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My latest rant on developing with SAP

About a year ago I wrote a blog post about Platforms, APIs and GUIs and I decided that it was about time to rehash the topic and bring it forward some more, so with that let me do a brief recap of the why I wrote the original blog,  

It seems that James finally got around to blogging about something he saw. He talked a bit about it during one of the RedMonk Radio episodes but did not even scratch the service leaving me sitting ask “What the…” but finally he blogged it and will hopefully be sending over the “deets” from Andrew soon.  James saw a presentation from T-Mobile and how they developed (rather quickly) an app using Adobe Flex. Now I like Flex (I too can get down with Flex) and I’m hoping to add a “Flex” /community [original link is broken] here in the near future (any Adobe guys want to help moderate?) and since I’ve been pushing the use of Scripting Languages his post is right up my alley in fact in more ways than one. 

The link above will take you to the full post, and you can see the “Flex” type User Interface Technology is in place as well.

So what was my rant or more to the point where is my rant leading? Well to the fact that NetWeaver is probably one of the coolest platforms I’ve ever worked with and with the recent changes and additions is one reason I think SAP “does get it” not only do they give you a way of expanding their own software but they give you the platform and the means to do it as well.

Some people will of course bring up the fact that SAP has too many ways of doing the same thing, for example SAP has two ways of working with ABAP in a web environment one (a favorite of mine) is BSP and the other is ABAP Web Dynpro. I did a video interview with the creators of BSP who also happen to be some of the brains behind ABAP Web Dynpro, you should really watch that and see the official stance on the use of the two languages. Does this mean that SAP made a mistake or can’t decide on which way to work with? Not at all, so what does all this mean then? What is the core message being sent out… 

  • The backend must be stable, SAP has one of the most stable I’ve ever worked with
  • The frontend is nice to have but not required
  • Services, if you can’t connect to it via SOA, RFC, API or whatever way matches your fancy is it worth it? I think the fact that SAP has devoted so many resources and time to building or services out (have you seen how many are available out of the box) says a lot.

With that in mind SAP has created one of the most flexible platforms to work with and  to work on with little in terms of constraints.   Agile, flexibility, expandability, scalability these are terms you can’t help but use when you begin working with the SAP NetWeaver platform it’s all there it’s like the Baskin & Robbins of the development world – just pick your flavor!

Oh and did you know that not only can you order onlne but they Developer’s Journey through the SDN Subscription Program – Ch.1 Getting the Goods? Also if you attended either the Las Vegas or Munich TechEd’s this year you probably noticed that SAP Ventures was right next to the Subscriptions booth – now if that isn’t a sign that people are paying attention I’m not sure what is. Or what about the SAP NetWeaver Fund? What don’t know about?

SAP NetWeaver Fund
The SAP NetWeaver Fund was established in May 2006 and focuses on strategic investments in select companies that are committed to the SAP ecosystem and are building innovative solutions based on the SAP NetWeaver platform. Opening up the platform to encourage development and co-innovation has been a key driver for SAP in recent years, and the formation of the SAP NetWeaver Fund represents yet another investment in SAP’s growing ecosystem. Financed out of SAP’s corporate development funds, the $125 million SAP NetWeaver Fund complements the efforts of SAP’s venture arm, SAP Ventures, and is managed jointly by Zia Yusuf, executive vice president of Platform Ecosystem at SAP and Jim Mackey, head of Corporate Finance at SAP.


There are currently more than 1,800 partner solutions and more than 1,000 independent software vendors (ISVs) actively developing on the SAP NetWeaver platform today.


Now before you decide I’m totally off my rocker – give this some thought and watch this space because my next blog entry on this topic will list some of the more interesting API’s that you can connect to NetWeaver. 

It’s an exciting time to be on the SAP NetWeaver Platform!

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  • On my current project, we have developed an entire FLEX UI to work in conjunction with CRM PCUI. The FLEX portion actually handles the order entry bits (and more) due to some technical and usability issues of PCUI. It interfaces real-time with our backed ECC and CRM systems and uses SSO via the portal. We even built in specific task/actions for it in the UWL! It is pretty slick, I must say. I am interested in seeing/hearing some other real-world examples as well.
  • Craig:

    Being myself a Programmer for the last 10 years…I have worked with a lot of programming languages and environments…To name a few…QBasic, Pascal, C#, VB 6, Ruby, Flex, Delphi, Euphoria, PHP, C++…And I gotta say…ABAP is my all times favorite language and NetWeaver the most flexible and strong plattform I ever work with…

    I really love the wide range of interaction that you can get with Scripting Languages and other programming platforms…Using RFC, WebServices, XML and some other nice things…

    Looking forward for your next blog -:)