Describing the MTA Development Descriptor File mta.yaml

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe the information contained in the MTA development descriptor mta.yaml file

Describing the MTA Development Descriptor File

MTA Model

An MTA model is a platform-independent description of the different application modules, their interdependencies and configuration data that they expose, and the resources they require to run. This model is specified, using YAML (, in descriptor files that accompany the development and deployment processes.

An MTA model serves the following purposes:

  1. Define an application composed of multiple (heterogeneous) sub-components (benefit: tools can establish a unique lifecycle of these sub-components)
  2. Declare resources the application depends upon at runtime and/or deployment time (benefit: tools can allocate and bind such resources)
  3. Define configuration variables (and their relation), whose values distinguish different deployments of the application (benefit: tools can bind sub-components, can automate deployment based on default settings, or request missing mandatory values interactively

Watch this video to learn about the Development to Deployment flow.

As seen in the image the application developer uses development tools to create the modules of an MTA and the corresponding MTA descriptor (mta.yaml).

The application can then be distributed in the form of an MTA archive including the MTA deployment descriptor (mtad.yaml). This specification describes an archive format as a convenient distribution file. As indicated by the direct arrow from development tools to deployer,

MTA deployers may also accept the pure contents of this format, namely the directory structure of files with a deployment descriptor (mtad.yaml).

An administrator optionally augments the MTA model in the deployment descriptor with an extension descriptor(mtaext.yaml),and uses the MTA deployer to orchestrate the actual deployment.

We will focus on the Development Descriptor file(mta.yaml).

In case your projects was initiated as a non MTA project but later needs the mta.yaml file. This can be added using cds add mta command

The MTA development descriptor contains the following parts:

  • Global elements

    These include the application identifier and version, a description (optional), copyrights, author, and so on.

  • Modules

    Modules created in the application, such as the SAP HANA database module and the Node.js module, including name, type, path, and requirements on other modules.

  • Resources

    Dependent services that are not provided by the application, such as XS Advanced User Account and Authentication (XSUAA), XS Advanced HANA Deployment Infrastructure (XSHDI) container, and XSJob-Scheduler.

  • Properties

    These can be specified when the value has to be determined during the deployment, for example, for generated URLs of other services or API keys.

  • Parameters

    Reserved variables of a module, which can be accessed by other modules, for example, user, app-name, default-host, or default-uri using the placeholder notation. Parameters can be read-only or read/write enabled.

Global Elements

  • _schema-version

    Specifies the version of the MTA descriptor in the following schema: <major>.<minor>.<patch> Indicating a major version is enough

  • ID

    Mandatory string to identify the application

  • Description

    Optional description text

  • Version

    Mandatory version of the application: <major>.<minor>.<patch>

  • Provider

    Optional string to specify the organization providing the application

  • Copyright

    Optional copyright information


Within the MTA development descriptor, the modules element declares the source modules of the MTA project.

  • Name

    Mandatory name of the module. Unique in the descriptor file

  • Type

    Mandatory content of the module, for example, HDB, Node.js, JAVA, HTML5

  • Path

    Mandatory file system path starting from the applications root director

  • Description

    Optional description text

  • Requires

    Optional section containing required sources of other modules

  • Provides

    Optional section containing configuration data used by other modules

  • Properties

    Optional named variable containing application-specific configuration data

  • Parameters

    Optional named variable to be used by the deployer, for example, the amount of memory for the module.

Here is the list of available Module Types:


A resource is something that is required by a module of the MTA at runtime, or at deployment time, but not provided inside the MTA. More precisely, an MTA descriptor declares a resource dependency, not the resource itself. Sometimes they are referred to as Backing Services.

  • Name

    Mandatory name of the module, unique in the descriptor file.

  • Type

    Mandatory content of the resource, for example, or

  • Description

    Optional description text

  • Properties

    Optional named variable containing application-specific configuration data

  • Parameters

    Optional named variable to be used by the deployer, for example, the amount of memory for the module

Here is the list of available Resource Types:


Parameters are reserved variables that influence the behavior during the deployment process and/or during runtime. A parameter can either be read-only, which is the case for most system parameters, read/write, or write-only.

We can specify the memory and disk-quota parameters for the user_ui module, which advises the deployer to grant memory and disk-space to the application as defined in the section.

In addition, we refer to the service-name and default-url parameters that are filled by the system, using the placeholder notation ${<parameter_name>}. During the deployment, the parameter value is determined and the placeholder is replaced with the actual value.

Here is a list of commonly used parameters:

In the figure above you can find some of the available parameters. You can find the full list in the MTA Deployment Descriptor Syntax section of the SAP HANA Developer Guide:

MTA Editor

As an alternative to the code editor for the MTA file, the SAP Business Application Studio also provides the possibility to use the MTA editor to make changes. You can find the form-based editor on the context menu of the mta.yaml file.

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