The good news is that SAP is paying some attention to the open source community.
( Source: http://scn.sap.com/community/developer-center/front-end/blog/2013/12/11/what-is-openui5-sapui5.)
It is hard, however, to even find the terms of that license published somewhere on the net. (Undoubtedly SAP is not really used to people paying attention to licenses and the kind of scrutinising that is common in the Open Source community.)
As part of evangelizing this new development platform, SAP is also offering a free online course Introduction to SAP Fiori UX, Fiori being an application made available for SAP paying customers built with SAPUI5 (with a bit of Node.js thrown in.) The exercises can be done on a pre-built AWS SAP server for which there is a nominal charge by AWS. Nominal in the sense that, compared to the kind of license fees SAP usually charges its enterprise customers, it is affordable at an individual developer level.
Now immediately a couple of questions arise: if there are two different flavours of the same development platform, what does SAP envisage for this software and what kind of developer community does it hope to establish? Looking at SAP’s own reasons for doing this, the first stated reason is “Open-Sourcing SAPUI5 is the best way to drive core license revenue.” (See http://scn.sap.com/community/developer-center/front-end/blog/2013/11/20/reasons-why-sap-should-open-source-sapui5.) Now that hardly gets you street cred in the Open Source community which, by the way, is another stated aim of the SAP effort. Interesting too are some of the comments on Y Combinator:-
“completely out of business”
In fact, the very fact that a discussion is taking place at a “venue” like Y Combinator is also new. Unlike most of the SAP-generated or at least SAP-approved messaging, this is more raw and unfiltered response from developers outside of the SAP microcosm. As can be imagined, there is not much love for enterprise software companies from agile, up-and-coming startups.
Nevertheless, in the same forum there is an astute observation:
However, keep in mind that this is an SAP tool geared towards the SAP ecosystem and it will ultimately be a pretty big deal within that space.
As an SAP developer I am happy to see any progress towards more modern practices and better technologies and SAPUI5 is, without a doubt, progress.”
So yes, SAPUI5 is bulky, even the ‘mobile’ part of it (presumably meant for thinner clients.) Yes, it has not set web development, which is such a rapidly-moving field, on fire nor has it hugely impressed the Open Source community, if such a community can be said to be cohesive in any way. Yet in an article, telling titled “SAP embraces opens source — sort of,” one commentator characterises SAP’s trajectory thus:
( See http://www.infoworld.com/article/2608531/open-source-software/sap-embraces-opens-source—-sort-of.html.)
So here is looking at you SAP, hope you can continue on the debut you have made, driven as you are by earnest geekiness, German business savvy and a kind of corporate bureaucracy. Do not underestimate the transformative power of open source.
"Someday you will understand…" *
* Rick’s (Humphrey Bogart’s) parting words to Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) at the closing of Casablanca (1942):-