4 min Devops

SAP brings generative AI to developers with Build Code

Insight: Cloud ERP

SAP brings generative AI to developers with Build Code

With Build Code, generative AI assistant Joule is coming to low-code environment Build, to ease collaboration between pro coders and citizen developers.

According to SAP CTO Juergen Mueller, current market conditions call for every developer to be a Generative AI Developer. He sees in generative AI a means to accelerate software development. If you describe a process or application component to a generative AI assistant and it generates some code for you, you immediately have a basis for building the software. The assistant will not be able to generate all the code for professional software, but if there is a base of 10 to 40 percent of the code, it can significantly ease developers’ workloads. Developers can review and optimize AI-generated code and add what they deem necessary themselves.

Build with Joule

SAP started looking at ways in which generative AI could be implemented in its solutions to support developers. It now combines SAP Build with Joule and thinks it is time to launch Build Code at its TechEd conference. In doing so, SAP is actually building on two innovations from the past 12 months: SAP Build and Joule. SAP Build was unveiled a year ago, at the 2022 TechEd conference, to let the citizen developer get to work building an application, a process automation or a portal. For this, SAP Build provides building blocks, so that for the citizen developer, building the software is done as much as possible via clicking and moving the building blocks. This method of development requires less code knowledge.

Joule is SAP’s newer asset and it comes to the development environment with Build Code. Joule provides companies with smart insights based on data from the entire SAP portfolio. During Joule’s presentation, SAP revealed that 25,000 customers have made their business data available for building the LLM. As a result, Joule is an AI assistant that allows you to have conversations in natural language and receive a comprehensive intelligent response.

Also read: SAP presents generative AI assistant Joule, based on data from 25,000 customers

New phase for software development SAP

Build Code is thus an extension of Build, with the platform now becoming more useful for Java and JavaScript developers. Starting a development project in Build remains the same: You choose whether to build an application, process automation or portal. After selecting one of the three options, SAP Build now asks if you want to develop visually with drag-and-drop (citizen development) or via code editors (pro-code). The pro-code option is the Build Code add-on in this case.

This pro-code environment features Joule’s generative AI features. When building a new application or extension for SAP solutions, developers can ask Joule to generate code and build data models. The AI assistant can also support data testing for applications. SAP also stated at the presentation that the generative AI in Build Code makes unit test script development and application testing a lot simpler.

Een vrouw wijst naar een tv-scherm waarop buildcode staat.

SAP also wants Build Code to bring some simplicity to its development offerings by bringing together various design and run-time services. This should let developers build user interfaces and mobile and full-stack applications faster, using Java and Node.js. Accordingly, the Build Code environment is optimized for Java and JavaScript developers and offers interoperability with the ABAP Cloud development model.

ABAP is popular in the SAP community for building extensions and applications. Given that popularity of ABAP, we also checked with SAP to see what the plans are for further support for the programming language in Build Code. Bhagat Nainani (Senior Vice President, Product Development, Business Technology Platform) assured us that this will be given high priority in future releases.

Opportunities with other solutions

Build Code provides the option to develop in a Visual Studio Code-based environment, which in turn is useful for suggestions and recommendations during the development process. Visual Studio Code, in turn, can be used to access back-end runtime and governance capabilities of Build Code applications.

When building applications, process automations and portals with Build Code, developers can make connections to SAP solutions and third-party software. For this purpose, SAP deploys the Business Accelerator Hub, in which pre-built integrations, APIs and templates are available.

SAP’s ambition with Build Code is to ease collaboration between professional developers, citizen developers and IT departments. The new Build extension currently has limited availability, but should be generally available in the first quarter of 2024.

Techzine is attending SAP TechEd this week and will post about the most important updates. Keep a close eye on the website.