Boost your productivity with SAP Build : create code-free applications in the blink of an eye!
Discover SAP Build, SAP's revolutionary application development tool. Simplify and...
SAP Build is a tool created by SAP to help developers build custom applications. Whether you’re an experienced professional or just starting out. SAP Build lets you create applications easily and visually. You can design your own applications and portals without the need for code.
First introduced in the early 2010s as the Fiori application prototyping tool, SAP abandoned it as the SAPUI5 Framework evolved. In the meantime, the German publisher had approached Mendix to offer a rapid application development tool in the cloud, before acquiring the Finnish startup AppGyver, which offered a No–Code mobile application development tool.
At the end of 2022, during Tech–Ed, its annual event dedicated to its developer community, SAP once again announced the release of its SAP Build tool, albeit in a very different form this time from version 1.0.
The new SAP Build is still designed to meet the need to simplify and accelerate the development of business applications, but this time via a service offering within SAP BTP, its Cloud platform for the extension and integration of SAP products.
The new SAP Build is now divided into three components:
We’ll come back to these components in more detail below.
SAP, like other companies in the sector, is suffering from the increasingly tense environment in the IT world. There is a growing shortage of developers to meet companies’ digital transformation needs, and for existing teams of developers, this can increase the pressure to deliver complex applications on projects.
IDC has determined that this shortage of developers will accelerate in 2025, reaching a global resource shortfall of around 4 million (compared with 1.9 million in 2021).
SAP, like other competitors (the best example is Microsoft Power Platform), is trying to offer tools to simplify application development and deployment for Citizen Developers (i.e. business resources, such as functional analysts) without resorting to complex code creation, requiring skills specific to application developers. The strategy here is to refocus the development of complex, high value-added applications on experienced developers (via frameworks or programming models) and to let business resources create smaller applications meeting more limited needs in a simple, intuitive way.
As announced in the introduction to this article, SAP Build now consists of 3 cloud services:
Formerly known as AppGyver Composer Pro, this tool from Finnish start-up AppGyver, acquired by SAP in 2021, enables the creation of no-code front-end applications.
In other words, users have access to a range of visual tools enabling them to build screens and code execution logic without creating complex scripts, simply by drag–and–dropping screen objects (buttons, lists) and execution logic (similar to the creation of workflows). This tool is aimed primarily at business developers, who need to be able to create mobile or web applications for less complex business issues in a rapid, simplified way, in a matter of days or weeks rather than months.
Formerly known as SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation (iRPA), this tool can be used to create workflows or automation robots, enabling redundant tasks to be carried out on a machine, or information to be passed from one application to another (via API or automatic script execution of on–screen inputs). The tool enables multiple artifacts (forms, actions, decisions) to be created visually rather than scripted.
Available in two editions: SAP Build Work Zone standard edition, which is the new name of SAP Fiori Launchpad (and will replace it in the future), and SAP Build Work Zone advanced edition (a fee–based service under SAP BTP), offering more advanced homepage customization tools to create business application portals tailored to users‘ needs.
First of all, you’ll need a BTP account to access the service, since all SAP’s technical innovation now passes through this cloud platform. Once you’ve subscribed to the service and configured your security access, you can access a global cockpit:
You then have the choice of creating the appropriate application:
Once you’ve created your application, you can access the SAP Build Apps tool. All applications created can be shared by a team, enabling several people to manage and modify the same project.
You can then start working on the application, dragging objects onto your screen. This may remind some of the Dynpro Screen Painter of legacy ABAP applications.
For each component, you can add variables, a link to data (from SAP or other systems) and add logic:
You can then easily preview the built application or deploy it on SAP BTP. Note that the applications built are primarily designed for mobile devices, but are also compatible for web viewing.
SAP Build Process Automation also provides a cockpit for creating workflows:
Each component is configurable and reusable for other processes. There is also a marketplace for reusing processes created by SAP or third–party partners:
Finally, for SAP Build Work Zone, advanced edition, the tool enables visual modification of the Fiori homepage (formerly called SAP Fiori Launchpad) that end-users use to access their business applications.
SAP Build is a suite of tools that the German publisher seems to be pushing hard to simplify mobile and web application development for non–expert developers. However, it also appears to be a tool that can serve as a gas pedal for SAP professional developers, or even as a prototyping tool.
There are, of course, limits to this model, as it’s not certain that it’s possible to develop complex processes via these tools at the moment, and this also raises questions: do business users really want to develop their applications, and won’t this eventually lead to too much heterogeneity in a company’s application landscape, depending on the technologies deployed and used? We’ll have to see how IT decision-makers decide to implement these tools and maintain these processes and applications in their landscape over the medium to long term.
SAP Build is available on SAP BTP in a free third-party version for internal testing, and in a paid third-party version for productive use.