SAP has used its annual developer and technical conference to detail the real and tangible advancements that have been made in terms of programming on (and to) its HANA data platform. More specifically, head of developer relations Thomas Grassl has detailed recent code jam events held in California that have seen programmers of all kinds and all levels start to hack on HANA-based applications and code streams.
Grassl says, "SAP HANA opens up new opportunities for developers changing the way we will now be capable of designing, building and making productive use of big data applications."
This is all part of what SAP is calling an expansion of its programming proposition for "real-time enterprise apps" based upon three key elements: A visually appealing, intuitive, and intelligent user experience with SAP Fiori apps; simplified cloud-based deployment options for the infrastructure of SAP HANA, and powerful new features in service pack 7 (SP7) for SAP HANA. SAP Fiori is the firm's User eXperience offering. It is a collection of apps that support the most broadly and frequently used SAP software functions and acts as a technology layer that sits above ERP, CRM, procurement and SCM, plus other silos such as the talent management silo all of which can be supported by the HANA platform itself.
Based on the success and demand for SAP Fiori, SAP is now launching user experience (UX) design services to help developers take advantage of the "design thinking" approach. The services will consist of a team of professional designers working alongside users in a collaborative model with real end-user participation to develop compelling user experiences across any app or solution.
SAP's Grassl has explained that this total universe of "data developer tools" is now coming together with a direct mission to serve real-time enterprise apps that can now be driven by River Definition Language.
"Through the SAP HANA smart data access developers can combine and integrate data from Hadoop for building real-time applications. In addition, with the River Definition Language (RDL) available with HANA SP7, developers can easily get started and directly develop in SAP HANA."
Note: RDL is an executable specification language that allows development teams to collaborate and specify what applications do, while staying away from how the application's requirements are realized; all this (so says SAP), without compromising on application performance and robustness, on top of HANA.
"Readability is key [in River Definition Language so here we see] expressive and simple language constructs that enable higher level concepts to be easily specified. Its declarative nature helps focus the developer on capturing the application's intent, rather than its execution mechanisms. Conceptually, it is similar to the idea of standard SQL, only applied to a broader (and more complex) domain," notes SAP VP for HANA platform & applications Jacob Klein.
The company's highest profile board-level tech spokesperson Dr. Vishal Sikka has suggested that his firm's technology now helps achieve what he calls the "unprecedented ability" to calculate (in real time) things that were previously unimaginable on as many as 10,000 CPU cores.
With SP7 for SAP HANA, the open application development experience is planned to be broadened and is intended to be language-agnostic. Developers shall be able to take advantage of the core data services (CDS) and pre-packaged data quality libraries to foster reuse and rapid development.
Furthermore, SAP HANA smart data access technology has been enhanced with the capability to write, and has been extended to include sources such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server. Smart data access also provides tighter Hadoop integration via Hortonworks. To further expand the use of data, SAP has also added the ability to create custom text analysis dictionaries for processing unstructured data the way business applications need it.
With SAP HANA SP7, SAP plans to continue to add new features supporting high availability/disaster recovery (HA/DR) deployment, such as snapshots and logs for replay, as well as cascading system replication for complex multi-host metro and stretch cluster configurations. New unified install/patching tools and enhanced monitoring of operations continue to simplify the administrative experience.