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Today I’m wearing a red t-shirt to liven up the black-white-and-gray TechEd landscape. By 10 am I count 7 other people wearing the red shirts, although none of them is a match for my intense “fire truck red”. They’re more like maroon, come to think of it, so I’m claiming “the best and only red t-shirt at TechEd” title for myself.

It’s my lucky day because the first session I picked starts at 9 am. However, the breakfast from a mystery continent runs only till 7:45 am, which leaves me with an unpleasant dilemma of food vs. sleep. I decide to bite the financial bullet and sleep in to pay exorbitant price for a breakfast at the hotel’s cheapest restaurants later. Judging by the tags and shirts, sleep also prevailed this morning for many other TechEd participants.

We’re still a bit low in the smile department at TechEd here, so at breakfast I come up with a list of ‘Top reasons to enjoy TechEd’:

  • There are far worst places you could be – a line at the DMV, a dentist or… I don’t know… work?
  • You might get a chance to touch Thomas Jung, which brings 7 years of SAP luck. At minimum.
  • All you can drink espresso bar and all you can eat candy at Clubhouse.
  • It’s in Vegas. Hypothetically instead of going to the sessions you could hit the slots, go shopping or just lounge in one of the bean bag chairs playing HayDay. Then just read some PDFs on the plane back and when someone asks how was the TechEd simply reply: “Well, it was all about HANA. Meh.”

What? I did say “hypothetically”. 🙂

The first session on SAP Mobile implementation by Wabash National goes very well. It’s good to hear a specific use case and sometimes not so pleasant things that might happen with any implementation. Well done.

I stop by the restrooms and something strikes me as incredibly strange. There is a big line for the men’s room but no line whatsoever for the ladies room. This picture is almost surreal.

Even though I had to leave a bit early from the session ‘ABAP 7.4 News’, I believe it’s safe to declare that there really are no ABAP news per se. The only piece of information that could pass as “classic ABAP” was that now instead of READ TABLE …. INDEX 1 we will be able to use something like itab[1]. Oh-kay… And rather dry reading from the PowerPoint presentation made me reminisce again about the good old days when ABAP news were delivered by people like Thomas Jung who gave a damn about it.

Fortunately, the next session about implementing REST API by fellow Mentor Sascha Wenninger (featuring Custodio de Oliveira – or I’ll let him and Sascha to fight over who’s featured whom 🙂 ) is almost the exact opposite and wipes out the unpleasant ‘ABAP news’ aftertaste like a stick of Doublemint. I might not fully understand who the heck is that Jason guy everyone keeps talking about and why is he resting all the time, but even that didn’t make it less fun.

Car.jpg

On the way to lunch (by the way, I’m getting a real workout here – it takes forever just to walk from one room to another, this place is HUGE!) I cruise the exhibits again and my eagle eye spots today’s nominee for the cutest TechEd swag – a shiny red toy car from Red Hat. Red car to go with my red shirt – jackpot!

In the afternoon I have a 4 hour long hands-on session on Web Dynpro and Floorplan Manager. Let me tell you a bit about those sessions. You come to the designated room, say, 10 minutes earlier. There is a big line in front of the room, so you just assume the room is not ready yet and join the crowd. Then someone yells that it’s the last call for the registered participants. You didn’t hear any previous calls, so you rush to the entrance almost pushing people aside. The entrance is guarded by two very serious ladies who make an average night club bouncer look like a pink teddy bear. And they better have you on the list, because otherwise you ain’t getting there. But what’s with the big line, you say. That turns out to be “the waiting list”, analog to the “standby” airline passengers. Which leaves you with a knot in the stomach because this is so much not what TechEd should be about.

Badge.jpgWe don’t run into any connection problems like the day before, but the handouts are only about 50% correct. Or 50% wrong, depending on the way you look at it. The screenshots don’t match what we see on screen, some pieces are missing, and some steps are taking us in a wrong direction. After a while it feels like we’re painfully trying to solve a puzzle without knowing what the whole picture looks like. The presenters make an effort to explain what we will be doing before we start the actual exercise, but at least for me not only WebDynpro is new but it’s also a new development environment, so that doesn’t quite cut it. (And let me tell you that this Eclipse thing gives the whole new meaning to the words “not intuitive”.)

After three hours into the session we throw in a towel and call for help with one particularly strange step that instructs us to choose an object from the dropdown but the object does not exist. An instructor arrives, hears our case, then flips to the previous page and points to the explanation of the step that we’re creating this object, therefore [duh!] it does not exist. And that’s why he pointed out to us [dummies] that we should really think what we’re doing. At this point I feel extremely tempted to raise an eyebrow and say: “Excuuuuuuse me?!! Do you know whom you are talking to [Exhibit A on the left] ? I’m soooo telling on the lack of empathy here!”. But instead I just mumble sarcastically “…or maybe someone should’ve just checked the screenshots”. We somehow complete all the exercise steps, the program runs and… it doesn’t work. At which point I leave with a headache from hell.

In conclusion – there should be only red shirts on TechEd, not red tape. Clearly hands-on sessions are very popular. But this is an IT event. “Hands on” is what we do. Get someone to check the handouts. Bring in more chairs, let it be 3 people per laptop – if it’s not an individual exercise than the number doesn’t matter much anymore, the more the merrier. Make the sessions shorter (which they would be with the better handouts), 4 hours is way too long in this age of short attention spans anyway. Set up a class for quick practice before the sessions just to get familiar with Eclipse. (In real life – how many developers open an unfamiliar environment for the first time and immediately start coding in it? OK, without Thomas Jung. None?) Record some videos to watch before the session. Do something. Otherwise it’s neither “Tech” nor “Ed”.

P.S. I’m also claiming for myself the title for the largest number of Thomas Jung references in a single SCN blog.

P.P.S. Coincidentally, I will be on TechEd Live together with Graham Robinson and Thomas Jung at 5 pm PST tomorrow talking about ABAP stuff. So maybe there is still hope for the ABAPers?

Continue reading to Day Four blog

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25 Comments

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  1. Jitendra Kansal

    what a writing…. i could able to imagine what had you been gone through with 😀

    The entrance is guarded by two very serious ladies who make an average night club bouncer look like a pink teddy bear.

    LOL !!!

    Rgrds,

    Jitendra

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  2. Vivek Singh Bhoj

    Great write up Jelena

    Thanks for sharing your experience

    Below line made my day 🙂

    • You might get a chance to touch Thomas Jung, which brings 7 years of SAP luck. At minimum.

    Regards,

    Vivek

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  3. Steffi Warnecke

    You might get a chance to touch Thomas Jung, which brings 7 years of SAP luck. At minimum.

    😆 😆 That made me laugh out loud. My colleague even asked what was so funny. 😀

    And let me tell you that this Eclipse thing gives the whole new meaning to the words “not intuitive”.

    And that made me concerned, since it looks like I need to get familiar with this for future IdM GUI stuff. 😐 “Not intuitive”… I’m kind of scared now.

    Hands-On sessions sound really good. Hands-On sessions as you described them… not so great. This would be something that could really mess up my TechEd experience, since I’m a pretty practical person. So if I register for something like that, I want to really get my hands on a keyboard and go out there with new knowledge. Not with frustration, more confusion and a headache on top of that. 🙁

    BTW: Being a Star Trek fan means, I read something else in the “Red Shirt” titel. But since you came out with some action and a headache, I think this comparison wasn’t so far off. ^^ But at least you’re still alive. 😀

    I see now, that I need to attend a TechEd to bring some color to the event. ^^ And to get a similar car like that. *g*

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Steffi Warnecke wrote:

      And that made me concerned, since it looks like I need to get familiar with this for future IdM GUI stuff. 😐 “Not intuitive”… I’m kind of scared now. 

      Yes, I had the same feeling – if this is our future development environment then I should really look into retiring early. Oh boy…

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  4. Roberto Vidotti

    There is a big line for the men’s room but no line whatsoever for the ladies room.

    next time I would appreciate a photo of this event in the blog 😆 😈

    But what’s with the big line, you say. That turns out to be “the waiting list”, analog to the “standby” airline passengers. Which leaves you with a knot in the stomach because this is so much not what TechEd should be about.

    TechEd reminds me of Disney World always large files and in this case, even if you wait, you probably miss the event 🙁

    4 hours is way too long in this age of short attention spans anyway. Set up a class for quick practice before the sessions just to get familiar with Eclipse. (In real life – how many developers open an unfamiliar environment for the first time and immediately start coding in it? OK, without Thomas Jung. None?) Record some videos to watch before the session. Do something. Otherwise it’s neither “Tech” nor “Ed”.

    I totally agree with this point of view.

    •You might get a chance to touch Thomas Jung, which brings 7 years of SAP luck. At minimum.

    P.P.S. Coincidentally, I will be on TechEd Live together with Graham Robinson and Thomas Jung at 5 pm PST tomorrow talking about ABAP stuff. So maybe there is still hope for the ABAPers?

    I ‘m not sure it works but could You please touch Thomas for me 😛 😏

    Regards

         Roberto

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Roberto, I was hoping for a hug, but in any case – I’m happy to pass Thomas’s handshake on to you. Let me know if SAP blessings rain on you, as expected. 🙂

      Thanks for the comments!

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  5. Stephen Johannes

    A two hours hands-on session is not enough if there is an hour lecture 😉 .  However to help you in your Thomas Jung references, a four-hour hands-on session conducted by him is actually not long enough.  The last teched I attended I went to his Friday morning 4 hours session and only wished that my flight was later than 6PM so that it could have been an 8 hours hands on session 🙂 . 

    I like your red shirt idea, although I always thought it would fun to show up at Teched looking like an escapee from a Jimmy Buffet concert, comic con, or NASCAR/F1 race.  If I remember correctly even Elvis made an appearance once 😉 .

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Stephen Johannes wrote:

      I always thought it would fun to show up at Teched looking like an escapee from a Jimmy Buffet concert, comic con, or NASCAR/F1 race. 

      Totally! I don’t understand why people take it so darn serious. Would be curious to know how it goes at other locations.

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  6. Fred Verheul

    Hi Jelena,

    Thanks for entertaining us again (will read your next blog after this). Regarding the hands on sessions: I agree w Stephen they can be too short (but it takes Thomas Jung to get there), but my experience is: don’t do too many of them, and instead focus on the networking and the expert sessions. And then, back home make sure you sign up for the all-day virtual hands-on experience, in order to spend a whole day on your own doing multiple hands-on sessions. Better use of SAPTechEd time overall IMO.

    Thanks again for sharing your experiences!

    Cheers, Fred

    P.S. Are we already at “largest number of Thomas Jung references in blog comments”? 🙂

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      One may only register for the two hands-on sessions, so it’s hard to over-do, but I’d agree that expert sessions were probably the best (and the shortest 🙂 ). The thing with the virtual ones is – when you’re there, at TechEd there is much less distraction or temptation, but at home it’s just difficult to find time. Also at TechEd you get a chance to ask the presenters a question right away, if necessary. And if you’re lucky (like me) you might also get a very good partner.

      I’m really glad though that we got a chance to talk about the organizers about it, so we might see some imporvements there (I hope).

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  7. Rajendrakumar Gaikwad

    I must admit that you have mastered the wonderful art of writing !!

    You have depicted the mood over there in a lively manner.

    I have already ordered T-Shirts of Seven Colours (Red,Green,Blue,Maroon,Yellow,Black & White )

    🙂 🙂 🙂

    Regards

    Rajendra

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Rajendrakumar Gaikwad wrote:

      I have already ordered T-Shirts of Seven Colours

      Way to go! 🙂 I hope though that TechEd events at other countries are not so drab color and fashion-wise.

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  8. Chandra Shekhar Agarwal

    What a quality of Writing, Simply Awesome. Can imaging everything what happened in Tech-ed  after reading this blog. Webdynpro session, pushing people 😀 ..

    You might get a chance to touch Thomas Jung, which brings 7 years of SAP luck. At minimum…  speechless… 🙂

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  9. Custodio de Oliveira

    Hi Jelena,

    It is a great blog, thanks for sharing. I have quick 2 comments:

    1 – I didn’t attend the “ABAP 7.40 news” session you mentioned, but there are much more news in ABAP than the example you give (not sure you were being sarcastic), mfor example in line declaration, which is a HUGE improvement IMO. I recommend you read Horst Keller‘s blog series summarized here ABAP Language News for Release 7.40 in case you haven’t done it yet.

    2 – I’m happy you liked CD207, Lessons Learnt Implementing REST API, even though you did not acknowledged my presence on stage co-speaking with Sascha. No hard feelings though.

    Cheers,

    Custodio

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Hi Custodio, thanks for the comment and a link. I believe this particular session was just either not very well prepared or the content was misrepresented – anyway, something definitely went wrong there. Because the way it went was: HANA, HANA, HANA, HANA, oh by the way we have these new declarations (this was literally one slide that took 2 minutes). This is really a pitty though because as far as true ABAP content goes – there was very little available. Even though I might not feel as excited about some new features (can’t remember ever thinking “oh, if only we had better options for data declarations”) definitely Horst’s blog has more/better information than the TechEd session.

      Sorry for not mentioning your name – I was checking the names in the mobile app and for some reason it had only Sascha listed as a presenter. Perhaps it would be a consolation that you are in a very good company on the list of People Ignored by Me at TechEd. On the very first evening Marilyn Pratt herself almost jumped up waving at me on an escalator but I was so distracted by the darn iPad that I barely waved back quite dismissively. I am a bad, bad person.

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      1. Custodio de Oliveira

        Hi Jelena,

        Thanks for the rectification 🙂 . There’s no need for me and Sascha to fight, as I was a “guest speaker” in his session. That’s the reason my name was not listed as speaker. Anyway, hopefuly it will change next year 😉

        Cheers,

        Custodio

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  10. Horst Keller

    Jelena, you shouldn’t have left CD261 early. Seems that you missed the part where I (although being a mere mortal) gave a damn about the slides but demoed JSON and APC ….

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    1. Jelena Perfiljeva Post author

      Horst, the session I was referring to was CD101, not CD261. Unfortunately we were only limited to 2 hands-on sessions, so I had to make some difficult choices and apparently may not have made the right ones. I can only wish the other presenter had your drive and enthusiasm for ABAP.

      Thanks for the comment!

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  11. Manish Kumar

    I might not fully understand who the heck is that Jason guy everyone keeps talking about and why is he resting all the time

    I laughed out loud 2 days after reading this line as I didn’t get it at first. 🙂

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