Session 1 – Tom Jung keynote
Opening Keynote Presentation: Real World Best Practices for Web Dynpro ABAP Development
At the Mastering SAP Technologies conference, it was great that the keynote was about as far from marketing as you can get, with the incomparable Tom Jung speaking on useful tips and tricks for developers. In a sense, this was a regular technical track session, except that no other sessions occurred at the same time. Which, having been scheduled at the same time as Tom, is a relief for other speakers. He’s peerless.
I was not able to stay for the entire session, so here are a few highlights:
- The ABAP Performance monitor is a standard supported tool for examining code/system response time. Their studies showed a time of 1200 milliseconds is a reasonable target for applications to deliver screens; longer than that will try user patience. The tool is there with 7.0 EP1 or above, accessible via ctrl-alt-shift-P, a sequence designed, according to Thomas, to not be accidentally triggered by users.
- The SHMM transaction, or memory snapshot, has been around since 620, and should be used to look for trends with data volumes.
- The previously undocumented key shortcut ctrl-alt-shift-H brings up the Help dialog menu.
- HTTP Watch is a 3rd party tool that Tom uses, as are the Chrome extensions for tracing HTTP content
- The old school transaction STAD still works with Web Dynpro ABAP, and is the place to go to look for basic system runtime metrics.
- Runtime analysis code: SICF
- Memory Inspector
Tom talked about rules for code development, meaning metrics on how long various structures typically take to complete, from very minimal tagging to highly complex data transfers. The point of learning these metrics is to gain a sense of what impact different actions a developer makes will have on the user experience. His slides showed “UI Price Tags in Web Dynpro ABAP / Overview of client rendering CPU time for web dynpro UI elements”, an internal SAP document.
As an example, Tom talked about a screen that originally showed 22 lines; since most cannot display that many, it was reduced to 10. There was also a “phase indicator”, likely useful only to developer. Nixing both of these took the transaction from 1.6 second to 0.8 second (“under the patience threshold”).
Session 2 – Doctor visit
This was not on the original schedule, but due to health circumstances beyond my control, I asked the Eventful staff to find a doctor to take a look at me. So I missed the Mobility keynote.
Session 3 – Going Into the Cloud: Best Practice Methodologies Stuart Long, HP Australia
This was, unfortunately, a matter of the least evil; other sessions at the same time slot were on products we don’t use or plan to use. And as this was given by a vendor, I knew there would be subtle (or not so subtle) marketing content. I’m not sure if I learned anything new. One prediction I don’t necessarily agree with is the idea that by 2015 enterprises won’t be able to afford to run their own data centers. It reminds me of earlier prognostications that the mainframe would cease being viable in Y2K.
Among the mixture of other topics, the presenter went over mobile devices, pad devices, scalable blades and midrange servers, as well as service offerings of outsourcing IT functions. Infomercial, for the most part, with one or two recognizable valid pain points.
If I had to predict an audience question, it would be about “security in the private cloud” and sure enough, that was asked and answered.
Session 4 – What Does SAP Do To and For Your Organisation? Katrina Eadie – Oakton Ltd, Amy Davies – The GPT Group
This session was described by the presenters as being non-technical, and covered subject matter such as training, super user roles, and how application lifecycle management fits organizational development. The case study of moving from non-automated processes to SAP systems resounded with the audience. I could have used more facts and figures for the costs of implementing SAP, and the benefits.
Session 5 – Develop a Learning Culture in Your NetWeaver Team and Have Fun Doing It! John Moy, Australia Post
Before my session, I sat in John Moy’s presentation, a fascinating tour through his companies internal methods to keep users/developers trained and interested, including in-house sharing (not a lunch and learn, but at a 9AM workday time slot), and regular “demo jams” where new ideas are demonstrated. He shared a variety of application development proposals, describing the vetting and documentation process to move them from idea to reality.
I was beginning to get prepared to speak, so left before the end. I’ll be interested in seeing his slides (John looked me up later to talk about Tweets).
Session 6 – Me
Not much I can say about this, other than I felt squeezed in the beginning due to slide format challenges, and at the end due to rather hurried timing warnings. As a result, I skipped over more slides than I expected, but since no one gt up and left, it must not have been too awful.
We spent about 30 minutes rehearsing the video and slides, with several AV techs helping, the night before. With only 5 minutes between sessions, there isn’t much buffer for surprises.
I had a few questions, but not that many, and a couple visitors at the “Speakers Corner”, one talking about our SCM upgrade experiences, and one from SAP talking about sustainability ideas.
Session 7 – Upgrading Your SAP System: The Airservices Australia Approach Stephen Caldicott, Airservices Australia
The last official session of the day was on an upgrade project, by someone with a pretty cool job. When I first hear “Airservices” I was thinking that meant like, meal preparation and delivery, but they run radar and other logistic support systems for air traffic control.
- SAP Enhancement packs: it is not easy to have a conversation with users about what they mean. There is plenty of documentation, but it is not easy to digest. He says SAP needs to distribute these as discussion points. I can agree with this, having assisted in a walkthrough of upgrade costs/benefits several years ago.
- Enhancement packages never used to have a backout function, with SAP even saying it could not be done. Wiser heads prevailed, adding rollback functionality. He believes that from EP5 forward, you must do transports, no shortcuts, though these restrictions are not well documented (or well known, apparently).
- Their business KPIs include number of bird strikes, times landing on the wrong runway, etc.
- They planned their upgrade outage 5 months in advance. Some audience members thought this was a long time, but my experience is that 6 months to a year is typical, since downtimes are only allowed at certain periods.
Tom Jung and Ed Herrman, on the local cuisine