SAP Cloud Applications Studio is the development environment for in-app extensibility of the following SaaS solutions:
- SAP Business ByDesign
- SAP Cloud for Customer
- SAP Cloud for Travel
To make the document more readable, I use the term “SAP Cloud Applications Studio” and include the terms “SAP Business ByDesign Studio” and “SAP Solutions OnDemand Studio”, the names of the SDK for older versions.
SAP Cloud Applications Studio is built to extend the reach of the underlying SAP solution in terms of fulfilling customer-specific requirements (the “last mile”), legal requirement or industry best-practices (“micro-verticals”). It plays in three disciplines:
- Extensibility: extend existing user interfaces (including forms and reports) and business functionality
- Integration: integrate with external web services and mashups
- New application development: develop complementary software that is not in scope of the software provided by SAP
SAP Cloud Applications Studio can be classified as a metadata aPaaS. A metadata aPaaS abstracts away the concept of server and physical database instances using metadata. Developers create metadata (such as custom data objects, code, and presentation elements) in a visual programming environment that is interpreted by the aPaaS at runtime. Working at the highest abstraction level, metadata aPaaS enables users (including non-developers) to customize prebuilt templates. Point-and-click programming and customization tools can be used by non-professional IT developers, thus making professionals more productive. More complex behavior is coded in a proprietary programming language. Applications using the SDK can easily leverage the data and processes of SAP´s on demand solutions, such as SAP Business ByDesign, SAP Cloud for Customer/Travel.
SAP Cloud Applications Studio provides a web-based online development environment for selected content types that are considered to be developed by “key users”. These content types include extension fields, UI adaptations, (print) forms, and (analytical) reports. For more sophisticated content, such as custom business logic, new user interfaces and web service integration, SAP Cloud Applications Studio provides an offline development environment (SDK, based on MS Visual Studio). Content classified as “key user” content can be developed directly in a production environment, but it can be also be implemented in a development or test environment. For more sophisticated content, development in a development or test environment and transferred to the production environment after task completion and testing.
SAP Cloud Applications Studio is a good fit when developing structured data-driven interactive business applications, in particular when accessing services of the SAP Business ByDesign SaaS platform with hundreds of released business objects, and its numerous UIs, analytical data sources and web services. Applications that extend existing investments in SAP Business ByDesign and SAP Cloud for Customer/Tavel are of particular value because the access to business data is optimized.
As SAP Cloud Applications Studio was designed as an integral piece of the particular solution proprietary technologies in the level of language, framework, container, and hosting are used. Skills in these technologies need to be developed accordingly. As the SDK is based on MS Visual Studio and the development language is similar to Java and C#, the time to get on board is typically short. The programming language is a domain specific language (DSL) for interacting with the SAP services, primarily its business objects. Being a DSL for interacting with the SAP business objects, the programming language can describe explicit creation of custom business documents, and is also used to specify triggers fired when documents are changed. The language offers support for other tasks, such as coding controller portions of the UIs, and it supports asynchronous operations. The SDK automatically creates UI layouts for each custom object, which can be fine-tuned in a visual tool (UI Designer).
Solutions built with Cloud Applications Studio can be made available in the SAP Store (https://store.sap.com), SAP’s marketplace where customers can buy software components.