Disclosure Statement: I have been provided a complimentary copy of the book by one of the authors Tzanko Stefanov, in order to provide a public review. No other compensation has been received in exchange for this review. This review reflects only my personal opinion of the book in question and should not be considered an endorsement by my employers, SAP, SAP press, other person or other corporate entity.
The missing book
When I first heard that a new book on the CRM Webclient was being published, I was excited. The last book which came out in 2010 was based only CRM 2007 and it did not go into as much detail on the BOL/GENIL and UI component development as I wanted. The problem is that even though we have a plenty of forum, wiki, and blog posts on the topic, there has never been one resource that explains how to build a new CRM Webclient application from start to finish. It’s been my one gripe with the SAP CRM webclient framework that the educational materials available leave several topics missing.
When I got the book I noticed this was not a brief overview of the web client. The book itself is around 600 pages and most of those pages are filled with deep technical examples. As I started reading the book I realized that this book although aimed at a beginner, is actually best for those of us who have worked hands-on with the Webclient in SAP CRM and want to fill in those knowledge gaps that are missing. Even in the first chapter I learned something new, even though it was an overview to provide a foundation for the rest of the book. I also realized that book will best used when you have a CRM 7.0 EHP1 system available. Most of the material can be applied to CRM 7.0, but you will find examples and coding that only will work fully if you have an EHP1 system available.
Chapters 2,3,4,5,6,7 – Immediate ROI
These chapters contain the deep technical details of building a CRM Webclient application. Unlike the predecessor book SAP CRM Webclient Development and Customizing, there is an immediate focus on starting at the lowest layer of how the application is built and working up through the application framework. I found that Chapter 2 jumps immediately into the details on how to build a GENIL component. The exercises contained in the chapters are easy to follow, provided you have decent ABAP OO skills. It would have been nice to have a download of the source provided electronically to eliminate the grunt work of building these in my SAP CRM system, but the manual creation helped in re-enforcing the topics covered. If the book only consisted of these chapters it would be worth the price. In fact I liked my copy so much that I purchased the electronic access for this version.
New Features in EHP1
The next three chapters 8,9, 10 & 11 provide a good idea of what to expect of new functionality added by SAP such as the UI component generation, AET enhancements, Rapid Applications and Mashups. If you are planning or will be working on a SAP CRM 7.0 EHP1 project reading these chapters are must in order to take advantage of the EHP1 release.
“Overlooked Features” of SAP CRM
The remaining chapters of the book cover what I would consider important but overlooked technical features of SAP CRM. These features such as the Web Service Tool, Integration with Word and Adobe, Client Side Groupware integration were glossed in previous books before this one. Each feature now has a dedicated chapter that should allow the reader to become comfortable with these features and start finding ways to fulfill common requirements from end-users using these tools. I received the book after completing a presentation for SAP Teched Las Vegas 2011 CD119. I will be recommending to those attending the session that they also refer to chapters 12 & 13 of the book in addition to my slides. I was impressed that the book went into a similar level of detail as what I had prepared for my presentation.
The best question that I can ask myself is would I pay full price the book and would I recommend it to people who I know. The answer would be yes and yes. In fact I would strongly encourage any SAP Customer who runs SAP CRM or is planning on running SAP CRM to purchase the book. My only word of caution is that this book is truly aimed at CRM 7.0 EHP1. Although much of the material is applicable for people on SAP CRM 7.0, you may not be able to get the complete value from book until you are working with a SAP CRM 7.0 EHP1 system. If you want to be a SAP CRM Technical Resource on a project and you do not have this book in your library, you will be at a disadvantage on your next project.