My native app development impressions with Xamarin and SAP Business Warehouse 7.4 integration

Mobile challenges : Project Ranker app

I am working now on my new course for Pluralsight about building native mobile apps integrated with SAP and you can see on the pictures below the ready prototypes. The app itself shows a list of projects ranked by their cash-flow in different statuses, like Idea, In progress or Completed. 

These are the challenges that might occur during a mobile project:

  • Multiple target platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone
  • Multiple screen sizes: smartphone or tablet
  • Performance issues: limited resources in network, phone
  • Mobile platform choice: Native, HTML5 or Hybrid ?
  • Data Quality: data is in different systems 
  • Data Access: how to make the information accessible ?
  • Cost: different technologies increase the time and money of a project

Why I have chosen Xamarin for mobile development ?

Nowadays, there many options for choosing a mobile framework if we want to develop a User Interface for mobile devices. I already tried many different mobile frameworks using HTML5 and also tried native development in XCode for iOS, but Xamarin is definitely my favorite one. 

Let me summarize it why I use Xamarin:

  • Maximized code sharing: you can use ONE SINGLE language, C# for Android, iOS or Windows Phone
  • Native code: the compiled version of your code is native, it's a magic, but it works!
  • Fast: everything is fast, the development and the app itself!
  • Flexibility: since your app is native, you can access the capabilities of your chosen device
  • Async support: you can send the slow operations, like getting the data from the network to background and update the UI when it is available, but the UI remains responsive.
  • Happy users: the resulting mobile app is reliable, I worked hard to crash it during the tests, but it's just reliable.

Why I have chosen SAP Business Warehouse 7.3 and 7.4 as a database ?

If we think of a mobile app, we don't need always a database, but in a company the Information Sharing among your colleagues it's crucial. If you want to share information with your colleagues, you can have another choices than SAP Business Warehouse, because any kind of database can fulfill the role of a database. So the question arises now, when I would choose SAP BW as my database for my mobile apps ? 

This is my answer: 

  • Fast: SAP BW is fast and scalable for querying even millions of records. We will not send millions to a mobile device, but we need to query such a big database.
  • Easy to access: you just create a query on it's database, no ABAP or SQL development is needed and you can open it to external access, like mobile. 
  • Automatized: SAP BW can access many source systems and datasources and you can easily automize the data collection. You always have an up-to-date database on a single place.
  • Quality database: You can implement transformations and check and monitor the data quality, so your users will not lose trust in your apps.
  • Shared knowledge: since the database is centralized, the team shares the same data, terms and knowledge. They speak the same language that is a must for a successful business.


If you are curious, how I could integrate Xamarin with SAP Business Warehouse and develop this Project Ranker app, come back and I will share the details of my coming Pluralsight course about native mobile development. The course will be published in July 2014.


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