SAP Aims to Expand Developer Ecosystem

Mike Vizard
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At the SAP TechEd 2016 conference today, SAP unveiled a strategic initiative intended to make it simpler for third-party developers to build applications on top of the SAP HANA in-memory computing database.

By launching an Express Edition of the SAP HANA database that developers can download onto a laptop to create HANA applications, SAP is allowing them to develop, test and deploy production applications that use up to 32 GB of memory for free. The Express Edition of SAP HANA can be deployed on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Via a virtual machine image, developers can alternately install it on Windows or Mac OS using the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server distribution of Linux.

SAP also today unveiled a personal edition of SAP Web integrated development environment (IDE) to enable offline application development. Once an application is developed, the personal editions of SAP Web IDE will then automatically synchronize with the version of the IDE SAP already makes available as a cloud service.

SAP is also making available a software development kit for SAP Web IDE enabling developers to quickly create new application templates as well as integrate third-party tools into SAP Web IDE. Finally, SAP revealed that it is making the SAP HANA Cloud Platform portal service available as open source code to foster development of additional community-based content.

Daniel Lahl, vice president of product marketing for SAP, says SAP is trying to foster the development of both SAP HANA applications by professional developers as well as the efforts of “citizen developers” looking to customize an application themselves. That includes the rapid development of the actual user interface experience, says Lahl.

“We want to make it easier for developers to design the prototype of the application,” says Lahl.

Right now, SAP claims to have 40,000 developers participating in its application development program. The Express Edition of SAP HANA is intended to increase the size of that community by making it possible for developers to gain access to HANA without requiring any intervention on the part of an internal IT organization. The Express Edition represents an ongoing effort by SAP to shrink the amount of memory consumed by SAP HANA, which in turn frees up more memory for applications.

The degree to which SAP can further jumpstart application development around the SAP HANA platform remains to be seen. More often than not those applications aim to combine transactions and real-time analytics in a way that hasn’t been previously done much.

But without additional developer support in a world where open source technologies such as Apache Spark continue to gain momentum among developers, there is a possibility that, despite being an in-memory computing pioneer, HANA itself could wind up being a niche platform unless it soon substantially boosts the size of its overall developer community.


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