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Dashboards in HTML-5 and the Zen the BEx Web Application Designer Killer

by Dr. Berg

April 26, 2012

As many know, Flash for mobile devices are “dead” and Adobe has announced that after releasing version 11.1 it would no longer continue to develop new releases for mobile (that is how SAP render dashboards). On a call last week SAP provided more details of their HTML-5 initiative. In this blog we look at what is happening and the announcement around Zen the BEx Web Application Designer killer.

 By Dr. Berg

Flash and HTML-5 Background

In older flash versions there were issues with navigation and drill-down selectors. So bad, that you often had to create a PC and a tablet version of the SAP dashboard. In version 11 much of this was fixed. However, flash still has a lot of problems that are fixed in HTML-5 (the technology that is ‘replacing’ it).

First of all HTML5 has better security, better compression, less memory consumption and smaller ‘footprint’ on handheld devices. This includes less battery drain, less processing power requirement which allows rendering on increasingly smaller devices, and Apple does not support flash on any of its tablets, while HTML-5 seems to work fine on iPads. 

What is SAP Doing?

SAP made the strategic direction to support HTML-5 and is now creating similar objects that exist in flash.  The goal is to have Xcelsius ( SAP Dashboards) ready by end of Q4 for ramp up. 

SAP has said that there will be an app to download from the app store to render the new HTML-5 for dashboards and SAP will give you the option to publish to HTML-5 or flash in the future.

However, all of the hundreds of flash objects will not be available this year.  SAP has committed to writing the first 37 of them. This includes:

  

After the ramp-up, SAP may start releasing this to customers in 2013.

 

Zen, the BEx Web Application Dashboards Killer

SAP is also coming out with a new product called SAP BusinessObjects Analysis edition for Application Design (what a mouthful!) that will replace SAP BEx Web Application Designer (WAD). 

This product is internally dubbed as “the Zen project” and the vision is that this will be the recommended dashboarding tool for SAP BW shops that do not have BusinessObjects.  Zen’s initial release is targeted to the SAP BW and HANA data sources.  SAP noted that other data sources may be added in the future. The tool SAP BusinessObjects Analysis edition for Application Design (yeah, it is really that long!) will be in ramp up mode sometime in 2013 Q1. 

I was unable to find any current statement or demo that mentions the collaboration of this tool with others, but I agree t hat it is time that SAP takes a stab at the old web application designer with a tool that better integrates with the overall BOBJ tool direction away from legacy BEx tools.

In summary, HTML-5 is the right way to go and ‘WAD’ replacement is strategically the right decision. I just wish SAP would move a bit faster...  But stay tuned for an interesting 2013.

Dr. Berg

PS! SAP stated on the call that these new updates are currently only geared towards the enterprise versions of the software.

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