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Introduction

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.

sap ep development matrix

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?

Java programming skills – with exposure to JSP, Servlets and Beans – are the most desirable for an EP developer. Additionally JavaScript, XML, Web Services, ABAP and even HTML will come in handy.

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.

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?

Portal Architecture
Portal Development Guide
Portal Administration Guide
SAP NetWeaver Developer’s Guide
SDN Developers Resources
SDN study material
SDN Developer Forums
SDN Blogs

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!

Sneak Preview SAP NetWeaver 04 Download

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?
  1. Introduction (this entry)
  2. Overview of the Content Development Process
  3. Installing and configuring the preview edition of EP
  4. Setting up the NetWeaver development environment
    1. Setting up the NetWeaver development environment (Part I)
    2. Setting up the NetWeaver development environment (Part II)
  5. Java development methodologies
  6. Web Dynpro quick start tips
  7. Customizing look and feel
  8. Navigation and Taxonomy
  9. Understanding Content Administration
  10. Portal Security
  11. Top 10 things to know for an EP implementation project
  12. Top 10 pitfalls to avoid in an EP implementation project
  13. Cool tricks in EP development
Summary

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?

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30 Comments

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  1. Abdul Hakim
    Hi Umair.
    Nice weblog.Earlier I have posted some questions regarding prerequisite skills for learning EP  in EP Forum.Now your weblog has cleared all my doubts.Keep up ur good work.
    Well From the portal content picture i have seen that for Business transaction / Web Applications we can use either ABAP/Java.Is it possible to use BSP,BSP Controllers and BAPI instead of JSP,Serveltes and EJB.I think interactive forms and Webdynpro is also available for ABAP from Netweaver2004s release.So is it necessary for an ABAP Developer to grasp java,jsp,servlets and ejb to start working in EP Development.Is it possible for ABAP to play a similar role to Java in EP Development?

    Kinldy Clarify.

    Regards,
    Abdul Hakim

    (0) 
    1. Umair Salam Post author
      Hi Abdul,

      As you know BSP, Java and even .Net can be used to develop in the EP environment, depending on your company’s infrastructure, availability of content in business packages and your skills.

      It’s still a good idea to learn Java as it seems to be the future in the world of EP development. Web DynPro for ABAP should be ideal technologies to work with for EP development for people with ABAP skills.

      Thanks,
      Umair

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      1. Abdul Hakim
        Hi Umair.
        Surely learning Java will be a plus for everyone.
        I know that java world is a ocean like ABAP world.
        As you mentioned that java,jsp,sevlets and ejb are necessary to start with.I will start learning those things.Any resource on the sdn for java,jsp,servlets and ejb?
        Final question:Whether ABAP can be used as an alternative for Java in the EP Developement?

        Thanks,
        Abdul

        (0) 
        1. Umair Salam Post author
          Hi Abdul,

          SDN and the Portal Development Kit (installed as a Business Package in the Portal and available to the Developer role) are excellent places to learn Java for EP Development. However, if you are brand new to Java, you should explore the Java tutorials on Sun’s web site. Try these:

          for J2SE:
          http://java.sun.com/docs/books/tutorial/index.html

          for J2EE:
          http://java.sun.com/j2ee/1.4/docs/tutorial/doc/

          I believe Java and ABAP both have their own place in EP Development: neither is here to replace the other. Both languages have their advantages and disadvantages and one maybe better suited for some task than the other. Depends on the situation. A Java developer would benefit greatly by learning ABAP when working in EP and vice versa.

          Thanks,
          Umair

          (0) 
  2. Harsh Chawla
    Hi Umair,
       I really liked your blog, it sums up a lot of info that people look for when they decide to start-off with EP Development. Looking forward to more content!
    Regards,
    Harsh

    PS: Maybe you should promote your professional weblog a bit more 🙂
    http://epdeveloper.blogspot.com/
    These would be very interesting/useful…

        * Demystifying the role of the SAP EP Developer
        * Modifying ESS and MSS content
        * Quick Overview pages
        * Web DynPro for the real world

    (0) 
    1. Umair Salam Post author
      Hi Harsh,

      Thanks for the kind remarks! I do need to post more content on my other blog – during the holidays, I’ll try and write a few of the entries you’ve highlighted.

      Thanks,
      Umair

      (0) 
    1. Umair Salam Post author
      Thank you Imran, I hadn’t seen Sugree’s entry…I’ll evaluate what I had in mind and compare with the other blog and make sure that my entry is not the same as the other!
      (0) 
  3. Vijay Kumar
    Hello Umair,
    Iam just entering into the Portal World,Your Blog is realy very useful for me as a starter.

    Your work is Highly Appreciated.

    Keep doing.

    Regards,
    Vijay

    (0) 
  4. Paul Boxberg
    Hi Umair,

    I am already excited  to read your next
    part of this course.
    This way of getting introduced to the EP development
    using a top down methodology
    is very useful
    and highly appreaciated.

    Thank you !!

    Paul

    (0) 
  5. Paul Boxberg
    Hi Umair,

    I am already excited  to read your next
    part of this course.
    This way of getting introduced to the EP development
    using a top down methodology
    is very useful
    and highly appreaciated.

    Thank you !!

    Paul

    (0) 
  6. Dave Bret
    Great work Umair,

    I liked the way you have structred it. Please include more pics /drwaings in your future blogs,

    thanks again

    D Bret

    (0) 
    1. Umair Salam Post author
      Thank you. Yes, you can expect lots of screenshots and graphics in the next few entries, particularly when we talk about installing, configuring EP and related tools!
      (0) 
    1. Umair Salam Post author
      Thanks Dishant 😉 I’ve completed three of the thirteen entries I’ve planned in this series so far…You can check out the entry about the EP Development Process here: Overview of the Content Development Process

      and the latest entry is yet to be posted which covers the SAP NetWeaver Preview Edition installation process…

      I’m working on the next entry which has to do with configuring the development environment (SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio and SAP EP 6). Stay tuned!

      (0) 
  7. Roger David
    Hi,
    thanks for your weblog. Now I don’t need to waste lots of time to search for information.

    My question is: is the SAP Netweaver Portal also available on DVD?
    There are some Previews and Testdrives available in the Knowledge Shop, but do they contain the Portal? Which one do I need? (I want to evaluate the KM-REP interface.)
    Regards
    Steffi

    (0) 
  8. Prakash Palanisamy
    Thanks a lot.

    This is very useful. I could not download the “Sneak Preview SAP NetWeaver 04 Download” in the link that you have specified. Can you please help me on this?

    Thanks,

    Prakash.P

    (0) 

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