Since the release of SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.3 Service Pack 8 with the smartphone and tablet framework pages and the enhanced mobile workspaces and mobile homepage offering, I get asked on a weekly (if not daily) basis, questions about the best approach to develop the mobile applications that will be hosted in the Mobile Portal. In this blog I will try to answer this question and guide you through the different available approached.
The SAP Mobile Portal provides a sophisticated web and role based mobile entry point to your enterprise mobile applications. It aggregated web and native application, structured and un-structured content, SAP and non-SAP application and can be built up-on a template based solution or in a “free-style” approach. This very open framework is the key for the high interest in the SAP Mobile Portal.
OK, so we have the mobile shell - a single point of entry point for all the enterprise mobile applications. Now, let’s talk about the applications that run (and are aggregated) within the Mobile Portal.
Native Vs. Web
First of all, you should decide whether the applications will be native of web applications. There are PROS and CONS for each approach and you should carefully define the approach appropriate for your scenario. There are numerous documents over the internet explaining the differences and the benefits for each approach. You can simply Google it.
I am quite sure that after reading few of these articles, you will come to a conclusion that there is not “one-fit-all” solution. You have scenarios where native apps are most suitable and scenarios where web apps are more suitable. Don’t worry, this is the case with most customers I am talking with.
And here comes the beauty of the Mobile Portal – whatever mobile technology approach you take - native or web - SAP Mobile Portal can handle.
Mobile Native Applications
The SAP infrastructure to develop mobile native applications is the SAP Unwired Platform – SUP. This end-to-end platform provides all the required capabilities to develop robust, feature complete, native applications. Another approach would be to develop a native Objective C / Android Java (or other platform) application and consume the SAP data via SAP NetWeaver Gateway while using the dedicated Xcode plugin, and others approaches…
Whatever approach you take, make sure you inject the URL scheme to you application. This is the key to launch the native app from the Mobile Portal.
Mobile Web Applications
Now, assuming that you are taking the web approach, again you have several options for this as well. Let’s start with the most straightforward approach – developing a Portal Application (WAR) and rendering the user interface in HTML5/SAPUI5. The data can be consumed from the SAP system either via SAP NetWeaver Gateway or via the traditional SAP BAPIs and RFC’s.
Another approach is to host the web applications on a web server and consume these applications to the portal via a URL.
These are the traditional and recommended approaches as of today. We at SAP are aware of the need to make the development effort of mobile web applications easier and leaner, and working on various projects to enhance this development methodology. Sorry can’t share a lot more here… still in development. One early preview that is already available on SCN is the planned SAPUI5 support of Visual Composer.
To summarize, the SAP Mobile Portal provides a mobile entry for your enterprise mobile apps. It aggregates web and native, SAP and non-SAP, structured and unstructured content via a template or free-style based frameworks with low TCO while leveraging your existing investment in the SAP NetWeaver Portal. Whatever UI technology direction you take for the mobile apps – the Mobile Portal can handle.
- Enterprise Workspaces - Extending SAP NetWeaver Portal Capabilities
- SAP NetWeaver Portal On Device - Overview, Implementation and Future Plans
- Developing an RFC Mobile Portal Application
- Portal on Device – Launching Native Apps
- SAP NetWeaver Portal: Mobile Enablement