I believe that this blog series will show that, despite the talk, SAP are not serious about enabling access to SAP systems for non SAP developers to download install and run SAP systems for development purposes. If SAP really did want non SAP developers using their tools, they would
- Provide clear non ambiguous instructions on how to get the software,
- Provide clear non ambiguous paths to actual running systems,
- Provide clear non ambiguous descriptions of the software to enable non SAP developers choose the appropriate package,
- Remove (the appearance of) geographic restrictions,
- Provide a mechanism for keeping the software up to date and appropriately patched.
I apologise for the length of this post, but it could have been even longer. As it is, it’s broken into a series of three.The subsequent entries in this series are
Edit (March 28, 6:45 PM) – start
Please bear in mind that is NOT how I would go about installing a Developer / Trial ABAP system, and I wouldn’t recommend anyone follow this path through the labyrinth. The point of this series was how people NOT experienced with SAP products or naming conventions or SAP web sites or SAP UX, without a large network of fellow SAPPers, would see the process.
Edit – end
My scenario is that that Alice is a non-SAP developer, physically located in Australia. She is familiar with web front-end development on both windows and Linux systems. Alice wants to install the latest ABAP developer platform to learn about SAP, and even to develop something using the latest greatest SAP development tools – using API’s (ODATA / JSON / XML etc) and SAPUI5 (which she knows is built on jQuery, a tool she is already familiar with).
How do she go about doing this, and once she has it installed, how does she go about maintaining it ?.
- Getting access, using the SAP provided documentation
- Issue 1 We seek him here, we seek him there ….
- Issue 2 SAP institutes new KPI called page view ?
- Issue 3 It’s 2014; how hard is search ?
- Issue 4 Link to the SAP Store stands out like ….
- Issue 5 Distinction between HANA and Max DB
- Issue 6 Availability of HANA Components by Country
- Issue 7 Trial v Developer Edition ?
- Issue 8 What does the SAP Store login do ?
- Issue 9 SAP 101 Finding is not Getting
- Issue 10 Silly Alice,why would the SAP web site support firefox ?
- Issue 11 Mean what you say does not mean say what you mean
- Issue 12 Silly Alice thinks registration means registration
- Issue 13 SAP tries very hard (NOT) to distinguish between HANATRIAL and HANA
- Issue 14 But it’s not what we asked for !!!!
Getting access, using the SAP provided documentation
First things first; Our intrepid heroine has to install setup or get access to a system. She has help from a relatively experienced SAP BASIS person (i.e. me), but IANAD (I am not a Developer). Our first assumption is that Alice knows where to find documentation on the Developer Editions. I suggest she starts at the SAP site.
It’s not that obvious, but there is a link to free trials. Lets go…
Now, I thought there was a heading Developer Trials here. his seems to have disappeared. There is a “SAP Netweaver Business Warehouse” (which Alice does not want – she wants to develop in ABAP and a full blown Business Warehouse is overkill). However, she sees, in the fine print at the bottom, a link “Looking for more free trials? Visit our Developer Center in the SAP Community Network (SCN)”.
This takes her to
Where she finds a link (in an image) saying “ABAP 7.40 Trial Available”. So she clicks on it, and…
Voila. She is now in the “ABAP Developer Centre”, where she sees a button that promises to Get the new SAP Netweaver ABAP 7.40 Trial.
Issue 1 We seek him here, we seek him there ….
The Learn more link takes her to “Developer & Trial Editions: SAP Application Server ABAP and SAP Business Warehouse”
Selecting “AS ABAP 7.4 SP2 on SAP MaxDB 7.9” takes her to a blank page.
Where the hell are these free downloads (and what’s the difference between a Developer Edition and a Trial Edition, anyway ?).
Issue 2 SAP institutes new KPI called page view ?
Never fear, there’s always more links…. For example, on the Header of these Community pages there is a link labelled downloads.
This takes her to Software Downloads
Pretty much the first entry on this page is “The Software Download Search or Where did this Package Go?” So she follows that link. It’s a mess of complaints about stuff not being available. Not that promising. However, further down the Software Downloads page is “General Process Description for the SCN SAP Software Downloads on SAP Store” which does look promising. So she opens it. And the result tells her to open another document (funny thing is, up till now, she thought THIS was the hard part !!))
First entry in the PDF (how quaint) is “How to find a free of charge SCN SAP Software Download Package”
Anyway, both of these places tell her” How to find a free of charge SCN SAP Software Download Package”. Sounds like what she is looking for (and the price is right)
Issue 3 It’s 2014; how hard is search ?
Remember, Alice doesn’t know what her package name is, but searching for “Developer Edition” using the “Software Download Search” …
… results in
Other attempts include
So Alice gives up on this and looks for the “SAP Store” link that she has seen referred to in several places.
Issue 4 Link to the SAP Store stands out like ….
… something very very small. It’s in the header of the Community page
I included the arrow to help you find it. But at least she is starting to get some results.
Too many results; which of these 411 pieces of software does Alice want (or need)? She knows enough to know she wants an ABAP system, so ….
But this doesn’t show the latest (7.4) version. Lets try something else…
Issue 5 Distinction between HANA and Max DB
But now Alice has a decision to make – the page has returned 21 entries, and if she pages down there’s TWO types of ABAP 7.4 system – one on HANA and another on SAP MaxDB. Which one does she want ?
Issue 6 Availability of HANA Components by Country
Now, checking the country availability only 15 items are available to Australia. For example, “SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP 7.4 on SAP HANA – Developer Edition” is available in Australia, but “SCN – SAP HANA Studio Developer Edition” is not.
Can we expect someone like Alice, new to SAP, to know the difference between HANA and MAXDB, to know SAP’s strategic direction and how it relates to what she wants to do ? Does Alice know enough to know there is a separate set of HANA sites, and if so, what impact would that have on her subsequent decisions ?
Alice’s adviser (me) knows that she needs the HANA Developer Studio if she is going to do any HANA work, including maintenance and general care and feeding of a HANA based system (in other words, even for an ABAP on HANA system). Does the BW7.4 on HANA system comes with a HANA Studio installed? Neither of us know yet. Additionally, remember that Alice is in Australia, so the HANA Developer Studio is (apparently) not available to her.
Issue 7 Trial v Developer Edition ?
Is there any significance in the naming conventions ? Where do does Alice find out what (if any) the difference is, and more importantly, the impact on of these differences on how she can use what she develops ?
Issue 8 What does the SAP Store login do ?
BTW, Alice has not actually logged on to the SAP store yet.
Issue 9 SAP 101 Finding is not Getting
Alice selects the “SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP 7.4 on SAP MaxDB – Trial Edition” (which IS available in Australia) and get taken to a more detailed description.
The Learn More button takes her to a familiar page.
We’ve been here before, remember, so Alice goes back and tries the Contact Me button…
Issue 10 Silly Alice,why would the SAP web site support firefox ?
Firefox does not show Alice the submit button for this form.
One more left 🙂 What happens if she selects the Demo Now button ? AHA !!! A request to logon to the “SAP Cloud Appliance Library”…
Issue 11 Mean what you say does not mean say what you mean
So the Cloud version of SAP is MaxDB ?
Or is MaxDB the Cloud version of SAP ?
Or what ?
Alice’s adviser (me) intervenes and explains the difference between the real world (i.e. IAAS, PAAS and SAAS) and SAP’s love of naming things differently, with a diversion about how terribly clever the marketing people . Any references I make regarding Mad Hatter tea parties are treated with the contempt they deserve.
Anyway, Alice enters her registration data and accepts some legalese.
The activation email arrives quite quickly, but instead of logging her on to anything, she gets taken to this screen.
But Alice doesn’t have an SAP id or an SCN number. What the hell, maybe it’s just naming conventions, so she tries logging on with the credentials she specified in the registration form for the “SAP Cloud Appliance Library” (the “SAP Cloud Appliance Library”, right ? got that ? We have screen dumps and we aren’t afraid to use them !!)
Issue 12 Silly Alice thinks registration means registration
And finds out she is not really registered after all
She’s not going BUY anything, She is already registered (she thinks..) with the SAP ID service, so she tries one of the links (the SAP HANA Cloud Platform home page for developer accounts).
Issue 13 SAP tries very hard (NOT) to distinguish between HANATRIAL and HANA
The answer is that Alice registered at hanatrial.ondemand.com not hana.ondemand.com. It would be nice if there was some way of distinguishing the two sites. By, say, including the word TRIAL somewhere ?
Ignoring the mechanics of how Alice works out that there are two almost identical sites, she logons at HANATRIAL.ondemand.com. Some more legalese about the SAP HANA Cloud. No to worry; Alice isn’t using HANA in the cloud (is she ?)
As it turns out, she still don’t have an account yet (let alone access to her “free” trial).
It better be worth it….
Issue 14 But it’s not what we asked for !!!!
Except it’s not actually what she wants is it ? This is not the SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP 7.4 on SAP MaxDB – Trial Edition. In fact, it’s not even the “SAP Cloud Appliance Library” that she registered for.
So Alice has followed the bouncing ball, from the Free Trial link on sap.com, all the way through to find that she has been been given access to a free trial of something she didn’t want. Alice has to take a break for work (paying work, that is), but she is nothing if not persistent.
What happens next in Alice’s exciting adventure ?
Will she get her ABAP system up and running before she kills me (someone, anyone) in frustration ?