For me (and I am sure many others!), UI5 has become a really useful toolkit for easily developing web apps and POC’s with little effort around the SAP Ecosystem. The OData support, rich controls and business inspired examples lend itself well to the mantra of “Don’t reinvent the wheel”. At a recent SAP Inside Track event in NY, I made reference to the fact, that while developing a mobile app, I, or a graphic designer, can spend close to 40% of the total design & development phase/hours on the UI. Building “consumer grade” enterprise apps is a different way of thinking for app developers. I am sure many of you, like me, started out with a redefined canvas of boring, grey .NET controls or a “Enjoy” SAP CXTAB_CONTROL. But times are changing and we should all look to the creative and vibrant consumer world of both web and mobile apps to reconsider our methods and processes for developing great apps.
When I started working with the UI5 toolkit, I would more often than not, start coding right away, without going through my traditional methods, and ultimately ended up in a frustrating muddled mess. Why wouldn’t you start coding immediately …. everything you need is right there? Wrong, planning is everything when it comes to design. Properly designing a app which is going to judged, by today’s standards, is not an option – but a requirement. I am not saying every application in your organization needs a UI Designer, but planning should start with sketches, process flows, and subsequently lead to the UI design and development. When you have a toolkit which has some great looking components, its easy to skip this phase and get cracking. Don’t do it. Since I have spent a lot of time developing both web, mobile and traditional apps for the enterprise, my approach and system development life cycle (SDLC) resembles more of a artistic approach and design definition, than a “traditional” enterprise app. Yours can be entirely different, but the point is that I would like to encourage you to consider that a *great* design should be a part of your project goals.
I used the online test suite and replicated the majority of the objects using shapes in Photoshop. Each object has groups/folders categorizing and defining it, both for extensibility and this makes finding a component/object easier. Some objects are not included: Icons and some of the VIZ Charts are not individual objects. Maybe in the near future if I can get some form of ‘OK’ from SAP for not copying/redistributing their font I will consider it (hint?).
The UI Toolkit
95% of graphic designers will spend time working with a UX/UI in Photoshop prior to coding and this toolkit makes creating those mockups considerably easier. Each object is defined as a shape and can be moved, and styled as needed. Currently the file has 897 individual layers which makes up the +- 8.2 million pixels of UI goodness . Building a new UI mockup should not take long … create a new file, duplicate the objects you need and get creative. (Please also consider the fact someone is going to need to code this and that your imagination, should be limited by *their* capabilities!)
Whats next …
I am hoping someone else interested in the UI/UX aspect will be able to contribute to the project and consider extending this file and its objects to cover all the aspects. I also hope that SAP will consider releasing its “Master” file to the community as ultimately it will encourage better adoption and use of the product.
My challenge to you ….
Does you/your company/partner have a UI/UX designer? Do you think its important to design a UI before coding? Do *you* have any great UI/Designs you would like to share? Post a link in the comments, or better yet, create a post here: https://experience.sap.com/ (SAP Why is experience.sap.com not directly integrated/on SCN??? )
You can download the file here:http://www.li-labs.com/downloads/sap%20ui5%20gui.psd
Don’t have Photoshop? Here are a couple of the elements split up and are available in PNG format: http://www.li-labs.com/sap%20ui5%20png.zip