Fiori 3 Spaces and Pages on the Horizon

Although Fiori 3 was announced in 2018, some parts of it have evolved since then, like the theme changed from Quartz to Horizon. This article highlights the two latest and most relevant developments here.

Table of Contents

1. Fiori 1-2-3 – what is it?

2. Fiori 3 – What does it bring to the table today?

    2.1. Spaces and pages

        2.1.1. Introduction

        2.1.2. Who is affected?

        2.1.3. Implications

        2.1.4. Transition

    2.2. Horizon theme

3. Summary 

1. Fiori 1-2-3 – what is it?

SAP Fiori as a term has appeared around 2013. This is the time when the first Fiori apps have appeared. 25 to be precise. A long road has been taken since, with more and more customers embarking on their S/4 HANA and SAP BTP (Business Technology Platform) journey where this technology powers everyday operations relying on thousands of Fiori apps.

Just as with any other IT solution Fiori evolves as well. The milestones of 1-2-3 refer not to the SAPUI5 toolkit on which Fiori is primarily based, but to bigger changes that reflect the overall user experience. For example, Fiori 2 has introduced the viewport concept to empower the user with a multi-desktop like experience, along with the Belize theme, notifications, SAP CoPilot and the first iteration of the native SAP Fiori for iOS and Android.

To give a perspective as to how fast this technology evolves the SAPUI5 toolkit has been in development since at least 2010 and it has had at least 107 releases up until 2022-11 (only a few selected are long term supported and suitable for productive use). In this time frame SAP NetWeaver has had 8 releases, with S/4HANA only appearing in 2015.

Although Fiori 3 was announced in 2018 it takes time to adapt it. And by the time adaptation had happened some parts had evolved as well – like the theme from Quartz to Horizon. Therefore, I concentrate on today’s state (as of 2022-11).

2. Fiori 3 – what does it bring to the table today?

I believe that the first and most important aspect is unification. If you use SAP BTP, you can see that products are getting more and more aligned regarding design and way of operation. Before this guideline was published SAP products had their own designs – they were similar, but they all worked at least a bit a differently. But with User Experience (UX) in focus SAP has to offer the same look and behavior to its users so as to suggest that they use software belonging to each other. One company – one face – one design.

Besides unification there is a better integration of machine learning, and the appearance of conversational interfaces. Those topics deserve a discussion on their own, I would like to highlight two more tangible aspects of Fiori 3, namely the introduction of the spaces and pages concept and the Horizon theme.

Fiori 3 Spaces and Pages Horizon preview

2.1. Spaces and pages

2.1.1. Introduction

Spaces and pages is the latest and greatest way how a Fiori Launchpad is to be organized.

If you have been on the journey with SAP as Fiori Launchpad has evolved, you will know that Fiori Launchpad was not up to the task that it had to fulfill at its first releases. Long load times, browser issues and lagging all required fixing, which has been carried out by SAP. It is most likely that you are using a system that has none of these issues already. Yet it can be even better.

Spaces and pages offers you a three-tier organization of your tiles. In contrast to the earlier setup, where you could only form groups from your tiles, this enables you to go further. You can still put your tiles into groups, but those are encapsulated into pages. Think of the previous Fiori Launchpad as having a single page. You can now have multiple of those. And to make the navigation between pages more organized, pages are kept together via spaces. In practice it means that the former bar, which used to contain groups, will be like a combobox titled like the space containing all pages in its dropdown.

2.1.2. Who is affected?

Spaces and pages became available with S/4HANA 2020 and since release 2021 it is the way how Fiori Launchpad is ought to be used.

Groups are officially deprecated as of S/4HANA 2021. As such anyone using S/4HANA or planning its transition to S/4HANA will need to proceed into this direction.

2.1.3. Implications

Transitioning from groups to spaces and pages requires effort from the side of the organization. But luckily there are tools to help and there is a possibility to make the rollout of this concept phased.

Enabling spaces and pages can be done via two approaches:

  • forcing everyone to use it,
  • making it opt-in.

By favoring the latter approach a gradual implementation is possible. This means that even though spaces and pages is available to the end user, they have the option to disable it and get their groups back should the need arise.

This can also help flattening the workload on the department responsible for authorizations because the old and new world can coexist – some divisions may be already using spaces and pages while others are only preparing for it. Once everyone uses spaces and pages and the daily operations are stable the option to go back to groups can be revoked from everyone by setting a table entry.

This opt-in approach also allows system administrators to try out this concept and experiment with it in a development system without affecting anyone.

And how to ‘install’ spaces and pages? It comes with S/4HANA, it is already there. A simple configuration step of a wizard will take care of this in a second.

2.1.4. Transition

The big picture has been outlined above, but what about the standard roles? What about existing groups? What about starting from scratch? What about existing roles?

Let’s go and tackle those one-by-one.

Standard roles

Standard roles come with preconfigured spaces and pages. They can form the backbone of both an initial setup and a migration. If your organization mostly relies on standard roles then copying those again and slightly modifying them to your needs will consume the least amount of time.

Existing groups

If your roles greatly deviate from the standard business roles then you may be best off migrating your groups into the new world.

There is a tool for that and it allows you to create pages from existing groups. This can help make the transition faster but beware that once a page has been created there is no way to use this tool to add further contents of existing groups.

Starting from scratch

As a general rule of thumb, one should always put the end user and their daily activities first.

Think about how they use the system, consult with them to make the most out of the implementation – and Fiori in general. If you missed the opportunity during an earlier implementation this is the time to make your system and users more efficient.

Existing roles

One should not be afraid of adding spaces to an existing role. They are different authorization objects than groups, this is also the reason why groups and the spaces and pages concept can coexist. If the option is taken away from end users to go back to groups, they will not be able to use it – they can safely remain in roles alongside with spaces.

Fiori 3 Spaces and Pages Purchaser My Home

2.2. Horizon theme

It is not just the world of Fiori that keeps evolving and getting fine-grained to meet customer expectations based on UX research of SAP but the toolkit behind it as well. Actually, the toolkit has been around since at least three years earlier than the first Fiori apps.

Part of the toolkit is also the theme. One may think that is a minor detail but comparing the impressions of the different versions will clearly make a point.

The newest theme – in the series of Blue Crystal, Belize, Quartz – is codenamed Horizon and aims to provide a fresh experience. One that is more aligned to what we are used to experiencing on our phones.

The theme is being planned to be available for general use in Q1/2023, along with a preview in Q4/2022 – S/4HANA on premise. This can be translated to an availability coming with S/4HANA 2022, more precisely SAP Fiori Front-End Server (FES) for SAP S/4HANA 2022, which has been released this October.

The good news is that if you have not modified the standard theme and do not use custom controls this theme is ready to be used without further actions. 

Preview of new Horizon visual theme for SAP Fiori in SAP S/4HANA Cloud

3. Summary

SAP and its ERP system has started moving fast, a lot faster than before. But SAP is committed to keep S/4HANA stable all the while leaving room for new features to arrive. Fiori is not an exception; it gets better and better and by constantly paying attention to its evolution all organizations can leverage the latest and greatest UX SAP has to offer – with minimal effort.

Fiori 3 Spaces and Pages on the Horizon

This article was written by: Bálint Szebenyi

SAP UI5 and SAP Fiori Services

Bálint Szebenyi

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