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Web Directions – Learning Outside the SAP Box

I recently attended an awesome conference called Web Direction Code, which is held every year for web developers. As someone who is very interested and tries to be heavily involved in anything to do with mobile and UI design, I found this conference to be very beneficial. That it was also entertaining and fun was just a bonus. The event was held at the Melbourne Town Hall and went over 2 days, with just a single track.

Now this conference did not have a single drop of SAP flavour in it at all; it was purely web development. Topics covered CSS, JavaScript, SVG, Augmented Reality, Web Security and many more. I made a calculated decision to attend this conference as I believe that keeping up to date with what is happening in the web world is so important when developing user experiences in SAP. Sometimes we can become so accustomed to how it’s always done, that we don’t dream of how it could be, and subsequently don’t push any boundaries or be involved in the catalyst for change.

We know that SAP is trying to improve its user experience, with Fiori being promoted heavily with the use of UI5. The introduction of UI5 has changed the game for SAP developers, and it is now up to us to adapt to keep excelling at what we do. Our skill set can no longer just lie in the ABAP world, or we would be left behind. For those already familiar with HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, picking up Ui5 has been really easy, but things are still changing in the web development world. That is why improving your own skills is so important, and now there are so many ways one can do that.

Personally, I learn best while on the job, so while doing what it is I am trying to learn. Besides that, Google is my best friend. You are almost always NOT the first person to encounter your problem, particularly in the web development space. The web development world continues to be more and more open source minded, so people will usually share their experiences and their expertise.

But besides doing your own research and practicing your skills, one thing we all need (in my opinion) is constant inspiration. Inspiration is crucial to self development, as without it there is no reason to change. So I chose to inspire myself by going to this conference; to see what is new and exciting in the web development world, and to share ideas with people better than me.

Web Directions had so many good speakers and topics, but I will just share my favourites with you. Almost all the speakers shared their slides and content online, so you could almost have the same experience as me. Here are the topics/speakers I found the most interesting:

  1. Alex FeyerkeOffline First Web Apps
  2. Ryan SeddonWeb Components: The Future of Web Dev
  3. Barbara Bermes3rd Party Footprint : A Publisher’s Take on Controlling Third Party Scripts
  4. Mark DalgleighTaking JavaScript Out of Context
  5. Tantek CelikThe Once and Future IndieWeb

The full schedule can be found here with links to the speakers’ twitter accounts, where they would have shared their content. I believe the video content of the conference will soon be loaded on the website, so stay tuned.

Here are a few photos chronicling the fun time we had at the event (additional photos by John):


John Moy, Sascha Wenninger and I…SAP represent! Too bad I have no photo with John Patterson


Sascha’s homemade biltong keeping us fortified during the sessions.


Presentation by the ECMA-262 technical editor, Allen Wirfs-Brock


Alex Feyerke’s excellent presentation on offline capable apps and the framework he created.


The awesome venue we were gathered in.


Raquel Velez’s presentation on math waking us up first thing on the first day.


Jared Wyles’ entertaining presentation on readable code got us thinking about the habits we’ve developed on comments.

While not all the content is relevant to us in the SAP world, it is still important to keep in mind these concepts when developing a user experience. I hope that you’ll find these thoughts helpful and be inspired to expand your learning.

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