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Happy Birthday, SAP Community Network, or, to give it it’s original name (which gives you a clue to its origins) the SAP Developer Network – SDN.

Finding myself sending birthday greetings to an inanimate, virtual object is a little odd. Am I going mad? Well, no madder than usual, but certainly older.

I can’t believe it’s been ten years since SCN was born. I was around at the time, and having played a part in pre-SCN SAP communities (which I wrote a little bit about in this post from 2005: The SAP Developer Community 10 Years Ago ) I was honoured to be asked to help prototype “a new online community for SAP developers”. This was a collaboration between O’Reilly Media, for whom I’ve written a couple of books, and SAP. Chief SAP Mentor herder and all round superstar Mark Finnern was involved too, and it was with Mark and also my old friend and partner in code-crime Piers Harding that I began to fill the fledgling community with content.

The content was sometimes controversial – I love the fact that when publishing this particular document – Real Web Services with REST and ICFSAP put a disclaimer at the top saying I wasn’t speaking for them and (effectively) they didn’t fully agree with what I was saying πŸ™‚

(Update: link to document corrected, and the disclaimer is still there! “DJ Adams is not an SAP employee and the opinions he expresses in this article do not reflect the official opinion or positioning of SAP“).

But the content was there, and I wrote my first blog post “The SAP/MySQL Partnership” in this community in May 2003. It was the second blog post ever in this community (Mark wrote the first one), and the first blog post from a non-SAP employee.

The SAP Community Network has grown beyond what I think anyone could have imagined; it’s the foundation for SAP’s social, developer and outreach activities and has become a universe unto itself. Sometimes that’s a bad thing, but most of the time it’s a good thing. My favourite moment in SCN’s lifetime is actually from way back, in the days when SAP had initially decided to keep all the content behind an authentication firewall. That wasn’t good for the Web, and it certainly wasn’t good for SCN. It was marooned on a small island, with no future. After a small campaign (I went to Walldorf and spoke at a meetup – pictures and slides are here), we got SAP to change their mind and now SCN is a part of the Web, indexed properly by Google, and it’s a much better place for it.

So once again, congratulations to SCN on reaching 10 years, and exceeding all expectations. It’s mostly down to a great number of heroes at SAP too numerous to mention, plus great community leaders and players like you.

Keep it up!


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  1. Fred Verheul

    Hi DJ,

    You’re not really a visionary, are you? πŸ™‚

    (from The SAP/mySQL partnership):

    IMO making and maintaining DBMS products isn’t one of SAP’s core business drivers. Never was, never should be.

    OTOH: reading your document about REST-based services built with ICF I must admit you were far ahead of your time 😎 .

    But seriously: I enjoyed reading the old articles you linked to and learning more about the history of SDN and SAP. I wasn’t very active at the time, regrettably. Blog posts like this more than make up for it.

    Cheers, Fred

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    1. DJ Adams Post author

      I have been waiting for someone to pick me up on the DB thing … glad it was you! πŸ™‚

      Seriously though, who could have thought that SAP would change and diversify so much, it’s been great to see the growth and spread of offerings, if a little confusing and overwhelming at times!

      cheers

      dj

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  2. Marilyn Pratt

    Thank you DJ Adams for being our first external open access content evangelist!!!!

    And while it may be strange to congratulate an inanimate object as you say, you know, at heart you are recognizing community and human beings (although I get your acerbic wit and appreciate it always)

    Loved this brief retrospective and thanks for reminding me of the much missed Piers Harding .  (I valued his Kiwi zen and his coding smarts).

    If it weren’t for you and Piers and Brian McKellar jumping in and sharing and collaborating outside in as well as inside out Mark Finnern would never have had a community to shepard.  Thank you DJ for being such a trail blazer.

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