This blog got a little bit longer than expected so I decided to split it into two blogs. Recap TechEd Las Vegas and SAP Portal news, part 1
Session PMC260 – Experience SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.3 in Action From an Admin Perspective
This 2 hours hands-on session was held by John Polus (13 consecutive TechEds!!) and Aviad Rivlin from SAP. Planned to be offered only wtice, a 3rd session was offered because of the huge demand. Every session was full (ok, except the last session on Friday, but 2/3 full on a Friday at 8am is not bad).
The session covered the new admin features of Portal 7.3. The killer feature to-be is the system sync from SLD: no more system creation in the portal landscape, including typos, wrong port / client, and so on. System changes are automatically synced.
Also nice are the new wizard for iView creation, role upload and creation. I’m confident that these features will make the life of every portal admin easier and minimize the number of errors.
The session also features THE answer to the most important question when thinking about going for Portal 7.3: Business Packages and ECC versions.
Portal 7.3 needs SAP Business Suite 7 or above (which – I think – translates to ECC 7 EHP4). At the end of the hands-on session Aviad gave an overview of the Enterprise Workspaces.
PMC231 – SAP NetWeaver Portal as a Launch Pad for Mobile Applications
The sessions was given by Fabio from Petrobras, I was a co-speaker at this ASUG session, presenting my architecture of the mobile solution Petrobras implemented for a mobile SAP Portal. The session was full, showing that every session that covers mobility is of high interest. The nice thing about the solution presented is that you can have a mobile solution without the need of Sybase, 3rd party software or native apps. Web-enabled access to portal content in a mobile browser friendly version is already possible and gives instant results.
Judging from feedback I received the content presented is “hot” and some interesting takeaways were presented, hoping that everybody learned something.
PMC227 – The New Signature Design in SAP NetWeaver Portal 7 EHP2
In my session I presented the EHP2 for Portal 7.0, gave an overview of the signature design and how you can customize it: the easy way (both in terms of effort and later SAP support) and the hard way (writing your own design / functionality from scratch). Almost nobody at the audience already runs EHP2 or 7.3, so I hope that the audience got some good tips.
PMC220 – How to Amaze Your Portal Users by a Great User Experience
This session was held by Sven Kannengiesser from SAP. He is in the SAP Portal team responsible for the hardcore portal implementations. The customer does want to use the SAP Portal, but not in the way SAP planned it to be used. So he is doing the “heavy” customizations. Heavy meaning: when you know HTML, CSS and how to write Java code that leverages the portal functionalities (API, JPA) it’s not over complicated, but still time consuming. To give you an impression: The screenshots he showed were from a current project, 6 month time, 3 Java developers, 2 designers for HTML and CSS and usability / requirement gathering staff. The problem here is of course the support. As soon as you do something similar and run into a bug / error the support offered by SAP will make you wish for a standard portal.
As there is a demand in knowing how to customize the portal in a way demonstrated, maybe SAP can publish some sample code here at SCN.
CD250 – ASUG Influence Council: SAP Guidelines for Best-Built Applications
This ASUG session presented the SAP Guidelines for Best-Built Applications. The book has an impressive downloaded number, but still isn’t known to every customer or partner. Richard Probst and Joerg Nalik explained the idea behind the book, how it is written (agile) and what are the expectations from them and SAP on how the book should be used. The problem is the speed of change SAP is throwing at their current portfolio. New products like Gateway and SUP change the architecture completely; new corporate recommendations for Web Dynpro or HTML5 make it hard to have a definitive guideline. What is valid today may be obsolete in 6 months.
Even with these ongoing changes, this is the book every developer and architect has to know and use it every day! You don’t need to buy it: it’s SAP Guidelines for Best-Built Applications, as SAP Guidelines for Best-Built Applications, as a Wiki you can also collaborate on the /community [original link is broken]
The problem with the book is that not everybody reads it. Clients should read it to know at least when their consulting or software company is doing something ill adviced. Consulting companies should use it to align their recommendations with SAP’s recommendations.
Of course, HTML5, mobile (browser) access and SAP consumption is not only possible with the SAP Portal. This can be done also in ABAP: ICF service (REST, JSON anyone?) or BSP. If you want that your mobile users access directly you ABAP system this is a solution you can consider.
WebDynpro Java is dead, err, mean: not the strategic UI anymore, but SAP is working on an alternative to Web Dynpro ABAP: HTML5 UI.
The SAP Portal has > 10.000 installations, 63 customers are already running Portal 7.3; considering that the GA was at 30.5, this is impressive. As far as I know, these >10.000 installations does not translate to the same number of clients, this number is > 6.000. But I may be corrected.
The number of SAP Portal sessions wasn’t as high as last year’s TechEd or at this year’s ASUG annual conference at Orlando, but the sessions given focused more on advanced topics (integration, customization) instead running the portal (installation, administration).
Other session focused on REST or on the new HTML5 UI SAP is developing. It is obvious that mobility and accessibility by different devices has reached SAP. There are many ways of making SAP more open and not always you need Sybase.
SAP Portal on device
The SAP Portal team demonstrated the SAP Portal on device. It’s a mobile version of the SAP Portal, giving the user access to basic portal functionality like UWL. The interesting point here is that the slides presented included Sybase. Now, why do you need to have Sybase SUP for accessing the portal via the browser? You don’t need to, but it looks like the corporate strategy from SAP is to place Sybase on everything that includes mobility. I believe that the mobile SAP Portal without Sybase won’t survive, so how will the mobile version integrate with SUP? Maybe by using the hybrid web container, as the authentication handler or by having a very smart offline version of the portal for an offline sync of the UWL items?