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SAP recently added the mobile development kit client for iOS to the App Store (OnBoarding Your Mobile Development Kit App Store App). Customers now have three mobile development kit client options:

  • Install the SAP Mobile Services client from the Apple App Store
  • Use the Cloud Build feature in SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Services to generate a customized client for iOS
  • Build and customize a client on your Mac in your organization’s iOS development environment

Sometimes, providing options also creates questions and I have received a few questions on this topic. Which option is right for you? While you can use any of the clients for most use cases, each client has strengths for specific use cases. In this blog, I will summarize the functionality of each client for various use cases.

 

SAP Mobile Services client in the Apple App Store

As mentioned above, the newest option is the client in the Apple App Store. In addition to being easy to install, this client includes a feature-rich demo, so you can see all the functionality in use just by running the client in demo mode. However, every user must also perform a step or two to get your specific connection strings into the client to connect this client to your own mobile development kit app.

Benefits:

  • Automatic access to newly delivered SAP innovations via App Store lifecycle management.

Requirements:

  • The SAP Mobile Services app has no knowledge of how to connect to your mobile development kit app so there is an extra required step to get the correct endpoints into the app on each device.

Best for:

  • Quick start testing
  • A POC that’s focused on the metadata app functionality (instead of client customization capabilities)
  • Distribution to users outside of your Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) or Mobile Device Management system like contractors or partners
  • Quickly show capabilities using demo mode
  • Distribution to production users who are comfortable with using the generic SAP client and with the simple set up steps
  • Deployment via EMM from the Apple App Store

You can learn more about OnBoarding Your Mobile Development Kit App Store App here. You can find the client in the Apple App Store by searching for “SAP Mobile Services” or clicking here.

 

Customized client via Mobile Services Cloud Build Service

Mobile Services includes a Cloud Build Service that creates a customized Mobile Development Kit client that includes the connection strings to your MDK client, so no extra onboarding step required. In addition, you can customize the app name and icon plus you can create a customized client for each MDK app you support. However, it is up to you to distribute this customized app to your users.

Benefits:

  • One of the great features of Cloud Build Service is that it automatically inserts the appropriate endpoint urls into the client based on the mobile services app information. Since those values are bundled inside the app, you do not have to distribute them to users separately as you must do if you use the App Store client. Once installed, the client will connect to your app when the client is launched.
  • Some customization – You can specify your own iOS schema name (important if you do want to override the endpoints later via QR code or other mechanism). You can also turn database encryption on.
  • Branding – You can use your own application launch icon. You can also give the client a name that makes sense to you and your users.

Requirements:

  • You need to upload your enterprise’s iOS signing certificate and provisioning profile before you can start the build process.
  • You need to rebuild the client to incorporate any new features introduced when SAP released a new Mobile Development Kit client. Your existing client will continue to work and you can upgrade on your own terms, but you need to build from the newest version of the client to take advantage of new features.

Best for:

  • A POC that includes evaluation of client onboarding and setup capabilities
  • Distribution to any test or production user
  • Deployment via EMM as an enterprise custom app
  • Implementations where the MDK client is used in its default form except for basic branding and configuration

Learn more about using Cloud build feature in Mobile Service now supports Mobile Development Kit clients here.

 

Customized client via your organization’s iOS development environment

The Mobile Development Kit Client SDK lets you build a fully customized client on your Apple Mac in your enterprise’s iOS development environment. Not only are connections strings included but you can do extensive customization to optimize the client to meet your requirements.

Benefits:

The greatest benefit of building the client in your enterprise’s iOS development landscape is full control.

  • The custom client can include the app endpoints and your own iOS schema name plus you can set the values for how often to check for app updates.
  • You can also bundle extensions/plugins, datasets (your own app data and the demo mode dataset), etc.
  • You have control over the version, the bundle id, the icon and the display name.
  • You can set the timer values that control how often the client checks mobile services for an updated version of your mobile development kit app. The App Store and Cloud Build Services version of the client check for updates about every 30 minutes. You may want to check more often in a testing environment or less often in production and you can only do that if you build the client on your Mac.

Requirements:

  • You need an Apple Mac in your organization’s iOS development environment with all our pre-requisites installed.
  • You need to rebuild the client to incorporate any new features introduced when SAP released a new Mobile Development Kit client. Your existing client will continue to work and you can upgrade on your own terms, but you need to build from the newest version of the client to take advantage of new features.

Best for:

  • Apps that use extensions or plugins
  • POC that includes client onboarding and setup capabilities
  • Distribution to any test or production user

Read the Mobile Development Kit SDK Client Install and Setup (2.0SP1 PL01) blog here.

 

Conclusion

A mobile development kit client is available to customers on the Apple App Store, via the cloud build feature in SAP Cloud Platform mobile services as well as a customized build in your own iOS development environment. These options make it easy to get started and then to transition to full production while meeting your enterprise’s mobile requirements along the way. You can choose the client deployment scenario that works best for you based on your use case and business needs.

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