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When to use Fiori elements to reduce development time and costs

Here are some tips to help you decide on when to use SAP Fiori elements when developing an SAP Fiori app. This list is by no means exhaustive, and you will ultimately have to rely on your own experience as a designer, product manager, or developer when making this decision.

  SAP Fiori elements Other app development approach
Where will you run the app?

Web applications (app running in a web browser and connected to a backend system).

Adapts to run on desktop and mobile browsers

Native applications for iOS or Android that can leverage advanced device capabilities (camera, bar code reader, GPS, calendar, etc.)
How will you connect to the backend data?

OData protocol to connect to backend data.

(This is a prerequisite for using SAP Fiori elements.)

RESTful APIs
Does the app follow one of the standard Fiori elements page types? Target design or layout follows one of the standard page types:

SAP Fiori elements allows you to display these pages either in full-screen mode, or within a flexible column layout where up to three pages are displayed side by side on the screen.

Layout follows a different design
Do you need to run the app offline? Not supported Use freestyle approach to meet your needs

SAP Fiori elements is not the only way to build SAP Fiori apps. There are many ways to develop apps that connect to SAP data sources. Doing so without SAP Fiori elements is referred to as “freestyle” development. With freestyle development, you have complete flexibility about how your app will look and perform. You can specify the layout, flow, menu structure, colors, fonts, interaction patterns, etc. – anything and everything about the app.

Of course, there are tradeoffs between the flexibility you gain and the extra time it takes to develop custom apps. For a custom app, you must write the UI code for each screen. With SAP Fiori elements, the templates provide UI code (including some logic), so the data from the back-end (accessed through the OData service) goes exactly where it should, the UI behaves exactly how it should, based on the metadata you provide.

Choose between SAP Fiori elements and freestyle development based on your needs.

 

Freestyle SAP Fiori apps vary widely in appearance, based on their purpose:

 

Some tools that SAP provides to do freestyle app development include:

If you are not familiar with the business value of SAP Fiori elements, here is a quick summary:

  • Accelerate Fiori app development at scale
  • Ensure consistency across apps
  • Keep apps up-to-date with evolving Fiori design guidelines

Want to learn more? Watch the getting started with SAP Fiori elements video series.

In my previous blog post, I discussed why SAP Fiori elements is for designers and product managers, not just developers.

The next post will discuss how and when to extend SAP Fiori elements apps.

Download the complete “When to use SAP Fiori elements” guide.

For SAP UX Engineering, Peter Spielvogel.

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