I started working as an ABAPer in 2006 and since then I have always considered SAP GUI to be very intimidating. If it can be intimidating from a developer, just imagine how an end user must have felt like. SAP front end was based on transaction system, that allowed users to see all the relevant data for a particular document in one place and this is a great way to show data. Not only SAP, other ERP and non-ERP system have followed this approach for a long time. But something was changing…
The change was ease of connectivity with the ever growing internet has put power in the hand of consumers in the form of smart devices. Suddenly, everyone was using apps for buying, selling, bank transactions etc. SAP realize that User Experience (UX) matters and they improved by introducing Persona and Fiori Apps. Fiori Apps are going to be very critical for SAP business so every ABAPer should have the basic understanding about Fiori. This blog will give an easy introduction about Fiori Apps (more specifically from a developer point of view).
This very first thing, I will like to point out is, building a Fiori App requires more than development expertise. In traditional SAP GUI or even WebDynpro, we have limited options and so a developer and a functional person collaborate to fix the selection screen and the output display. In the case of Fiori, this is the first change of perspective. You must include a design expert for the app creation. This pushes an ABAPers part to backend programming and thus, an ABAPer may not need to be very skilled in the front end designing.
The second point to mention is, Fiori is all about user experience and hence all the apps are prepared for a specific group of users. One app can do one or multi-step activities but they all must all be done by the same person. If you have built an app where multiple groups of users need to perform some part of the activity then consider that you have failed miserably.
Third, Fiori apps need to be coherent. So if you are new to SAP Fiori, please look the standard Fiori apps designed by SAP. Demo apps are freely available on SAP official dashboard. Just google and have a look. Custom Fiori Apps need to be similar in their approach/design so that user can intuitively work out a new app on their own.
Fiori Apps primarily follow 5 basic principles:
IT SHOULD BE ROLE-BASED.
IT SHOULD BE SIMPLE.
IT SHOULD BE DELIGHTFUL.
IT SHOULD BE COHERENT.
IT SHOULD BE RESPONSIVE.
Simple and Delightfulness are really difficult to describe and you have to use your judgement (or your designers’ judgement). If you use SAP recommended tool for app development, your app will be responsive by default. Others I have already highlighted above.
Now comes to ABAP part. The front needs backend data to display (or do action). The data flow is managed by OData and here comes the ABAPers. ABAPers develop the OData and if I do a gross simplification, OData is like class/methods. So do not be too scared when some ask you about Fiori. You already know something about it. Try learning part by part, the different terminologies and the techniques.
There are many videos and open SAP courses from where you can learn more about Fiori and building your own app. I will not replicate that to this blog but I have tried to share my initial thoughts about Fiori. It is still a very new concept and we can learn it together.