New Features in Mobile Development Kit 2.2 & 3.0
Mobile development kit (MDK) is a feature of SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Services. If this is your first introduction to the mobile development kit, I suggest you first review the Learning Map which provides overview topics, blogs, videos, and tutorials.
First, let me describe why I mention two different releases. MDK 2.2 is the updated MDK SDK client for iOS. MDK 3.0 is our early adopter care release that also includes Android support. The MDK 2.2 client is publicly available while the MDK 3.0 release requires participation in our Early Adopter Care program. The MDK editor also released a 3.0 version that includes new features and builds applications for any of the MDK clients.
Here is a list of the new features in 2.2 and 3.0.
- Support for Android (3.0 only)
- Includes Windows support for building MDK clients for Android
- Support for design-time parsing of OData Annotations
- Simplified Chinese, Danish, and Norwegian languages added
- Enhanced support for modal popup screens
- Enhancements to extension for VS Code
- Property editor (JSON) enhancements
- Support for LESS styling
- New Feature name for Web IDE plugin and project category
- iOS 12, Xcode 10 and Nativescript 4.x support
The mobile development kit expands its native support to include Android devices in mobile development kit (MDK) 3.0. Users get the look and feel and performance of a native app but the developer builds and maintains a single application metadata definition. The same metadata application runs on both iOS and Android devices. MDK 3.0 is available via the Early Adopter Care program.
To learn more about the MDK support for Android or to sign up for the early adopter care program, view the Expanding mobile development to Android blog.
The MDK 3.0 client also includes a Windows dependency installer in addition to the Mac dependency installer. This allows you to build your custom MDK client for Android using a Windows or Mac machine.
The screenshot below is the MDK Dependencies Install for MDK 3.0 on Mac where it can review dependencies for both Android and iOS clients. Since I’m only using it for development purposes, I installed with XCode 10.1 and it worked for me.
With the new release of the MDK editor, you can specify a backend service that supports OData Annotations. If your backend service has a data schema (annotations), the MDK editor can generate pages with controls based on the annotations as a starting point for the MDK application. Check back often as I plan to write up an example blog for this feature soon.
From the MDK project, you can right-click and select New MDK Annotation Component.
A new Annotation wizard walks you through the steps to help MDK create pages from the annotations in your OData service.
The end result is pages created for you based on the annotations. These pages provide a starting point and as the developer, you can edit the pages as you wish.
Note: If the OData designer updates the backend services data schema (annotations), the MDK pages will stay as originally created and will need to be updated manually.
In the previous release of the Mobile Development Kit, I mentioned support for internationalization and localization. In this release of the MDK, three additional languages have been added – simplified Chinese, Danish, and Norwegian. The MDK now support 8 total languages.
- English (Default)
- Simplified Chinese
Create new properties files under i18n for them to be used throughout the editor.
Once, I created my new properties files, I can see and test the new languages directly from the MDK editor.
MDK has enhanced support for modal popup screens. With the upgrade to Nativescript 4.x partial modal screens (where the modal does not occupy the full screen) now support their own navigation stack and action bar. This allows a modal popup to include a navigation to another page that is in turn rendered within the popup modal. To use the partial modals make sure the Modal Page Fullscreen option is unchecked when creating your navigation action.
Result on iOS client.
Result on Android client
A new release of the Mobile Development Kit (MDK) extension for Visual Studio (VS) Code is available for download on the SAP Marketplace and the Visual Studio Marketplace. You can also view the changelog on Visual Studio Marketplace. For more details on the new features, review the New Features in MDK extension for VS Code 1.2 blog.
Some of the MDK property fields have been updated to make it easier to find the object you are looking for. In past releases of the MDK editor, you had a drop down or an object browser to search for objects. Based on developer feedback, certain fields have been enhanced and provide all 3 of the following for a single property field:
- Auto complete typing – start typing the object you want and the engages the drop-down field, searches, and filters the choices based on your typing.
- Drop Down option – use this for simple selections where you don’t know what to begin typing
- Object Browser – For a lot of choices to look through and you don’t know where to begin. Start here to view objects in the object browser.
Less (Leaner Style Sheets; sometimes stylized as LESS) is a dynamic preprocessor style sheet language that can be compiled into Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and run on the client side or server side. The MDK editor now supports adding a stylesheet of the file type .LESS via the Application.app. The LESS stylesheet support was added to allow for creation of a single stylesheet that will apply to both iOS and Android clients.
Additional features that are a part of SAP Cloud Platform Mobile Services are being added to SAP Web IDE. These features will be incorporated under a single feature plugin. So, the Mobile Development Kit plug in SAP Web IDE will be renamed to Mobile Services App Development Tools. Enabling this plug will provide the same Mobile Development Kit features as it previously did.
The MDK application category has also been renamed. When you create a new MDK application outside of the MDK perspective, you will find the MDK Application Template under the Mobile Services category now.
Starting with MDK 2.1.3, released shortly after the iOS updates, you can use iOS 12 to view your MDK applications and XCode 10 to build and update your MDK clients. In the MDK 3.0/2.2 release, we have also updated to Nativescript 4.x. MDK 3.0 also supports Android 6, 7, and 8.
In the Software center, I searched for mobile development kit and scrolled down to Available Downloads. The last entry is the Mobile development kit client 2.2.0. Need help this video tutorial helped me.
You can follow the instructions in the MDK help portal to install and setup the MDK clients. We are also working on updated MDK setup tutorials, so check back soon.