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World Premiere Design Studio, roadmap design studio & Q&A studio in Berlin

At Berlin I have taken part in a couple of Design Studio sessions and some discussions. In this blog I will mix all those experiences and describe the things I got out of all those interactions.

Real-time connection via Sybase ESP (in the future also HANA stream)

In the premiere session it wasn’t really discussed live and in the template demo you saw a moving graph on the left top. However I think it is a bigger thing then it was made to be.

DS_livestream.jpg
Source: SAP.


I was lucky that I also attended an expert session by Michelle Miley who showed a demo (movie due to network, but additionally she showed the application at design time afterwards). Where the live streaming updates were used for an Oil refinery. In the app you saw 4 tanks, colored red or green based on how well they were doing. Clicking on a tank resulted in a second page where you could follow live the temperature , pressure and two other measures of the tank.

The real live streaming datasources are provided by Sybase ESP, which Michelle showed us, but in the future there will be a Hana stream that will also be able to deliver a stream of updates.

Additional to this you have off course already the usage of the time update (look at the samples of SDK in http://help.sap.com/boad). Set this thing to 5 seconds and you’re pretty close. (but make sure the update takes less than 5 seconds!). Nevertheless I think live streaming is a pretty big thing as an addition. I know I want to make at least some example apps to showcase this.


Analytical template
I have seen the demo on the Analytical template twice, once as a movie due to network issues and once live. This analytical template enables you to search a query on the backend system and start freely navigating through the data.

DS_analytical_template.jpg
Source: SAP.

On the right top you see a filter button where you can manually enter a keyword. Based on the keyword you get a selection of queries where the keyword is part of the description and you have authorization to. On the left you can use the navigational panel to drag fields within the panel to rows or columns. An additional filter button within the query shows a checkbox group with all the dimensions. Selecting dimensions will result in listboxes with values for those dimensions which enables you to filter the query by selecting a value.

I think this can be even further enhanced to make a panel that groups queries into segments. For example queries on sale, purchasing, HR, production etc. based on authorization I think this is already doable in 1.4. 

This template is a great starting point for IT to create a company template to enable users to navigate through a number of queries. Additionally you have control over the queries and options that the user can see.

Fiori integration

                In my opinion there is now a start on the way to Fiori integration. SAP fiori applications are known for their live tiles and ability to click through to applications. 

DS_fiori.jpg

Source: SAP


You can now do the following :

  • Drill-through from Fiori applications and tiles to Design Studio applications
  • Drill-through from Design Studio to Fiori applications.
  • In Q&A Eric mentioned that there is a template in Design Studio with a Fiori look&feel

What is still to come :

  • Enable workflows for Simplified Financials
  • Embedding DS applications in Fiori applications
  • Don’t know if this is already there, but can DS do live updates in the tile itself to make it live?

So be aware of the current limitations, but the future is that you can fully integrate Design Studio into Fiori.


Global Scripting Functions
Currently the best way to avoid double coding is to use invisible buttons (until 1.3)  Now there will be a new technical component of the type “Global Script Holder”

DS_globalscript.jpg

Source: SAP.


You can create a number of these components and add Function names to a component. In the example you see that there is a global component “MEMBERS” with the function name “ADD”. My guess is that in script you can address this by using “MEMBERS.ADD” but I haven’t tried this yet so don’t trust me and check for yourself 😉

Now that I zoomed in to create the screenshot I noticed the amount of return types. This intrigues me a lot. In JavaScript this would mean that I can return any object from coding in the function. That seems to be a very big step in the code. So I am curious to what this exactly means (or that this was the reason to keep the image relatively small).


Bookmarking
In the demo a significant part was spent on the ability to bookmark, and reuse the bookmarked parts. In the Demo Jie Deng showed that she was able to bookmark parts of the applications i.e. a single graph and save this as a bookmark pressing a button. In a second application she showed a fragment that she bookmarked. In another application she had an application with a fragment gallery. She could then drag the just created fragment into the application. She was able to drag several fragments into the central canvas of the application.

DS_bookmark.jpg

Source: SAP.

  • As a designer you can determine which parts can be bookmarked
  • The slides state that bookmarks are Immune to design changes. That means in my opinion that the bookmark remembers the graph type, all the properties and the state of the datasource so that you can get the identical graph somewhere else.
  • This allows users to customize their own app by collecting fragments and combining a couple of the fragments into another application by dragging them from the fragment gallery into the application.
  • BUT. For now the user can only work with their personally created fragments. A scenario where a super user creates a number of fragments where other users can pick from is not possible. I understood from Eric Schemer in the Q&A that this is something that they want to address in a service package i.e. before 1.5.


Report to Report Interface

It will now possible to create Report to Report interfaces using a technical component of the type “Context Menu”. You can call other queries , transactions, reports and Applications from different source systems from this component. Although it is not specifically mentioned I guess that you have to tie the component to a crosstab component. My guess is based on the line that parameterization is based on the cells you jump from, in my eyes that means, tied to Crosstab.

DS_RRI.jpg
Source: SAP.

Although transactions are mentioned here, that may not mean all transactions. In the roadmap for 1.5 it says call RFC modules from DS script. RFC modules are used for calling R/3 transactions. So I wonder if this is already possible from this component but not for script or that this also does limit the RRI component. In the screenshot you see that the query monitor in SAP BW is a jump target. That would indicate that RFC is possible.

SDK extension

In the SDK extension you now have the ability to create datasources. This is actually a big thing. It enables CSV, EXCEL, Odata or any datasource to be a datasource that is able to tie up with standard components.

DS_SDK.jpg
Source: SAP.

I have to admit that the image doesn’t result in me having a complete understanding of the datasource SDK, however I think that you now can create an component that inherits all the properties/methods of a standard datasource and that you internally need to build the SDK-JSON according to the standard specification. It can also be that in the samples of 1.4 you will find a template Datasource SDK that you copy and create internal functions that supply the data.

A part that holds some promise is the Data Buffer option. This will allow you to add a cell instead of replacing the current recordset. I imagine that combined with the timer function you can poll the current state at short interfalls (you’re only collecting one number) but with addcell you will be building a history that can be shown in a component.

A second thing that is important for SDK developers is that Lumira graphs can be imported into Design Studio. For me that raised the question where I should be developing my visualizations in the future. In the Q&A Eric Schemer answered that a visualization is best done in the Lumira SDK and things that go outside this in the Design Studio SDK, for me that means a switch as I limit myself to visualizations, for Mike Howles and Karol Kalisz, I think they stay with the Design Studio SDK as they also develop other parts.

Lots more script enhancements not mentioned
From people who tried 1.4 I heard that there are a lot of more scripting additions then mentioned in the presentations. These are things I have to try out for myself. I asked Eric Schemer if he could elaborate on the new scripting api, but he couldn’t really give me an answer on that. When you try 1.4 be sure to scan the what’s new manual and the actual manual for things that are new.

Further down the Roadmap

Off course does the development not stop. In the sessions the roadmap was also mentioned and explained.

DS_Roadmap.jpg

Source:SAP.

Some points that were discussed :

  • Parallel query doesn’t appear in this screenshot from the delivered slides, but it was at the live presentation and in the Q&A was mentioned as an important feature with priority
  • Lumira Interoperability will be increased until the point that you can run design studio on  Lumira  server and Lumira stories in Design Studio (but that is a long way away)
  • Drag & Drop doesn’t stay limited to the navigational panel alone but you will be able to drag fields into the crosstab to navigate.
  • Better Commentary is planned but is BW only.
  • The version in May 2015 will be 1.5, the next version in December will be 2.0

This is only the state of what it was on the 13th November 2014. Be sure to go to the newest version of the roadmap if you want to know the state of a particular development.


Conclusion

A lot of changes have been made for 1.4. I still have to work with the new version to really have an opinion but I already can say that I am the most excited about the realtime capabilities and the ability to create datasources based on CSV, excel or manual input.

On the other hand I was missing a number of updates regarding the responsiveness and layout of applications.

But most importantly Now we have to wait impatiently until November 30th until the GAT of 1.4.

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