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The Value of SDN

While importing SP45 and some kernel patches for our WebAS 6.20 development system I decided to write down some thoughts that I have wanted to express for quite a while now:

About me

As this is my first weblog, a short introduction might be appropriate, as I’m not a typical ABAP developer at all. I’m a 26-year old student of Internet Technologies and –management at the FH JOANNEUM (University of Applied Sciences) at Kapfenberg, Austria, currently doing my internship there developing a timetable and resource administration application based on WebAS 6.20 (which will be used in examples in future weblogs).

Being “just” a kind of experienced web developer next to doing my studies there was no ABAP knowledge or SAP experience I could rely on when I started into this project half a year ago. Our in-company SAP team is very small (2-3 people), so I found myself being responsible for the whole WebAS topic on my own – but I wanted that challenge, so instead of complaining it was time to get hold of some information.

The Beginning …

Only having some minor insight into SAP from a user’s perspective to enhance my study-related theoretical knowledge about ERP in general was a shallow basis to start from – and the expectations were high. After reading through two general WebAS books and some basic tutorials I started looking for some online information, and this is how I found SDN.

Over the past 4 months SDN has been my resource #1 for everything I needed to know, be it Support Package questions, BSP extension problems, WebAS general stuff – you name it. I dare not think how much longer it would have taken me to get to where I am now if it wasn’t for this priceless community I was able to become part of.

In the beginning I was overwhelmed by the amount of technical details that were covered and discussed here, wondering if I would ever be able to really know what was going on here. Boy, I had a lot of questions, but asking them in this forum of tech gurus … didn’t want to make a fool of myself that easy 🙂

… becoming an “Infoholic” …

So I started to act like a “black hole”, absorbing every piece of information I could gather. For what seemed like an eternity (because there was almost no progress in development at that time) I back-read all BSP and WebAS weblogs, countless forum threads. Luckily I had the freedom to do so, as my “boss” had full confidence in me (besides the fact that there was no one else dealing with WebAS).

Finally, there came the time when I somewhat caught up with the tech talk, and after playing with several tutorials I jumped into the cold water of asking questions on SDN. Of course there were times I should have known better than posting my thoughts hastily, but I learned that all the time I invested in gaining knowledge from blogs, documentation and other resources was more than worth it.

If there is one piece of advice that I can give: Take your time to learn the basics (and more) on what you want to learn, even if it takes 2 weeks or more – especially if you are new to SDN or developing with some new technology. It sure paid off for me.

Not only did I install WebAS 6.20 a few times (the running development system is one of them), also importing support packages and installing kernel patches is almost daily routine now. On the application-side I’m quite comfortable with MVC now, using various extensions and also adapting a standard design theme to our own layout.

… and starting to re-pay my debts

Now, after being able to give back some help to SDN (Is that really me on 3rd place in BSP forum rankings? …) I decided to get into blogging as well, as there are some topics I found that I could provide others with useful information. Let’s see if I can keep up my newly-made schedule and post one blog a week in November.

And looking further into the future – if I am to stay in touch with SAP after my studies (chances are somewhat good at the moment) I’m really looking forward to maybe coming to TechEd’05, as it is being held in Vienna (at least I read that), and getting to know whoever of you will be there!

For now – thanks SDN! (Brian, Craig, Thomas & Co.)

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  • A good weblog to start with…and sweet anticipation for the technical webblogs. Almost all the BSP gurus(especially Thomas Jung and Brian McKellar) are on a vacation, looking forward for your weblog.

    Its been only 3 months that I have started with BSP, but with all these weblogs already posted, it would take atleast a year to dig into the details(otherwise aeons).

    Subramanian V.

  • Yes, I agree with You. Without SDN we will be wondering on WWW for information. SDN makes our job easier by providing consolidated information at one place.


  • Hallo Max,

    This weblog is really a summary of life, the universe and SDN. It shows the change that each SDN member actually (should!) go through. And in reading every paragraph, one recognizes again ones own life experiences, and sees also your footsteps as we followed you through the BSP forum (those of us that have traveled the path already).

    You write three points that are very much worth highlighting!

    (1) One should take the time to really read as much as possible. Even back reading the forums. This time one needs to build a framework into which later knowledge can be stored.

    (2) When the time is ripe, ask questions. The trick is to ask, read, post a finally summary answer, and to assign the rewards!

    (3) Finally, answer questions, write weblogs. Life is about giving and taking. You learn a lot from participating, and returning that information back into the community strengthens it. It is this improved quality, that every other developer following in your footsteps, will savor. There is also the fact that in helping within the community, you collection credits in everyone’s books. When you need help again, we will be there to help. (I have placed your name into my little black book:).

    Bye, brian