We had a great session this morning on “How customer feedback shaped the future of SAP Screen Personas.” Sebastian Steinhauer and I discussed the specific user feedback we have heard over the past year and how we integrated it into the next generation of the product.
With the requirement to remove the dependency on Microsoft Silverlight, which they are phasing out in 2021, we had the unique opportunity to rewrite SAP Screen Personas with all the knowledge we learned from how people actually use the product. Instead of “if only I knew then what I knew now,” the development team used that as the starting point.
In a nutshell, here is what we heard.
- Improve performance
- Enhance scripting – nested if statements & looping
- Make editing more user friendly and dynamic
- Remove Silverlight dependency without losing functionality
- Run on iPad
The first four items on the above list represent the themes of our next release.
During the session we contrasted the current SAP Screen Personas and planned version. We did demos to compare how we expect these two releases to differ. You can see the full “How customer feedback shaped the future of SAP Screen Personas” presentation here. Unfortunately, the slide deck does not include the demo of the planned version.
Here are the main points we covered.
We plan to build Persons 3.0 into the Web GUI. This will mean a simpler architecture, no separate client application, and no more Silverlight dependency. And, we expect better performance!
The Web GUI currently leverages lazy loading, rendering information when it is required, rather than the pre-fetch approach of Personas 2.0. By integrating into the Web GUI, the next Personas is planned to inherit this functionality. We expect this will have a major impact on performance, especially when transactions contain large tables. For optimal performance, we continue to recommend using table variants to eliminate unused columns.
More powerful scripting was a common request. So, to support power users in Personas, we plan to make the scripting engine even more powerful.
This is envisioned to include looping, nested IF conditions, and logging capabilities. We also plan to make it possible to maintain a script library independently of the buttons, so it will become much easier to reuse scripts across flavors.
But, the simple record/playback capabilities that were very popular in Personas 2.0 will remain.
Easier to Design Screens
While SAP Screen Personas has long been praised by customers for its ease of use, some designers wanted Personas to behave more like their customary design tools. They appreciated all the power in the advanced properties editor, but wanted those items more accessible through the standard menu structure. These are great suggestions and we plan to include these in the next version.
We know customers have invested many hours of work in building flavors to streamline their SAP screens. We plan to design the migration process to be as simple as possible. We plan to have most flavors created in Personas 2.0 migrate easily into the next Personas version.
That captures what we are planning for the next version of SAP Screen Personas.
As for #5 on the wish list above, iPad compatibility, all we can say now is that we are working on it. The question often comes up “Since this is HTML-based, can’t I run it on my iPad?” Since we are planning to build the next Personas version into the Web GUI, this means Personas is limited by the fact that currently, Web GUI does not support iPad. Some gaps include F4 key, right click, and clearing pop-up messages. We plan for SAP Screen Personas to inherit whatever iPad capabilities that Web GUI has.
We are working with the Web GUI team on this.
Off to see one of the customer presentations on how they used SAP Screen Personas to drive productivity through personalization.