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Why I’m active on SDN

I never considered myself as a blogger, but the question ‘Are you active on SDN’ caught my eye and it made me wonder should I or should I not write a blog about this. After deciding to write one, at the very last minute I must say, one mayor problem arose: What to write and how to write a about it? I woke up with these questions, sat at the office with it (sorry for that dear client, although I don’t think it really had any negative influence on my actual work), went home with it and even fell a sleep with it (sort of speak off course). So at first, I focussed myself on the actual question:

Are you active on SDN?

Answering that, well that’s easy. I am active on SDN, for several years now.

Before registering, I used SDN (or should I say SCN) mainly as reference  like some of the other SAP (ABAP) related sites like and (and … knows how many sites that are out there, good, bad or even ugly).

However, telling you WHY is a whole other ‘ballgame’, even though it’s not a game at all. At least to me it isn’t.

After registering in August 2005, and posting my very first question late 2005, that’s when I, for the first time, got really more ‘actively’ involved in SDN. By the way: my question about the correct way to display a link (Create Hyperlink when sending mail via Outlook) was answered and points were awarded.

Now,  thinking (looking) back (not in anger), posting a question, reading the possible solutions and finally rewarding points is really in essence part of what SDN is all about to me: Sharing knowledge. But this is truely only part of why I’m active on SDN. There is more you say? Yes there is. So what might that be?

Am I in it for the points?
Partly this is true, although it is not the total amount of points that matter to me. It is the fact that by receiving points you have proven that your answer is the one that solved someones problem / issue. And maybe even more important: The next time someone has the same or even a similar problem, all one has to do is search on SDN. A question marked as ‘answered’ (issue solved, points rewarded or not), will tell this person what to do and how to do it. However, as most of the regular forum users already know, searching first before posting a new thread (marked as a question) seems to be a problem. Although I really can’t think of a solid reason why.

Am I in it for the recognition, or for becoming a Top Contributor or personal glory?
Well I can be clear about all three of them: No, definitely not. I couldn’t care less about the recognition, and for becoming a Top Contributor….there is a lot more to it than just answering a few posts on the forums once in a while. What about personal glory then? I’m already forty years of age have a family and something that you might call a social live… you do the math.

Am I in it for anything other than sharing knowledge?
That’s a definite yes! I guess the single most important reason I’m active on SDN is the fact that I, despite my age, still need and even more important WANT to learn ‘all’ there is to know about SAP in general and ABAP development in particular. Even though I know that this is (virtually) impossible, I tend to make myself think that it is not. So how is it that I LEARN by using SDN? Easy, just by reading, indeed just by reading. Often I just log on to SDN to scroll through the ABAP development forum, in which the ABAP objects forum is of particular interest to me or at least questions related to ABAP OO programming. I know that the number of questions posted in the ABAP objects blog is quite low (one might think that OO programming raises no questions at all, the opposite is true of course), but especially some of the answers in this post are often really worth the time.

Just by scanning the ABAP Development forums, refreshing the page (F5), and looking for the ones answering the questions, has given me tremendous insights into ABAP OO, ABAP general and ABAP performance and tuning. And where ever I can, I do implement these tips, tricks and answers of some of the experts, in my own developments. I sometimes even review some of my reports, programs etc. after having come across a particular solution on SDN. If that one works for me as well and might just be better (more future proof, more performant or whatever), I implement it on the spot.

In doing so (scanning the forums that is), I know quite well know who’s answers really matter (to me), and I think they are worth mentioning here. I’m sure that this list will not be complete by far, but I recon it is a nice list anyway. So via this blog I would also like to thank those people for all they have done for me and my customers of course. Let’s not forget about the customers here, since in the end, they are the ones we are all doing it for. I might sound a bit ‘corny’, but I really do mean it.

Here it goes, my personal ‘heroes’ when it comes down to sharing their knowledge and making me profit from it. In other words, teaching others how to evolve their (ABAP) skills in random order:

Naimesh Patel who has a very nice websiteof its own which is really worth visiting once in a while, especially for people who like to take a dive into ABAP OO. But it was on SDN where I first ‘met’ him and got to appreciate his knowledge. Obviously I’m not the only one, since often his anwers or website are used as reference when answering a post on one of the ABAP forums. The same actually goes for the next person who’s answers I often like to read, Marcin Pciak. He also knows his way around ABAP OO, and is an early adopter of the ‘new’ way to ABAP programming. Also let’s not forget J@y , a®s,Clemens Li, Max Bianchi, and Rob Burbank, Thomas Zloch and last but definitely not least Uwe Schieferstein. All of them have been around for quite some time now and they really tend to give the relevant (correct) answers from which I for one, am still learning. Like I said, I’m sure I’m leaving out several fellow SDN’ers that should be part of this list as well, so sorry for that.

For ABAP performance and tuning the list is not quite that long, but on the other hand, I’m pretty sure I’m not leaving out that many contributors. Top of the list is, without a doubt, Siegfried Boes, who not only has strong performance knowledge, but also has a great sense of humor when answering or correcting other peoples answers. Although sometimes I get the idea that he is getting a bit tired (and he probably should) of all the people who think they know what they’re doing but obviously don’t (For All Entries is NOT better than INNER JOIN in most cases). But, whenever I’m looking for some pointers, he is the one to search for. And second in line of heires is probably Hermann Gahm.

Almost done here (time to get back to the Christmas Dinner), but not before mentioning that being an ‘active’ member on SDN (or only ‘just’ an active reader), does not only help you to learn and evolve your skills, it also boldly takes you where a lot of ‘us’ have already gone before, namely to the EG-heads.

It was on SDN that I first got to hear about enterprise geeks via ‘Shameless plug for the Enterprise Geeks Podcast‘ from Gregor Wolf. We all know (and who knows, maybe even love) Thomas Jung, Ed Herrmann, Graig Cmehil, Dan McWeeny and Rich Heilman who all have been of great influence to this community. And through these ‘geeks’, I for one, got one of the best professional advices ever: Read, read and read some more. I think it was from Ed Herrmann on one of the pod-casts, so thanks for that.

Well, that’s just about it on ‘Why I’m active on SCN’. Thanks for reading and by all means do leave comments (plus or minus).

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  • I completely agree with you. I also have some gurus who I observe the posts from and don't worry too much about points, except to use them as an indicator of the OP's decision making process and what they choose to think is valuable for them.

    This is very usefull information - much more than what 6 points can be sold for on eBay.. 😉

    I must however still confess that sometimes people answer questions from repeat offenders, with meaningless subject titles, no search done, etc.

    This belittles the efforts of moderators to keep people such as those you have mentioned active on SDN.

    Being active on SDN is also a collaborative effort, of which points and the rules and the quality of the forum contribution are each an aspect.

    Weigh them as you wish, 5 gurus on their own cannot answer all questions in ABAP general... 🙂

    Cheers and looking forward to reading your posts in the new year 2010 as well,

    • Thanks Julius.

      I must confess, that once in a while I also tend to answer some of the questions of repeat offenders, meaningless titles etc. Not really on purpose, but more or less unconsciously. Sorry for that, won't happen again (I hope).

      I Couldn't agree more on the collaborative part, points, rules and general quality of the forum.