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Author's profile photo Former Member

Netweaver Portal Development Pain Points

I’ve been a little stealthy lately (but it’s not because I haven’t been busy 😉

The NetWeaver platform is HUGE and I’m amazed at the breadth of the offering each time I peek a bit more under the covers.  With such a large and complex set of features and capabilities, it’s often difficult to find out the “right” way to do something (or even the “wrong” way sometimes).

Recently I’ve been heading up a team of folks working on  articles and materials to assist SAP Enterprise Portal developers get a handle on wide range of topics related to the EP and SAP Web AS platform.  Right now our team is heavily engaged in content development on a wide range of topics:

  • Getting Started with the PDK
  • Portal Runtime and API Overview
  • Debugging Techniques
  • JSP in the portal
  • The SAP Visual Composer™
  • Intro and Review
  • NW04 Deployment
  • Client Side Eventing (EPCF)
  • Connector Framework Basics
  • Implementing Custom Portal Services
  • User Management API
  • Localization of Components
  • WAS 6.40 Integration
  • Improving Performance of Java and Portal Applications
  • Profiling and Memory Analysis
  • Customization of the Portal Interface
  • Web Services in the Portal


However, it occurred to me tonight that I had not asked the SDN crowd what the biggest pain points are.  So here’s your chance…  

What are the biggest pain points you find when you are developing (or trying to develop) on the NetWeaver EP platform?

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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I would say that in my experience that most  programmers have problems  finding an API which can do what they are looking for.

      Whilst the API(javadoc) is more extensive and well written than in EP5.0 it's often difficult to find what you are looking for. I would like better documentation on the package level so that you kan find the key classes based on this.

      Examples can help you do particular tasks, but  you can never cover the entire specter with examples only. A well documented API will allow much better use of all the functionality burried below 🙂

      It would also be nice to have more public API's , for example towards the SAP J2EE in order to find logged on users.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I concur with Dagfinn.

      Whilst I can see that SAP have put much time and effort into building excellent API's, there is not enough documentation about the conceptual side of using them. The occassional expample is not enough.

      I would prefer if SAP could attempt to emulate Sun's excellent 'trails' tutorials, or the J2EE tutorial, which describe some reasonably complex API's succinctly, providing a 'trail' through the classes available.

      I have few criticisms of the SAP api's, just that they do not get exploited anywhere near their potential, due to a very steep learning curve. Most knowledge of them is passed from a person to person colleague experience.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      The information within the API is usually quite helpful if you can find it.

      The problem is that the documentation has been divided into 18 different areas. If you don't know where to look you can't find it. If you know where to look you may not need to.

      Need to join all the APIs into one top level so you can link back and forth.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      One thing we've done to help out in the short term is to integrate the Javadocs into NetWeaver Developer Studio.  You can now easily search for the class/method you are looking for.  The next step will be to cross link across classes where possible.

      Be prepared to get a cup of coffee the first time you search.  They forgot to include a prebuilt index in the distribution.  Subsequent searches are fast.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I have touched mostly the following issues during
      my development work.

      @1. Portal Runtime and API Overview
      @2. Debugging Techniques
      @3. HTMLB
      @4. JSP in the portal

      I agree completely with the what Dagfinn Parnas
      mentioned about not able to find required API
      calls, for what you want to do(above issue @1).

      You can't much simplify what is provided for
      debugging purposes.

      Regarding HTMLB, some of the components doesn't
      have similar functionality, for JSPTag attributes
      and for Java syntax. For example, Treeview tag
      doesn't have 'onClick' tag attribute, while Java
      syntax has it. When you are using dynamic node
      values, this poses a problem.

      About JSP pages, in the latest NWDev.Studio there
      is some help with java scriplets, i.e.,java class
      method prompting. Also, it would be great if any
      visual tools are provided for drag and drop of
      component code like HTML editors.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Will,
      we are also having problems with migration meaning, if we have EP 5.0 running (and well) should we wait for NW04 or shall we use EP 6.0 SP2 and then migrate? what will be easier? the amount of the content is not massive but it is going to be soon.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      could you please tell me how I can create Groups and add users to, within EP, using the User management API ?
      do you have a javadoc on the User management API ?

      best regards,

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I've completed the User Management chapter and it's under review right now.  I also answered a couple of forum questions regarding this topic.  See forum response:
      /thread/11433 [original link is broken] for the answer to how to create a user.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      We are just beginning the implementation of SAP.  Several of the developers for the public facing site have asked if they can use the content management aspect of the SAP EP on the organization's external web site.

      Is this possible?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Clear documentation on integrating HTMLb based applications and iViews with the upcoming WebDynpro infrastructure would make migration into WebDynpro more smoothly.

      In particular, it would be nice to know how to access Databags and portal data containers the way SAP envisioned it.

      Integration of WebDynpro iViews, in terms of having exposing and manipulating WD Applications Parameters without relying on the URL would also be nice.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Will,

      Firstly can I thank you and your colleagues for your efforts in making such a tremendous improvement in the amount (and quality) of content available on SDN! I feel there's a lot more support available to developers now than there was when I started working with EP5 last year.

      You have summarised my biggest gripe which is that it's often difficult to find out how to achieve something with the PDK. Having access to the API is fine, but actually knowing how to implement a solution i.e. should I create a service, should I create a portal component, should I use an existing service - it can all get a bit complicated!
      Maybe you could provide some examples of any custom solutions that SAP have developed using the PDK for their customers? i.e. some real world examples rather than high level "here's what this API does".



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      The new wizard is wonderful. Not having to fiddle with xml files is great, but there is no clear documentation of what goes in what fields for SAP systems. What would be extremely helpful would be clear examples for each type of SAP system, such as BW prior to 3.x, BW 3.x, BW 3.5 (is this different), R/3 without WAS, R/3 with WAS, ITS. A little about what could be wrong if the iView for your BW report just says web page not available or the wingui doesn't work. There is lots of info on wingui, but it is scattered through a number of notes.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Hi Will.

      First of all, great blog. Nice to see stuff written by someone who seems able to empathize.

      As for our wishlist, I would echo many of the other submissions: there are so many ways to go about achieving something in the portal, it would be so helpful to have some best practices to refer to. Specifically, things like Client-Side Eventing and Scope (request v. session v. app etc) could be made more clear.

      Also, some more examples would be helpful- most of us programmers would benefit so much just from SAP making the source code available with some basic commenting for some of the standard Business Packages like those for MSS. One big example that ties together various areas, e.g. localization, EPCF, etc., would be especially useful.

      Thanks for inquiring!