The all new Custom CDS Views app
This blog post was first published in 2020 and covers the replacement of the deprecated custom CDS views app. It is updated on a regular basis with the status of the replacement, but it does not talk about the latest features of the Custom CDS Views app. If you want to read about the features of a specific version, please refer to the according blog posts for details e.g., in the What’s new in 2302.
What new app?
You may have been surprised or even worried when you first opened the Custom CDS Views app in your 2002 SAP S/4HANA Cloud system after the upgrade. There was just a little “what’s new” section and if you clicked that away without reading (I must admit that this is what I usually do with such messages I receive in apps and web pages) then you found your initial working list empty or just found an app with the subtitle “to be replaced” or even “to be deprecated”.
The good news is, there is no need to worry. This blog post will explain what happened and how to proceed. If you have already read the what’s new or the SAP Note 2874206, you may still want to read this blog post as I will explain the reasons & the roadmap a bit more in detail here.
The most important facts
- There are two apps in parallel now (for some time):
- Custom CDS Views is a new version of the Custom CDS Views app
- Custom CDS Views (deprecated) is the “old” version you were using before
- The “old” app will be removed with 2308 but is still there until then. You will find all the views you have created there and will be able to display them. We recommend to use the remaining time to migrate your old views to the new app.
- Your custom CDS views will not be lost and will not need to be replaced or re-built
- Since 2005, there is the option to migrate your views from the “old” app to the new one. See the 2005 update for details.
- It is not a must to migrate your existing views to the new app, but we strongly encourage you to do so. Views that are published with the new app, will be updated for better performance and will comply to the latest modelling guidelines.
- If you want to build new custom CDS views from scratch, you need to use the new version as of 2011. See the 2011 update for details.
- If you want to edit existing custom CDS views that you have created in the old app, you need to use the new version as of 2202. See the 2202 update for details.
I hope by the time you read this, your mind has changed from worried to curious. The first thing that you now may want to know is …
What are the advantages of the new app?
Since the Custom CDS Views app started out, it was designed as a generic CDS modelling tool. Over time, it was enhanced to also serve different usage scenarios like analytical view modelling or API modelling. Even though you have more or less the same functionality in each scenario, like adding data sources, selecting fields, applying filters, and so on, every scenario still requires different details. When you build an analytical cube, for instance, you will need to add additional associations to your view that you do not need if you want to build an external API. Different checks are needed, the documentation you need is a different one and you have to deal with different other tools in different scenarios.
Focus on Scenarios
With the new app, we want to focus a lot more on the usage scenario and provide a better, more specific, guided user experience. This is the reason why you have to choose your scenario upfront in the new app. With that information, we can now give much more specific hints, automate adding fields or attributes that are needed for your scenario and link you to the documentation and tools that are relevant for your case.
Even if some of the things are not there yet from the beginning, the new app gives us as developers of the app the chance to integrate more documentation and more “intelligence” in the future.
Building a new app from scratch gave us the freedom to use a more modern development paradigm. Using new smart UIs and a notion of Fiori Elements enabled using drafts. Your creation progress is therefore now saved with every step you take in the app. No more need to resolve all annoying warning messages before you are able to save your work.
Speed & Simplicity
When you were working with large base views, the old app was sometimes unresponsive. The reason for that was that we read all available fields of all data sources. With the new app, we read the available fields only when you need them. This speeds up editing such views significantly.
When you open the new app the first time, your work list will be empty. This is due to the reason that we only show a clean list of custom CDS views that you can really edit with the app. Other data sources like the SAP VDM Views, or other extensibility views from e.g. Custom Business Objects will no longer show up in the work list. You will only see them when you need them – while adding data sources to your custom CDS view.
Stability & Consistency
There is a certain risk to produce inconsistent views especially when you have a view stack that uses old custom CDS views as well as new ones. This risk is significanly lower if all the CDS views have been created (or migrated to and then published) with the new app. “Clean” view stacks of only “new” custom CDS views are always significantly more stable than mixed ones.
What is the way forward?
The new app does not show Custom CDS Views that were created with the old app unless you migrate them there. The old app gives you the opportunity to display those views before you migrate them. We recommend to use this opportunity, check your old views & migrate them soon. Note that only published views can be migrated to the new app.
When will the old app be removed?
As of today (update from 2302), the functionality of the old app is covered either in the new Custom CDS Views app or in other tools like the Customer Data Browser and the View Browser. Therefore the old app will be removed with 2308. For customers that started with 2105 or later, the old app is already not available any more.
What about my custom CDS content?
Productive and published custom CDS views will keep working as they did before. No matter in which app you created them. A published custom CDS view always works independently from the app it was created with.
We strongly recommend to check your old views & migrate them soon to the new app though:
- The migration itself will not change the views. Only if the views are published again after the migration, the views as such will change. Therefore the migration as such is always uncritical.
- Migrating a view will make it visible in the new app & will enable scenario specific checks and hints that will help you to increase performance & stability of your views. To act upon new checks & hints, publishing & transport is needed.
What about the preview functionality?
As I already mentioned above, you don’t see SAP VDM Views any more in the overview list of the new Custom CDS Views. That makes the app cleaner and easier to understand.
The preview functionality for SAP views was removed from the Custom CDS Views app, but is now available in the Customer Data Browser app. The Customer Data Browser app is also integrated with the new Custom CDS Views app (and will be with the View Browser app soon).
Another option to preview CDS views is with the ABAP development tools (ADT) that are available for customers that do have the developer extensibility with the three system landscape.
The Custom CDS Views functionality for Key Users is not deprecated nor will it be discontinued. We will continue to improve and enhance the (new) app. We have lots of requirements and feedback that we want to incorporate throughout the next releases.
A lot of that feedback came from you through the SAP S/4HANA Cloud Integration Campaign. The campaign is still ongoing, so you can still participate!
Of course you are also welcome to leave your comments & ask questions right here!
Update from September 2020: As of 2011, the old Custom CDS Views app will not be able to create new views any more. It will still be able to display, preview and edit existing views. Please use the new app to create new views! The blog post was therefore updated accordingly.
Update from May 2021: As of 2105 new customers will not get the old app any more. This blog post was updated accordingly.
Update from February 2022: As of 2202, the old Custom CDS Views app is in a pure display mode. See the 2202 news for details.
Update from February 2023: With 2308, the old Custom CDS Views app will be removed.