SAP WebIDE feedback
Hello everyone! I’ve been using recently the WebIDE (or River RDE as it was called previously) and I thought I should share a few positive and negative points about my experience. I’ve also developed a few UI5 applications using Eclipse previously and I must admit that this new environment offers some great extra features. For those who do not know, there are two main ways (which I know of) of using the WebIDE: either from a free Hana Cloud Platform account or from a local installation. I’ve managed to use both types of installs and they differ by just a few things (e.g. on the local install you have less templates).
- Positive aspects:
- Much faster /better content assists while editing js and xml files
- API reference pane (if opened and you press Ctrl + Space you get the complete reference for the class / .xml tag you were writing)
- Better code syntax checking, unused variable warnings, etc.
- The layout editor (left click on a view -> open with -> layout editor; it’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get, drag-and-drop editor for views)
- Some common templates are available when creating a new project; you can also add some of your own templates
- Code formatter (the beautify command), git and SAP Jam integration (although I haven’t managed to try out SAP Jam, it seems like a helpful idea)
- Several testing / running options: run with/without frame (‘with frame’ is good for testing your application on different resolutions, ‘without frame is good for debugging the .js), with mock data, on the cloud or on the ABAP server (if you have a connection to one)
- You can test your code much faster and you don’t need to worry about Apache servers or other stuff (like in the case of Eclipse)
- Code completion as you type (sometimes it can be annoying though)
- You can connect the WebIDE to a on-premise ABAP system (I have tested with both the local and the cloud version of the IDE) and if you implement a couple of SAP Notes on the system, you will have full transport/package support.
- When using the cloud version, the UI5 library is always up to date automatically (no need to track new releases and download libraries)
- Negative aspects / bugs:
- As any HTML5 web based IDE, sometimes it just says that the session expired, and that you should copy your work to an external file and refresh the page… So you should always save files.
- Sometimes left clicks do not work or respond very slowly (e.g. on menu items)
- The syntax checks do not always give clear error descriptions, global variables also produce warnings, so you have to declare them as global variables in comments (e.g. /*global variable_name */) or you can disable the syntax checking for that block (with /* eslint-disable */ )
- The outline panel does not seem to work
- The IDE does not have a feature for saving and inserting code snippets / small code templates (or I haven’t found it)
- Auto-complete / ctrl + space do not work (yet) for .html files
- Sometimes the code completion / parameter hints ‘hang’ and are ‘left behind’ ????
- Once in a while, some of the keyboard shortcuts stop working (e.g. CTRL+SHIFT+A for the API reference)
- In very rare cases, I would get a ‘Cannot access property “length” of undefined’ error in the IDE and a pane would then disappear (it happened to me with the development -left- pane). Of course, the error did not persist after I saved and refreshed the IDE page.
- Sometimes you may develop an application for a specific system which has a specific version of the UI5 runtime. It would be nice if the IDE would allow you to select from a list of (major) UI5 library versions on which to test your application.
- The layout editor currently only supports views based on sap.m.Page (so only for some mobile apps)
Overall the IDE is a very good tool, but it sometimes lacks stability and still has some issues to address. But it is a very good start and should clearly be used by anybody currently developing a Fiori / UI5 application.