“What is the SAP Cloud Application Programming Model?” – I asked myself this question a few months ago. Little did I know that writing a book about the SAP Business Technology Platform would lead me to more questions than I care to ask. Seemingly simple questions were suddenly not so easy to answer. While I could not go into detail on every topic in the book, I would like to share my thoughts with you. It was undoubtedly an exciting experience, and I hope you find it helpful.
Why an SAP Cloud Application Programming Model?
Your company meets demanding requirements that developers must implement as reliably and efficiently as possible. Operating and hosting applications in the cloud is the future. The trend in almost all industries is towards the cloud, as it helps to accelerate business.
For application development, you need a consistent and optimized environment. You need a stable platform that delivers the services you expect without impacting the usability of other applications or disrupting the production environment. But it’s not just about cost savings and simplifying IT operations. In the cloud world, you need to be responsive, agile and responsive to change.
However, delivering applications to your customers requires a strategic approach to development.
In the cloud, you don’t have to worry about provisioning or maintaining your infrastructure. Instead, you can focus on application development. It doesn’t take long to develop an application and then deploy it to their account. The biggest challenge arises in the creation and maintenance of this application. You need a stable environment for business application development because you can make many changes during the lifetime of an application. The application must work even if you change the underlying infrastructure or business logic.
Application development is difficult. The move to the cloud also offers an improved programming model for developers to create innovative applications that are more powerful and scalable. The SAP Cloud Application Programming Model, also known as SAP CAP, aims to make it easier for less technical developers to use SAP services and systems. These include, for example, SAP S/4HANA and SAP Business Technology Platform.
The ability to deploy a cloud application with a minimum of effort is a compelling selling point. But there is a lot of complexity associated with cloud deployment. Building a production-ready application in a cloud environment can be intimidating to developers.
You want to make sure your cloud application development project runs smoothly and users have a fantastic experience. You or your project manager say things like, “But we have limited time and resources, I need your feedback now!” or “We’ve spent weeks building data integration into our infrastructure, but it doesn’t look right; can you help us find a better solution?” or “Our performance report shows tons of read errors, how can I improve this?”; “What routines should our team put in place to prepare for such-and-such an event?” and so on….
You and your developers are looking for guidance and best practices for cloud app development. The SAP Cloud Application Programming Model guides developers through the cloud application lifecycle – from idea to deployment.
The SAP CAP enables developers to focus on the business logic that is at the heart of every application, creating applications that are directly aligned with business goals.
It enables the creation of applications that are fast, secure and scalable. The goal is to drive business value by building applications in cloud environments.
Your developers don’t have to write a lot of code in the process to perform recurring tasks, such as saving data changes.
This allows them to create software that is scalable to meet increasingly complex requirements while dramatically reducing time to value.
Developers can focus on your business domain, so you can quickly get applications that benefit your business. You focus on more critical aspects of your business and application development while keeping application development costs in check.
The SAP Cloud Application Programming Model is an effective way to develop applications and services in the cloud. It provides developers with the ability to rapidly develop, test, and deploy applications using proven best practices. The framework consists of a mix of widely used open source and SAP tools and technologies.
Proper application development and testing is an essential part of delivering a high quality product. The continued stability of the SAP Cloud Application Programming Model is key to ensuring that those who rely on SAP products have an easy and predictable way to benefit from them.
SAP CAP aligns the interests of developers and enterprises to achieve business goals while reducing development costs.
This structured approach allows developers to focus on business logic and reduce complexity while streamlining progress.
The benefits are obvious: fewer hurdles to clear and less time spent on repetitive tasks and underlying technology.
The building blocks of the SAP Cloud Application Programming Model
The SAP Cloud Application Programming Model is a framework of languages, libraries, and tools for building enterprise-grade services and applications. It guides developers on a safe path with proven best practices and a great set of out-of-the-box solutions for recurring tasks.
CAP-based projects benefit from a domain focus. Rather than delving into overly technical disciplines, the focus is on accelerating development and protecting investments in a world of ever-changing cloud technologies.
In addition to open source technologies, CAP relies primarily on:
Core Data Services (CDS) as a universal modeling language for both domain models and service definitions.
Service SDKs and runtimes for Node.js and Java that provide libraries for implementing and using services, as well as generic provider implementations that serve many requests automatically.
The SAP Cloud Application Programming Model is thus both open and opinionated. This is precisely one of the guiding design principles. The model provides guidance but also freedom; it supports both open source and SAP tools and technologies.
CDS is the backbone of the programming model, providing the ability to capture service definitions and data models, queries, and expressions in simple object notations..
Developers then implement your business logic using the service SDKs and runtimes. There are libraries for both Java and Node.js that allow developers to deploy and consume services via synchronous and asynchronous interfaces (APIs). The SDKs include out-of-the-box integration with lower-level platform services, such as authentication and logon workflows or on- and off-boarding of SaaS tenants. Thanks to the white-box approach, you can also access native functions of the underlying technologies if required.
It’s open because it gives you a choice. You can choose which technologies and architectural patterns you want to use. You can choose the parts of the programming model that best suit your development needs.
But it is also opinionated because it provides guidelines, best practices, and tools that allow you to follow a recommended approach. The programming model was created to find the best way for cloud development.
Support for SAP services and tools is top-notch. For example, you can use SAP HANA as the database and SAP Business Application Studio as the IDE. For both of these products, there are out-of-the-box features that can accelerate your development project. However, CAP does not obligate you to use any of these services. There is no restricted, mandatory path to follow with this programming model.
You can use SAP Fiori Elements to create your user interfaces, but you can also work with alternative technologies.
It’s not about forcing you to use one or the other. It’s about giving you the freedom of choice.
As I said, there are out-of-the-box features for SAP technologies that will speed up your timelines, but you can combine them as you see fit.
The programming model is unobtrusive. It tries to remain free of assumptions. The main goal is to reduce the redundant code, which remains the same regardless of the architecture or method chosen.
And last but not least, the programming model is platform independent. You can build applications in a way that is independent of the underlying cloud infrastructure. This is achieved by using an API-centric approach that avoids hardwiring to a specific technology.
So with CAP you can choose technologies, from development language to UI technologies to database of your choice. You can choose your architecture patterns from multi-tenancy and microservices to CQRS and event sourcing.
The framework already supports some of these choices out of the box – others have to be implemented as part of a project. In doing so, CAP gives you guidance and support for repetitive tasks without restricting you. You can use CAP as a whole or just the parts of it that suit you.
There is support for SAP technologies, but it is also designed for integration with alternative solutions. CAP is free of assumptions. It helps your developers avoid redundant code by putting conventions above configuration and avoiding hardwiring to a specific platform through higher-level APIs. In this way, the framework allows you to easily replace an outdated technology with a modern one.
So what is the SAP Cloud Application Programming Model?
It’s a framework from SAP that lets you deliver business value faster by allowing your developers to focus on business logic.
CAP saves you money by reducing the effort required to program the application and recurring tasks, and by making it easier to connect to SAP and potential third-party services.
It protects your investment by making the underlying technology interchangeable, allowing you to keep pace with cloud technologies.
The SAP Cloud Application Programming Model is our framework of choice for creating modern side-by-side extensions for SAP systems or applications on SAP platforms.
What do you think about it? Do you prefer to use RAP with ABAP or another open source framework?