Have been asked several times over the years what is special about FIORI? What is good about SAPs venture into open UI space with UI5? I have been giving the similar answers to pretty much everyone, with a different flavor depending on their knowledge. However, i think it might be good to just sum this up
What is FIORI
A Guideline? A Trend? A Technology? an App? set of apps or just a Flower. Well Yes, it is a flower and that is why the name.
FIORI is a set of Design Principles and / or Guidelines (some even say design language that i will avoid using). These principles and guidelines derives the User Experience for designing an app. (Visit SAP Experience to learn more about it). It define do’s and don’ts of a user interaction. And for once in Capital case…It is NOT a development technology. Have had a lot many ask me, I want to develop in FIORI.
Now having said what FIORI is, SAP has gone a step ahead and implemented this User Experience in 1100+ apps available at Apps Library. All apps following these design guidelines are FIORI like apps. The apps are that are lean, are device and browser agnostic (responsive) and work “out of the box” with SAP and / or HANA DB.
FIORI is not a replacement for standard SAPGUI. Being lean the apps are built primarily for non-technical, business, executives, mobile end users, business uers. User base that is not very technical and do not need to see 200 fields when they need only 5 to approve a request, or fill a form or see a list. Day to day technical SAP users / data entry would still use SAP GUI/NWBC.
SAP has enabled a public domain to make business users fall in Love with FIORI. Get on it FIORI Trial, break it wreck it do as you please.
To enable the user experience community, there is Splash app. create a login and design some FIORI like Apps at Splash App. You can have upto 5 free projects, ask questions in community, design some apps, use existing templates to help you kick start. Good Luck!!!.
What is UI5
Well FIORI is a flower, someone had to convert that into a usable application, that is where the UI5 comes in. UI5 is what add the stem, the petals and colors to the flower but the design of the flower lies in FIORI.
SAP is constantly building not just the APIs but also providing Pre-built, ready to use UI elements, icons, fonts, examples etc (available on same link as above).
- 200+ UI elements with different variations that are responsive by design, are device and browser agnostic. have both compact and cozy behaviors. It is like going to a third party and paying thousands of $s to build a tool for you.
- The ready elements saves tonnes on the development time thus reducing the time to market and cost of development and maintenance. Check Elements Explored
- 600+ Icons in SAP Font library that can be used without having to worry about IP issues. Combine those with different colors and developers won’t have to run behind UX designers to provide icons and images
- Icons being part of SAP font can be sized and color based on the need of the project and customer. Check Icon Explorer
- Demo apps to help understand how things work. Demo Apps
- Tonnes of Tutorials Developer guides help material backed by very robust and proven sap developer network community.
Now having given some gyan about the basics, do not think SAPUI5 is limited to catering to only FIORI experience or for building applications for just SAP as a backend. At the end of the day, UI5 a derived technology built on the modern frameworks. Frameworks that work. Frameworks that are based on state of the art opensources.
- uses JQuery that we can use directly while building in SAPUI5.
- uses CSS framework LESS.
- uses datajs for cross browser interaction
- uses HTML5 based browser features
- uses oData and JSON protocols
As the common notion might be one needs SAP to use UI5, it is not the case. The technology can be used as any other opensource technology in the market. To break the notion, SAP has taken a step further. UI5 now comes in two flavors (been there for a while now); OpenUI5 and SAPUI5. Though they look like two twin sisters just that one is groomed to be more for Enterprise and another more for liberalized open source. However, they are similar in underlying principles and framework. Thus either can be used for projects.
To put in a perspective. UI5 is Modern, its cool, its trendy and can be used to build SAP or non SAP specific user interfaces and above all…its here to Stay!!!
PS: I am editing to state that Information provided might look basic and easily available to some experts in the community. This is my shot and answering the questions from businesses who are thinking of adopting UI5 and / or FIORI space and have questions on Why, What and Where FIORI fits and add values along with UI5.