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Author's profile photo Chris Paine

#SAPPHIRENOW what it meant to a developer

I make no secret that I love developing. My favourite job title is “Chief HR Geek”, I adopt others as the need arises, but as a real in the dirt developer, content is always more important to me than flashy styling.

That’s why I was one of the only attendees at SAPPHIRENow 2014 wearing shorts. It’s fricking HOT in Orlando in June, wearing a suit?! Are you kidding me?

But it’s worth noting that to most businesses in the first instance, flashy styling is worth more than content! BUT – flashy styling with content, that’s awesome.


With the announcement of Fiori being available as part of standard maintenance (yar boo sucks to those companies who’ve decided to skip SAP maintenance and have a third party do it) there comes the possibility of a double whammy of flashy styling and good underlying content.

The demo of a CFO drilling down in real-time to underperforming or problematic areas of the business and analysing why was compelling. I think Robbo has written about this as the killer app for HANA. I think he might be right.

But the key thing for a developer here, was the front end that this was achieved with, wasn’t a Business Objects add-on, wasn’t some WDA functionality. It was SAPUI5 over an OData layer exposed by Gateway.

If companies are going to be able to adopt these applications – and more and more of them are coming – there is going to be a clear need to support them.

Using tooling to build UI5 apps using ABAP won’t cut it

Whilst there are some amazing frameworks out there to help migrate stuck-in-the-mud ABAP developers across to building UI5 app, this does not help when there is a need to extend a standard Fiori app. Developers will need to learn JavaScript (or more properly ECMAScript, but that’s just me being pedantic.) If you can’t code JavaScript and refuse to learn, start calculating your redundancy payout because that’s what you’re going to be worth to your company. Alternatively, brush up on your SQL skills – and you can start writing some of the pushdown code for HANA. Either way, ABAP is going to be complementary to either DB manipulation or front-end display, but not a stand-alone skill set.

Fiori extension points

Did you know that many (not all!) Fiori apps have built-in extension points? You can use these to substantially alter the behaviour and appearance of the app. But to do so, there is something you should know – guess what? JavaScript!  Whilst the RDE (fingers cross for R to start meaning Rapid in near future) allows for some pretty amazing WYSIWYG modification to apps, the likelihood is that some form of developer intervention will be required. At the very least someone is going to have to figure out if the business requirement can/can’t be met using this simple customisation. And what skill set is going to be needed to figure out what those extensions can/can’t do? Yep you guessed it, JavaScript.

In Summary

For once I’m going to keep to a simple post without the detail that me as a developer I love so much. Because I want to emphasis this message.

the future is fiori.jpg

I’m eventually learning to understand, unless you have flashy styling (Fiori), it doesn’t matter how good your content is (HANA) you can’t sell it. Combine the two together, and you have something that will change the marketplace and means developers need to change their game.

Perhaps if I ever attend SAPPHIRENow again, I’ll compromise and wear my jeans.

(This post was originally posted at – but don’t let that hold you back from tearing it to shreds here.)

All opinions are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, friends, countrymen and the nice people at who make you take off your shoes when you go through security in US airports.

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas

      I'm glad a developer made it to SAPPHIRE

      Did you attend any ASUG sessions?

      I suppose you could've worn suit shorts - see

      Glad you came such a long way to Orlando.

      Author's profile photo Chris Paine
      Chris Paine

      Hi Tammy, actually one of the main reasons I came all the way to Orlando was that I was co-presenting an ASUG session on SuccessFactors extensions on the HANA Cloud Platform.

      Wish there had been time to attend more sessions.

      View from the customer is always the most powerful.

      I shall look for the shorts-suit for next time.



      Author's profile photo Stephen Johannes
      Stephen Johannes

      One question: are there tools for handling all the javascript really there to make people more  productive?  I know there is RDE, but when I look at the fiori apps there is just a lot of code to accomplish "very little".   I may be lazy but it just feels there is way too much "low-level" work required for the developer instead of just building the applications.

      Is there a way beyond memorizing all the SAP UI5 library stuff to easily find stuff, provided after you learn javascript?  I think for me the biggest issue is not the learning of javacript, but how do you pickup/learn/find quickly the SAP UI5 library controls to do what you need?

      Take care,


      Author's profile photo Chris Paine
      Chris Paine

      Hi Stephen,

      learning the UI5 elements is actually pretty easy, the framework a little tougher. the mobile demo app

      is a excellent resource to figure out what you can do, but just as importantly is the knowledge of HTML/JS/CSS for building additional controls and formatting the existing ones.

      But you can't even start to do that without knowledge of the underlying JS.

      I think UI5 has intentionally got a lot of low level stuff in there. It is inherently far more flexible than all other SAP UI tools - except perhaps BSP. Which is something I love about the tooling. However, a simple XML based app need have very little JS in it at all and still have a huge breadth of function. Split apps bring in more code, but the majority can be generated by the tooling (either RDE or Eclipse)..

      I myself was a strong doubter, but my experiences to date have been quite happy, but perhaps I do learn a little quicker than many.



      Author's profile photo Stephen Johannes
      Stephen Johannes

      Wow that's a great example and really makes behind the scenes coding much more clear.   I really was looking for something like that because trying to figure what options you need to perform analogous tasks is how I best pick things up.

      I would agree that most of this doesn't look that bad or difficult once you understand the base concepts.

      Take care,