Use Fiori Elements and smart controls for custom Fiori apps

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    Fiori Elements can save development time and provide a consistent user experience across SAP Fiori apps, if you know a bit about what's under the hood.

    Fiori Elements — formerly smart templates — and smart controls are standard UI components for applications delivered with the SAPUI5 JavaScript library, including SAP Fiori apps. They rely on local "annotation" files or annotations delivered via OData services to define their smart template behavior, rather than requiring behavior to be defined in JavaScript.

    The approach has advantages and restrictions compared to developing completely custom front-end applications that developers and managers should be aware of. Its main advantages are that it reduces the cost and time required for application development and maintenance, and helps provide a consistent and robust user experience to business users.

    Fiori Elements and smart controls allow developers to focus more on carving out OData services and enhancing the services' associated metadata models with SAP- and vocabulary-based annotations. This allows service developers to shape the behavior of the underlying smart controls by providing key information on how each control, or parts of a control, should behave. Predefined templates and controllers included with these Fiori Elements and smart controls perform most of the work and free the developer from having to write client-side JavaScript code.

    Smart controls cover a variety of use cases, including forms, charts, and tables (see the figure below for an example), while Fiori Elements are available that provide reports with lists and filters, object pages for detailed information about a specific object, and overview pages for dashboard-style information about a particular subject.

    To provide the advantage of mostly ready-made applications, Fiori Elements and smart controls limit the amount of customization that can be easily achieved.

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