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

Does SAP really want NON SAP Developers ? 2 of 3

Does SAP really want NON SAP Developers ? 3 of 3

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

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.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-70.png

It’s not that obvious, but there is a link to free trials. Lets go…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-71.png

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

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-72.png

Where she finds a link (in an image) saying “ABAP 7.40 Trial Available”. So she clicks on it, and…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-73.png

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”

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-25.png

Selecting “AS ABAP 7.4 SP2 on SAP MaxDB 7.9” takes her to a blank page.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-26.png

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.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-74.png

This takes her to Software Downloads

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-11.png

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)

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-13.png

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” …

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-11.png

… results in

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-14.png

Other attempts include

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-15.png

And

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-16.png

So Alice gives up on this and looks for the “SAP Store” link that she has seen referred to in several places.

… something very very small. It’s in the header of the Community page

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-75.png

I included the arrow to help you find it. But at least she is starting to get some results.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-21.png

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 ….

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-22.png

But this doesn’t show the latest (7.4) version. Lets try something else…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-23.png

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.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-23a.png

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.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-24.png

The Learn More button takes her to a familiar page.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-25.png

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 ?

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-27.png

Firefox does not show Alice the submit button for this form.

One more left πŸ™‚ What happens if she selects the Demo Now button ? AHA !!! A request to logon to the “SAP Cloud Appliance Library”

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-76.png

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.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-77.png

The activation email arrives quite quickly, but instead of logging her on to anything, she gets taken to this screen.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-79.png

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 !!)

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-80.png

Issue 12 Silly Alice thinks registration means registration

And finds out she is not really registered after all

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-81.png

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 ?)

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-83.png

As it turns out, she still don’t have an account yet (let alone access to her “free” trial).

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-84.png

It better be worth it….

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-85.png

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.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/notes.basissap.com/sdn/SAP-dev-86.png

Summary

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 ?

Cick for more epic exploits in the adventures of our intrepid explorer.

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41 Comments

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  1. John Studdert

    Excellent, excellent blog post(s). Really appreciate the time it must’ve taken to go back and document all of this so thoroughly. It’s something I’ve often thought of doing but must admit to not being able to face it by the time I actually get to my goal!

    This has always been an issue – for SAP and non-SAP people alike. SAP’s websites are a maze, their ID service is backwards and often broken, and their marketing people change terminologies more times in a day than I drink coffees.

    It’s always been a hugely frustrating experience trying to create your own private sandbox, which is odd as you’d think “getting your hands dirty” should be the first step for any prospective Basis- or ABAP-type. I remember the feeling of success when I finally, after weeks of trying, managed to get SAP to post DVDs to me of ABAP developer editions a few years back. Then again, getting used to navigating the labyrinthine webpages and legalese to get what you need is probably equally relevant training for life in the SAP world…

    Anyway, thanks again for a great read and a very useful guide for whenever I need to build new sandboxes.

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  2. Hemendra Sabharwal

    Great, reminding me of my pain in the enigmatic roads to SAP. Thanks martin for giving time and documenting everything. I really appreciate the patience you shown in jotting down things back so thoroughly.

    Warm Regards

    Hemendra

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  3. Poltera Anthony

    I have had a similar experience with SAP PartnerEdge. What is the point of giving developers a multitude of license keys? In the beginning I had the same Geographic location problems but I fought for and got hold of my own exploration license keys but no ECC backend system. SAP were bland in their response and told me to download the software from service market place. That is where my run around started, except I am not a BASIS consultant, and I don’t have the luxury of endless time to setup fully patched back-end systems. I requested they allow access to a BC set system image with AWS with a few mouse clicks…

    In fairness, John Appleby pointed me in the direction of a web form and said SAP are  working on this. I completed the form but I have not heard anything since…

    Further to this, John Moy has written a great blog series on how to get an ABAP trial system with NW Gateway up and running on AWS:

    Installing Trial SAP NetWeaver Gateway 2.0 SP04 with ABAP 7.02 on AWS – Part 1

    Installing Trial SAP NetWeaver Gateway 2.0 SP04 with ABAP 7.02 on AWS – Part 2

    Installing Trial SAP NetWeaver Gateway 2.0 SP04 with ABAP 7.02 on AWS – Part 3

    This is a great start for getting your hands dirty and learning but when it comes to productive applications full back-end to all SAP systems (ECC\CRM\BW etc) functionality with BC sets of config. should be available with a couple of mouse clicks.

    If AWS can do it then so should SAP.

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    1. Martin English Post author

      One of the consequences of SAPs attempt to make SAP Developer systems available has been to change the location of the Developer Editions; they no longer live on their own SCN page as they used to. In the case of John’s notes, the link in “Step 40 Download SAP Trial software” http://bit.ly/LVMAB9 now redirects to the “SCN – SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP 7.03 64-bit” page in the SAP Store.


      My experience with installing these systems is that there are pluses and minuses; Apart from the fact that your target system is in an Amazon datacentre (in John’s example)  rather than on your desk, it’s pretty much a standard installation. In fact, you can install that system on your laptop, if you have enough resources !!!

      On the surface, a good result, except that Alice’s trusted adviser (me) already knows the limitations of this system…

      In other words, you can get a non useful SAP system up and running faster than you can get a useful system up and running.

      hth

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  4. Fabio Pagoti

    … Nowadays Alice is a .NET developer.

    It seems SAP has 21274169419 different teams to create 54140490713272^3 different websites.

    The same problem SAP solves for the industry for their business applications is the one it has on its own IT landscape.

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  5. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Great blog, Martin, and special “brownie points” for chosing a female character. πŸ™‚ “Alice in [SAP] Wonderland” – instant classic! πŸ™‚

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    1. Marilyn Pratt

      That “brownie point” didn’t escape my notice obviously πŸ˜‰ and thanks Graham Robinson for the video link which indeed makes Martin’s point in an “animated” and human-centric way with a “generic” yet identifiable use case.  (that video is also inclusive, by the way). Such story telling is powerful and obviously strikes a chord here.

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  6. Deepak Krishna Kumar

    Great post, the pain in getting something done in my home sap edition drove me to learn other languages and experience the good things in rails, node.js, the numerous js libraries, the test driven development in rails. Maybe i should thank SAP to make me learn new things 😏

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    1. Martin English Post author

      Deepak Krishna Kumar wrote:

      Great post, the pain in getting something done in my home sap edition drove me to learn other languages and experience the good things in rails, node.js, the numerous js libraries, the test driven development in rails. Maybe i should thank SAP to make me learn new things 😏

      THIS !!! (note to SCN – we need a like+5 button)

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  7. Jansi Rani Murugesan

    Hi Martin,

    Well said, this is not only problem for NON SAP developers. Even the SAP developers/ Technical consultants who dont have customer numbers and also want to explore on these areas, also face the same struggle.

    Thanks

    Jansi

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  8. Michael Koch

    Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

    It’s what happens when there is a partnering system in place which is founded on little thiefdoms of knowledge and sharing/disseminating of skills is a mere lip service.

    M

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  9. Jonathan Groll

    Excellent, excellent post.

    When I did this for myself, I got stuck for a long while finding my AWS secret keys, and like you I was hesitant to share this key with SAP.

    What you fail to mention is how much “easier” it is to host a miniSAP instance in the cloud! Without wanting to sound too much like one of the four Yorkshiremen, this is luxurrry. In the past installing a miniSAP trial on real hardware took REAL stamina!

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  10. Hannes Kuehnemund

    Hi Martin,

    thank you for this very detailed post which outlined the obstacles that SAP put in your way. I’m the product owner for SAP Cloud Appliance Library (http://cal.sap.com) and I was impressed to read how it must feel to go through this labyrinth.

    Some issues you ran into are simple bugs – that should not happen, agreed. Below is a quick list of items which I am able to address in my role. I hope this helps getting the process simpler πŸ˜‰

    • Issue 11 – this is a bug and will be addressed (forward to a wrong page). Once fixed it will prevent issue 12 – 14 of happening. If you alrady have an account with SAP already you should not run into this issue.
    • Issue 18 – This is fixed for selected trials and developer editions which were requested globally (like HANA DevEdition or BW on HANA Trial). It also depends on the availability of instance types (like the r3 familiy) of AWS which are used for various Trials. Those r3 types are (today) not available in all AWS regions.
    • Issue 19 – the CAL FAQ states to use IAM role credentials – we might have to put more emphasis on it. Will do so.
    • Issue 20 – the documentation is available before you start an instance – click on the corresponding line in CAL and you can see the User Guide.
    • Issue 21 – 25 – addressed with the respective team.
    • Maintenance and Patching – this is not in the scope of a Free Trial which comes as it is

    Two more things which I’m not sure how you want us to fix those:

    • Issue 16 – CAL cannot guess your AWS or Azure account so you need to enter it πŸ˜‰
    • Issue 17 – Which drop down menus do you want to change?

    Feel free to write a personal SCN message and we can take it from there.

    Thanks and Regards,

      Hannes

    Best Regards / Freundliche Grüße / 敬具 / 歀致敬瀼 / ΠŸΠΎΠ·Π΄Ρ€Π°Π²ΠΈ

    Hannes Kuehnemund | Product Owner – SAP Cloud Appliance Library
    SAP Labs, LLC – USA |
    http://scn.sap.com/community/cloud-appliance-library

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  11. Jonathan Groll

    Another one:

    SAP_GUI_for_Windows_730_Patchlevel_4_Hotfix_1.exe

    This isn’t installable – it has SAPGUI 7.20 as a dependency!

    And, furthermore where can you obtain SAPGUI 7.20 without an S-number?

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  12. Kenneth Moore

    SAP has nothing against non-SAP’ers.  SAP’ers share the same frustration for finding documentation on anything!  LOL!  It has been that way for decades!

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