By the way we’re not complete dinosaurs – we do use Web Dynpro but FPM just hasn’t been embraced…

        Obviously I respect your opinion a lot but I can’t easily reconcile what you say with our experiences.

        Maybe unless you have HR there’s no need for it?

        (0) 

Leave a Reply