A taste of Mastering SAP Technologies Sydney 2012: part 3

In this series of blog posts, Simon Kemp gives his
perspective on the recent Mastering SAP Technologies event, held in
Sydney. Part 3 is ‘NWBC is coming – ready or not!?!’

NWBC is coming – ready or not!?!

Sometimes, you need a shake-up to understand the value of something new. And sometimes, the fact that it is coming (whether we’re ready or not) is just the thing that provides you with the shake-up!

I had looked into the SAP NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC) a bit in the past, but I had sort of drifted away from using it as I didn’t really see the value that it provided. I felt that by using the SAP GUI and the SAP Portal, you didn’t really need NWBC.

When I attended the Mastering SAP Technologies event, a few things were clarified for me by Tara Rosenzweig from ETSA Utilities, who presented on ‘Using the SAP NetWeaver Business Client (NWBC) to create a Unified Business Workplace’. I have subsequently adjusted my view on the value of NWBC:

  • NWBC will ultimately replace the standalone SAP GUI installation – so you will be going there whether you like it or not! The SAP GUI will still be there, but you will be installing the NWBC that will include the SAP GUI.
  • NWBC (the desktop version) lets you do some very cool augmentation of “old” Dynpro-based SAP transactions – this was very impressive (this was actually part of Thomas Jung’s session, see below for more). The new Side Panel lets you put widgets alongside these screens and the NWBC acts like the glue between the two. I think customers will like this very non-disruptive approach.
  • NWBC helps speed up Web Dynpro ABAP applications.

NWBC was also discussed by Thomas Jung, SAP Mentor and director, SAP HANA product management for SAP Labs LLC (USA), in his interesting presentation entitled ‘Renovation Without Rewrite’.

Did you know you can take “old” SAP GUI screens and renovate them without changing any of the original code? Well, you can if you use the new NWBC. I think this is brilliant – the ability to augment “old” screens in a very non-disruptive way. What Thomas explained was how the NWBC (Windows Desktop version 3.5 and up) allows you to consume data from SAP GUI Dynpro screens and provide that data to the new Side Panel (mentioned briefly above). This data that is sucked out of the Dynpro screens can then be transferred for use in a CHIP (Computer Human Interface Part) that lives in the side panel. This gives a very nice Portal-like experience from a desktop client and you can provide a CHIP catalogue to end users. Here is an idea of what this could look like (courtesy of SAP):

Also watch out for NWBC 4.0, due to be released very soon. It will use the new “Corbu” design… also known as “Black and Gold Reflection”. You can sort of see it in the photo behind Thomas below.


Floorplan Manager: New and Exciting Features – Thomas Jung, Director SAP HANA Product Management SAP Labs, LLC (USA) (SAP Mentor)

I always like attending any Thomas Jung session – you are sure to learn something new! I wasn’t disappointed. While I don’t do that much ‘hands on’ ABAP development any longer, I do like to keep abreast of what’s happening in this space. While Thomas’s session was about FPM, he also showed off NWBC 4.0.
Here are some notes I made:

  • FPM is designed to address an inconsistent user experience (Enjoy SAP)
  • FPM handles all the generic parts of the development process, lets developers focus on specifics
  • Three standard floor plans cover majority of scenarios (OVP, GAF, OIF)
  • As of ABAP 7.03, there is a new WYSIWYG FPM configuration tool
  • You can generate a FPM application directly from a BOL definition
  • FPM applications comply with SAP design guidelines and accessibility standards
  • FPM is now the de-facto standard for all new UI or UI rewrites at SAP
  • GUIBBs extends the FPM concept to more atomic parts of the UI (forms, tables, charts and so on)
  • NWBC users Internet Explorer as its underlying web rendering engine

So, as the kids say when playing hide and seek with me in the backyard – “coming, ready or not”!  In this case, of course, it is NWBC and from my point of view, I’m looking forward to it finding my desktop soon!

Simon Kemp is the service line lead, User Productivity, for Plaut. He can be contacted by email: simon.kemp@plaut.com.au


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