Here it is the week after TechEd Las Vegas. I assumed that I would have nice quite week to relax following a hectic but exciting time in Las Vegas. However my week turned out to be quite different than planned thanks to SAPLink. Just in case you haven’t visited SDN at all in the last week, SAPLink is the great new tool that won the TechEd Demo Jam.SAPlink @ Demo Jam – TechEd 2006 VegasDemo Jam ’06 Winners: Ed Herrmann Dan McWeeney It didn’t win because it was sexy or used cutting edge Web 2.0 technology. It won because it is based upon an excellent idea. The idea is one that I’m sure many SDNers have wished for over the years. SDN has given us a place to connect and communicate. Yet community members working the ABAP world have never really had the tools to take the collaboration to the next level by easily sharing code or working together on one project that crosses company boundaries. SAPLink sets out to provide the tools to do just that. So I was listing to the Pod Cast with the creators of SAPLink – Ed and Dan when I heard them put a challenge to repost some of our old weblog coding in SAPLink format. The idea of sharing code samples via SAPLink is a great idea and one that I personally plan to do going forward. I even want to go back and take some of my more popular code samples and make them available via SAPLink. However I am actually more interested in getting some new projects out via SAPLink. You see these projects aren’t finished yet and this is the real key to SAPLink. Not only can we use the tool to get code samples to the community; we can also use it for developers from different companies and geographies to work together on a single project! This is where the real excitement begins. So I have a few projects that I have had in my back pocket for a while. They are both 40+% finished and would make good starting points for a community effort. I thought I would drop the SAPLink folks a note just to let them know how much I was looking forward to working with their tool and to tell them about the projects that I was going to put their tool to use on. Little did I know that this was going to lead me directly into my first real community project. My plans for the week were officially shot. I had originally though my evenings this week would finally be used to catch up on some light reading. I have been trying to get to “The Zombie Survival Guide – Complete Protection From the Living Dead” by Max Brooks for a while now. So I blame the SAPLink guys if a zombie outbreak occurs and I am unprepared. You see SAPLink is an open-ended tool. It is a framework that other developers can use to add their own export and import “Plug-Ins”. The SAPLink crew had the foresight to make this framework very accessible. It is a good thing because with version 1.0 of SAPLink there is only support for Classes, Programs, and BSP Applications. For my new projects that I wanted to begin working on, I needed at least Data Dictionary object support as well. And here we are three days later on the eve of the release of SAPLink 1.1. Already you can download a Nugget with the first release of the Data Dictionary Plug-Ins, but 1.1 will come with a whole host of The Power, Agility, and Speed of a Community. But the fun part was seeing a real community project in action. Rich Heilman, the SAPLink guys, and myself were all exchanging code (via Nuggets and Slinkees of course), testing each others objects, playing with Subversion, and learning about Google Code hosting. Overall it has been a great experience and I have learned a ton about open source projects in a very short amount of time. But all this really brings me to the point of my story: now that we have SAPLink 1.1; ABAP developers can start on their own community projects! I want to kick things off with two of my own. First of all we have used the website Flickr for exchanging photos within the SDN Community since the TechEd 2004. Just in case you want to check them out, there are plenty of photos already from TechEd Las Vegas and SDN Days Last week:Flickr SDN Group One of the best parts about Flickr is that it has a great API. So naturally I thought ABAP needs a version of the Flickr API. You might ask yourself – what business benefit might there be in a Flickr interface to ABAP; probably none. We will probably only use it to create some fun “toys”, but that hasn’t stopped me yet from hacking away at about 40% of the Flickr Methods. This is just a fun project and an opportunity to learn a lot about XML Parsing, REST based Service Calls, and good OO Structuring. The second project has a little more business benefit. For a while now if we wanted to do rich text editing from the Web in BSP, you might have turned to the BTF editor. The BTF Tool, although very nice, has a major limitation of only working in IE. I thought it would be interesting to try my hand at integrating one of the popular open source editors in BSP. I chose the FCKEditor for my trial. I have basic integration already finished, include MVC Binding support. Left still, are the AJAX handlers for image processing into and out of the Mime Repository. In both of these cases, the projects are not complete. I thought others might want to join me in finishing off the projects or just have a look at their progress so far. Therefore I have created Google code projects in order to share the work-in-progress coding via SAPLink. abap-flickrabap-fckeditor Keep in mind that these projects, like my contributions to SAPLink, are NOT official SAP Projects. I’m not wearing that sap.com behind my email address when I work on these projects. This is just one old ABAP hacker playing around late at night after work is over and inviting other ABAPers to join in. If you aren’t interested in the two projects I’m wanting to do, then I encourage you to post a project of your own. There is not excuse now that we have the tools. I’m sure everyone has a pet project in the back of their mind that they would like to get completed. It doesn’t have to be something useful – it might just be fun. On the other hand, maybe you have an idea for something really business oriented and useful – then go for it! The next big thing is out there just waiting for the community to put it together.