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User Experience Insights
Author's profile photo Frederic Berg

Scale and Innovation: How we evolve our UI technology

There are only a few areas in technology development which undergo a similar amount of constant change when it comes to opinions and market trends as the area of UI technology and the ever growing number of popular JavaScript frameworks. No wonder, as user interfaces in most areas of web development are written and discarded with every new design and product iteration.

So how do we translate this to enterprise application development and its very specific needs when it comes to longevity, cost effectiveness and standardization? Let’s review how SAP approaches this topic while making room for new trends and innovation.

Let’s start by understanding what sets our approach apart from the rest of the industry, at least that of the web development community in general. Building business applications in the field of enterprise software usually means one thing: massive scale.

The amount of apps and transactions and thus user interfaces, views and related content which has been created by SAP and its customers in the past amounts to millions of lines of code and represents a massive amount of features and functions which are needed to make businesses run. Our technology needs to be built in a way which allows our customers to operate this system at low cost, while allowing for constant innovation and technology updates to happen without the need to rewrite their applications.


Enterprise Application Development: Scale

Thus, we have taken certain decisions in the past which allow for this type of operation. The main choice is around the decoupling of the lifecycle of application code from the technology which drives it via clear APIs. Central technology components such as SAPUI5 can be updated once while affecting thousands of applications at the same time. Security and accessibility updates, performance improvements and similar enhancements can thus be offered at very low costs for our customers. Our clearly defined APIs also allow us to make more significant changes to the underlying technology, bringing true innovation while keeping the application code stable. The UI5 team has shown what is possible as part of their UI5 Evolution project and its related technology innovations.

An additional effect of central technology updates goes even further and can best be seen when we look at what is possible when using central meta-data driven frameworks, such as Fiori elements. New features and functions, design updates and other user experience innovations can be brought to thousands of applications at once, a potential which can only be lifted with this type of technology choice.

When it comes to building enterprise business applications at scale, with low cost and efficient operations, SAPUI5 and Fiori elements are here to stay and represent the cornerstone of our strategy.

At SAP, we always look out for the latest trends in web technology and take a conscious decision of integrating new concepts and standards into our portfolio when they represent a true and lasting benefit. We are very excited about a new web standard which is finally supported in all major browsers and will be the basis for our next generation of UI rendering assets: Web Components.

This technology allows us to create enterprise ready, consistent and reusable components which can be leveraged in all technology frameworks today and in the future since they are no longer bound to any particular framework and run natively in the browser. Already today, we are building most new controls as UI5 Web Components and will utilize them inside of SAPUI5 as well as other environments. This provides an unmatched level of flexibility, safeguards our investments as well as those of our customers and partners since we continue to keep our promise of stable APIs, continued innovation and support.

We believe that SAPUI5 and Fiori elements as the perfect choice for business application development and Web Component technology for building truly everlasting controls is a winning combination which SAP, our customers and partners can trust and rely upon.

After all, the only constant is change. We’re ready for it.


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      Author's profile photo Helmut Tammen
      Helmut Tammen

      You and your UI5 and Fiori teams do a really great job. Thanks for these great technologies.

      Author's profile photo Mahesh Palavalli
      Mahesh Palavalli

      Can't wait to see how ui5 will compete with other technologies especially in performance. BTW, it just feels too weird to read this without any images 😉

      Author's profile photo Marco Beier
      Marco Beier

      I second this! The image part as well 😜

      Author's profile photo Ajit Kumar Panda
      Ajit Kumar Panda


      How about using Fundamental Library? Not sure about the performance.

      Author's profile photo Helmut Tammen
      Helmut Tammen

      I think you cannot compare UI5 with other frameworks cause UI5 is a framework for enterprises. Other frameworks are mostly used for single or only a few apps. The next app is developed with the next release of that framework. This often is not possible with UI5.

      So in my opinion it's unfair to compare UI5 with the latest releases of Vue, React or Angular.

      When I realized a small learning project with Vue about one year ago I was suprised that e.g. i18n was not built into the core. I had to use a module developed by someone from the community. But what if this guy looses interest in maintaining it?

      Nevertheless UI5 should have a good performance and I think that the team is constantly looking at it.

      Author's profile photo Boghyon Hoffmann
      Boghyon Hoffmann

      Helmut Tammen  Can't agree more. UI5 is highly underappreciated and often misunderstood.

      Author's profile photo Mahesh Palavalli
      Mahesh Palavalli

      Okay, that's a very good information u have provided.

      I completely agree with you on this, in fact, I tell the same to the customers if they ask me why they need UI5 and wants to go for angular or other js frameworks. I know it can never be able to beat(anytime soon) the other frameworks in sheer speed because u see, ui5 is an apple and vue is orange here, can't compare apple and oranges right?

      Maybe it might one day, if they decouple it even more and reduce the initial app size. we can see how much it is improved already with the ui5 evolution in the last couple of years.

      Maybe I shouldn't have mentioned "competing with other technologies", I might end up triggering a lot of folks, hell, even I will be 🤪