HANA Curious – Introducing River

SAP HANA Extended Application Services(XS Engine) provides the option to develop and deploy native HANA applications fully leveraging the performance gains with in-memory computing and 2-tier architecture without moving massive data from the database server to application server. In addition to that, we are introducing the next generation development experience with River.

River enables you to focus on the intent of the application and not on implementation and optimization details, with tools that are incredibly simple and easy to work with. How we decouple the optimization from intent?

River provides a comprehensive solution for specifying a complete business application, covering almost all essential core aspects: data model definition, business logic, access control, validation, error handling, etc. River is purely a design time ‘creature’, which is compiled to underlying runtime containers – Javascript in HANA XS and SQLScript.

There is no independent River ‘runtime’. You write River code in an .rdl file (in an River project) in the Eclipse-based SAP HANA studio using a plug-in for River development. You commit your file to the repository and activate it. The River compiler will take care and generate the runtime artifacts for you in the various engines and components of SAP HANA.

  1. IndexServer: Whenever possible, the River compiler creates tables, stored procedures, views and other objects that can run in the index server, to maximize performance.
  2. XS: The River compiler may also generate server-side JavaScript code that runs in SAP HANA Extended Application Services (XS).

At runtime, a client makes OData calls to retrieve and update data. OData services, which are automatically created once you activate your River code, are executed and retrieve the requested data.

To summarize, developing an application with River has several key benefits:

  • Easier and faster development and maintenance:
    • Declarative, focusing on application intent.
    • Readability, expressive and simple language constructs.
    • Flexible code specification, enabling easier separation of concerns.
    • Easy to consume, naturally exposed via OData.
  • Easily leveraging HANA’s power, utilize the native SAP HANA runtime:
    • Can leverage any underlying supported runtime container, without compromising on running time optimization.
    • Application execution improves together with the underlying technology, transparently; taking advantage of new
    • Open to legacy and extension code, seamless interoperability with existing assets.

River provides a brand new option for developers of HANA native applications with lower development and maintenance cost.


Eric Du

Eric Du, HANA Development Expert for SAP Startup Focus.

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