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User Interface Technology

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Hi all,

 

If you like the SAP UX Explorer and the exposed relations, I’m sure you are going to love the new Semantic Viewer (Beta) we are currently working on. I had the chance to demo it already during the ASUG webinar “SAP UX Explorer – Overview” with great feedback.

 

What is the Semantic Viewer?

 

The Semantic Viewer for SAP UX Explorer allows you to visualize the relations between different topics in our database. There are already hundreds of relations that can be explored. Up to now however, these relations were provided by text only:

 

Semantic_Viewer_3.png

 

Obviously, it is not easy to consume that information, especially if a topic holds a lot of relations or if you want to oversee the relations holistically. The screenshot below for example shows the direct neighbor topics of SAP HCP filtered by the relation type "delivered by". This is exactly the same information like the one in the screenshot above. At the same time however, you can also explore the neighbors of the neighbors which reveals additional interesting information. In this case we see that UI Theme Designer and SAPUI5 are not only delivered by SAP HCP but also by other delivery channels.

 

 

Semantic_Viewer_1.png

 

I have added the screenshot below, just to show the current state of the filter settings panel. Of course we want to further extend this tool so that it can become your best companion to easily navigate through our SAP UX Explorer content and explore helpful information.

 

Semantic_Viewer_2.png

 

 

How can I get access to the Semantic Viewer?

 

We plan to start a closed beta phase by next week (or latest the week after) with all users who have filled-out our satisfaction survey and left their e-mail address.

 

As a result, becoming part of this closed beta phase is quite easy. Just fill out the SAP UX Explorer – Satisfaction Survey and leave your e-mail address at the end of the survey form. We are going to get in touch with everybody to provide detailed access information and the exact start date of the test phase.

 

Currently we plan to keep this closed beta phase going for at least four weeks and continue with an open beta running until end of this year.

 

If you would like be one of the first exploring our SAP UX Explorer data with the Semantic Viewer - it’s your chance.

 

I’m sure you are going to like it,

JJ

You are planning to attend TechEd 2015? Curious about how to improve User Experience and what comes next from SAP side? Want to learn more about how to develop state of the art SAP User Interfaces? Three times a yes? Perfect, you`re right here, this is your blog.

 

Similar to last year we set up a complete track for User Interface and User Experience design and technology.

The track will come up with more than 30 sessions all around UX.

As User Experience (UX) is one of the "hottest" topics at TechEd we will also see UX-related sessions in other tracks like "Mobile", "Analytics", "Security" and many more. All in all an offering of more than 70 hours of educational content.

 

Below you can find a listing of the UX track structuring and topics covered. (current state of planning, may be a matter of change):

 

[UX Track@ TechEd 2015]

TechEd1.jpg

 


[UX @ other tracks] .... just some highlights

  • SAP UX strategy
  • Implementation of SAP Fiori in SAP System Landscape
  • Authentication and Authorization for SAP Fiori
  • SAP Smart Business
  • Key UI Technologies in S/4 HANA
  • Development of mobile apps with SAP Web IDE
  • ....

 

 

[Additional formats and offerings]

  • Roadmap Q&A sessions
  • Code Review sessions
  • CodeJam Mini Editions
  • ASUG customer sessions
  • Customer Co-Innovation sessions
  • UX Pre-Conference day in planning



[Important dates]

  • Registration opens: June
  • TechEd Las Vegas: Oct 20 – 23
  • TechEd Barcelona:  Nov 10 – 12
  • TechEd Bangalore:  tbd

 

 

This blog will keep you up to date about news and facts all around UX at TechEd 2015 so stay tuned.

 


- Michael, Tracklead for UX@SAP TechEd

One of the real pains when developing SAPUI5 (or OpenUI5) applications is deploying them to your SAP ABAP server.

 

If you are using Eclipse as your IDE the SAP ABAP Repository Team Provider allows you to retrieve and submit your project to the ABAP server. The SAP program /UI5/UI5_REPOSITORY_LOAD does the same thing.

 

 

 

But these methods are really only suitable for an individual developer working in isolation - they don’t really work in team development situations where changes and deployments need to be coordinated.

 

Typically web development teams use a distributed version control system to manage their projects - such as GitHub. Then they build a continuous deployment solution that will take the GitHub project, add any required submodules or other prerequisite components, transform these artefacts into runtime ready states (e.g. minify .JS files) and then deploy them to the required runtime environments. To do this they may mix and match tools and technologies such as Grunt, Node.js, Maven, Gulp, Jenkins, etc.

 

maven.jpegjenkins_logo.png

 

While this might sound like a lot of bits and bobs cobbled together the reality is pretty awesome - within a few minutes of a new code version being merged into the master branch it will automatically be deployed and running.

 

But in our mainly ABAP world this has rarely been required before so this is a new concept. ABAP provides developers with a unified design-time and runtime environment so simply activating your code also deploys it. Web developers tend to use their favourite IDE (or simply a text editor) to build their code locally, then they unit test it with a locally installed web server using a reverse-proxy to access backend web services. In a SAP environment, once this unit testing is complete, we now need to deploy this web application to the ABAP system to be served up via the ICF.

 

When I have talked to my customers about setting up a system to automate the deployment of my SAPUI5 applications I typically hit problems. Because this is all new to the Basis people they pass in onto the Network team. Because it is a development task the Network team pass it onto the in-house Development team. Because the Development team are ABAPers they throw up their hands and say not my job - or if they are web developers they say “we don’t do ABAP” because in the end we need to deploy to an ABAP system. Frustrating!

 

problem.jpg

 

So I have build some ABAP code to perform this deployment task for me. It is available at http://yelcho.github.io/sapui5-deployer/ and includes all installation instructions.

 

It does the following

  • Download the Github Archive
  • Remove wrapper subdirectory from archive
  • Minify CSS & Javascript files
  • Build Component-preload.js file where required
  • Recursively perform above steps for any required Github submodules
  • Package up all artifacts into a deployment archive
  • Optionally save deployment archive to file system
  • Deploy to SAP Internet Communications Framework
  • Invalidate the UI5 cache buster

 

Because it is ABAP code I can copy and paste it into my customer's development system myself - especially as I only need to create local objects in $TMP. Usually the only infrastructure change required is configuration of the ICF to support HTTPS connections to GitHub. This is typically a task that any Basis person can do in 15 minutes and does not require a system restart - just a restart of the ICF.

 

Once installed you can choose to manually run a program to deploy the SAPUI5 application or automate the entire process. You may choose to write a ICF handler and allow GitHub to call it directly to trigger updates via GitHub Webhooks. This means opening up HTTP access to that ICF endpoint from outside your firewall perhaps via a SAP Web Dispatcher or other reverse-proxy. An alternative is to have an intermediary system receive the GitHub Webhook call and for it to trigger execution of the deployment code on the ABAP system. Or you could write a batch job to regularly check the SHA-1 hash of the project branch and perform a deployment when it changes. Plenty of options for you to choose between.

 

To give you an idea of how this could work for you I have recorded a short video demonstrating deployment of a simple SAPUI5 application to one of my customer's development system.

 

 

 

Again the project can be found at http://yelcho.github.io/sapui5-deployer/.

The event ran from 13 – 16 April in Berlin and organised by T.A.Cook.  I want to thank them for their tireless work in making the venue and organisation run smoothly.


I started with a micro-forum presentation on the SAP UX Strategy.  There were quite a number of customers attending and I was really encouraged by the quality of the questions.  The second session was a half-day workshop with a group of customers where we discussed how to work on UX improvement.

 

One thing is very clear to me from these sessions: Spend time to listen, think and discuss the SAP UX Strategy.  Then consider how to communicate this within your organisation.

 

From a planning perspective I created this slide purely as a commentary slide.  I want to highlight that there are 3  areas – separate yet connected – that require your thinking, planning and roadmap actions before they are eventually integrated again.

 

Picture1.png

a. NEW: What net New applications (new functionality e.g. SAP Fraud Management) and UX solutions do SAP offer your enterprise?

b. RENEW; ENABLE: What improvements can and should we make to realise business value through improving the current SAP estate?

c. NEW: Take full account of the new future that SAP is creating, based on S4HANA, which integrates applications and analytics with SAP Fiori UX.  Believe me this is a major step forward and with this SAP is creating the future standard of UX for business applications.  How different is this?  Totally, as it now utilises the s-Infinity code line and in the fullness of time will be what standard SAP will be.


The clear implication for SAP customers are that there are 3 states:


1. SAP GUI – The classical and 20 year old experience of SAP > No change in SAP UX.

2. Transition State – Specific UX improvements targeting key roles, and self-service.  This may include utilising the future SAP in parallel e.g. sFin.

Between these two states there will be a continuous movement where new functionality will become available as New, Renew and Enable items.  In addition, New in this context should be seen as Fiori UX solutions on S4HANA.

 

3. Future SAP – In this state the customer utilises mainly Fiori UX (S4HANA).


As with any major transformation programme from SAP, the creation of the future SAP applications and User Experience will be based on our portfolio and roadmap approach.  It is therefore my clear recommendation to you to kick-start the transformation and move from State 1 to State 2.  Waiting on State 3 will result in considerable lost opportunities, value and risks the business and user satisfaction demanded by all.

As my lecture was selected as "lecture of the week" starting with May 18th, you will find the recording of my lecture and information about the latest version of the UI theme designer in this blog.

 

UI theme designer lecture from TechEd Las Vegas'14

 

The UI theme designer is the tool for theming and branding of SAP applications. You can create your custom theme for a wide range of technologies and platforms, such as SAPUI5, SAP Fiori Launchpad, Web Dynpro ABAP, SAP Portal and the SAP NetWeaver Business Client for Desktop.

 

In this lecture you will learn about the purpose of the UI theme designer, and it's major features. You will get to know the themes, platforms and UI technologies that are supported by the UI theme designer. Of course, you will see a lot of demos and finally this blog will give you some technical insights and an outlook.


 

On SCN we bundle the information about the UI theme designer here: UI Theme Designer Developer Center

 

We also monitor the discussion threads in the UI technology community (User Interface Technology). Please make sure to check the "UI theme designer" box in the categories list for your dicussion or blog posts so they can be easily identified as related to UI theme designer.


UI theme designer 1.10 / 1.9


Since last year's TechEd the UI theme designer evolved and lately UI theme designer 1.10 was made available for ABAP and Java, see details here: UI Theme Designer - Version history.

 

At the same time UI theme designer 1.9 was released for SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP) for productive use. However there are some restrictions you need to be aware of. We intend to remove them in future. Please see the documentation for details: UI Theme Designer at SAP HANA Cloud Platform

 

On-premise version 1.10 and cloud version 1.9 are basically the same in-spite of platform specific differences.

 

Scenarios for using UI theme designer for SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP)

 

The UI theme designer still has no integrated server persistence on SAP HANA Cloud Platform. You can export a theme and import it later again into the UI theme designer. Themes can be temporarily stored in the browser - The use of Chrome is recommended.

 

The exported theme can be imported via SAP Fiori - Demo Cloud Edition or SAP WebIDE as an "HTML5 application".


This "HTML5 application" can be selected in SAP Fiori Cloud's theme manager or used by HTML5 applications by including it as a route into it's neo-app.json.


Please be aware of the fact that an exported theme is bound to a specific SAPUI5 version. Therefore, you will need to hardcode the SAPUI5 version for your application (which is only possible for self-created applications) according to the theme's SAPUI5 version. The UI theme designer will be regularly upgraded for newer SAPUI5 versions so you will be able to upgrade your theme as well (via import/export) and update your used SAPUI5 version.

 

Obviously this is a limitation that is desirable to overcome in future versions.

 

Both scenarios are explained in the documentation.

 

You can use a TRIAL account for a test drive:

  1. SAP HANA Cloud Platform -> Logon / Register -> Accept the terms and conditions
  2. https://themedesigner-themedesigner.dispatcher.hanatrial.ondemand.com/


New features for Expert Theming

 

The newest UI theme designer version comes with some handy tools in the Expert tab which make it easier for you to find the right parameters. This is especially helpful when theming Unified Rendering applications.

 

The first feature is searching for parameters used by CSS classes. You can use the development tools of your browser to find the CSS class which sets the desired property, such as in this example the color for the month text. With the query "css: .<className>" in the filter box all parameters used (and also indirectly used) in rules containing these classes are displayed. By this you can easily find the required parameter.

Searching for CSS Classes.png

There is also an excellent blog from my colleague Barbara that explains the naming of "Unified Rendering" parameters: Theming Web Dynpro ABAP and SAP GUI for HTML: Finding the Relevant Parameters

 

The second new feature is finding out the effects of a parameter on the current screen. For this you can simply click on the parameter name in the Expert tab and it will highlight all usages of the parameter on the screen. If the parameter is not used on the current screen, it will not be highlighted.

 

Highlighting Parameter Usage.png

 


Previews

 

In previous versions it was quite cumbersome to add the same preview pages again and again when you restart the UI theme designer. Now the tool will simply remember the previously selected set of pages, even added URLs.

 

It is also worth mentioning that the UI theme designer got some new preview pages:

 

FLP.pngPurchase Order.png

SAPUI5 Application Previews

  • Fiori Launchpad

UR Application Previews

  • PurchaseOrder
  • Search

 

 

Keep an eye (or better watch) our version history blog to stay in the loop: UI Theme Designer - Version history.

 

Happy Theming,

Uwe

 

@UweKlinger

 

Product Owner

PI UI / UI Theme Designer

SAP SE

I have just returned from the SAPPHIRENOW and ASUG Annual Conference in Orlando where I was fortunate to be part of the Media & Analyst Program for the event.

 

Many others have written about their overall impressions of the conference so I won't go over old ground other than to say it was huge!

 

Whilst there I had several formal and informal chats with Sam Yen - SAP’s Chief Design Officer. Sam is always generous with his time and willing to share his thoughts. He is responsible for SAP’s renewed focus on the user experience that we see delivered through products like Fiori and Personas.

 

If you are interested here are some of my previous blogs that cover - to varying degrees - other conversations with Sam.

 

Changing perception of usability at SAP

Fiori arrives - first impressions and thoughts

What is SAP Fiori? Maybe it's more than you think

 

Coincidentally whilst travelling home I came across a post from Ivana McConnell titled Designers And Developers: No Longer A House Divided. In it McConnell talks about how the roles of Designers and Developers are blurring together and the challenges this presents. She sees this change manifest itself with designers becoming pressured to stay on top of development technologies, and vice versa, and points out that really this is just a symptom of a communication problem between the two groups. Her suggestions include...

 

“...rather than focusing on understanding the mechanics of each other’s work ...,
we should focus on softer skills,…"  - emphasis is Ivana's

 

"We can only become better designers and developers by learning to communicate better with one another."

 

No argument from me. A designer and a developer working well together will produce better results that a designer who also codes or a developer who does the design. We have all seen those wonderful screens produced by developers who think a palette of 256K colours means you should use as many of those colours as possible.


Sam Yen pointed out another challenge - that of how to scale the design piece of work when there are so few designers working with developers? What is the ratio of designers to developers in your organisation? A quick Google search and I found responses that suggested optimum ratios from 1:2 up to about 1:10.


SAP have been focusing on design for a while now and their ratio is at least an order of magnitude higher. I asked a few people from some of the larger system integrators on the SAPPHIRENOW show floor and there was no one claiming better than 1:1000. Most of their standard “development” teams contained no designers at all. We seem to have a problem scaling-up the design piece.


In some respect the SAPUI5/OpenUI5 SDK attempts to address this issue by providing "pre-designed" pieces of the puzzle to help keep developers on the straight and narrow. The SDK contains documentation on a large suite of controls that follow consistent design patterns. It also includes samples that don't just show developers how to code individual controls but also how to use them to build a complete application.

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 3.31.04 pm.png


And there is also the Fiori Design Guidelines to help. This includes design stencils that can be used in the Axure tool for creating wireframes and mockups. Well worth a look.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 3.33.29 pm.png

 

But the problem of scaling the design piece still needs to be better addressed. SAP have some ideas on this. We can expect to hear more later in the year - perhaps at SAP TechEd.

SAPPHIRE NOW! 2015 is about to begin and it reminds me
of the fact that SAP UX Explorer turns 2 years old.Survey_Promo_Image.png
It was in May 2013 when we launched the Explorer for the first time. Since then we continue to improve the number of topics and features.

 

Now, 2 years later we explain around 200 topics and have expanded the content towards customer UX strategies, methods and approaches. We have produced 21 videos (more to come) that explain several aspects from a holistic view. In addition we have aligned the overall design of the SAP UX Explorer towards SAP’s one digital experience.  Also this year we are going to continue to expand our content and provide new features. Some of these are almost ready to show up in the upcoming weeks and months.

 

To ensure that our enhancements cover especially those concerns for which UX Explorer currently provides no answer, we would like to gather your feedback. If you are a customer or partner and have used SAP UX Explorer more than once you are a perfect candidate for this survey.

 

I would highly appreciate, if you could spent 5 minutes of your time and fill out our satisfaction survey. As soon as we have a good amount of feedback, we are going to provide the results here in SCN.


Thanks in advance for your time and support,

JJ (@JJComment)

For Non-ABAP developers , if you want to practise SAPUI5 , the best way is to use the reference service from odata.org. You can use the Netweaver gateway service consumption system from SAP by requesting for credentials if you are specific on SAP system as backend.

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 1.28.11 pm.png

 

Build your model using the service URL. Make sure you are using the correct data service version.

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 1.35.00 pm.png

Use Table to display the products. Use the below link to get more properties on Table element

JsDoc Report - SAP UI development Toolkit for HTML5 - API Reference - sap.ui.table.Table

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 1.37.44 pm.png

Add the UI5 table library in your resources

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 1.40.44 pm.png

 

Thats how the output looks like:)

Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 1.43.40 pm.png

IMGP0577.JPG

On March the 12th, we've organized a UX event in Belgium to help our customers understand the SAP roadmap around User Experience, and help them to get on their way. To lure in customers, we invited Andreas Hauser - one of the bigshots at SAP - to perform the keynote.

 

It worked.

 

We've had a really good turn-up of customers, which proves that User Experience in an SAP context is still a very vague topic, and customers still have a lot of questions. Our goal for the event, was to provide practical tips and tricks towards the IT organization on how to support the different technologies and products introduced by SAP.

 

So we set about, showing how typical employees have to work in the SAP system today, using the plain old SAPGui with sometimes, cumbersome transactions that provide an information overload, and not always the information you need.

 

For each of the steps in that scenario, we then dived deeper during separate sessions on how this step could be improved. We positioned the different possibilities according to the target audience, and the available backend software.

 

There's an abundance of solutions available to improve your User Experience, mobilize applications and pimp the front-end, but the main questions still remain.

  • Which solution is the right one?
  • How do we support the technology?

 

So during the event, we explained that there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution. You'll have to mix them depending on the target audience, and the goal of the application. Sometimes Screen Personas may be the answer. Sometimes it may be the Netweaver Business Client, Maybe you need Fiori for some and mobility for others. And in many cases, you may require a mixture of different solutions.

 

So how do you set about introducing these technologies, and supporting them?

For each product or technology, we provided practical tips to make a jumpstart, get ahead of business and buy time for the IT organization to learn these new paradigms.

 

You can review the full report on PuurC or review the presentations and slides on SlideShare

 

IMGP0607.JPG

I’m sure that many of you have seen the curve in the SAP UX Strategy that illustrates the usage of screens and transactions at our customer base. It starts pretty high with transactions that are widely used in SAP’s customer base and ends with a “long tail” of hundreds of thousands of screens and their transactions used by customers throughout the world.

SAPUXStrategy_Curve.png

When you see this picture for the first time, you could be forgiven for thinking that the long tail is not especially important. Depending on the usage profile of your company however, it is anything but.


Of course, SAP does not collect this data to just draw a curve, but to have a lever to prioritize their work and thus improve the user experience for the customer. I can only recommend that you do the same. You need to know your environment and, by implication, you need to be familiar with the usage profile in your company too.



Let’s start with “Why do I need to know what my users are doing?”


I hope you already know that understanding your users, their behavior and their environment is key for you to succeed in providing them with a better user experience. Additionally, knowing the most important transactions helps you to understand where to start. If you are still grappling with the question “why” however,  maybe you could take a look at my blog The eight rules for a good UX improvement project. Alternatively, you could also look into the customer UX strategy topic in the SAP UX Explorer.

 

 

What can I do, once I have created my own curve?


Of course, what we are interested in is not the curve itself but the data behind it. This can be an entry point for embarking on a broader analysis of where your users are. We have recently uploaded two new videos that will hopefully provide you with a few ideas about how to combine your customer specific transaction data with other aspects: How can I identify a good starting point for my UX improvements? Part I and Part II

 

 

The fastest way to get the data we are searching for


I hope you are convinced now that gathering this kind of data makes a lot of sense.


But how can you get it? There are various ways of gathering the information you need. Some of them are pretty old and technical, but have the advantage of being available in your systems and ready to use. Others might require additional software or additional configuration in your environment. In return however, you’ll get very comprehensive data far beyond a simple list of transactions being used.


NOTE: All advantages and disadvantages that I will mention below are collected with the focus on getting the specific data we are searching for. It’s not about rating these tools in general.

 

 

Transaction ST03N (Workload Monitor)

 

Do you know good old transaction ST03N? It’s a very handy tool for analyzing the workload in your systems and identifying the root cause of performance issues. In our case, we only want to use ST03N to find out the number of dialog steps caused by a specific transaction.


Unfortunately, dialog steps are not the best data point for measuring how often transactions are being called. Transaction A might cause many dialog steps while being used for example, while transaction B causes only a few dialog steps. Even if transaction B is called more often, your top list might start with transaction A.


Quick guide to the transaction


Obviously, ST03N is a very powerful tool with a large number of functionalities. As a matter of fact, getting to the information we are searching for requires several steps and/or clicks. Let me roughly describe how to find the data.


  1. Start transaction ST03N and make sure you are in expert mode.
  2. In the upper left pane, search for “workload” and select total (or any individual server)
  3. Double-click on the day, week or month that you want to analyze the data for
  4. You will notice that a new pane appears at the bottom left. Here you need to double-click on “standard”
  5. As the results show up on the right, you need to set the aggregation (above the results) to “application”
  6. You can now select one of the application areas displayed (for example SD)
  7. In the new results, you might need to set the aggregation to “transaction”.
  8. Finally, sort the column “# Steps” to get a sorted list of all transactions in SD


For your convenience, my colleague Marcus Biemueller has created a very informative video about how to identify top transactions using ST03N.


Advantages and disadvantages


+ Comprehensive technical analysis of what’s going on in your system(s) beyond a pure top transactions list.

+ Is already in your ABAP system, so that you can quickly generate a first top transaction list.

+ There is nothing to be activated beforehand. You just need authorization for this transaction.

-  Dialog steps are not necessarily the best indicator to create a top transaction list.

 


Transaction SM20 (Security Audit Log)


SM20 is another pretty classic transaction. It was (and in some places still is) typically used to track security-relevant activities in the system. Of course, we are not interested in all the data and alerts that it might show us. What we are interested in is a tiny side feature that generates a list of the top transactions almost perfectly.


I should stress however that the security log needs to be activated in your system. If it’s activated already, and you have authorization for the transaction, you could give it a try right now. If not, get in touch with your system and/or security administrator. They should be able to activate it for you.


Quick guide to the transaction


  1. Start transaction SM20
  2. Specify timeframe and click “Read AuditLog”
  3. When you receive the results, just go back to the previous screen.
  4. The start screen now indicates that a number of log entries are available
  5. Mark one or multiple of the servers in the left menu and click on the “statistics” tab
  6. Check “transactions” and click “show statistics” at the very top of the screen. (hint: In my test case I noticed that “show statistics” appeared only when I clicked through all other tabs before. So you could give this a try if “show statistics” doesn’t appear)

 

Advantages and disadvantages


+ Is already in your ABAP system, so that you can quickly generate a first top transaction list.

+ Creates an attractive list that provides exactly what we are searching for.

-  Requires the Security Log to be activated in your system

 

 

Alternatives for gathering the information


There are a certain number of other tools available. If these are not already in use at your company, note that a number of pre-conditions have to be met, and configurations performed, before you can use them. As I want to provide a comprehensive overview however, I would still like to mention these.


UPL (Usage and Procedure Logging)

 

As a fairly new tool, the UPL is available in any ABAP-based system and can log all called and executed ABAP units like programs, function modules down to classes, methods and subroutines. It can also be used to evaluate usage of Smartform, Adobe print form and SAPscripts. All with no performance impact on the measured system.


As such, this tool is pretty interesting for custom code management and for us too, as it can report how often specific programs and/or transactions are called. You even can use the SAP Solution Manager system and numerous analytic options provided by its BW.


The UPL How-To-Guide (S-user required) seems to be the best starting point for further investigation.


Process Observer

 

Another option for acquiring the data we are searching could be the Process Observer. This tool adopts a different approach to the other ones I have mentioned. It looks into the processes based on your SAP Business Suite environment, while the other tools look into purely technical activities in the systems. It also needs to be mentioned that its purpose is to optimizing process performance and correctness rather than listing top applications. If you have more of a business background however and want to perform your analysis beyond pure lists of applications and UX, I strongly believe that you should check this out. The best starting point to learn more about it seems to be the blog created by Bernd Schmitt

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog, and that I have managed to persuade you check your systems and start compiling your own comprehensive list of information right away!  And please don’t forget to add the additional attributes to your top list as described in the videos How can I identify a good starting point for my UX improvements? Part I and Part II. I’m confident that this will set you on your way to creating a highly valuable set of data for your company.


You have questions or additional recommendations to share? Just post them in the comments section.

 

All the best,

JJ (Twitter: @JJcomment)

SAP is using iRise’s visualization software to provide advanced view of how software projects will look before they get off the ground.

 

irise scenarios

iRise Inc.’s Enterprise Visualization Platform, which is resold as SAP AG’s Application Visualization software, has now been incorporated into SAP’s ASAP methodology. The platform does something beyond mere prototyping, said Emmet B. Keefe III, CEO of iRise. In what he calls “light speed functional prototyping,” developers can create functioning simulations of applications in minutes in front of assembled business people. The simulation can then be iterated on the fly based on their feedback. For example, a fully-functional mobile banking application could be simulated and look and operate almost exactly like the real thing.

There’s also no coding or scripting involved, so non-technical business analysts, who already use Excel, Visio and PowerPoint to write requirements, can use the platform readily, he added. Instead of using mock-ups and screenshots, they can create much more interactive simulations. Through a three-way partnership between architect, analyst and user, “it transforms the communication with the business users and it also transforms the communication with the architects,” said Keefe.

“In a very short amount of time, they can get to a completed simulation where the business says, ‘yeah, that’s exactly what I want it to look like and how I want it to function, and the architect says, ‘yes, that’s feasible. We can do that within the budget and the timeline that we have.”

The advantage of using a visual platform is not only the speed at which projects can be put into action.

 

 

 

iRise has released iRise for SAP Solutions v2.0 that delivers an expanded set of pre-defined visualization content and speeds time to visualization for SAP projects.

iRise gives organizations a unique way to quickly experience proposed changes to a broad range of SAP implementations before configuring or coding. iRise for SAP Solutions v2.0 contains over 100 pre-assembled visualization assets for many types of SAP implementations.

 

Business analysts use iRise to quickly assemble working previews of SAP configurations, integrations, and customizations early in project life cycles to accelerate time to value and reduce risk for mission-critical SAP projects.

 

iRise can be used as a "virtual sandbox" for companies that want to avoid the time and expense required to code SAP sandbox environments to validate business requirements. For companies that already have invested in sandboxes, iRise can be used as an effective tool for identifying gaps between standard SAP and changing business needs. Visualizations can include non-SAP applications, allowing collaboration on the entire extended business process definition such as legacy applications, integrations, and mobile devices.

 

In both cases business analysts use iRise to quickly assemble a working visualization of proposed extensions or customizations that exactly mimic the look, feel, and behavior of the final system that can be tested by business stakeholders, accelerating understanding and driving fast consensus on what to build. iRise for SAP Solutions is a content module that includes a toolkit of generalized SAP solution-based page templates, masters, and styles that are used to accelerate the creation of visualizations.

 

"Companies that run their businesses on SAP now have a powerful way to speed up these projects," stated Emmet B. Keeffe III, CEO and co-founder of iRise. "Visualizing and fully experiencing SAP before implementation is a proven strategy to accelerate time to value for companies of all sizes."

 

A working preview of proposed SAP solutions can now be assembled in a fraction of the time it would take to set up and maintain a sandbox environment or generate paper requirements documents. Business stakeholders can 'test drive' the visualizations on their own or in collaborative meetings that directly involve subject matter experts. Comments can be logged and acted upon quickly, speeding consensus and eliminating confusion on what to build

 

A screenshot of the iRise studio is shown below.

sap irise vis 01

The purpose of the UX Opportunity Assessment is to rapidly identify business value opportunities and likely timescales/effort to achieve.  Typically this process is most useful when it is run in the earlier stages of a UX engagement, well before starting the UX Roadmap stage.  As a result the decision makers are able to form an initial view on whether there is both demand and enough potential value to invest further in a UX initiative.


NB: A UX Opportunity Assessment should not be confused with developing a UX Roadmap.  The latter is a far more rigorous approach to discover, assess and decide on very specific scenarios, end users, solutions and required landscape components.


Another benefit of this process is that it brings Business and IT stakeholders together to collaboratively discuss a topic with value potential for both parties.


The scope of this blog is not to delve into a full borne opportunity assessment programme, but rather to remain focussed on where, when and how to best utilise this within the UX context.


1. When to use the UX Opportunity Assessment?


As mentioned in my discussion in Blog 04 – UX Improvement Framework, the first stage should focus on knowledge and learning.  Within a UX engagement we also refer to this as enablement.


An UX opportunity assessment can work very well as one of the initial activities, even directly after the kick off meeting/workshop.

  • It sets very broad expectations
  • It validates business demand
  • It brings multiple stakeholders together quickly
  • It helps those involved to then better interpret the SAP UX Strategy and what SAP can offer in light of the discovered opportunities which represent a form of end user demand.


Equally, an UX opportunity assessment also works very well if run directly after the enablement stage of a UX engagement.  This assumes a level of commitment from the customer to continue exploring the value that UX improvement offer.  In this approach the opportunity assessment serves to better contextualise the UX Strategy discussions and formulation.

If your organisation has multiple business units/divisions/LoB who typically are on their own SAP instances, then the UX opportunity assessment can be used very effectively to assess each division before setting up a programme.  I regularly see this work well where one division is driving the UX improvement agenda and the other divisions are not sure whether there is sufficient value from their users.

 


2. Who to involve?


Although I have seen this work when primarily owned and driven by IT, it is clear that there is a better outcome when both business and IT participate.  Another key success factor from my experience is that there should be a sponsor with a small steering group who both commission the process and decide on how to move forward once they review the results.


A general list of roles to involve:

  • Business and IT sponsors
  • Business and IT senior management – get coverage of all the key areas
  • Business Process Owners
  • Business Improvement Managers
  • IT Business Partners
  • Solution / Process Architects
  • Enterprise Architects
  • Super Users


3. How to organise the process?


Firstly the process should validate that there is business demand for an opportunity as well as an initial estimate of both the value potential and the effort / timescale required to realise the value.

 

 

As far as techniques to identify opportunities I suggest using multiple in parallel:


i. Senior stakeholder > 1:1 interviews

ii. End users > End user survey

iii. Super Users / Power Users > Small Focus groups

iv. Business Process Owners; Business Improvement Managers; IT business partners; Solution / Process Architects > UX Opportunity Assessment Workshop.  You can also set up a series of workshops that focus on business or process areas.  For these also consider end-to-end scenarios e.g. procure to pay, order to cash etc.

  • At SAP we use the Design Thinking approach with great success
  • Plan the space; the storyboard of what attendees will go through and contribute to; Agree
    how you facilitate the session and capture the outputs


Note: The use of Enterprise Architects depends on how this particular skilful resource is used in your organisation.


4. An example result

 

UX Opp Ass_Funnel.png


In this example you see that we suggest a process with three steps:


(1) Identify – Gather as much input as possible

(2) Assess – What is the Value Potential vs. Time to Value (Quick Wins; Tactical; Strategic?)

(3) Progress – This is about further exploring and validating the opportunity through either Proofs of Concept or Prototypes.  These should mainly be time-boxed (set a time limit) so that this does not become a programme in its own right.  The purpose is to do some validation on the opportunities to mainly determine Value Potential &
Time to Value.  We are not trying to pilot solutions here.

 

In final analysis, the UX opportunity assessment process can be very effective in building up support or momentum for a UX initiative.

Hello community,


I’m very proud to announce the successful relaunch of our SAP UX Explorer . If you haven’t heard about this self-service tool before, you might like to start with our new introduction video.


Let me summarize the major improvements in the new SAP UX Explorer.

 

SAP UX Explorer is part of the SAP digital experience family

 

SAP UX Explorer now adheres to the new SAP digital experience guidelines. You probably noticed the announcement from Maggie Fox on the new SAP.com earlier this year. Re-inventing SAP.com was just one of many milestones in a journey intended to transform SAP’s digital landscape to make it easier to consume. We are happy to have signed up for this journey a few months back. Supported by Maggie Fox’s organization, we had the opportunity to align with SAP.com and other websites from the SAP digital experience family. Beside the visual alignment, this improvement process also helped us to further simplifying the consumption of our content.


Bild1.png


Valuable information can be found much quicker


The new SAP UX Explorer puts much more focus on the search function. Besides “watching videos”, “getting answers” and “browsing topics”, I find that the search function is the most important point to start your exploration from. It can immediately guide you to a specific topic or maybe to a question that you already had in mind.

 

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Topics can be explored and compared far more easily


As stated before, we also simplified the way you can use the Explorer. Many of our users already like the SAP UX Explorer because of three facts:

 

  • They can quickly find answers to UI technology or UX strategy questions
  • They can quickly understand how various topics are related
  • They can quickly compare topics

 

We were forced to realize however that many users did not know how to compare and how to explore the relations. It turned out that these feature were very helpful, but not exactly easy to find. The new design places more emphasis on the relations, with a dedicated section in each topic view.

 

Bild3.png

The My Favorites and comparison functions are now located at the very top of each page, thus making them much easier to find.

 

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New types of information are available


SAP UX Explorer has always been a great source of information. It provided an easy way of finding out about the features, benefits, screenshots, roadmap or learnings available for a certain topic.

 

With the new SAP UX Explorer, you will find even more information, such as:


  • Technical Requirements
    Provides a direct link to relevant content of the Product Availability Matrix (PAM).
  • Blogs
    Provides a collection of relevant blogs posted in SCN or the SAP UX Community.


 

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SAP UX Explorer content remains under continuous improvement

 

After spending most of our last months improving the UX Explorer as a tool, we will now return to enhancing the actual content. As one of the next content improvements, we plan to incorporate architectural and integration aspects.


Stay tuned for more improvements coming soon.

 

All the best,

Jürgen (follow me on Twitter: @JJComment)




Theming and branding of your user interfaces is a very effective method to improve end user acceptance and satisfaction for your SAP business applications. The UI theme designer is the right tool to just do it ! 

Use the new overview presentation about SAP UI theme designer to get a holistic view on the tool including new features and functions based on the version 1.8 delivered with SAPNetWeaver UI Add-On SP11.

Here is a short summary of the presentation and the topics covered:


UI Theme Designer in Nutshell

The SAP UI theme designer enables you to adapt the visual appearance of your SAP business applications according to your needs and according to your coporate identity.

The UI theme designer supports theming across multiple UI technologies and on different platforms. Dependent on your theming requirements and on your skills you can use  the web-based WSYIWYG to adapt theming on a Quick-, Expert- or CSS-level.

 

Theming Process

The UI theme designer enables you to easily build a custom theme in some steps:

Blog_themeDesignerOverview_img2.png

To make the custom themes available for the end users, use the client-specific configuration (see SAP Documentation) or the URL-parameter sap-theme for testing purposes.

 

Features and Functions

The UI theme designer tool allows you to define a preview scope which is dependent on the chosen SAP base theme. In the preview area you then have an instant preview of the selected UI control or application and there you also can directly see the impact of theme parameter changes you performed within the parameter editor.

Blog_themeDesignerOverview_img4.png

With the color palette you can predefine often used/needed colors for easy reuse in Quick, Expert and CSS theming and there are multiple features which support you when editing theming, as for example the color picker as well as filter and search functionality for parameters.

 

Theme Lifecycle & Architecture

Themes built with the UI theme designer can be used across different systems using a central theming repository (theming hub). They can be integrated into the transportation landscape connecting develop, test and productive systems. Furthermore you can export and import themes e.g. for further editing in an external tool.

Blog_themeDesignerOverview_img3.png

Get the UI Theme Designer

The UI theme designer can be installed via the  latest available SAP UI Add-on for SAP NetWeaver respective via the latest Portal Service Pack for NetWeaver 7.30 or later.

For further steps to activate and start the theme designer, see SAP documentation UI theme designer for ABAP respective Working with UI theme designer for Enterprise Portal.

The get a first impression and play around with the theme designer tool you can use the trial version in SAP Hana Cloud.

Further Information

On the last slide of the attached overview presentation there are more links to get further detailed information about the SAP UI theme designer, e.g. SAP Documentation, UX Explorer, Technology Roadmap.

 

Related Content

What's new in theme designer version 1.8 ?

SAP UI theme designer development center

Supported SAP Themes

SAP has released its latest Product Road Map for User Interface Technologies last week and as a UI consultant I'm eager to learn SAP's path with regards to UI technologies. I thought it would be interesting to compare the latest released UI roadmap with the UI roadmap of 9 months ago. Below are my observations, assumptions and remarks. It is by no means meant as a full comparison between the two and you can only tell so much about the progress that has been made in the areas just from the roadmap slides. Nevertheless I think you can find trends if you compare the two.

 

SAP UI evolution.pngThe technology portfolio

The key technologies have not changed since April 2014. They're still SAPUI5, FPM / WDA (Business Suite minus CRM) & WebClient User Interface Framework (CRM). For key tools we now have - besides SAP Screen Personas and the UI theme designer - the SAP Web IDE. The SAP Web IDE was launched last year at SAPPHIRENOW under the name of River RDE and it has gained momentum since. It is good to see that SAP is focusing on developer productivity (and let's pray for not another rename this year). It is good for a number of reasons: apps can be prototyped and developed much faster than before, lowering the barrier for companies to start with UX improvements and/or mobility. It also helps "grey-haired developers" to start with new UI development more easily. Instead of having to learn a new language from scratch you can generate an application, look at the generated code and start modifying and expanding it from there.

 

The UX Strategy

UX Strategy before and after.png

SAP is still going by the "NEW - RENEW - ENABLE" mantra but a couple of tweaks have been done since last year. What immediately shows is that SAP Fiori is renamed to Fiori UX therefore emphasizing that Fiori is more than a set of standard apps. It is a set of design guidelines that is not just used to revamp existing functionality but can be used to design completely new applications upto improving the UX of custom apps (hence why it now spans the entire diagram). Another big change is the addition of UX Design Services on the bottom, also spanning the entire diagram. With this SAP emphasizes the need for a good UX design in order to increase user adoption and productivity. Obviously Design Thinking plays a big role in this. More information about UX Design Services can be found here.

 

SAP Key Tools & Technologies

SAP Key Tools and Technologies.png

What immediately shows is that the diagrams are almost the same BUT they are horizontally flipped. What is up with that SAP?! I guess it makes more sense to have 'older' technologies on the left side to show some kind of evolution. What's more important is the addition of 2 parts: The Fiori launchpad (FLP) on the top and the dotted square named SAP Mobile Platform Services. FLP is now also one of the entry points to access applications built with the mentioned technologies. We´ll get back to this later on. The dotted square with SAP Mobile Platform Services indicates that SAPUI5 apps can be served through the SAP Mobile Platform and consumed in the Enterprise Portal (EP), NWBC and FLP. In EP 7.4 actually FLP is incorporated into the EP framework. On  NWBC the Fiori apps can be launched from the index page but on the longer term the NWBC for HTML version will be merged with FLP whereas the NWBC desktop version will have FLP integrated with it.

 

SAPUI5

SAP UI5 2014 2015.pngIf you look at the UI5 roadmap 9 months ago (SAPUI5 version 1.20 vs 1.26) and check out the "Today" column there are no resemblances, everything is different. Even the Planned Innovations of 9 months ago are not reflected in the Today column. I guess the Today column is too small to reflect everything that has been changed since 9 months ago. In any case it shows that SAP puts a lot of effort into developing and improving the SAPUI5 library and its features (and rightfully so). What you can derive from both roadmaps is that there was, is and will be an emphasis on increasing developer productivity. That not all topics in the Future Direction of 2014 are moved to the Planned Innovations is probably due to feedback from customers/implementation partners. Seeing the developments at my current client I had hoped that more progress was made with enabling SAPUI5 for transactional applications but it still appears to be on the long-term roadmap. I'm curious to learn what progress has been made and what the bumps on the road appear to be.

 

Floorplan Manager / Web Dynpro ABAP

SAP FPM WDA 2014 2015.pngIf you thought your Web Dynpro skills would be obsolete in the near future don't worry. Web Dynpro ABAP is here to stay and it is going strong. Seeing the rapid innovations in the area of SAPUI5, WDA/FPM is more mature and can be considered more of a safe bet. There are still UI elements added and they worked on Fiori launchpad integration. The Personas-like premium features are still in the Planned Innovations column so I guess this costed a bit more effort than initially thought. Tablet support has been moved to Future Direction so they lowered the priority on that one. I assume this is because when talking about tablets you're talking (enterprise) mobility and there are other - better suited - technologies for that, like SAPUI5. Still I think that for data-intensive (e.g. ALV) apps WDA can fill a void here. Also because transactional apps on SAPUI5 is still something for the future. They keep aiming for tighter integration of SAPUI5 in the future so I guess these two worlds will collide at some point, hopefully inhereting each other's strengths (mix the data intensive capabilities of WDA with the responsiveness and mobile-readiness of SAPUI5).

 

WebClient UI framework

SAP Web UI 2014 2015.pngFor me it's a puzzle as to what is the future of the WebClient UI framework. It's still being developed as some bullets are moved to Today and new features are added to the Future Direction column. And in the Future Direction there are plans for integration with Fiori and to have responsive UI elements. But this seems quite late if you compare it to WDA where Fiori launchpad integration is already available today. I'm not working with the WebClient UI framework anymore in my new role but I'm still curious as to what the future of this framework is. Right now it seems to be lagging a bit behind (which is ironic because the WebClient UI framework was implemented on Web Dynpro design concepts even befóre Web Dynpro itself was implemented; presumably because they couldn't wait).

 

SAP Screen Personas

SAP Screen Personas 2014 2015.pngScreen Personas 3.0 entered rampup in August and its GA release is expected anytime now. With that SAP removed the Silverlight dependency for Screen Personas. The 2.0 version (the Silverlight version) is still being improved and supposedly at the end of this quarter SP3 for 2.0 will be released. This is independent of the upcoming 3.0 release which will be based on HTML5. The enablement of Screen Personas features for Web Dynpro ABAP is a Planned Innovation and responsive design is also on the roadmap now. I'm curious how this will work together with Web Dynpro ABAP, especially because tablet support for WDA is pushed back priority-wise.

 

SAP NetWeaver Business Client

SAP NWBC 2014 2015.pngFor the NWBC the tighter integration with SAP GUI and SAPLogon has been realised  And now for the future the emphasis is on bringing the Fiori UX into the NWBC for Desktop and even merging the NWBC for HTML with the SAP Fiori launchpad! The side panels for the HTML version are now gone from the roadmap. Curious to know why this is, because the side panel is a great NWBC feature in my opinion.

 

SAP UI client consolidation plan

SAP UI client consolidation plan.pngThis is a new slide and quite an important one if you ask me. When the Fiori launchpad came along I thought this would be the portal of the future but all questions about merges and consolidations were always avoided. Good to see that this portfolio will be simplified in the long term. It's good to see that proven assets of the EP and NWBC will be incorporated in the Fiori launchpad, thereby using the best of both worlds.

 

SAP Gateway

Renamed from SAP NetWeaver Gateway and now has a Java-counterpart: GW Components, meaning you can expose SOAP, JPA and JDBC as OData services. This is used in SMP. More information can be found here.

 

So far my observations. I'm not going into the exotic UI technologies as I know very little about them. One thing I found note-worthy is that Duet Enterprise seems to have fallen off the UI roadmap.

 

If you've read this blogpost so far let me know what you think and what your observations were. Also if you're from SAP and can clarify some of the doubts I have, that would be great!

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