19-10-2015

Do you want to, easily and quickly, convince the business of your idea? Is the SAPUI5 or Fiori app that you want to implement just as effective in practice as it was in your mind? SAP offers the solution to these questions by way of the new prototyping tool BUILD, which is also known as SAP Splash. Want to know more about this new tool? If so, read on.

SAP BUILD offers you the opportunity to quickly and realistically create your future business application on the browser. A prototype of the app. The created mock-up or prototype can then be presented to the decision-makers and future users.

SAP’s new tool for creating mock-ups or prototypes is SAP BUILD. Not only is it convenient to try to convince your colleagues of your idea, but also to obtain short-term feedback and test results. It is the solution to quickly take a look at the ultimate business application in an iterative manner. Because, to measure is to know.

The advantages of mock-ups and prototypes

In a previous blog we explained the benefits of mock-ups and the power of the visualisation process. Mock-ups allow for the creation of a quick tangible solution and the right requirements can be identified, and by doing so the quality of the final product is improved. By using mock-ups rework can be quickly and cheaply prevented.

Mock-up design tools

A lot of (online) mock-up tools already exist on the market, all of which can design and construct prototypes. Tools such as Axure RP Pro, Marvel, InVision and Proto.io create mock-ups that are almost indistinguishable from real apps. All these tools, however, distinguish themselves making it impossible to state that one is better than the other. One tool is better at designing mobile applications whilst the other is better when designing desktop applications. A real frontrunner, or “killer app” cannot be identified. But what’s so special about SAP BUILD? In which scenarios is this app ideal?

What possibilities does SAP offer?

SAP BUILD offers you the same capabilities as other mock-up tools. In a relatively simple way, even non-technical people, such as business analysts and user experience designers, are able to build an app in the user-friendly interface of SAP BUILD. With one push of a button a preview is generated that behaves like a real application. It’s very useful to quickly verify your application idea.

But what makes SAP BUILD so special? SAP BUILD differs from other tools by the following:

  • It is completely tailored to SAPUI5/Fiori
  • It’s easy to develop research studies and surveys
  • The ability to import data (models) from Excel
  • You can export the app to UI5 code

It is completely tailored to SAPUI5/Fiori

To achieve attractive and realistic results in other mock-up tools you need graphic software, such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Or you’re dependent on –free or paid- templates. Axure, for example, contains a Fiori template. Due to the fact that SAP BUILD focuses only on the SAPUI5/Fiori framework, they are very well catered to this. The tool contains the full library containing all UI5 components that you can place in a ‘drag and drop’ fashion into your design. The downside of this is that you cannot use the tool for anything other than SAP Fiori/UI5 apps.

A SAPUI5 application is made by ‘drag and drop’.

It’s easy to develop research studies and surveys

SAP BUILD allows for the creation of surveys. You can put together user surveys and run them by users. This allows you to easily explore the problematic parts of your application and thus optimize this.

Moreover, SAP BUILD presents all research outcomes in a clear manner. At a glance you can see how many people have conducted your survey, how long a job has taken them on average and whether any feedback was left by test subjects (see below).

Research results in SAP BUILD.

The ability to import data (-models) from Excel

Realistic data must be used in a realistic prototype. Many mock- up tools make the incorporating of real data a very time consuming task. Everything must manually be entered in the fields on the screen, as no import opportunities are available. SAP BUILD contains a complete component designed to enable the modelling of data models in a user-friendly way (see below). To make it even easier for people who like working with Excel, the ability to import data from an Excel file exists.

Simply modelling data models.

You can export the app to UI5 code

Most mock-up tools only facilitate the design of an application. When you are finally satisfied with the design, developers will convert the design and thus create the actual code. The mock-up has served its purpose: it has been helpful in determining the requirements and design. Unfortunately, the work of the designer cannot be reused.

In SAP BUILD, however, your mock-up does not necessarily have to be regarded as waste. You can simply import the project using the WebIDE in the HANA Cloud. This allows developers to continue where the designer has left of and allows direct connections to be made to the SAP backend.

Conclusion

It seems SAP has created an attractive design tool, called BUILD, which serves as a starting point in developing SAPUI5 or customized SAP Fiori apps. The research functionality is a convenient way to collect input and feedback from users. The functions data modelling and exporting code seem to save time.

At the time of writing, SAP BUILD is only available in Beta. Due to this I experienced some bugs during the experiment. As soon as SAP is able to fine-tune and optimize the SAP BUILD tool, I believe SAP developers will have a great new tool in their pocket, so as to develop user-friendly applications even faster.

Have you become curious about the SAPBUILD tool? If so, you can request a test account at contact.BUILD@sap.com. If you have questions regarding the development of UI5 applications based on mock-ups or prototyping in general, please do not hesitate to contact us!