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The Problem

Over the last few months I have been battling the RFC API, inorder to provide full support for UNICODE to the Scripting Language connectors that I maintain – Perl, Python, and Ruby.

To add to my difficulties – I have never had access to a unicode enabled R/3 system – something that was always going to be a hurdle to success.

The Solution

At this point I made a cry for help on the UNICODE system access for further development of connectors – to which Gregor Wolf (alias lupomania – cool huh) steps up to the mark, and assists me by providing a system to work with (a big thanks to Gregor).

(Gregor wasn’t the only one – help also came from Jouke Visser of Bookings.Com).

What Happend Here?

What unfolded was a short circuiting of red tape, and a compression of the dev, test feedback loop.

The cause of this acceleration was primarily because this was done in an OpenSource commuity collaboration manor. For example – I would generate a patched version, Gregor would test it and feed the logs, and debug back to me. Each time this cycle would take approximately 3-4 hours (sometimes less).

More importantly than this, I think, is the time taken to establish this cycle in the first place. in all it was less than 24 hours, and was focused on mutual availability (we have day jobs), and negotiating the technial hurdles (do I get access – if so how, or do I feed patches, and test code etc.). Try getting that kind of business relationship going between commercial entities for collaborative software development, in that timeframe (with or without lawyers).

What can be learned from this

This kind of collaboration is beneficial for the community as a whole, and the more it happens the greater the benefit will be.

I would like to see this kind of collaboration grow – SDN could become a focus for the further development of all kinds of derivative applications, and perhaps this could be fullfilled through a relationship with various project hosting facilities such as FreshMeat, SourceForge, and for Scripting Languages the individual sites such as RubyForge and CPAN.

SAP can step up to the mark on this too. Naturally it holds the keys to a lot of things, not least the of all the API for connectivity (RFC, and RFC-XML etc. – why can’t we have greater access to these?), and it seems even more natural that it could supply hosting for development and testing – after all – it is their software – isn’t it?

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