Community Content: It’s a Matter of Give and Take
Less well known are the resources the development community has created for various projects and made available for others to download and use. This content is similar to shareware (you’ll be asked to agree to a disclaimer before you can download) and is of interest to technical consultants, developers, and administrators. Some of these items were submitted by customers, others were created by SAP developers and used internally. Community content includes code samples, plug-ins, tools; whatever developers found useful in making their own work or their portals more efficient and productive.
An important distinction between these types of content is support: Content developed for SAP solutions is supported by SAP, both certified and non-certified content is supported by the vendors, while community content is not supported. However, content contributions that prove to be particularly useful may be incorporated into the product and then be fully supported.
This article provides an overview of what community content is out there for the portal, how you can get it, and how you can return the favor.
How to Get Community Content
You can get community content either directly from SDN or from the iView Studio. Working in iView Studio makes sense when you want to browse all available portal content, including the fully supported business packages. (Note that SDN and iView Studio will merge later this year)
From SDN (items will be listed alphabetically):
- Go to the Download tab on top of the screen. This area has two sections: “SAP Developer Tools and Software Downloads” and “Community Tools and Code Samples.” Click “Community Tools …” to see the complete list of available items (a subset of items in both categories is also available from the Downloads area on the right of the Enterprise Portal and the Content Catalog pages).
- Browse the descriptions and click the title link in the right column to download an item.
- Read the agreement and click the “I agree to the terms and conditions specified in this license” checkbox.
- Click the download link that appears to download the item.
From iView Studio (items will be listed for particular target groups or other search criteria):
- Log on to iView Studio (www.iViewStudio.com) and click the Content Catalog tab.
- In the list of user categories on the left, click the one for which you want to see community content (it currently exists for the Every User and Specialist categories)
- Click the Customer Share tab.
- Browse the descriptions and click “Go to SDN” to download any packages that interest you.
How to Contribute Community Content
If you have useful development tools, code samples, or other resources you’d like to share with the community, simply fill out a short form and send us your sample files. There’s no risk to you because anyone who wants to deploy your contribution in their portal will be asked to sign the disclaimer noted above.
To contribute community content:
- Go to the Download tab on top of the screen.
- Click “contribute code samples” link in the top section of the screen, which takes you to a short description about what you’ll be asked to submit with your files, including:
- – Title and description of what the sample does
– System requirements and related development areas or backend systems
– Brief description of how to install
– Additional helpful information is optional
- Click “send your files” to display the Upload Agreement.
- Read the agreement and click “I agree”.
- Fill out the form and submit your files.
Your contribution and the information about it will be checked in and will be available within about a week. If there are any questions, someone from the team will contact you. Another way to contribute to the community is to share any suggestions or feedback you have regarding the community content by using the Forums link to access the Content Development Forum.
What Community Content is Out There?
Here’s a brief overview of the community content that’s currently available for the Enterprise Portal. (Content for other SAP NetWeaver Components is also available in the Downloads area). Because community content is provided by different developers, the level of detail will vary, but many items provide extensive documentation for installation and use. Also, it pays to check back periodically–new contributions are added all the time.
The following contributions are available for EP 6.0:
- Net Portal Web Controls – Contains six .NET web controls and installation guide, including Button, DataGrid, Link Button, Textbox, Label and Portal Style Connector.
- Analyzer – Includes a Pre-Installation Analyzer and an Analyzer. These tools help configure a system before portal installation by checking prerequisites and displaying them in the order needed for installation, as well as in fine-tuning and trouble-shooting the portal after installation. Updated recently!
- Online Editing Demo – A .NET application that demonstrates a how to create an EP6 Online Portal Editor to make it possible edit a web document within the browser, without the need to upload files or go through a lengthy approval process that involves writing JSP or ASPX files. Download of .Net Portal Web Controls (see first item) is recommended.
- PCD Inspector – A tool that makes it easier to work with the content catalog by allowing administrators to browse the Portal Content Directory, access all portal objects, and perform various edits on object properties, to copy, move, and rename objects, to visualize delta link dependencies, and more.
- Translation tool – A tool that facilitates translating content objects from one language to one or more others. This tool will be incorporated into the portal platform with NetWeaver ’04.
- RSS Style Sheet RSSXML2PDV: This code sample is available as a start (project customization required) in using RSS news feeds in EP 6.0, using a standar XML template component. New!
- SAP Connector Examples: This example shows how to use the SAP Connector to talk to an R/3 backend system. New!
- Portal Activity Reporting – Track usage patterns and transaction volumes by capturing number of visitors and hits per iView, page, or role across different time spans (day, month, quarters)
The following contributions are available for EP 5.0:
- Portal Usage Reporting – Provides essentially the same information as described for EP 6.0.
- Internet Explorer Button Sample – A tool for creating a shortcut button on the Internet Explorer toolbar to your portal.
- Citrix – A Master iView you can use to create a Citrix iView for applications published on the Citrix MetaFrame Server. By creating a Citrix iView, you can use the SSO2 logon ticket generated by the portal to enable Single Sign-On (SSO) for SAP GUI applications. This tool has been incorporated into the portal platform for EP 6.0.
- Build EP Roles – An iView that helps you build a portal role based on existing R/3 and BW roles. You’ll design the new role in an Excel spreadsheet (example included).
- Assign EP Roles to a Group (Assign Portal Roles to a Group) – Sample code showing how to search for portal roles based on similar role patterns and assign them to a group.
- Modify BW Workbook Attributes – An iView for modifying BW workbooks created by the SAP migration tool. The sample code demonstrates how to modify the attributes of a migrated service.
- Transaction Launch Pad – A Master iView that provides an alternative to using the iPanel for accessing R/3 transactions and BW reports. It places all of the user’s transactions and reports in a single location, grouped by system and functionality.
- Exercise Code for TechEd 2003 – The code used during an exercise at TechEd 2003, for creating a JAAS login module.
- Simplified Queries – Code sample that makes it possible to query SAP tables in SAP applications.
- HTMLX Framework – A framework that extends the SAP Portal Java iView HTMLB framework. HTMLX adds functionality in several areas, especially for validation and localization. The HTMLX framework is intended for use with JSP style iViews.
Check it Out
It’s worth taking a look to see whether the solutions of your fellow developers can make your life easier as well. Also, please consider contributing resources you’ve created to the community and be sure to use the discussion forums to share your experiences with this content. If you have suggestions about what SAP can to support you in sharing some of your content resources, please contact me at Sylvia.Lehnen@sap.com.