My name is Ludo Noens and I am the Product Owner for Hybrid Application Toolkit. I have been working on this tool since we started on this journey 4 years ago. Prior to working on this tool, I have been developing hybrid apps for mobile payments and mobile banking. During that time, I was always looking for tools that could help me build my apps and prototypes faster. I eventually joined the team in Singapore which created this tool.
This blog post is especially important for you, if you are currently building hybrid mobile apps on your workstation while using SAP Web IDE as editor. With this posting I would like to inform our user base of an upcoming change with respect to the way we support building hybrid mobile applications.
To support the development of mobile applications for the enterprise, SAP provides various options to developers. Developers can choose to develop native iOS apps based on Swift by using the SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS. On top of this offering, developers can create model-driven apps using the Mobile Development Kit. At the other end of the spectrum there is the option to build web applications and consume them on a mobile device via a web browser or through the SAP Fiori Client. Last but not least, there is a hybrid approach that combines web technology with native code. For this, we are making use of an open standard technology called Apache Cordova, which basically wraps your web app into a native application where it will run inside a customised web container. Sometimes we refer to these type of apps as “Packaged Apps”.
Over the past years, SAP created various components to support the development of hybrid apps, which we deliver as part of the product called Hybrid Application Toolkit. Those components include:
- The optional SAP Web IDE plugin/feature called Hybrid App Toolkit
- SCN Hybrid App Toolkit add-on, downloadable via the SAP Store
- SAP Hybrid App Tool Companion, available in the Apple AppStore and Google Play
- Developer Companion, built on-demand using our Cloud Build Service.
Figure 1: The latest version of the optional feature “Hybrid App Toolkit”, visible in the Features list of SAP Web IDE Full-Stack
SCN Hybrid App Toolkit add-on (also referred to as ‘HAT local add-on’), which is one of the oldest pieces, was created as a temporary stepping stone towards building mobile apps in the cloud. This add-on creates a bridge (connector) between SAP Web IDE running in your favourite web browser and your local development environment. Developers can create applications in the cloud with SAP Web IDE and turn them into a mobile app by running a local build.
One of the main challenges faced by customers is the installation and regular updating of the add-on. It requires a number of tools and open source packages to be installed, which depend on each other. Many customers face issues setting up and maintaining this environment. This was partly due to version issues and package dependencies, but also IT landscape related issues (e.g. proxy servers, privilege settings). To help resolve some of these problems, we eventually introduced an installation helper tool. This GUI based tool checks for installed tools, environment settings, versions and dependencies. It also helps in creating a custom version of the Companion App.
More than one year ago, SAP has introduced the Cloud Build Service as an alternative to building apps on a local machine. This service was originally added as part of the mobile service for SAP Fiori developer experience and in October of 2017 was added to SAP Cloud Platform mobile service for development and operations. With this, developers are able to build hybrid mobile apps completely in the cloud without having to install anything on their own machine. The only things required are a web browser and a mobile device.
We have now come to the point where the Cloud Build Service offers a comparable developer experience, and in some cases this service is even faster than running a local build (e.g. Android and iOS builds run in parallel). In the coming months, we will further enhance the developer experience and ensure that all the code generated for the mobile apps is accessible and can be customized where needed.
We plan to focus our investments on cloud based mobile application development and therefore we plan End of Maintenance for the SCN Hybrid App Toolkit add-on component in the second quarter of 2018. The other components (Web IDE plugin, Companion App) are not affected by this.
Figure 2: Legacy and new version of SAP Web IDE as visible in the SAP Cloud Platform Cockpit
We have deprecated a few templates in the old SAP Web IDE that can only be built using the local add-on. For the time being, these templates (some refer to them as ‘Kapsel templates’) will be kept available on the old SAP Web IDE, with the deprecation notice. These templates will not be available or supported on SAP Web IDE Full-Stack.
Figure 3: Application templates related to HAT local add-on that are marked deprecated.
In the coming months, we will provide guidelines for existing customers on how to move their existing projects to SAP Web IDE Full-Stack and build the apps in the cloud using our Cloud Build Service. A reference to this information will be made available in the migration guide which is part of the SAP Web IDE Full-Stack documentation. When starting new projects, we recommend using SAP Web IDE Full-Stack to create apps based on the existing Fiori templates. Provided you have the HAT feature activated in SAP Web IDE, the following SAP Web IDE templates can be used to develop hybrid mobile apps:
- SAP Fiori Worklist Application
- CRUD Master-Detail Application
- SAP Fiori Master-Detail Application
- List Report Application
- SAP UI5 Application
Existing customers can continue to use the add-on. However, we encourage customers to move to the Cloud Build Service, which is part of the SAP Cloud Platform mobile service for development and operations offering. All customers who have subscribed to SAP Cloud Platform mobile service can make use of the cloud build service.
Figure 4: Cloud Build feature visible in the Mobile Service for Development and Operations Cockpit
We are open to feedback on this. Feel free to comment on this blog post, or if you prefer, you can reach out to me or my colleagues from Product Management.
Ludo Noens , Product Owner – Hybrid Application Toolkit
Eric Solberg , Senior Director – Product Management
Britt Womelsdorf , Area Product Manager