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From the Grumpy Old Man: Literature A Go Go

Over the past year I’ve given quite a few lectures here in Belgium with a strong SDN focus. During the Q&A sessions, and also just when sitting and talking, I always hear the same remarks from people when I encourage them to also contribute on SDN:



  • I like to share things, but I can’t summarize stuff into a web log or an article

  • I’m a techie, therefore I don’t have a writing style

  • One needs to be a literature writer in order to be allowed to contribute

  • My English is poor



Here are my standard answers for all of the above.



  • Writing web logs or articles is rather easy. Just sit down and start writing as you would normally write the documentation of the code you’ve produced. Have a specific target audience in mind, but bear two things in mind:


    • We are all used to working with computers. So no need to explain how the mouse works! Some things are self explanatory, that’s just the way it is.

    • Don’t make it too complicated either. You might have found the perfect, rather complicated, solution for a problem, but your explanation needs to make it understood by others too. If Einstein hadn’t explained his theory of relativity, nobody would have made use of it.


  • You don’t need to be an Umberto Eco or J. R. R. Tolkien in order to contribute. In fact, my style doesn’t even equal that of Dawn Brown’s. It’s best really to adopt your own style with which you feel comfortable.

  • When it comes to writing in English I have two secret weapons:


    • A dictionary on CD-ROM. I got a new version (for translators) for my birthday a month ago.

    • That doesn’t always help for the grammar, so I let a native speaker – a very nice lady (from Scotland) called Alison – review my texts. In my opinion it is always a good idea to let others read the text, even if they aren’t native speakers.



From now on I won’t accept any excuses for not contributing on SDN.

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  • Hi Eddy:

    You're right...After start writting blogs here on SDN i used to thought that it was a hard task...But after writting the first one...I realized that you don't have to take care of explaning every line of code...or explain every tech term...We all work with're kinda speaking the same language -:)

    And for my english...i always have Craig's review so he doesn't allow to publish something that is wrong spelled.

    Contribute with the SDN is one the best thing ever happend to me, and i'm sure that there is a lot of people who are going to apply for become blogger after reading yours -;)



  • Yes, writing articles on subjects mastered  is not so hard and even easier then translating ones in fact.

    However I'm not sure the blocking factor is the hardness or not of writing articles. Personnaly speaking it's far more the limited available time to produce it.

    Out of subject here but concerning your previous post on "lacks of comments" the key factor is I think the fact that sap choose to made "out of the forums" comments like "normal blogs". But it's a bad choice, when we have a forum comments should be put on forums and the day SAP will shift the blog comments into the forum the number of them will certainly rise.

    • Hi,

      I think that there is difference between web log comments and forums though. I'm not talking about the technical/platform differences, but the content. Forums are in general meant for problem solving, which is not the case for web log comments.
      From a user point of view, I'd like to have the same features, like spell checking, editing after post, etc. in the web log comments too. 


  • I just haven't finished readin' your blog, and I think: I agree.
    It's just a matter of will, not time. I spend my W/E writing if I think my ideas must be shared!

    Lazy people just don't deserve nothing.