SAPUI5 Development as seen by classic SAP ABAP Developer
First, as title says, I should note that I write this blog from a position of “classic” SAP ABAP Developer. You know, the usual work related ABAP programming, SAP GUI (dynpro) designing, ALV reports, EDI/IDOCs, enhancements/BADi implementations, print forms and many more “classic” SAP developer tasks.
I started with SAP development in 2012. One year before the SAP Fiori was introduced. But it still took long time before SAPUI5 / Fiori was more widespread. And still even Today many SAP customers have limited support (I mean old systems) to fully use Fiori / develop in SAPUI5.
Now I have to say it – I do not like SAPUI5 (so far). And I did not found almost any negatively critical articles / blogs / discussions over the internet. Surprisingly it seems there are not many praising blogs neither. Apart of PR marketing ones or just technical guides of course.
Steep learning curve
I am sure many SAPUI5 developers (especially recent ones) started with already having some “modern” web development experience and skills. For them it is of course much easier learning. But for classic SAP ABAP developers it may look like a completely different world.
Just looking at all the project folders & files makes me dizzy:
Some of the difficult learning points:
- The differences of languages themselves JS, HTML, CSS… vs. ABAP.
- Lets say I want to create a View. OK we can have XML View (seems preferred way), JSON View, JS View, HTML View…
- Where / how to connect OData source. Service binding, manifest, model…
- The way how releasing and publishing final project works.
- Handling user authentication, state management, multiple views navigation…
There is just a lot of new things to learn to get even on the basic level. Thus steep learning curve.
I started to explore SAPUI5 quite early. Back then I think main IDE to use was Eclipse (ADT).
It is not supported anymore.
Now the go to IDE might be VS Code and / or cloud (browser) IDEs like SAP Web IDE. But, correct me if I’m wrong, Web IDE is currently being replaced by SAP Business Application Studio (BAS).
UI Design Guidelines
SAPUI5 is at first User Interface technology. Creating working SAPUI5 application is one thing. Following UI Guidelines is another. Raise hands who is developer and has any UI/UX course and/or read complete Fiori Design Guidelines and knows them?
This is almost a job for UI/UX designer to validate newly created apps. But I doubt that most customers companies have/use one for SAP development.
Frontend vs. Backend? Full-stack!
Could we split the job to two jobs? We could. But when I am following the SAP developer jobs trend and talks. It seems the way to go is mostly full-stack.
Other criticism / random thoughts
- Hard to customize UI – there are lot of nice components to use. But combining them together and creating more complex, customized solution – according to user idea or requirements – is difficult.
- Learning sources over the internet – old / deprecated approaches, various quality… To be fair, this is valid for ABAP and basically any other topic too. But it does not make starting with SAPUI5 easy.
- Doubt whether this frontend technology is “it”. Web Dynpro I am looking at you. Yes I know. Nothing in IT world is permanent. Technologies come and go. Recently maybe faster then before. And I agree SAP GUI needs some alternative or “side GUI”.
- Do users like SAPUI5? I know many users do not like SAP GUI. Especially the fresh ones. This is very non developer question. It is about UX. But still I would like to know.
- Key users still need to open SAP GUI for some tasks. So we have two UIs, until at least every main user process is adjusted and fully customized to SAPUI5.
Maybe I find others with same opinion / experience? Or maybe I chose wrong path to learn & understand SAPUI5? Or this will be just one man’s opinion + experience blog 🙂
Some open questions for readers (but please, feel free comment about anything) :
- How was / is your learning path of SAPUI5?
- How do you like the process of developing SAPUI5 apps?