Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Project Muse – new approach to SAP GUI

In one of my previous posts I depicted the history of SAP GUIs. Here I would like to introduce the future advance of SAP to User Interface (UI) - project Muse.

At SAPPHIRE 2006 at Orlando SAP announced a new approach to UI. It does use heavily technologies which are used for web like Adobe’s Flash/Flex/Interactive Forms (Adobe announced this as an Apollo framework – it is universal client runtime platform which allows web based applications to run online and offline). The purpose is to simplify user experience while working with SAP. Muse is not intended to be substitute for standard SAP GUI. However this is not easy to say that. The true is that SAP GUI is thick client and it needs to be installed on every user workstation and in a case of Muse there are all components required for Muse available on today’s computers already. Project Muse is invented as the best of both shores: robust “thick client” capabilities that seamlessly consume and interact with web-based “thin client” capabilities. Of course Muse requires to be installed on the user’s workstation so it is still thick client but hopefully it won’t demand almost 500MB of hard drive space as SAP GUI does. So from deployment point of view Muse should be easily maintainable in corporate’s environment then SAP GUI is. From long term point of view it may happen that Muse will be spread over the standard SAP GUI and will become most popular than GUI in SAP professional users community. The demand from users in this case will be to increase of Muse capabilities over standard SAP GUI in future. All the processes are executed in backend SAP systems so it’s user’s own choice what he/she does prefer to interact with the business processes.

There are 2 basics elements which Muse consists of:

  • Frame with menu for users, open session as an thumbnails, navigations; there is role based functionality available for users on left side.
  • Canvas place where user is working, it fills up big part of screen , here’s screen of actual transaction is displayed. E.g. Frame can be run based on Flash and canvas as HTML. Other possibility is a web dynpro /PDF file/ActiveX component displayed in area of canvas.

Picture legend: Red – frame
Green - canvas

The big part of functionally is leveraged on SAP Enterprise Portals (there’s a new name for EP: SAP NetWeaver Portal). EP is behind all of role based functions assignments, is does display canvas in Muse container. In additions there are a lot of others functionality derived from EP same as they are running on EP since its today’s versions. Like EP iViews and others EP portlets and portal content can be consumed by Muse’s canvas. Muse has "skin it" feauture so you can easily incorporate you brand into Muse.

Muse is able to connect only solutions based on SAP NetWeaver 2004s and mySAP ERP 2005 because backend system must be able to provide and consume services plus there are a lot of other technical prerequisites. Availability of Muse should be via series of enhancement packages for mySAP ERP 2005.

For further information see:

According SDN forums there’s acronym of Muse called Smart Client or in some SAP OSS notes there is mentioned term Muse Client. I assume they have the same meaning: project Muse.

P.S.: I have not seen Muse live in action. All the information I’ve posted here are gathered from internet and from my friends from SAP AG :-)

Update 30/01/2007:

According SAP OSS project Muse has two deliverables:

- The SAP NetWeaver Business Client

· Built using state-of-the-art UI technology that can flexibly consume portal services, application content and tasks directly from the back-end systems.

· A rich, service-oriented client that provides most optimal end-to-end performance, familiar desktop integration (e.g. drag-and-drop of a table to Excel) and dramatically improves user experience.

· Represents a new breed of clients that bridge the gap of today's thick clients (e.g. SAPGUI) and thin HTML clients, while catering to the high demands of business users with upcoming Rich Internet Applications (RIA) like those that will be based on Adobe’s Apollo, Microsoft’s WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation)/Vista or IBM’s RPC (Rich Client Platform)/RCP.

- Simplified and task-oriented mySAP ERP content

· The role-based ERP content and line-of-business applications will be accompanied with worklists that provide insight into the transactional systems and objects. Rebuild main mySAP ERP UIs using intuitive floor plans and UI building block methodology based on Web Dynpro technology, to increase consistency and ease of use, but also the efficiency and speed to develop new applications UIs.

· Harmonization and consolidation of UI technologies centers on Web Dynpro. Legacy UI technology like SAPGUI’s Dynpro will continue to work and will adapt to the new environment and look-and-feel of the SAP NetWeaver Business Client.

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