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Author's profile photo DJ Adams

A little taste of SAP at EuroFoo

FooCamp LogoI’m in Enschede (Netherlands) this weekend for EuroFoo – a mini-conference get-together for hackers and geeks of different persuasions. It’s a great mix of ideas, skills, and energy, where the talks are decided more or less spontaneously and written up on a series of whiteboards.

I gave a talk – HelloSapWorld – this morning which was intended to burst the bubble that SAP seems to find itself within, for a great majority of hackers outside the SAP universe.

Monolith, behemoth, huge-and-complicated, impenetrable, impossible. Those are all terms I’ve heard used by friends and colleagues with respect to getting started with SAP. Especially here. So I was pleasantly surprised to see a good turnout for the talk, where we crowded round the laptops (there was no projector in the room allocated to us, so we improvised by replicating the screen on the rest of the wifi-connected laptops in the room via VNC).

After a few slides, we got into the meat of the talk, which was a live hacking session where we    created simple ‘Hello World’ style objects – a report, a function module, a BSP page, an ICF handler, a Python RFC client, a Perl RFC server, and even a (one-dynpro) transaction. The time we had (an hour) simply flew by.

I have already had very positive feedback from the attendees … who knows, maybe we’ll see more open source hackers entering the SAP world soon!

Update: Some pictures are available here:

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

      How about starting a weblog series on the "Monolith, behemoth, huge-and-complicated, impenetrable, impossible", at the know, just to give an idea of what it looks like!

      Sooooooo...what do you say?

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Open source hackers in SAP world? Well, as soon as we get a possibility to freely download R/3 and play with it, then may be. Until then - no way.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Well - I find that really hard to swallow.  I wrote the SAP::Rfc binding for Perl in 2000, and subsequently wrote the bindings for Ruby, and Python over the course of the next few years.  I have users all over the world for these freely (as in free beer, and free speech) available software packages, and have implemented them in my own production enviroments at all my clients along the way.

      Now - with the integration of HTTP, SMTP, FTP, and LDAP protocols into R/3, not to mention original gateways such as the Spool process, there are many many integration points for SAP and OpenSource products, and tools, without even looking at high profile achievements such as R/3 for Linux.

      Sure - SAP R/3 and associated software is not free, but this definitely does not preclude a happy healthy relationship with SAP software, and OpenSource, as my efforts and the efforts of others clearly demonstrate.


      Piers Harding.

      Author's profile photo Mark Finnern
      Mark Finnern
      Hi Piers,

      Thanks for setting the record straight, so I don't have to do it. Sounds so much better from someone who has contributed so much to it.

      Best, Mark.

      Author's profile photo DJ Adams
      DJ Adams
      Blog Post Author
      Hi Stepan

      Well, that's an interesting, if rather negative, attitude, but you're certainly entitled to your own opinion of course.

      There's plenty of cross-pollination between the SAP and Open Source worlds, and I personally know many open source hackers who also hack on SAP. So there already are "open source hackers in SAP world". And funnily enough, there already is the possibility to freely download R/3 and play with it, thanks to the tremendous efforts of the Linux Lab team in Walldorf. (Kudos, chaps!)

      So - are you an open source hacker that doesn't hack on SAP, or an SAP hacker who is not involved in open source?

      Even if SAP was totally closed source (which it isn't, of course), that doesn't mean to say that it's wrong to mix and match. Amazon's codebase isn't open source, but as a data and function engine with open APIs, open source hackers love it because they can build cool apps. The same goes for eBay. The same for Google. And there are many other examples. Sometimes it's not the source code that matters to be open - it's the interfaces.

      The SAP universe and the universe of open source both have a lot to offer each other. I think it's a good thing to mix the two, and to try to open people's minds to the possibilities.

      -- dj

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Actually, I would appreciate the possibility to download and install R/3 on my laptop, the problem is - can you imagine? I don't know where to do this! I would greatly appreciate the link. Ok, I can install mini basis which comes with ABAP Objects books, but it's rather old for now...

      I totally agree with your saying about interfaces and integration. But if we talk about open source products on R/3 platform...

      About your question: I'm not an open source hacker - unfortunately I do not have that much free time; my work is not connected with development of open source products -> to be used in SAP products. So, I would say, I'm more close to SAP hacker for now 😉