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While writing this blog post, I am sitting in my home office in the attic. It is 9:00am, 27 degrees celsius already and it is supposed to become one of the hottest days in the year. Therefore, I will keep it short to read and short to write 🙂

The upgrades to the latest release of SAP S/4HANA CE are almost finished and it's now or never to give you the update on what has changed in the Custom CDS Views app with the 2008 release.

Still tl;dr? If you want more details or even want to skip reading the complete blog post at all, there is good news: There was an extensibility part in the SAP S/4HANA 2008 delta training, and there is a recording available that covers the news as well (linked below in the Conclusion & Outlook section). So grab your phone or tablet and just watch the video wherever you like.

What's new in 2008?

Support for Extensibility Templates

The main development that we finished with 2008 is hardly visible in our app at all but will enrich a different extensibility functionality: With 2008, we enabled custom CDS views to be included in the so called extensibility templates.

Extensibility templates are a technology that allow to export multiple extension items (extensibility artefacts) of different kinds (like custom analytical queries, custom business objects, etc.) together in a file based template. This template file can then again be imported in other SAP S/4HANA systems which will make your extension items available there.

To create custom CDS views that can be included in extensibility templates, you have to use the new Custom CDS Views app. A general concept for extensibility templates is that a different namespace has to be used in order to avoid name clashes in the target system. This namespace can be set in the Extensibility Settings app and will then be used in the Custom CDS Views app when creating new custom CDS views.

There is also a nice blog on extensibility templates available that explains the general concept in more detail.

Improved Usability

Our second focus of the 2008 release was to further improve the usability of the new app. We tried to tackle the points that hurt our users the most. A big thank you to the customers, partners and consultants for the feedback & valuable discussions we had. We will continue the collaboration throughout the next releases. Here are the results for 2008:

We now added the possibility to freely search for fields again. Why did this take so long? We did have that feature in our old app already, but the problem was, that it caused the app to be slow and even become unresponsive in some cases where specific SAP VDM views are used that have lots of associations and therefore make a wide network of views and fields available. With the 2008 release we finally redesigned the search from scratch and brought it back without the prior performance restrictions when starting the app.

In the past, you might have experienced problems with changing used content. Let's assume, that you developed e.g. a custom analytical query that resides on a custom CDS view. While testing the query, you identified an issue in the custom CDS view. In that case you had to remove the field with the problem from the query before being able to change it in the custom CDS view. The reason for that was that we want to protect the key user from damaging views by doing incompatible changes. With the 2008 release, we changed that behaviour a bit and now allow changes to the field properties, that will change the behaviour of your view but will not break it. You can now for example change the default aggregation of a field that is already in use. Speaking of aggregations: We also added the new “No Operation” aggregation option for analytical content.

To ease modelling especially when you are working with multiple data sources, it is now possible to identify key fields of associated data sources while going through the available fields.

The new Custom CDS Views app now also shows you in the overview if your views need rework as well (e.g. when you used deprecated VDM views as data sources).

Conclusion & Outlook

With 2008, we added support for extensibility templates in order to allow distributing Custom CDS Views together with other extensibility content across multiple environments. Apart from that we further improved the usability together with you, our customers & partners! Thanks again for the feedback through the extensibility campaign & through personal communication with the team and me.

If you want more details on the 2008 release, some background information on extensibility templates as well as live demos, then you should watch the Extensibility session of the SAP S/4HANA 2008 Delta Training with the following parts:
00:00 - A brief overview of Extensibility
05:35 - Extensibility Templates
24:05 - Custom CDS Views

In 2011 we will focus on the runtime performance of the custom CDS views and continue to improve the usability of the app. Until then, stay tuned & healthy. Thanks for reading ?

Update from September 2020: As of 2011, the old Custom CDS Views app will not be able to create new views any more. It will still be able to display, preview and edit existing views. Please use the new app to create new views!