It was an interesting week for Personas at Sapphire. Bill McDermott announced in his keynote that Fiori was now included with NetWeaver user licences and no longer a chargeable item. What he didn’t say was that this applies to Personas also. So, if you have a NetWeaver system you are now able to use Personas on it with no extra licence charge. It is downloadable from the service marketplace right now. Go get it 🙂 See Peter Spielvogel’s announcement here – SAP Screen Personas now included with underlying SAP licenses.
In addition to that, there were several sessions that gave a sneak preview of the next version of Personas. This version is not yet ready for ramp-up but will be in the coming months. I’m sure precise dates will be announced here when they are known. Some of the details of what this version is planned to include are in Peter’s blog here – How customer feedback shaped the future of SAP Screen Personas– SAPPHIRE NOW session summary. Remember, this is currently a preview and any and all features are subject to change. Here are my thoughts on what I saw of this preview.
The next version of Personas has a new architecture with some interesting implications. It is embedded much more into the kernel now and works directly through the webgui and not via a separate presentation layer. Most importantly, that means Silverlight is no longer used. Personas is pure HTML. Performance is improved also, since the screen re-writing is done in the backend NetWeaver system and not in the browser and there’s less network traffic between the browser and the backend. This integration of Personas more deeply into the kernel is, in my opinion, really good news. Not only does it give better performance and features, but it also suggests that the product is here for the long haul. Things that make it into the NetWeaver kernel are rarely taken out again!
The new version also contains proper themes, allowing you to set corporate colours and other visual properties for screen elements on a global basis, and obviously easily change them when necessary. This is much better than the current version that allows global settings for some properties, but not all the properties you’d like.
One important thing we saw was the migration of flavours from the current version to the new one. There is an automated conversion process that should migrate most currently working v2 flavours to the new version. Any investment you have already made in Personas development will not be wasted.
Remember, what we saw was a preview and SAP are not promising that the released product will have all the demonstrated features in the form we saw. And they’re not currently offering dates either for ramp-up or general availability. We all need a little patience. In the meantime, go get your version of Personas v2 if you don’t have it already, and start playing…