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Author's profile photo Martin English

Does SAP really want NON SAP Developers ? 3 of 3

Previous entries in this series

Does SAP really want NON SAP Developers ? 1

Does SAP really want NON SAP Developers ? 2

Remember our scenario? Alice is a non-SAP developer. She is familiar with web front-end development on both windows and Linux systems who 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 SAPs User Interface built on JQUERY (i.e. SAPUI5)

Remember that the latest non HANA system available is the “SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP 7.4 on SAP MaxDB – Trial Edition”. There is no developer edition. Also, remember that Alice deliberately ignored the HANA version, because she is in Australia and the SAP Store tells her that the HANA Developer Studio is not available in Australia.

Alice has an SAP system up and running.

Now to clear something up. Remember how the’SAP GUI wasn’t where the user guide said it should be ?

Turns out it’s in a different location. Doesn’t matter, she’s got a copy from me.

Now, some outstanding issues (Still)

Issue 22 Licensing

So Alice has a SAP GUI. First thing is to get the system licensed. But what is an SDN ID ? What is SDN ?

I told her to use the P number from when she registered for the SAP Cloud

Now Alice has (finally) got her SAP system up and running. I tell her to look at transaction SPAM which will show full details of what her system has, and what it is capable of. But, of course, the first thing she sees is

Ah well, it still lets us look at stuff. We can see exactly what her system has, and Gateway and UI5 are included…

Issue 23 System Configuration

Before the system will work (such things as webdynpro and ICF), configuration is required. There’s no instructions on what to do and how to do it; The only instructions given in the user guide are for ensuring that the hostname and domain are consistent. For other stuff, if you do full profile configuration (via transaction RZ10), you get the following screen.

Issue 24 Not all SICF transactions are active


Issue 25 HTTPS is not enabled

The quick fix is available at Suppress “Protocol cannot be switched to HTTPS . Note that this doesn’t implement HTTPS, it only gets rid of the ugly message 🙂

Maintenance and Patching

Remember that without a Maintenance Certificate, she can’t update Gateway, UI5 or even SAP itself. In fact even, with a Maintenance Certificate, there is another bunch of yaks to be shaved

To summarise;

Adding / updating / upgrading plugins, components, EHPs, etc

  • requires Solution Manager
  • Solution Manager requires a Service market Place user-id that is related to a  customer number and that has specific access criteria to the Software Download Centre of the Service Market Place
  • Downloading software via the Solution Manager requires a SAP Router
  • which requires a customer number

Installing Solution Manager

  • requires maintenance of Solution Manager (via the Software Download Centre of the Service Market Place)
  • which requires a SAP Router
  • which requires a customer number

Applying patches to repository or configuration data ….

  • Requires SNOTE
  • which requires a Service Market Place id related to a  customer number

Database and kernel patches don’t require Solution Manager, but they do require access to the Software Download Centre of the Service Market Place, which requires a Service Market Place id related to a customer number. The same requirement applies for access to

This may be a blessing in disguise for Alice, but it doesn’t help SAP get developers on board.

And we haven’t even covered backup and log file management, disk space management in general, tuning of the operating system or database and so on.


By comparison, as mentioned elsewhere in this series, you can can get a web server up and running in 10 minutes with Ruby or Python by downloading and executing a file, then running the following command lines.

That is the competition that SAP faces for Developers. Alice is no longer interested in SAP. She has found something else (anything else) that lets her start producing results now.


Thanks for making it this far, and thanks to everyone for the positive feedback, both here and in social media.

Please bear in mind that is NOT how I would go about installing a Developer / Trial ABAP system, and I wouldn’t recommend this path through the labyrinth to anyone. 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.


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      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey

      Hi Martin,

      where's the satisfaction in the instant gratification of getting a hello world in two minutes from other platforms 🙂

      Sounds like after all that, would have been time for a stubby.

      Looking at this blog series, it wouldn't take much to turn this from glass half empty into glass half full HowTo setup SAP's free Developer environment 🙂

      In those terms, this is a fantastic series of blogs. And I will save the three of them to pdf incase I have to go down the same path in the future.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Andy,

      Martin has done a superb job, documenting the "process", but i wouldn't be so sure your pdf's would be still useful in, let's say, 6 months. getting anything "for free" doesn't necessarily mean without pain and obstacles. it's all great when Alice is a developer and all she wants is to write a 'hello world" app. she would be totally lost if someone would point her to IDES and ask for a simple financial statement. we all assume she's not basis, security or abap developer, and if we add that she's also not an accountant, i just don't see how she can benefit from anything free that is now on tap from the cloud. what's more the cloud is not really free once provisioned from a cloud provider that just adds another layer of complexity to the whole enterprise or educational journey depending on your point of view.



      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey

      Hi Greg,

      I am old skool, all documentation is good documentation.

      The only answer I can give to the deeper fundamental question is,

      SAP need to show leadership here, SAP need to look at themselves, look at what they want for the future, then decide what they want to share and are willing to share and then share that stuff in an easily packaged way. This is not an overnight task, and requires leadership and aconnected strategy (I mean, ABAP stack, Java stack, Hana etc), which so far is not demonstrated in this area.

      To put an alternative perspective, and bring a balance to this scenario...

      I challenge a Developer who has only ever worked in the Microsoft .Net C# area to

      . go to and find the apache binary and download it and execute it

      . go to the tomcat website and do the same

      . go to and find and download the correct sdk/jdk

      this is also not a holiday for a first timer.

      The point is still valid though, SAP has huge room for improvement in the Developer area.

      And the only one who can fix it is SAP.

      Taking this up could be a nice challenge for the new CTO.

      Best regards,


      p.s. we all know with some messing around it is possible to install Hana at home, but when will there be a Developer's Hana Edition, which DB Admins, Basis Admins,  and Developers alike can get familiar with on their own pc without having to hack the scripts.

      Author's profile photo Oliver Rogers
      Oliver Rogers

      Hi Andy,

      On your point around Apache/Tomcat/Java etc, yes it is complicated but have you seen XAMPP?

      One download and installer, configures the lot for you with basic settings and you can get playing within 5 mins. A community too for support/bug fixes/errors/questions...

      This is not done by Apache themselves so couldn't the community here come up with a script to install SAP? (and they have done a manual one in the past..) SAP fix the horrible plethora of bad documentation re-directing from site to site. And there is then one place to get software & updates etc. Sure it is not easy, but to say it will take time only lets SAP off the hook and allows them to get in their own way.

      Just my 2 cents...


      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey

      Hi Oliver,

      very good points, and example of what is possible.

      But should it really be down to the members of the SCN to create a bundle package and solve this ? That might be a short term solution but it's not a long term solution.

      The goal is not to let SAP off the hook, we must all agree, the mess which exists today needs to be solved with a long term strategy and vision and not some short term glue this year and different glue next year.

      Regarding Trial and Developer versions, SAP needs a cohesive strategy across the platforms, ABAP, Java, Hana, and which will allow interested people to learn these platforms at home in the offline scenario.

      This takes, leadership, vision, strategy and delivery, which the evidence today demonstrates is lacking.

      So, the number one question is, what does SAP want ?

      It is ironic that one of the largest underlying principles of the SAP Community Network, is


      Everybody on here is sharing knowledge and information, and it can be argued that lack of cohesive strategy from SAP regarding Developer and Trial versions suggests deep at the heart SAP are not driven to share.

      Barriers to entry are what have restricted new people from entering the SAP field since the beginning, and still today. Just look how many blogs and discussions there are on here from people asking, how do I learn SAP ?

      Another irony is that in this blog, it was described, and I quote from the blog,

            I was talking to SAP Chairman Hasso Plattner a year ago and he made a

           reference to Basis consultants who are paid €2000 a day and how this should no      longer be necessary. 

      Isn't that a paradox, if SAP really believed that, then there would be a cohesive strategy for enabling everybody to get official legal, offline, home based, installable on their pc, access to the fundamental core pieces of the platform, an ABAP stack, a Java stack, a Hana database.

      (when I say official legal, I mean without having to do hacks etc)

      The first step of removing the barriers to entry is to make the product accessible for people to learn.

      We know, Hana has been around in some forms since at least 2010, and yet we still don't have a version of Hana which can be installed at home.

      This is a timebomb, because,

      SAP wants the customerbase to move their suite of installed systems onto the Hana database. This is happening very slowly at the moment.

      But, at some point, there will be a curve on the graph of the companies who are moving or are planning to move on premise business suite systems to Hana, and when that happens, and when the whole herd of customers move to Hana, it's going to be like the Serengeti wildebeest migration, it's going to be a calamity, there will be nobody with the skills, or put another way, there will not be enough people with the skills to fulfill the requirements of the market. This will in turn lead to customers having to compromise and work with resources perhaps not so qualified which will ultimately lead to lower quality and more headaches for customers, not to mention putting pressure on costs.

      And hence, I don't see this as something which can be solved over night.

      As I said, this needs, a vision with a long term goal, leadership from the top, eg from the new CTO, and a strategy, and delivery.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Otto Gold
      Otto Gold

      Hello Oliver and company,

      I haven't checked that Tomcat automation thing, but the idea can be applied generally everywhere. Which leads to one natural conclusion: why don't we (developers that can make that happen with the help of everyone else who feel the pain) provide a custom program to make this happen with one click? Well... some things won't be easy, maybe even impossible, but we can still try, right?

      Maybe Martin could write a "Let's rock it" blog and gather a core group for this? Basis things don't change that fast and that often, so that code can work for systems 10 years old and maybe even in ten years time be still operational (ok, I am dreaming now a bit here).

      I am sure there would be volunteers on SCN to work on this. I can see little problems being named up there which means we have small finite problems that people can work on independently and then we need one person to wrap that into one long Z-program with lots of checkboxes on the selection screen. BOOM. Done. Idiot proof like workflow wizard.

      cheers Otto

      Author's profile photo Nigel James
      Nigel James

      Hey Andy Silvey I take your point that could have been a glass half full approach but SRSLY do you think anyone who can apt-get or yum a working environment in 5 minutes is going to bother with this?

      SAP have their work cut out for them to attract non-SAP developers.

      A big thumbs up to Martin for documenting this.

      Author's profile photo Andy Silvey
      Andy Silvey

      Hi Nigel,

      agreed, good job of Martin's for documenting it, and hence despite the point the work is making it is actually a valuable document which can be very useful to people looking in this area.

      Agreed, SAP have a lot of work to do in the area of making SAP available to non-SAP people. What I mean by non-SAP people, is people who do not have access to Sandboxes and actually do SAP (in some capacity) as their job.

      And I think before 'fixing' the problem, SAP actually need to make their mind up what they want. Do they want to give non-SAP people the possibility to learn SAP in their own time ? What do they want them to learn ? How deep do they want them to learn it ? Once they have taken leadership and answered these questions, then they need to take the leadership and implement the solution.

      This will not be solved over night.

      And therefore, despite the message which Martin has taken the time to document and send, the content of his work is actually extremely valuable to everybody going down this path.

      The name of the blog series could be changed to, the encyclopedic answer to how to setup a SAP development environment at home, and in the summary could be some words of advice to SAP.

      Best regards,


      Author's profile photo Matthew Billingham
      Matthew Billingham

      I wonder how Alice would have fared had she known that there is no such thing as an ABAP stack without BW.

      Author's profile photo Stephen Johannes
      Stephen Johannes

      Wow this is horrible compared to the old trial version process(non-cloud).  The worst part is that this is for an ABAP only system and not even an IDES Business Suite application.  Honestly I think most ABAP developers would have given up and looked for other system access options instead.

      Great set of blogs on a process that would make the Vogons proud!

      Take care,


      Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann
      Tobias Hofmann

      Nice job, and believe me, I've been through similar situations, but who says you need an ABAP server for "the latest greatest SAP development tools – using API’s (ODATA / JSON / XML etc) and SAPs User Interface built on JQUERY (i.e. SAPUI5)"?

      Eclipse + UI5/HANA tools from SAP or the Eclipse / Apache tools. OData development can be done with or without SAP backend (for starters there is a SAP system available: ES1). Mobility with Cordova and some JSON/OData backend. Sure, no HANA, no ABAP, no Fiori, but it does not mean that you have to use an ABAP server to do new stuff.

      That is actually the nice thing about "new" SAP: you can use ABAP, but you don't have to.

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Tobias,

      i thought es1 was merged into rac, but maybe there is es1 outside of rac somewhere?



      Author's profile photo Martin English
      Martin English
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Tobias, Greg

      any linkage regarding the existence of the es1 and / or rac systems ?


        At the end of her first attempt, Alice had an account on the HCP - Should I have suggested that that was enough for odata and UI5 development ?

      Sure, no HANA, no ABAP, no Fiori, but it does not mean that you have to use an ABAP server to do new stuff.

      Given all the road blocks our heroine has faced to get to where she can logon to her system, that last sentence could easily read ...

      Sure, no HANA, no ABAP, no Fiori, but it does not mean that you have to use an SAP system to do new stuff.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Martin,

      the page below contains a quote of 413 euros for 24 months, but it is problematic whether it's per month or for the duration. also, it's almost 10 years old, so not quite sure if and how valid it still is:

      i also wanted to point you to ,

      but the system referenced there doesn't seem to be working at the moment.

      a year or two ago, you could find some login info (with very limited access), but this has been "merged" now:

      i cannot guarantee these particular URLs or that they will work on your end, though.



      Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann
      Tobias Hofmann


      The problem Alice are facing are caused by insisting to use ABAP - or for that matter, any NetWeaver based system. With the move to SAP Store, SAP even made it almost impossible to find the NW 7.3 Java trial.

      IMHO the NW systems provided for devs add little value, as you cannot update them, downloads are not possible for all versions and the AWS versions are not available in every country. AFAIK it took SAP a while to offer the AWS versions to brazilian developers / users. I guess as long as you are not from Europe or US, you don't count to SAP. So why care?

      Getting started with HCP and with the solutions offered there like SMP, Portal, LJS, UI5, etc it is relatively easy to get started with modern stuff. It's just that you won't work with ABAP. And even with these solutions, it takes a newbie a while to understand where to click because it is not really obvious what does what. I guess it will take several years untl we have a: "I want to do a mobile UI5 app" button that sets up everything, up to a running version on a mobile device.

      And it's not like this is new to SAP. Peope are complaining about this for years. For years SAP says: we will change, and for years the same problems occur. For instance, I cannot use my puser for SCN to log on to the app store. So no click and download for me. I have an S-User, p-user and a SAP App store user. I wish SAP would have an identity solution ... oh, wait!

      Author's profile photo Martin English
      Martin English
      Blog Post Author

      Tobias Hofmann wrote:

      The problem Alice are facing are caused by insisting to use ABAP - or for that matter, any NetWeaver based system. With the move to SAP Store, SAP even made it almost impossible to find the NW 7.3 Java trial.


      I've alluded to this in a previous reply, but why is Alice wrong to insist on using ABAP ?

      If the implication of your argument (that Netweaver and by extension ECC6 is considered legacy software by SAP) is true, there';s a big market for people who know enough ABAP to be able to write web services to enable "Innovation at the Edge". Obviously, SAP wouldn't people doing that, they would rather customers migrated to the HANA cloud. Their problem is that customers will continue to run 4.7 systems and want to connect to non SAP CRM, SCM, BW tools (which may or may not be on premise).

      If the implication of your argument (that Netweaver and by extension ECC6 is considered legacy software by SAP) is NOT true, the market for "Innovation at the Edge" remains the same (if not larger), but SAP have a greater motivation to support it.


      Author's profile photo Tobias Hofmann
      Tobias Hofmann

      Not sure if there are still a lot of 4.7 systems running in prodcution, but for sure there are a LOT of NetWeaver systems in production that do nothing more than what a 4.7 can do too. There are companies that switch directly from Dynpro to Fiori (WebDynpro? Portal? NWBC? never heard of).

      Now, there are two types of devs SAP should care about: SAP and non-SAP devs. Transforming a non-SAP dev into a SAP dev is not an easy task (ABAP, transactions, ICF and of course: BAPI and the unanswered question why my pUser cannot access SAP Store). I guess most of the easy download and get started problems have a common root cause: how many SAP people access SCN and their download sites as a pUser? And from outside SAP's corporate network?

      If a non-SAP dev wants to do something with SAP, it is possible to do this pretty agnostic using OData (well, sort of, but lets keep it simpe). This allows SAP to be reduced to a service. Now it would be good to know if this is what SAP wants? Devs creating apps consuming a service and making the whole NetWeaver, ABAP, etc stack obsolete.

      If yes, it makes sense that it is so hard to onboard a non-SAP dev to SAP (the traditional SAP, with NetWeaver, ABAP, BAPI).

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Hi Martin,

      I'd just like to say thank you very, very much for posting such a brilliant series and summing up something that has been bugging me for years & years.

      For me, you have hit the nail on the head regarding just how difficult it is to get a developer landscape set up.  And just to be clear, I'm an experienced SAP development consultant, with ~15 years knowledge give or take, i.e. I’m not a noob.  However I long ago gave up ever trying to have my own play systems due to lack of knowledge/understanding and instead have always relied on using either customer or our own internal demo systems, maintained by much more knowledgeable basis resource.  I'm lucky, as working for SAP partners means I do usually have access to systems in this way, however as a result of the hoop jumping highlighted in this series, I feel I am missing out on some very valuable knowledge and abilities.  Of course it does also mean that I might not actually have access to the type of system/features I need at any given time…

      And let me be very clear, it is not because I don't think I am capable of obtaining the knowledge and understanding, it is because I don't have the patience/tenacity/morbid curiosity/masochistic streak that is obviously required to make it through this horrendous process. I have a pretty decent attention span but nothing could sustain me from start to finish of the steps you have highlighted here.  Especially when I look at what it actually gives me - a half-system that I probably can't do what I want with anyway.

      I attended a local JavaScript meet up a couple of weeks ago, where a noob to Node.js was explaining how he got going with it - "I went to the website and hit the 'Install Node.js' link and was up and running straight away..."

      SAP have got a lot to learn.



      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      A colleague of mine once said "Michael, if SAP would be easy, then anyone could do it."

      I think this hits the nail on the head and exemplifies why we are in the mess we are in. For far too long, SAP has seen Enterprise Software as something that needs to be overly complex on the application as well as the server layer. Incomprehensibly, it still requires the exact specialists that SAP wants to rid itself of now (see Andy's blog quote further above about a conversation with Hasso Plattner).

      Another inconvenient truth: SAP's partnering system plays a role here, too. A lot of access, information and early release knowledge is still shared to partners first. Working around issues with SAP installations still remains a matter of who and not what you know (or where to find it). Why give out something to all developers when the partner layer demands the knowledge advantage first?

      Thanks again for this important blog series, Martin.


      Author's profile photo Steve Rumsby
      Steve Rumsby

      Excellent point. When I was just an SAP Basis noob the initial impression I was given, by one of our implementation partners, is that SAP systems are scary complex beasts that I shouldn't mess with. Just do what the training courses show you to do and let experts worry about everything else. Install a system? Just don't go there...

      Of course I didn't settle for that, and with the help of a consultant willing to share the secret that there really is no magic I got to the point of being able to do upgrades and installs in house with no "experts" required.

      I still encounter the "SAP is magic" outlook a lot. Until that goes away, the outside world is never going to find SAP a welcoming ecosystem. I think this is a fairly entrenched cultural outlook that isn't going to go away easily or quickly. I do wonder if the partner system is the major problem, actually. I guess they have the most to lose if SAP loses its "magic" status and becomes something anyone can get started with?


      Author's profile photo Matthew Billingham
      Matthew Billingham

      What I always advise newbies (like my daughter who's currently in training!)  is that SAP isn't magic and it isn't actually that difficult. It's just very very big and has sometimes peculiar terminology.