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From the Appbuilder to River RDE to WebIDE

The question in todays world is not: Do we switch to UI5? The question is: How do we develop UI5?
There are three different ways to do it:

This blog will focus on the SAP WebIDE to give you a quick overview.

First a quick info about the name

SAP introduced the WYSIWYG editor to develop web applications in 2013. It was first called “SAP App Builder”. The product was enhanced in 2014 which caused a new name: “SAP River RDE”. RDE stands for Rapid Development Environment. But this name didn’t last long. The product is called “SAP WebIDE” now.

Features of the SAP Web IDE

As mentioned before the product has already changed a lot in its short lifespan. But it matured a lot. The original “App Builder” could only be used for building GUI prototypes. Today this has changed. The IDE offers:

  • Syntax Highlighting
  • Code Completion
  • Development of apps based on templates
  • Expanding SAP Fiori apps
  • Import & Export functionality
  • Mock-ups

To get a first impression you should watch the following video:

The downside?

The WebIDE is – as suggested by the name – a web application. This means an internet connection is needed to use it. But the bigger question is: Where is the source code stored? A lot of companies (outside of the US where cloud services are extremely popular) want to store their code on premise.  BUT: SAP offers a standalone installation of the WebIDE. A combination is also possible. You can use the WebIDE in the cloud (and therefore always use the recent version) and store the code on premise in a repository. The downside to the WebIDE therefore doesn’t really exist.

The future of IDEs

IDEs in the browser seem to be the future. Google does it, too. Lots of advantages arise: the IDE is always updated and the building process will be executed on a central build server. This speeds up the building process. Re-developing of Eclipse plugins after a new release will be something from the past. The change of the IDEs will be a very interesting topic in the next years.


The WebIDE has developed into a very interesting and powerful alternative to Eclipse for UI5 development. I strongly suggest that you take a closer look at what seems to be the goto IDE for SAP UI5 development for the upcoming years.

Here you can learn more about SAP WebIDE. I hope that I could give you a good overview over the recent developments in the UI5 world and if there are any open questions feel free to contact me in the comment section or via mail.

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      Author's profile photo Fabio Pagoti
      Fabio Pagoti

      Hi Hendrik Hilleckes,

      First, I think your introduction was fantastic.

      The question in todays world is not: Do we switch to UI5? The question is: How do we develop UI5?

      I have been using Web IDE almost daily for quite a few months and the experience is good. I just don't say "great" because I have to connect in the Web IDE using a VPN which **** simultaneously then the performance is not that great.

      Moreover, the recent updates on the Web IDE are just amazing me: they are very constant, frequent and most importantly useful.

      I have never used Neptune but using Eclipse when it comes to Fiori enhancements is a no go. Web IDE does magic with UI5 Components and mock data.

      Nice blog!