The RF Framework Is Dead – Long Live The RF Framework

Dennis Lauton

Dennis Lauton

There’s life in the old dog yet. This saying is often true and so it is with the RF Framework in the SAP EWM environment. But what is it anyway? “RF” stands for “Radio Frequency”. With the modular framework based on DynPro, SAP has created the basis for mobile applications or scanner solutions in the warehouse management system EWM.

There's no such thing as “can't do”- individual apps for individual needs

The RF Framework provides a variety of applications out-of-the-box to handle any warehouse process such as putaway, inventory, picking, etc. on the go. But not only that, the framework offers much more, such as the free configuration of menus, the showing and hiding of fields and the definition of validation profiles. The latter specify which fields must be scanned or entered for confirmation.

Since rarely one application can serve the requirement of all customers, standard applications can be adapted to customer needs and even own applications can be created via customizing and development with little effort.

Menü des RF-Frameworks im SAP GUI
RF Framework menu in SAP GUI

DynPro is better than its reputation

“Stop, stop”, some of you will surely think now: DynPro is not a web technology after all, is based on ABAP, has nothing at all to do with mobile applications and is in no competition with SAP UI5, which relies on the web standards HTML5, JavaScript and CSS3. Not quite. Using ITS mobile, HTML pages can be generated for DynPro screens, which in turn can be displayed and executed on handheld scanners, tablets, etc. in the field.

Benutzerfreundlicher SAP UI5 Ware-zum-Mann Kommissionierdialog
RF Framework menu on a tablet via ITS mobile

Clearly, UI5 is ahead of the game in terms of visual and functional capabilities. Complex applications, such as the display of loading planning with graphical processing or goods-to-man picking dialogs on conveyor systems in automated warehouses, which live on auto-refresh functions and visual displays, benefit considerably from the possibilities offered by UI5. Usability on larger screens and tablets is also much better for these applications due to the display options.

Arbeitsanweisung RF-Framework
Bildschirmfoto 2021-11-29 um 10.40.11

Handhelds in combination with RF Framework are robust helpers in the warehouse

However, this is not the main issue in the warehouse on handhelds. With the applications from the RF Framework, it is possible to provide simple and performance-trimmed mobile solutions on end devices that do not have the latest or most powerful hardware installed. In addition, RF in conjunction with special ITS mobile templates makes it possible to supply pick-by-voice (PbV) devices directly with existing applications without any adjustments.

SAP Standard-Kommissionierdialog im EWM RF Framework
SAP Standard picking dialog in EWM RF Framework

In past projects, I have often experienced that customers, but also external consultants, are uncertain whether they can still rely on the RF Framework and whether it fits into their SAP S/4HANA or UI5 strategy. However, my recommendation is to decide this on a case-by-case basis. Taking into account the use of an industrial browser that can also handle radio drops, for example, an RF application is the clear recommendation in many cases to provide robust applications for processing warehouse activities.

The life cycle of the RF framework is long-lived

SAP also supports this thesis and in the last Solution Acceptance Test (SAT) for the S/4HANA 2021 release, got carried away with the statement that the RF Framework will be around at least as long as S/4HANA. Likewise, a new ITS mobile service called MobGUI has been added in the current release, which brings the look and feel of Fiori to the RF environment and ensures that it can be integrated into the UI5 strategy without a break in style. Another advantage is that the templates can be easily customized graphically via drag-and-drop using SAP Screen Personas without development.

RF-Frameworks in Verbindung mit ITS mobile
Technical overview of the function of the RF framework in connection with ITS mobile

Stay true to the RF Framework even when moving to S/4HANA

As you can see, the RF Framework has by no means reached its zenith and can also be used in the context of an SAP S/4HANA transformation with a clear conscience. It is not necessary to have existing applications developed from scratch based on SAP UI5, come hell or high water. This allows you to use capacities and resources elsewhere in the project, which probably means a significantly greater advantage.

We are here for You!

If you need support in decision making or the implementation of RF or UI5 apps, feel free to contact us and benefit from our experience and a broad portfolio of apps to complement the SAP standard.

If you have any questions about this or other topics in this blog, please contact blog@leogistics.com.

Dennis Lauton

Senior Consultant SAP Logistics

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