Exploring the Latest Developments in SAP RAP and Fiori Elements

On February 29th, we visited NTT DATA in Den Bosch to host a session about the latest developments surrounding SAP RAP and Fiori Elements. A great opportunity to share our knowledge and to get to know each other better. In this blog we will discuss the most important takeaways from our presentation.


RAP and Extensibility

SAP RAP, which stands for ‘SAP ABAP RESTful Application Programming Model,’ is a development framework offered by SAP for building efficient, scalable, and modern applications. One of its key advantages is its ability to automatically generate the necessary technical objects, streamlining the development process and allowing developers to focus more on business logic and less on technical details. With the transition to cloud solutions and the growing emphasis on efficient (Fiori) app development, SAP considers RAP to be the future of SAP development. It is particularly suitable for building ABAP-based S/4HANA extensions and will also be used by SAP for the development of new Fiori apps.

The RAP technique aligns with the ‘keep the core clean’ principle; a message that has been expressed by SAP for many years now. Clean Core Extensibility ensures that customer extensions are kept separate from the core SAP application, using upgrade-stable interfaces. This strategy strikes a balance between software flexibility and system stability, enabling faster deployments and smoother adoption of changes in the cloud environment.

Embedded Steampunk

Steampunk is an unofficial term used to describe an ABAP environment integrated into an SAP S/4HANA Cloud system. The term “embedded” signifies that the ABAP environment is part of the S/4HANA Cloud and not a separate, standalone service. This environment allows developers to create custom extensions or modify existing processes, while following the principles of cloud-native development. However, only stable and reliable public interfaces and released objects from both SAP S/4HANA Cloud applications and the ABAP platform can be used. You can check the image below for an overview of some of the options you have while developing in an Embedded Steampunk environment.

At the core of each application development and extension project lies the ABAP RESTful Application Programming Model (RAP), providing a robust foundation for innovation.


When to use RAP?

The table below shows how RAP compares to previous approaches. There are a couple of key differences with the old standard approach, CDS (using transaction SEGW). Particularly when it comes to compatibility with the cloud.


One big question remains; when should RAP be used? This depends on several factors, such as the system that you are working on. Generally, you can follow the guidelines below:

  • Always use it with:
    • S4 Public Cloud, ABAP Runtime on BTP
  • Whenever possible (and suitable):
    • S4 Private Cloud >= 2108
    • S4 On-Premise >= 1909

Aside from system specifications, it also depends on the composition of your development team. If learning RAP takes up significantly more time than continuing with an established way of working, it might not be the best choice for your specific situation.

OData v2 and v4

Another relatively recent development is the transition from OData v2 to OData v4. While OData v2 has been a reliable choice with its XML-based framework, OData v4, an OASIS Standard, introduces native JSON support, simplifies the API with an API cleanup, and enhances performance by allowing applications to retrieve exactly what’s needed. It also improves search capabilities. However, it seems that customers are not always using OData v4 yet in practice. The availability of standard OData v4 services can also vary.

Flexible Programming Model

The Flexible Programming Model allows you to extend your SAP Fiori Elements application with custom code and custom control logic in an upgrade-safe manner. Although you are free to use any SAPUI5 coding or controls within extension points, you can also leverage building blocks and controller extensions. Building blocks are reusable artifacts that are consistently orchestrated by the framework. The image below gives an overview of the continuum of development options.



Our session at NTT DATA was a resounding success. Following the theoretical overview, we got hands-on with the RAP100 tutorial on our demo system. This allowed everyone to experience firsthand how quickly a Fiori Elements app can be set up using RAP.

In this blog, we’ve delved into the latest advancements in the evolving landscape of SAP application development. With the rising focus on cloud solutions and efficient programming, it’s clear why SAP has declared SAP RAP to be the future of SAP development. The usability of this technology for your specific needs depends on various factors though, such as your system specifications and the expertise of your development team.

We encourage you to dive deeper into these options and assess their suitability for your unique requirements. Need any help navigating this? Feel free to contact us.

Exploring the Latest Developments in SAP RAP and Fiori Elements
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