Skip to Content

As I sat watching all the innovative solutions at Innojam Bangalore, noticing that the majority of presentations had at least one SAPUI5 component, I couldn’t help but think SAP are missing out on a big opportunity not making SAPUI5 Open Source. So in an attempt to convince others I (quickly) thought of 10 reasons why I think it’s a good idea.

1. Go To The Developers

No dis-respect to the SAP Service Market Place or developers.sap.com, developers and designers are more comfortable using repositories like github

2. Give Something Back

I know behind the scenes SAP does a lot of contributing to Open Source projects, but this would be showing real commitment

3. It Could Be So Much Beta

One of the first things I did when i installed version 1.8.4, was to make some of the changes I require for consuming Gateway services, it’s not sinking but it is leaky

4. We Could Be So Much Better

I am told internally there is a huge code snippet library, sharing how-tos, patterns and best practices; these should be publicly available!

5. Show Us Your Learning

For customers and developers there are a number of paradigm shifts at play with adopting SAPUI5. I think it’s important for us to see firsthand how you handle continuous change and how to recover quickly from mistakes

6. Give Users What They Really Want

By getting input from the community on code check-ins, bug fixes and new features, will not only mean users get to shape a better product, but developers will get access to the most up to date version of the source and the associated tests. What better way to encourage developers to start design thinking 

7. Better Tooling

Not every developer uses Eclipse, why should SAP develop and maintain plugins like Intellisense for Visual Studio and similar for Sublime Text 2, JetBrains etc. Better tooling = better adoption

8. Improved Innovation

SAPUI5 has been built to be extensible, it enables developers to create their own modules and adapt other JavaScript libraries. It’s a win-win encouraging others to share their tweaks, for example I have heard people suggest building asynchronous module loading (AMD), an integrated data mocking library, local browser storage for model data and bookmarking capabilities, all these are use case specific and can be developed outside of the main build and incorporated only if needed

9. Build An Ecosystem

If there is concern about lost revenue opportunities, what revenue are you getting today? Take a look at the markets around Twitter Bootstrap and WordPress etc. and see potentially what you could be missing out on

10. …Have Your Say

I am hoping that I have only just scratched the surface of the potential benefits of making SAPUI5 available as free open source software, please contribute and tell me what you think!

To report this post you need to login first.

42 Comments

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

      1. Nigel James

        Brilliant John. I suspect the three reasons that SAP would not do this are

        1. Legal
        2. Legal
        3. Legal

        I think this is a great idea and one that should be pursued.

        Dear SAPUI5 developers inside SAP. Please petition your project managers and the like to get SAPUI5 free.

        Everyone has made great points on this thread.

        Thanks again John for raising this,

        Nigel

        (0) 
  1. Chris Paine

    Great (blog???) John,

    I’ll enhance your number 1 point:

    By putting UI5 on Github, SAP would find a way to directly interact with a large section of the market that have not and will not go to SCN. It’s these non-SAP developers that SAP needs to engage, by moving a useful toolset over to Github, these developers will find SAP and vice-versa.

    Cheers,

    Chris

    (0) 
  2. John Moy

    Hi John,

    Well done.  I completely agree with with your thoughts as well as Chris Paine’s comments above.

    It will be interesting to see where SAP goes with SAPUI5.  I would suggest that a decent proportion of the classic ABAP community will struggle to adopt it … much like it struggled to adopt BSP (and its reliance on HTML/CSS/JS skills).  So SAP’s best avenue for uptake is to convince all those web developers out there to pick it up.  But like you mention, there are already some outstanding offerings out there already (like Twitter Bootstrap, which I am personally working with at the moment).  And will those web developers drop their focus on more broadly adopted offerings in the open market, in preference to a proprietary approach by SAP?  Well, look at history … how many Java developers dropped JSP / JSF in favour of Web Dynpro Java?  Only a small proportion in my humble estimation.  Or to put it another way, if you bump into a Java developer on the street … what are the chances that they will know what Web Dynpro Java is?

    I think the world has changed, and SAP needs to make UI5 much more visible to these communities, rather than concentrating inwardly at existing communities via Sapphire and TechEd events.  Your suggestion to place it on Github and make is open source is one way of doing that.

    And on another note … SAP seems very happy to quietly incorporate impressive open source contributions such as jQuery itself (embedded in UI5) and jQuery Mobile (embedded in SUP and Portal on Device) into its own products.  It would be great to see the contribution going the other way in just as significant and visible a manner.

    Regards

    John

    (0) 
    1. John Patterson Post author

      Thanks for the comments John

      Although SAPUI5 is built on top of many open source libraries, it is very much a proprietary approach to UI development. For me Proprietary soon becomes Legacy.

      Restricted and closed software that has been superseded but is difficult to replace because of its wide use.

      think. Dynpro Screens, IDocs, BDC’s, SAPScript etc.

      Interesting to note that DataJs the OData JavaScript client library used in SAPUI5 is Microsoft Open Source software, a company who until recently were proprietary by nature, not anymore.

      JSP

      (0) 
    2. Frank Stødle

      John, I agree with your comment on competing offerings – on a current project I am using Bootstrap and AngularJS (which is close to sorcery!). UI5 is unknown to anyone not working with SAP – putting it on Github would attract much more attention, maybe even someone would add it to TodoMVC

      (0) 
      1. John Patterson Post author

        Frank – I think SAPUI5 could do with some two way data binding sorcery, especially when using the OData Model. Having said that i think it would do well when compared with other frameworks. For those interested Journey Through The JavaScript MVC Jungle is a really good write up of by the creator of TodoMVC, I recommend following him on Google+ he shares a lot of really good content.

        There is a mobile TodoList application in version 1.8.4 DemoAppToDoList.html, I really like it, took me half a day to swap the local storage for a Gateway service, works really well.

        Cheers

        JSP

        (0) 
        1. Frank Stødle

          Yes, after getting used to 2-way data binding (both in Flex and Angular) it’s hard to go back 🙂

          I wonder if it is on the road map for UI5 as well, with it’s strong focus on binding to a model?

          (0) 
      1. Christian Jianelli

        Hi Kaloyan,

        I’m not an expert about CDN but I believe that we need at least the option to choose the version we want to use. Custom builds would be nice too.

        Regards,

         

        Christian

        (0) 
  3. Stefan Beck

    Hello John,

    thanks for this post that again underlines the expectations from outside of SAP. I’ve once more taken this to follow-up internal discussions within SAP. As person responsible for SAPUI5 development, I completely agree to the proposal but I also have to manage expectations and explain that we have to adhere to corporate rules and guidelines. Using Github for a SAP core UI Technology would be something new and thus rules and guidelines need to be changed respectively added what is “time consuming”.

    The good news is, that we inside SAP already follow a new development model around SAPUI5 that we call “InnerSource”. Think of it being open source but inside the company: means it is not just one area working at UI5 but there is a Git/Gerrit based central infrastructure that enables contributions from many areas inside of SAP.

    So in principle we’d have to further open this approach and manage it in a real open source way. Not necessary to say, that it also requires quite some initial resource investment from SAP side to start and manage the community – but as said, I’d expect a positive ROI and thus a win / win for all of us.

    Means your article helps and I also ask all of you who like this idea to talk to your contact persons from SAP about this. A clearly communicated market expectation respectively a clear market pull definitely would help to foster this idea.

    Best regards and thanks for your help

    Stefan

    (0) 
    1. Glen Simpson

      Hi John

      It sounds like you have a campaign on your hands. 🙂

      I wonder if you can use an SCN Poll as a type of “petition”. This would show the opinion of the SCN community, at least, if not the market… I’ll “sign” it.

      Regards

      Glen

      (0) 
    2. John Patterson Post author

      Hi Stefan,

      Thanks a lot for responding and suggesting that people get in contact with their SAP contact person. Hopefully if enough people show support the idea will get traction.

      I really like Glen’s idea of a poll, if anyone else has a good idea of how to spread the word please make suggestions.

      Cheers

      JSP

      (0) 
  4. Martin Ceronio

    Not to be pedantic, but the title could maybe read “10 Reasons Why SAPUI5 Should Be Open Sourced”. Reasons for it being on GitHub would be very different. Maybe SAP prefers Mercurial 🙂

    (0) 
  5. Tobias Hofmann

    GitHub != Open Source

    Besides that, yes, should be open source. BUT I doubt that open sourcing UI5 will be a great success as of today. Why? 3 pillars: developers, adopters, users. Not even SAP has adopted UI5 in all products and its not like there is a huge users base.

    When SAP provides some nice tooling kits like a graphical UI designer and open sources the whole package, than it makes sense. When it is easy to develop HTML5 UI with SAPUI5, (early) adopters will come, then users, later coders.

    Short: SAP’s goal should be that when people think about HTML5, they should not only associate it with jQuery, jQueryMobile (or Sencha, [insert name]), but that they also think about SAPUI5.

    (0) 
    1. Chris Paine

      Tobias Hofmann wrote:

                             

      GitHub != Open Source

      Public free GitHub accounts must be open sourced, these are the GitHub accounts most people are used to – that’s where people get the association.

      Personally, having to agree to a 90 day trial licence (even if extendible) is a complete turn off. Why use a tech that I may find the T&Cs have changed and I can no longer use it for my project without risk of getting sued or having to pay a licence.

      Edit: just noticed that even the language in the UI5 download agreement 90 day trial is contradictory: heading is “90 DAYS EVALUATION” for USA and Canada – body still say 30 days  –  All other countries it’s just 30 days… legal BS.

      I’ll use UI5 as and when needed to enhance SAP landing pages, but that’s all, everything else will use a resource that I can rely on being there and being updated and being supported by the community (and a lot larger community base than just the SCN one!)

      Perhaps this wasn’t the original point of John’s blog (which I previously responded to and think is a great idea), but open sourcing UI5 is something that I can clearly see will lead to adoption. Certainly until that happens it’s unlikely to be my framework of choice.

      (0) 
  6. Siarhei Shafarenka

    I agree too. We have just started using SAPUI5 in one of our projects and we miss source code so much. Although there is SAPUI5 documentation, it doesn’t cover all the aspects of SAPUI5 great details. And if you stuck with no information and no source code, it’s not fun anymore.

    (0) 
    1. Tim Back

      Hi Siarhei,

      as most of the SAPUI5 resources are JS and CSS files and uploaded into the browser you can get the sources in the browser or from the server you use. If you only get debug sources you can press CTRL+ALT+Shift+P to get a popup from which you can ask for the debug sources. After all there is also the option to download a SAPUI5 evaluation version from the developer center which includes all the sources.

      Regards,

      Tim

      (0) 
  7. Gavin Quinn

    Great post. I completely agree. Our trials of it have resulted in a lot of frustration due to the closed nature of the code.

    We’re going to keep on using Bootstrap and jQuery Mobile most likely.

    Personally I think having really nice themes developed for Bootstrap would be a better way to go, and maybe some extensions for things like oData / HANA integration and so-forth.

    (0) 
    1. Tobias Hofmann

      closed nature of the code.

      Sorry, but where is SAPUI5 Javascript closed code? It’s a text file that you can always modify. Last time I checked SAP did not use some sort of obfuscating to make it hard to read the code.

      I am pretty sure that in case you find a bug or have a way of improving how a element is implemented, SAP is open to listen to you (which means: listen, not using and integrating it).

      (0) 
      1. Gavin Quinn

        Tobias,

        I didn’t mean I couldn’t see it. I just mean that when one company developers a framework like this, a whole community doesn’t feel empowered to innovate with it. SAP doesn’t exactly have a great track record of creating user interfaces (HTMLB, Web DynPro Java, Visual Composer, etc.)…

        (0) 
        1. Tobias Hofmann

          Still: what will open sourcing SAPUI5 bring that you do not have today? What should be done is to make access to SUPUI5 as easy as possible, with having a public repo where you can find all SAPUI5 versions, including the one SAP is currently developing on.

          (0) 
          1. Gavin Quinn

            I think that people are tentative to invest time and resources into the technology, since they don’t know if it will be around for a long time. Making it easily available and open-sourcing it are ways to show a commitment to it.

            But maybe that’s not their intent…

            (0) 
          2. John Patterson Post author

            What should be done is to make access to SUPUI5 as easy as possible, with having a public repo where you can find all SAPUI5 versions, including the one SAP is currently developing on.

            Completely agree Tobias, this was my original intent.

            Then I heard there was an internal snippet library inside of something like jsbin showing how-to on a lot of the features which aren’t covered in the help, the help is good but it is far from complete, having the snippet code available would help a lot with both adoption and quality.

            I am not sure how you would release the snippet library and encourage others to contribute to this and the help using a public repo, suggestions?

            Cheers

            John P


            (0) 
          3. John Moy

            Hi Tobias / Gavin,

            Tobias Hofmann wrote:

                                   

            Still: what will open sourcing SAPUI5 bring that you do not have today?

                               

            .. in my mind, legitimacy and respectability amongst a very large community of web developers that typically only works with open source options.  Without it being open source, UI5 will not even appear on their radar. 

            Gavin Quinn wrote:

                                   

            I think that people are tentative to invest time and resources into the technology, since they don’t know if it will be around for a long time.

            … I whole-heartedly agree with this.  I recently had to make a choice about what framework to use for an after-hours (non-customer) initiative.  I ended up choosing between Twitter Bootstrap and UI5.  I chose Twitter Bootstrap (along with Backbone) because it had a large following and therefore I trusted in its longevity, but also because I felt it had some forward-thinking features, such as its approach to responsive layouts.  Instead UI5, whilst looking very impressive, is still playing catch-up – I understand responsive layouts are coming?  But I would love to see SAP lead, rather than lag in this area.  But it is also difficult to lead when you are up against a very passionate group of community developers.  For instance, I really love the latest jQuery Mobile 1.3 release (including fluid tables) http://view.jquerymobile.com/1.3.0/.  There have been over 200 contributers to the jQuery Mobile framework.  Indeed, to ‘catch-up’ in the mobile framework space, SAP to my understanding needed to import some of the jQuery Mobile libraries.  Like I said, SAP needs to lead (in the new world), rather than lag in this area.  Corporates such as Twitter have provided Bootstrap, and Google provided AngularJS (an MV* framework).  One step to show real commitment and visibility by SAP would be in open sourcing SAPUI5, and showing up to non-SAP developer conferences to promote it.

            (0) 
            1. Chris Paine

              John Moy wrote:

              .. in my mind, legitimacy and respectability amongst a very large community of web developers that typically only works with open source options.  Without it being open source, UI5 will not even appear on their radar.

                                 

              100% agree and very nicely put.

              (0) 
            2. Tobias Hofmann

              in my mind, legitimacy and respectability amongst a very large community of web developers that typically only works with open source options

              Nice view on the world, but that is not how it works. If this would be true, why do developer not widely use YUI or DOJO? Put an open source license on SAPUI5 won’t make developers around the world start using it.

              There are several other factors that are way more important and that need to be considered. I doubt that SAP has the will to do this as it means to loose the control over it to some degree.

              So, still do not see a single reason why SAP UI5 needs to be open source when the main pain points listed here can be solved when SAP simply changes their attitude in regards to SAPUI5 usage.

              (0) 
              1. Chris Paine

                Again, 😈 we should probably clarify terms – “Open source software development” vs “open source” two different things.

                Making UI5 open source as defined by wikipedia –

                In production and development, open source is a philosophy, or pragmatic methodology that promotes free redistribution and access to an end product’s design and implementation details

                Would certainly encourage adoption more than the current limited licensed approach offers to me. I can only speak from my feelings on the matter. My main pain point is that I’m not going to sign up for a licence that I don’t need when there are plenty of alternatives out there on the market that have many many (general unpaid) resources working on them that don’t have that requirement. But this might just be me, you know how long I held out on signing up for Code Exchange due to the still appallingly bad terms and conditions. If it weren’t that the systems developers can get free limit them to Code Exchange use I’d be asking for it to be shut down and we all live happier lives on GitHub.

                Perhaps SAP has a way to go before it gets here/there… but it is good to see that all the NetWeaver Cloud code demos are being shared on GitHub anyway… it’s the way forward! 🙂

                (0) 
                1. Tobias Hofmann

                  SAPUI5 javascript is available as text files. No one is saying that you cannot see the source code. It’s not a binary file you have to decompile (possibly illegal) or source code you cannot read.

                  It’s just that the current license and SAP’s behavior is not really friendly when it comes to usage and access to older and newest releases. Nothing that cannot be changed and that demands open sourcing it. And open sourcing anything without having an open source development initiative in place makes IMHO no sense.

                  (0) 
              2. John Moy

                I do agree, making SAPUI5 open source gives it no guarantee of success.  But in my opinion not making it open source gives it a greater chance of failure (or more correctly, limited adoption outside of SAP circles – somewhat like Webdynpro Java).  If you were to do a straw poll of web developers, you would probably find a large percentage have at least heard of YUI or DOJO and very few would be aware of SAPUI5.

                But I do agree, fundamentally SAP’s attitude to SAPUI5 usage (ie. whether it be tightly licensed and controlled) is the most important thing.

                (0) 
                1. John Patterson Post author

                  DOJO and YUI developers IMO are who SAP should be targeting SAPUI5 towards. DOJO is quite similar to SAPUI5 and is more often than not used behind a firewall. I have seen YUI used a fair bit on SAP Portal projects also.

                  (0) 
  8. Heiko Hänsel

    Great blog post. I learned a lot on SAPUI5 here at TechEd and would also like to see it an OpenSource Project. As I heard here, they’re thinking about it.

    (0) 
  9. Michael Herzog

    Last summer, on the DSAG AK SAP NetWeaver Development – ABAP and Java meeting in Sankt Leon-Roth(Germany), a representative of SAP said, that the development-team of SAPUI5 made an internal proposal to make this framework open source. Is there anybody in SCN, who can tell something about the current status of this intention?

    (0) 

Leave a Reply