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In the month since I first posted about on Personas on SCN, we have received many questions from our co-innovation partners, internal SAP people, and others that have seen a demo or heard about the solution.

First, let me clarify: SAP Screen Personas IS NOT PART OF SAP’s STANDARD UI OFFERINGS. It was developed during a customer co-innovation project to solve their specific needs. As a result, it is limited in scope to modifying Dynpro screens. Based on interest from other customers, we have chosen to make this technology available to other customers through our Custom Development organization.

As a reminder, SAP Screen Personas is a browser-based, drag-and-drop tool (offered through SAP Custom Development) for streamlining SAP Dynpro screens. It allows a high degree of personalization without programming or knowledge of back end systems. For some customers, this will become their GUI to access classic SAP systems, perhaps in conjunction with NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC).

In this post, I’ll answer some of the questions we hear most often. As more inquiries come in, I’ll address them in a separate blog. Since there were many questions, I have grouped them by topic.

Functionality – Basic (for end-users)

Can I combine screens and tabs?

Yes. SAP Screen Personas can display data from different (even hidden) tabs on a single screen.

Can I pre-fill fields?

Yes. SAP Screen Personas includes support for different sets of pre-fills (pick-lists, radio buttons, pre-fill with default).

Can I add additional content to the screens?

Yes. SAP Screen Personas allows you to add additional content to the screen. You can add custom labels, text fields, “post-it” notes, script buttons, launch buttons as well as web content.

What prevents people from modifying the screen to make it unusable?

We are working hard to prevent users from causing issues for themselves. We provide a fallback to the default SAP rendering. There is also an undo function to reverse changes.

Functionality – Advanced (for IT)

Does it support scripting?

Yes. Scripting and conditional formatting features are available to both IT and key users. The scripting uses pre-defined actions as well as access to JavaScript.

Can I create new transactions?

No. SAP Screen Personas does not allow you to create new transactions.

Can I combine multiple transactions on a single screen?

Partially. You can create a new screen with SAP Screen Personas that interacts with other screens across multiple transactions.

Can I combine SAP content and non-SAP content on the same screen?

Using the embedded HTML control, you are able to embed different sources of content on a Dynpro screen, such as HTML from external sources.

Compatibility

Can SAP Screen Personas modify all SAP screens?

SAP Screen Personas can modify Dynpro screens, specifically screens that can be accessed using the SAP Web GUI.

For the more technical: these are Dynpro screens rendered by ITS (Internet Transaction Server). This does NOT include Web Dynpro screens, which you can modify using SAP Floorplan Manager.

Which modules can SAP Screen Personas work with?

SAP Screen Personas can address most screens of ECC version 6.

Is SAP Screen Personas part of an enhancement pack (EhP)?

No. SAP Screen Personas is licensed separately.

SAP Screen Personas connects to the Kernel – regardless of the EhP version – all that is required is a Kernel version of 7.21 or later.

Note: this can be different from your NetWeaver version.

Does it run in all browsers?

It runs in any browser that supports Silverlight.

This includes IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera on either Windows or MacOS.

Not supported: Linux versions, Android, iOS, and ChromeOS.

Will it work on my iPad?

No. SAP Screen Personas works on the Microsoft Surface and other Windows 8 tablets.

Other

How does this fit into SAP’s broader UX strategy?

SAP Screen Personas does not change SAP’s broader UX strategy, which includes NWBC and Web Dynpro for on-premise solutions. In fact, SAP Screen Personas screens can be rendered in the browser or in the NWBC canvas area. NWBC integration is the focus of one of our co-innovation projects.

Why another personalization option?

Customers have been asking SAP for an easy way to change Dynpro screens. SAP Screen Personas fills that need.

If you have additional questions, please post them as a comment or contact me.

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13 Comments

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  1. Simon Kemp

    Thanks for sharing this Peter. It all seemed great until I got to the bit about only running in browsers that support MS Silverlight 😕 … seems a pity to me to leave out the majority of mobile tablet devices that run either iOS or Android – great for the upcoming MS Surface I suppose!

    IMHO just as we are seeing the demise of Flash powered websites mainly due to Apple and iOS, I can’t help but feel that Silverlight which has never bean all that popular outside of MS is a technology that will soon fade away.Today even MS seem to be favouring HTML5 and JavaScript over Silverlight.Don’t mean to be negative on this point, but just wanted to share my opinion.

    One other comment I would like to make is that there seems to be a lot of activity in the UI space at SAP currently with the new UI Addon announced recently and of course SAPUI5 and even the side panel in NWBC this is already getting confusing for me and I would guess very confusing for customers too. It would be nice to understand how all these things come together (if they do) and how best to choose the right tool for the job (which I think is more likely the case).

    Thanks again,
    Simon

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    1. Sebastian Steinhauer

      Hi Simon,

      I think we all agree that the long-term future will be HTML5 – and not Silverlight. That said – MSFT will support Silverlight 5 until 2021. Also the programming model and tools for Windows 8 seem remarkably similar to Silverlight.

      Since we know that customers have been looking for the features Personas can provide for a while our main concern was not to have them wait too long while we are working out the differences of the HTML5 implementations between the different browsers, thus for purely pragmatic reasons decided for Silverlight. Ideological we are fully in favor of HTML5 (and I am personally a great fan of the SAPUI5 framework). 

      Cheers!

      Sebastian Steinhauer
      SAP Imagineering

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      1. Ethan Jewett

        Hi Sebastian,

        I see where you are coming from, but this approach really concerns me. Silverlight appears to be pretty much dead as a browser-based platform. It certainly is non-existent on mobile, and mobile computing has probably (this year) surpassed PC-based computing platform on a volume basis. This is not to mention all the computing platforms where Silverlight is not supported. Did you know that the decision to use Silverlight is probably going to make it so that this only works in IE on Windows 8? See http://blog.chromium.org/2012/07/npapi-plug-ins-in-windows-8-metro-mode.html

        I appreciate that SAP has more experience getting Silverlight to work cross-browser, and so this seems like the pragmatic decision. But SAP is going to continue to have more experience on Silverlight than on HTML5 until one thing happens: SAP bites to bullet and develops an industry-leading capability in HTML5 product UI development. The only way to do this is to develop and launch products with HTML5 UIs.

        It takes time to switch over UI technologies, and I hope SAP has that process seriously underway. One way (maybe the best way) to accelerate that process would be to require all new applications with browser-based UIs to use HTML5 UIs except for specific components where HTML5 can’t meet the needs of the product. It seems like that’s still not happening.

        Regards,

        Ethan

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      2. Tobias Hofmann

        Here are the facts on Silverlight 5 support from Microsoft:

        “Silverlight 5 will support the browser versions listed on this page through 10/12/2021, or though the support lifecycle of the underlying browsers, whichever is shorter.”

        http://support.microsoft.com/gp/lifean45

        And here is the list of browsers supported (as of today): http://www.microsoft.com/getsilverlight/locale/en-us/html/installation-win-SL5.html

        As Windows 8 and IE 10 are still not released they are not listed.

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  2. Patrick Brandicourt

    Well it seems another time there is a lot of “marketing push” and “buzz” around another SAP UI solutions. So the message is also pushed to non Techy people and it creates a lot of customer expectation at higher level … which could become very dangerous due to an increased requirement from the same customer.

    It is not the first time that the Bill of Materials in simple terms which could be understood by non too techy people is not given.

    For example there is a reference to a certain kernel (7.21) ….. I am not expert to understand the underlying message but it seems to indicate that the system should be at least ECC6 (so does not work for 4.6C for example).

    The next aspect is seems to imply to rely on the browser as a rendering mechanism.

    As you know following the Webdynpro use increase SAP is highly recommended to use NWBC in order not to deteriorate the user experience.
    So I am wondering if in the BOM NWBC should not be highlighted as a recommended front end (not sure).

    It does apply only to old GUI screens (so no added value for the increased renovation with WDA …. and obviously non techy people will expect the same kind of solution with WDA).

    All in all it seems to be a rather tactical solution and not a strategic long term solution (like WDA and associated development tools like FPM, Side Panel, …).

    As I have not seen the tool but I would recommend to be much more precised on the business problems which can be solved in order not to create disapointment.

    I keep to say that sometime less is more.

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  3. Anupama Panemangalore Pai

    Hello Peter

    We are internally trying to personalize our screens via Personas here at SAP.

    We have installed SAP Personas on one of our test systems.However, we are unable to find any document or training material which guides us on how to use Personas.

    Can you please help us out a bit here?

    Thanks

    Anupama

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    1. Peter Spielvogel Post author

      Hi Anupama,

      We have an extensive internal community around SAP Screen Personas. Several teams are working on personalizing screens to improve usability.

      Regards,

      Peter

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  4. Katrin Neutjens

    Hi Peter,

    can I download a free trail for Sap Screen Personas? I’m a stagiaire right now and my aim is to test it and give a demo to my hopefully futur colleagues.

    Thanks a lot,

    Katrin

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  5. Leonardo Luna

    Dear Peter,

    I’ve found your blog very helpful as we’re about to go-live in a few days, and many of our users in the field will have iPads, so thank you very much.

    I noticed the posting is from 2012 though. By any chance do you know if Personas is still not compatible with iOS and iPads?

    It would be really helpful for us to know this with certainty.

    Thank you for your attention,

    Leonardo

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    1. Peter Spielvogel Post author

      Hi Leonardo,

      I will provide two equally valid answers to your iPad question.

      1. SAP Screen Personas is a desktop solution. We rely on Web GUI for our browser-based rendering, and Web GUI is not supported on iPad. We do not support SAP Screen Personas on iOS or Android devices.

      2. I am aware of customers that use SAP Screen Personas on iPads and Android tablets. They did this on their own without assistance from SAP. We do not support these scenarios. But, they might work, if you develop your screens properly, focusing on interaction patterns that exist on tablets (and avoiding actions that do not, such as F4, right-click, etc.).

      Good luck whichever path you take.

      Regards,

      Peter

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  6. Keiran Moses

    Peter

    We want to implement Screen Personas but there is a reluctance in the organization to move ahead without understanding the ramifications for the SAP support function.  Are you aware of any best practice models for Screen Personas support that we can look to adopt?

    Regards

    Keiran

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    1. Peter Spielvogel Post author

      Hi Keiran,

      SAP Screen Personas uses the standard SAP support model.

      Is your concern how to support SAP Screen Personas within your organization? If so, please open a new discussion on SCN.

      Thanks and regards,

      Peter

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