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SAP is bringing advanced capabilities to its mobile development toolkits with new versions of its SAP iOS SDK and Android SDK, making a case for an expanded mobile portfolio in the enterprise.
"Now, it's almost a fait accompli that you have to deliver [mobile] natively, so we're putting big efforts into our SDKs [software development kits] for iOS and Android," said Dan Lahl, vice president of SAP Cloud Platform.
The SAP iOS SDK includes machine-learning-enhanced text recognition and improved capabilities to create maps in location-based apps. The Android SDK includes API integrations, UI controls and offline access support. Both SDKs are based in SAP Cloud Platform.
Better late than never for SAP Android SDK
The updates are important for SAP to be able to show credibility in the mobile-centric world, according to Holger Mueller, vice president and principal analyst at Constellation Research. It's particularly important to have an Android SDK, as SAP has fallen behind in this area, he said.
"Smartphones rule the world, and enterprise software vendors need to make it easy for the enterprise to build their mobile next-generation applications," Mueller said. "It's key that both iOS and Android are supported, as both are relevant platforms. Vendors often forget and have the Android platform lag, and this was the case with SAP."
Jon Reed, co-founder and principal analyst at Diginomica, found it especially frustrating that SAP was slow in releasing an Android SDK, given SAP's close partnership with Google. SAP's rollout of Android and iOS SDKs is acknowledgement that it's not enough to build SAPUI5, the vendor's HTML5-based user interface for mobile apps.
"Some apps -- especially sticky, customer-facing apps with rich functionality -- require a device-specific SDK," Reed said. "Now, I am hoping SAP doesn't lose track of the SAPUI5, as I think for many more routine apps and services, cross-platform development will be more efficient."
New features in Android and iOS SDKs
The SAP Cloud Platform SDK for Android version 2.0 and SAP Cloud Platform SDK for iOS version 3.0 include new enhancements that are valuable for developers, according to SAP's Lahl.
The Android SDK now allows developers to connect to SAP API Business Hub and SAP API Management, which allows developers to search, try out, implement and manage APIs in mobile apps. It also gives developers the ability to translate apps with SAP Translation Hub. Additionally, it supports the Kotlin programming language, includes improved UI controls for SAP Fiori for Android and includes offline access for when a mobile device is not connected to a network.
"It's bad to assume that you're always going to be online, so making sure that you have offline capability to interact with the application, but then have secure data support once you go back and synchronize, is a huge deal," Lahl said.
The SAP iOS SDK also includes several features that were driven by user feedback, according to Lahl. These include the ability to implement machine-learning-based text recognition directly into apps and enhanced MapKit controls that support rendering routes and locations from mobile cells.
Developers building location-based services and applications will see more built-in capabilities, as well as new chart controls, bubble charts, area charts and scatter charts that can be deployed directly onto mobile devices, Lahl said. There is also support for SAPFioriFlows, a mobile development framework that simplifies the processes for onboarding multiple users to an application.
"Developers can do all of the security pieces, authentication and user management easily through the integration with these SAPFioriFlows, which streamlines development, deployment and onboarding of different users to the application," Lahl explained.
Read more about mobile computing developments from Mobile World Congress 2019.