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When we first started building the visual programming environment that would become SAP AppGyver, we knew that one day we would also include backend capabilities to complete the experience and unleash the power of full-stack development. At SAP Sapphire, we announced the upcoming release of Visual Cloud Functions, a cloud-powered backend development tool for SAP AppGyver. It has always been part of our mission to bring the two worlds of frontend and backend together in one environment because we see these as the yin and yang of programming. With Visual Cloud Functions, we introduce a full-stack experience that is truly no-code. 

What is Visual Cloud Functions? 

As a broad definition, Visual Cloud Functions is a way to build your entire cloud logic that happens in the background without writing any code. Typically when you develop something more complex, you require both the frontend application that the user interacts with, and the backend application that performs heavy lifting, such as security, algorithms, and scheduled logic. In the same way that SAP AppGyver has allowed you to build out your entire frontend, Visual Cloud Functions allows you to complete all of these backend requirements with no-code. 

One of the key capabilities we’re bringing with Visual Cloud Functions is data modeling and persistency. In SAP AppGyver, you’ve been able to store data on the device that isn’t distributed across the client software. Data persistence is of course a crucial part of software, and now users have the possibility to host master datasets in the cloud without ever leaving the no-code space. 

Earlier versions of SAP AppGyver offered a ‘hobby database’ as a sort of teaser of what would eventually come. We wanted it to be something super simple that would automatically become aware of the data tables to create. We also piloted similar concepts with key customers before AppGyver was part of SAP. It allowed users to really test out full-blown product ideas so they wouldn’t need to connect to a different system. The idea of cloud-side programming has always been here, and we’ve continued to iterate it to become Visual Cloud Functions. 

Now, as SAP AppGyver evolves as a key part of Business Technology Platform, we’re able to complete the first part of this vision, which is the full-stack development experience for no-code. No matter how exotic your app idea is, how data-heavy it might be, you’ll be able to create them as scalable world-class apps with one no-code product. With Visual Cloud Functions, the visual programming revolution can really begin. 

Every no-code developer can become a full-stack developer. 

Full-stack developers, those who can work with both frontend and backend, have always been the superstars, the ones able to build entire applications by themselves. Typically, but not always, you needed separate skill sets to work on either side, different programming languages or at least different approaches. As we started thinking about what the next generation of development work without code was going to look like, we realized this: logic is logic, and logic sequences are logic sequences. Once you can visualize how logic ought to be built in client software, you have also cracked how logic should be built visually in the backend. 

The experience of creating logic in Visual Cloud Functions will resemble what you have already learned to build in SAP AppGyver, so if you’ve mastered that skill and that abstract way of thinking, you can start applying it towards the backend. It’s a transformative opportunity for developer careers because essentially we can now start turning every no-code developer into a full-stack developer. 

For the citizen developers, of course there might need to be time invested into developing this abstract thinking. Once you can determine the series of events triggered in order to make a button perform an action, you will be capable of deciding what needs to happen on the server-side and even carrying over some of those same logic functions from the client-side. I would argue that it might even be easier for citizen developers to build logic in the cloud because you don’t need to consider all of the user interface requirements. Mastering logic creation is the key skill, and this will empower even citizen developers to create full-stack software. 

Allowing IT departments to solve bigger problems in less time. 

Backend development is a huge industry in itself, and now the professionals of this area will also find a solution to get their jobs done faster and smarter than with writing custom code. In the enterprise context, the integration projects are considered the backbone projects because they carry the data from system to system, with no room for error. Now even the integration projects can be completed without code, and the companies who can adopt the no-code equivalent of backend coding in their IT units will lead in digital transformation. 

Backend developers who love problem solving, but don’t necessarily love writing code, will feel right at home with Visual Cloud Functions. With the same resources and the same skills, you’ll solve those problems much faster and more efficiently. For other IT professionals as well, whether integration work is your main task or even if you haven’t written code in ages, it’s an approach that can be adopted by anyone in the department. 

See how SAP AppGyver embraces programming in: SAP AppGyver – Our Philosophy and the Road Ahead

A new fabric wrapping SAP products together with no-code. 

We are seeing no-code graduate to a full-blown alternative to code. With the release of Visual Cloud Functions comes even easier integration with the entire SAP ecosystem and all its different products and capabilities. This doesn’t just include integration with data resources, but all the things necessary for enterprise systems, including authentication and security. SAP customers will be able to take their development of enterprise systems and integration of SAP products to a new level of efficiency, in terms of maintainability, governance, and resources. 

To reference the past, SAP published ABAP functions a long time ago as a way to script functionalities or features across various SAP products. SAP has always mastered the way users can configure these integrations for their exact use case. In a way, we are taking this same philosophy into a new era, where our approach to visual programming is all about configuration. We have applied this to SAP AppGyver, where you can develop software with the same fidelity and granularity at the speed of innovation, and developers can focus on building instead of syntax. 

We are creating a new fabric that wraps all these SAP products together with the no-code methodology. And together with SAP BTP, which manages all the runtime aspects of the created apps – including the provisioning of the storage, network and computation – citizen developers and professional developers alike can move faster without thinking about application servers and deployment pipelines. It will be a very exciting time for all SAP customers to be part of this revolution that we’re bringing to the old industry called software development. 

Best of all, this new version of SAP AppGyver is fully backwards compatible to the previous versions, so users will be able to seamlessly upgrade their projects to utilize the new capabilities. We’re very excited about this release and welcome you on the journey with us, making together the full-stack no-code development a reality we want it to be. 

For the latest updates on upcoming releases, visit the SAP AppGyver Public Roadmap.