Beginning EP Development
There is no shortage of tutorials and how-to documents on various subjects available for EP Developers. It can still be a daunting task, just locating all the information from the different sources and making sense of it all. If you are new to the wonderful world of SAP Enterprise Portal, this series of blog entries is designed to fill in the gap most felt by newbies.
What is EP Development?
EP Development consists of developing applications (known as iViews) that run in the Portal. These applications are typically built using Java technologies such as J2EE (JSP or Java Server Pages and EJBs (Enterprise Java Beans) , Web Dynpro, HTMLB for Java, XML, Web Services and more. Some development is also done using the PDK for .Net. The applications have to be able to run in the Portal, which runs on a Web Application Server, a J2EE engine that uses the Portal Runtime and, optionally, a Web Dynpro runtime. This requires that the developer be fairly familiar with Java.
The following diagram depicts how content can be developed for the Portal and what skills are required for each method.
The slide shows that developing custom content for the Portal requires skills in Java or .Net or ABAP/BSP, where as the Visual Composer or Web Dynpro technologies auto-generate most of the code.
Source: (Adobe PDF file)
What skills should I acquire?
Which training courses should I take?
Currently, the following courses are offered from SAP Education that are targeted for SAP EP Developers and Consultants. I will write more about them in future blog entries.
JA100 – Java Start-up Kit – Classroom, 5 days
EP150 – Java Development for the SAP Enterprise Portal and KM (4.7) – Classroom, 5 days
JA300 – J2EE Start-up Kit – Classroom, 5 days
JA331 – SAP Java Open Integration Technologies – Online
JA310 – Java Web Dynpro – Classroom, 5 days
TJA320 – Programming with SAP Java Persistence Framework – Classroom, 5 days
Which books should I invest in?
Although there is no definitive book for a beginner EP developer, the following are excellent books to get started. They will serve as good desk reference in the future.
- SAP Enterprise Portal: Technology and Programming
- Inside Web Dynpro for Java
- Java Programming with the SAP Web Application Server
What tools do I need?
Every beginning developer needs the proper development environment to be able to do lots of practice developing. You can take all the training and read all the books, but there is no substitute for hands-on practice, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The IDE (integrated development environment) for Portal content is the NDS (NetWeaver Developer Studio). NDS is built on the open-source IBM technology called Eclipse. In addition to NDS, you also need access to a Portal. At a minimum you need access as a Developer to be able to access the PDK (Portal Development Kit) within the Portal and to deploy applications you build. It wouldn’t hurt to also get Content Administrator access to the Portal so you can see how iViews will look in the Portal once you’ve developed them. I suggest actually downloading and installing your own copy of the Portal and NDS so you can get full hands-on practice. You can download both NDS and the Portal from SDN. See How do I get started? below.
Where are the links to the resources I need?
What to do get started?
Download the preview edition of the SAP Enterprise Portal and NWDS. I recommend the Java Edition (which is almost 3 Gigabytes). Trust me, its worth every byte!
In a future blog entry (number 3 in this series of entries), I will walk you through installing the preview edition of the Portal and NDS. But if you can’t wait until then or feel adventurous, go ahead and install it yourself. A word of caution: before attempting to install the sneak preview on your PC, pay close attention to the minimum requirements, both hardware and software, to ensure everything works.
What to expect next?
- Introduction (this entry)
- Overview of the Content Development Process
- Installing and configuring the preview edition of EP
- Setting up the NetWeaver development environment
- Java development methodologies
- Web Dynpro quick start tips
- Customizing look and feel
- Navigation and Taxonomy
- Understanding Content Administration
- Portal Security
- Top 10 things to know for an EP implementation project
- Top 10 pitfalls to avoid in an EP implementation project
- Cool tricks in EP development
You have just embarked upon a journey as a newbie SAP EP Developer. This blog series aims to make your journey as rewarding as possible. In this entry, I attempted to define what EP development is, what skills should you as a novice EP developer acquire, which training courses might suit your needs, which books to get, which tools and online resources you should check out and finally, what to do to get started?