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SAP unveils developer network and "GUI Machine"

SAP launched an online collaborative environment for developers at its TechEd 2003 conference in Las Vegas. It also demonstrated...

SAP launched an online collaborative environment for developers at its TechEd 2003 conference in Las Vegas. It also demonstrated a tool to help non-technical users model applications and generate the Java code to create them.

But delegates said they were worried that the tool, code-named GUI Machine, might lead to underperforming applications and cause compatibility problems with existing programs.

According to SAP executives, the tool lets business analysts use a click-and-drag approach to model the workflow of an application and build a composite program based on existing software components. The tool then knits the components together with Java code created by the GUI Machine.

Business analysts will initially need to work closely with technically skilled developers to ensure that the code is optimised for the best performance, said delegates.

Equally important, according to delegates, is that the code be tested against existing SAP applications, particularly those whose code has been modified.

But delegates said that before the product would be widely adopted at SAP installations, the company would have to give SAP experts access to the Java code so it can be modified for performance and compatibility purposes.

SAP's Developer Network will be a central meeting place for technical staff, independent developers, partners and customers. It will offer users a central location for technical support. And SAP users with Online Service System customer support accounts will be able to access their support services and information through the new website with single sign-on.

Mark Hall writes for Computerworld

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