What is SAP Fiori Elements?
SAP Fiori Elements is a low-code solution mainly targeted towards backend developers who are no experts in SAP UI5 or who don’t have the budget or time to have a UI coded from scratch.
The framework includes the most common floorplan templates. Starting from one of these templates, you can generate SAP Fiori apps quickly and easily, with no or very little coding. Of course, because it is based on a limited number of templates, Fiori Elements cannot cover all frontend applications you may want to build – but it does get surprisingly close.
Why choose Fiori Elements?
Fiori Elements allows you to generate crisp frontend applications. But how does it compare with other low-code platforms that make the same promise? What makes Fiori Elements the best choice?
- Coverage. Fiori Elements covers most application scenarios, making it a tool that will simplify the lives of developers every day.
- UX consistency. With Fiori Elements, the newly created applications are automatically consistent with the Fiori design guidelines. Keeping that consistency through other frameworks may be much more challenging and costly.
- Always up to date. Since SAP maintains the framework and updates it automatically, the apps are guaranteed future-proof.
- Extensible. In case you absolutely need features that are not covered by Fiori Elements, it is possible to extend the application with custom code.
Here’s how Elia used Fiori Elements to improve its business processes. Elia is the transmission operator of the Belgian high-voltage grid, and an eager early adaptor of technology.
Which applications are covered by Fiori Elements?
Perhaps the biggest advantage of Fiori Elements is that it can cover most new application scenarios. So once you get started, you’re bound to use it regularly. We’ll talk briefly about two of the most popular ones.
The first one we have to mention, is the one to view, edit and delete business objects – a basic CRUD application. Fiori Elements is able to generate this on the fly.
Another versatile but very impressive-looking app type is the overview page: a data-driven app that gives users all the information they need to see on a single page. Its content is typically based on users’ specific domains or roles, and it’s a great way to collect data from various sources and display everything side by side without needing to switch screens. On such overview pages, the tasks or topics – tests, charts, lists, tables – are displayed efficiently with cards.
How to get started?
The most important thing to do when creating a frontend application with Fiori Elements is to add annotations to your OData services. By annotating a service, you add information that tells clients how to interpret the service and its data.
As a backend developer, you can embed the annotations in the service metadata. You can do so with either Eclipse or the Gateway Service Builder (SEGW), two tools you may already be familiar with. Alternatively, the annotations can be provided as a separate web resource that references the annotated service.
Fiori Elements: the developer’s workhorse
Fiori Elements offers an excellent way to build applications. For a backend developer, it allows the creation of attractive-looking SAP Fiori frontend applications without having to call in another developer.
Fiori Elements cannot cover all scenarios, but it can cover surprisingly many. Especially for the visualisation of reports or dashboards that contain different types of information, the Fiori Elements technology is an excellent workhorse.
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