This month my co-authors and I were pleased to see the release of Getting Started with SAP HANA Cloud Platform via SAP Press. This release marked the culmination of many months hard work as we tried to put together an introductory guide which helps developers get up and running with the SAP HCP. Since HCP is a very popular topic these days, I thought I’d spend a few moments introducing the book and describing why we think it’s important for developers in and around the SAP landscape to invest the time to learn how to work with this revolutionary new tool from SAP.
What is the SAP HANA Cloud Platform?
If you’re reading this blog post, then you probably already have a general sense for what the HCP is all about. In a nutshell, the HCP is SAP’s platform-as-a-service (PaaS) offering. Though comparable in nature to other leading PaaS solutions such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, or the Google App Engine, there are several things I see that really set the HCP apart from the competition:
- The SAP HCP provides developers with access to HANA. This includes the core database as well as all of the extended services included with an on-premise HANA installation. Here, developers can build complete cloud-based applications using native HANA development artifacts.
- With the SAP Cloud Connector and value-add services such as SAP HANA Cloud Integration (HCI), the HCP makes it absurdly easy to securely integrate with on-premise SAP Business Suite systems and build hybrid applications.
- The HCP comes pre-equipped with lots of enterprise-centric services that can be used to build enterprise applications. Included in this service offering is the HANA Cloud Portal used to build portals and/or mashup applications, SAP Mobile Services for building mobile applications, IoT Services for building IoT solutions, and much, much more. Indeed, the list of services seems to grow almost weekly.
At the end of the day, the HCP is all about developers and application development. It’s a platform that offers a “Bring Your Own Language” (BYOL) approach to the development of enterprise applications in the cloud. As a developer, I’ve never before experienced an environment where I literally had everything I needed to develop applications at my fingertips. The only limit here is your imagination. Indeed, here’s just a handful of the types of applications you can create using the HCP:
- Responsive web applications using HTML5 and/or SAPUI5 technology
- Extension applications which enhance the functionality of SAP’s cloud-based solutions such as SuccessFactors, Ariba, and so on
- Mobile applications which securely integrate with on-premise SAP Business Suite systems using the HCP Mobile Services offering
- Analytical applications which churn through loads of data at a time (structured + unstructured)
- REST APIs which can securely expose on-premise data to a variety of client types
- Mashup applications which integrate custom applications with standard and 3rd-party applications in a lightweight portal
- Create end-to-end IoT scenarios using open technologies/protocols. Rui Nogueira has a great blog series on this available here
Who Should Read this Book?
This book was geared towards developers. Here, we tried to present the material in such a way that novice developers from all walks of life could come in, register for a free trial account, download the development tools, and get up and running quickly. Naturally, certain topics will be easier to follow if you have a background in HANA, SAPUI5, Java, and so forth, but we think that there’s enough explanation for anyone to follow along and start creating applications. This is mostly made possible through the simplicity of the tools rather than the authors’ gift at exposition.
Within the book, we introduce the HCP and explain its positioning in the SAP landscape. From here, we hit the ground running and get hands on with the HCP development tools as we show you how to create various types of applications. Within the hands-on portion of the book, we cover application development using the Java, native HANA, and HTML5 and SAPUI5 programming models. Along the way, we introduce the relevant development tools, software logistics concepts, and security.
In the next section of the book, we move into more HCP-centric concepts such as:
- Core services such as the Persistence Service, Connectivity Service, and Document Service
- Demonstrations for how to connect to external/on-premise resources using the SAP Cloud Connector
- Security development and configuration using industry standard protocols such as SAML and OAuth
- Mashup and portal development with the HANA Cloud Portal
- Integration concepts based on SAP HCI
- Mobile application development using HCP Mobile Services
- Cloud extension application development
Overall, we hope you’ll find a thorough treatment of the core HCP development concepts. You can find a link to a reading sample and the complete table of contents here.
Where to Find out More about the Book
The book is available in print and eBook form via the SAP Press website as well as several other leading distributors (e.g., Amazon). If you have further questions about the book, please feel free to reach out and we’ll be glad to assist where we can. Over time, we’ll maintain the book’s code repository via a public GitHub repository which you can find here. We hope you enjoy the book and look forward to lots of lively dialog about this new and exciting product from SAP.