I had a good time at SAP TechED 2016 and I learned a lot of new stuff … the number of sessions and technology topics to choose from is simply astonishing and unfortunately it is impossible to attend all … therefore I had to make ‘choices’ and my personal area’s of interest were mainly focused on ABAP, S4/HANA, UI and HANA.
The overall quality of the sessions was great and a lot of new information had to be ‘digested’ :-)
I have listed my personal key points that I took home from this edition.
The newest edition of HANA was officially announced during the key note speech of ‘Bernd Leukert’. The unexpected announcement caused a lot of ‘stir’ and excitement within the audience.
The ‘reality’ however is a bit less ‘shiny’ … I took the liberty to discuss the newest version at the HANA 2 booth - hoping to ‘discover’ new developer features … but unfortunately there isn’t really a complete new version … basically SAP is doing a ‘marketing trick’ to reassure customers … until now customers were basically forced to upgrade their HANA instance to the latest SP-2 to ensure supportability by SAP … as new SP are delivered quite often this is taking up a huge amount of effort & costs for customers to remain in line with the SPS support strategy … Therefore SAP decided to have SAP HANA 1.0 SPS 12 to be a ‘final, stable’ release which customers can use until May 2019 (for now). HANA 2 becomes the new ‘innovation’ platform where new SPS will be delivered ‘as usual’.
According to SAP there are ‘new enhancements’ - and for sure there are - as this is basically a new enhancement package - SPS 13 - … and no doubt HANA 2 will evolve the coming SPS to come …
Core Data Services (CDS)
The CDS technology is really becoming the ‘heart’ of any new enhancements that SAP is doing … They have become the ‘most important’ way of data modelling within the ABAP core system and the HANA XS environment were they are being used as the single place of data definition ‘truth’ and then are being ‘used’ as wide as possible. Furthermore they are now the underlying technology to drive the new UI5 v2 ‘templates’ via a huge increase of the so called ‘annotations’. Basically the number of ‘annotations’ is seriously increased to offer all kind of ‘auto generated’ services … think UI5, ODATA services, etc …
SAP ABAP 7.5
Goodbye to ABAP user sessions … that was basically one of the huge announcements for me in terms of ABAP language evolution … and welcome ‘data state’ management … This new technology concept within the ABAP netweaver application stack allows users to work on any device and ‘leave’ their application data at any time and pick it up whenever they want on whatever device they happen to work upon … The application will return in exact the same ‘data’ state as when then user left it … even with ‘error handling’ etc … Of course there is provision for multiple data states by different users, etc … The new UI5 templates have built-in functionality of course to handle the different data states and user changes ( eg informing you which other users also have a version of the same data ). A ‘surprise’ would be that the ‘Business Object Processing Framework’ (BOPF) is ‘revived’ as the underlying technology to handle the data state management and user input error handling … didn’t see that one coming …
The ABAP language itself is of course ‘evolving’ ‘as ever’ with continuing support on making the OpenSQL syntax more ‘power full’ and more ‘SQL Standard syntax’ alike with an ever increasing number of supported expressions and functions.
Industry 4.0 with ABAP Channels was detailed more ( while being available already for some time ) with more functionality & infrastructure.
The newest major version of UI5 was announced with tons of new features to support the new S/4HANA application development model where (in theory) all applications are using a UI5 front-end. New application development can be done very easily using default template applications which use underlying server annotation technologies to generate ‘quickly’ and ‘out-of-the-box’ UI5 data state driven applications ( for S/4HANA ).
SAP announced there freely available UI prototyping tool ‘Build’ ( https://www.build.me ) which is really a great web tool for prototyping UI applications using the ‘design thinking’ approach. Prototypes can be ‘build’ using ‘drawn images’ ( napkin style ) and ‘generated’ as workable applications for which you can setup ‘real life’ user testing campaigns including questions, user feedback and even ‘heat maps’ … In a next step you can convert the application into a UI5 application and iterate the user campaign again … As a final step you can export the UI5 application towards the SAP WebIDE for actual building ( well ‘completing’ as most code is already there of course ). Very nice tool !
HANA Live Express Edition
SAP announced the availability of a HANA Express edition which can be run on a local machine ( eg your laptop ) … It uses a local virtual machine snapshot image and should run fine on a decent machine. This allows developers to try out HANA (2) on their local machines without having to use a cloud instance like on Amazon AWS … and thus it saves some money as well … The HAVA 2 Express edition should become available soon too … way to go SAP !