Hacker night spectator. Some thoughts.
Writing this on the high speed train on the way back from SAP Teched. No wi-fi in this train, but at least there is power. (also posted over on Vendorprisey)
I’m straying way into geek territory here, so apologies if there are a couple of technical inaccuracies. I was the token suit at the Adobe RIA Hacker Night – Munich! last night. (Dennis was there too, but as he doesn’t own a suit, I can’t really label him one.)
The session was put together by Matthias Zeller from Adobe. Thanks Adobe.
We heard interesting detailed presentations about SAP and Adobe in action with Philips Lighting and News International, as well as majority Desk, SAP and Ruby, Flex islands and Thomas Jung demoed the Matrix Screensaver written in ABAP.(This is a geek joke, in response to the suit line,”where’s the business case?”)
More significantly he demoed a solution he has built in his own time. This solution adds Flex controls into BSP, easily allowing customer developers to dramatically improve the look and feel of BSP applications. Last night Thomas and the gang released this as an open source project. It is called Flob. More details to follow soon, and Thomas will be appearing on Starship enterprisey radio in the next couple of weeks to explain it all.
This interests me for several reasons.
1. It enables some flex goodness in BSP. (Although no longer used to build new applications, several SAP applications are partly built with the BSP technology, so it will enable customers to spruce up these applications dramatically. This is particularly interesting for parts of HR and CRM.
2. Increasingly, it will be the customers who chose how they want to interact with the SAP applications, not SAP telling them the way they have to do it. There is an explosion in client-side UI innovation, and customers will want to exploit this in ways that SAP can’t and probably shouldn’t control. Widgets and Wii hands are just the beginning. I’ve argued before that UI is Fashion.
3. In the SAP space, open source is providing a compelling distribution mechanism for customer, independent consultant or leisure time developed code. The ease of the licence model is key. Lawyers are kept at bay. Other examples of this being SAPLink, and several scripting language projects.
4. SDN brings together a critical mass of like minded people to improve and consume the solution. And I’m predicting that we will see more open source innovation at the edges of SAP.
5. Also, with Eclipse becoming more significant in the Netweaver stack, open source is becoming more important in the core too. in Klaus Kreplin’s keynote we saw Eclipse playing a very significant role in composition environment. Eclipse featured strongly in the Demo Jam, with a demo of an eclipse ABAP editor project from SAP. This lifted the roof.
The contribution of the memory analyzer is goodness, but SAP has much to learn about open source – and IBM, Sun and Adobe have been more embracing of open source. Co-innovation insists on openness and participation, it is not a one way street. I sense SAP is still figuring this out, as Dan points out when he examines the EULA for the SAP subscription licence. James Governor asked some pointed questions at the blogger meeting with Zia about SAP and Open Source. Interesting and exciting times here in Bureaudisney.