Hi All,

My name is Shaun Bradridge an IT nerd / SAP ABAP Developer.

In this blog I am going to talk about how to maximize your client’s usage of the SAP system without burdening them with the confines of a PC, Yes that’s right, Mobility!

SAP developers have so many tools at their fingertips to bring mobile solutions to customers through SAP Fiori, SAP UI5, Web Dynpro or Business Server Pages (BSP) the only problem is picking which one, and this all depends on your requirements and skill.

In my time as a SAP Netweaver Consultant I have come across many developers who are scared to step into the mobility world as it is the devil they don’t know, well I am here to say “Don’t be scared, it’s easier than you think”. 

Step 1.

Choose your mobile platform.

An easy starter for most would be ABAP Web dynpro(WD), WD is a great development tool if you are unfamiliar and looking to start understanding MVC(Model / View / Controller) and OO (Object Orientated) programming, its layout editor will help with uniform design and for the standard ABAP’er applying logic is as easy are creating a standard report.

For the more advanced developer you should be looking at taking advantage of SAP UI5 which gives developers the ability to develop in HTML5 consuming data from SAP’s Gateway via ODATA or take a look at Business Server Pages. BSP’s are very robust and are served up from the SAP system, here developers are able to develop HTMLB using pages with flow logic for simple developments or build a full blown application making use of HTML5 using the MVC approach.

Step 2.

Application Usability

Have you ever heard a SAP user say, “I love sap GUI”? It’s a trick question, because the answer is always “NO”.  SAP has brilliant functionality and is the core backbone of most of the world’s biggest organizations because of its compliance and attention to detail. What it lacks is a pretty face, and that is your job!

When you start to develop a new mobile app take the following approach, “People don’t know anything about IT”. As developers we tend to only pay attention to functionality instead of usability but the standard SAP user cares more about usability than functionality.

In order to satisfy both sides of the fence developers need to step outside their comfort zones and pay more attention to look and feel, start by story boarding your app before you develop it because a standard tech spec is not enough to properly plan an app. Ask yourself the following questions with every development “Do the pages flow? Are my buttons touch friendly? Can a user use this with little to no instruction?” If you can do these steps you will create something that is far more usable and desirable.

Step 3.

How will users view your app.

Here is where your skills as a consultant really come to life. When casing your project make sure you or your architect look into the client’s network infrastructure closely before making any decisions on what type of development you will be doing.

Serve the application locally

If the client just wants internal users to view the app you are on easy street, build a Web Dynpro or BSP and serve up the link to the users.

Serve the application up externally

SAP mobility is a new area for a lot of companies, they generally do not like the idea of exposing data to the web from their ERP system. Lucky for us SAP has come to the table with SAP Web Dispatcher and SAP Gateway which can be deployed in the DMZ to further secure transactions between the mobile application and the ERP system.  Using these tools you are able to expose your app to the world or in most cases employees who are outside of the company’s network.

Example of SAP mobile Application

Below is an example of a Mobile Purchasing Application I created in SAP using Business Server pages (BSP) harnessing the power of HTML5 and Jquery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WR2CMFxhIcE

Stay tuned to my channel or follow me on twitter @ShaunBradridge as I will start posting up regular tutorials and blogs.

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3 Comments

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  1. Andy Silvey

    Hi Shaun,

    we need to be careful when designing infrastructure for accessing SAP from the Internet for these reasons.

    I would go further and say, before choosing the technology infrastructure for any External/Internet facing applications:

         . talk to your Company’s Security Team about standards for Internet access to critical SAP Business Systems

         . findout your Company’s Security Risk Rating of the critical SAP Business System you intend to expose to the Internet

         . findout your Company’s standards for User Authentication and User Provisioning for Internet facing applications

    and make sure to comply and adhere to and follow these standards and build them into the Infrastructure design before even thinking about what technology to create the custom development with.

    All the best,

    Andy.

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    1. Shaun Bradridge Post author

      I completely agree Andy and I’m glad you brought it up, it’s so important that the network and security teams have being consulted before a build so developments can meet company compliance and standards.

      This step is usually completed my an ERP Architect like yourself just after a project has been kicked-off, but it is also very important for developers to understand this too as the organisations security and standards fall into the guidelines of the development.

      Thanks for the input and taking the time to read.

      Shaun

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