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Author's profile photo Robert Russell

SAP HANA Cloud Portal Movie Producer: It’s an SCN World

2015 Update

I have updated my SAP HANA Cloud Portal site with a few updates, these can be found at the end of my original blog.


My entry for the SAP HANA Cloud Portal Movie Producer contest is a collection of programs, blogs or information based on the worldwide user base of SCN. I thought that the SAP HANA cloud portal was the ideal platform to bring it altogether in one place and therefore the reason for my entry to the contest.

A little bit of speculation on my part now and I will expand on the following ideas throughout the blog. The SAP HANA Cloud Platform (SAPHCP) could offer valuable insight into the worldwide usage of SCN if setup for such analysis, especially with the ESRI links and Lumira cloud based tools. An SAPHCP based analysis of SCN usage or simply a community map would be an ideal showcase for the platform. I would see the HANA Cloud Portal being a natural home to bring the different parts together in one place. That’s the end of my speculation and a much bigger implementation than the following demo of my portal site, which follows a similar theme. Also to point out none of my data is officially provided by SAP/SCN but it either came from or based on public data that SCN made available.

The final push to enter the contest was watching Amir Blich’s great presentation of the contest in the video here. “Did you click?”… Have YOU clicked yet,  … So why not enter myself. There are some serious suggestions in the blog but for my first cloud portal site the intention was to learn more about SAP software/platforms and was put together as a demo. Let’s see if the judging panel of the contest rate the video and my blog post and that I do get to enter the “producer” category.

Other “stars” of my cloud portal site. SQL Anywhere, a developer version can be downloaded from here. I came to use SQL Anywhere initially for its spatial abilities but have been SO impressed with it that I think you should click on that download button too. SQL Anywhere allows me to setup spatial capabilities, a web server and various procedures/functions to enable my site to work. Also I use Geoserver which is an opensource geospatial server. I have deployed Geoserver to the SAP HANA Cloud Platform. (I am hoping that eventually the ESRI spatially enabled HANA database will be opened up to the free developer SAPHCP accounts.)

Without further delay here is my video and my blog will explain further details and the ideas contained in the video

It’s an SCN World

The rest of the blog will cover the background or any extra information for each page of my portal site

SDN points 2004-2010 in a Google Earth plugin

At the end of my blog from 2011 “Thematic mapping SCN points with KML and other thematic map examples” there is a KML timeline that was generated with Geoserver. The KML timeline is on the welcome page to my portal site and the opening sequence of the video. The original ABAP program used to generate the information was based on the old SDN RSS feeds. (These feeds no longer exist.)  I did find the Google Earth program very inspiring at the time. It does come to life on a website and offers great interaction and possibilities on presenting information. My SDN collected points data is from 2004 to 2010 and the Google Earth plugin offers a timeline to either playback or query the data with slider controls. As shown in the static screenshot below. SDN points were not my main motivation but I was interested in maps and SAP. The SDN points information and a map came together as the RSS feeds were split by countries. And SCN is still worldwide but there may be some test users that may distort the stats.


As the Google Earth plugin requires Windows or a Mac computer then I took advantage of the Cloud Portal URL widgets “other device specific URLs” to point to a Leaflet based SDN points map. On opening the URL widget settings, I entered the device specific URLs.

One point I would like to see in the future (or maybe something I missed) is other widgets or an entire page having device specific content. I used a “Rich Text Editor” widget alongside the URL widget to explain the background of the Google Earth plugin URL widget. However the explanation would ideally be swapped out for text explaining the background to the leaflet based map depending on the device used. Now onto the second page of my cloud portal site which is…

Who in the world would read your SCN content?

Let’s say you have created an SCN blog or a document and you do get to see who bookmarked or liked your content. However there is no real way of telling where in the world your audience is located or which topics are more popular in your part of the world. Based on the actions of the twitter followers of the @SCNblogs and @SCNLibrary accounts there is a way to discover a small section of that information. A better implementation would be based on the actual SCN site but as BITLY links used on those twitter accounts are publicly available then that’s what I have on my portal site.

The @SCNblogs and @SCNlibrary twitter accounts share the tweeted blogs/documents with BITLY link but other URL shortening services are used. However the vast majority do use BITLY and that does have an API. One of the BITLY apis covers statistics on clicks per country so I can map those clicks. In a previous blog I had focused on clicks from the twitter domain as per my blog here. I changed my SQL Anywhere based code to read the bitly api for the user’s country information – users who were actually clicking on the link. (Now bitly use IP address detection and there maybe some limitations with that e.g. proxy servers changing IP addresses/countries)


For my SAP HANA Cloud portal page I setup two twitter widgets (twitter logon required for this link)  on my site for both @SCNblogs and @SCNLibrary accounts. Separately I created some OPENUI5 based javascript code using a textbox and table. In the middle of this I used a Leaflet.js interactive map. The base map is provided by Geoserver running in the SAPHCP.  My code uses SQL Anywhere procedures to expand the twitter created link to the actual bitly link. Depending on browser used then it is a process of copying the tweeted link into the input box to generate the map or Firefox does allow drag and drop without further coding. I liked the way I could easily set all this up on the HANA Cloud Portal and format all these parts onto one page of my site.

One issue I had in creating my portal site was with Chrome and using my SQL Anywhere service with HTTP. The HANA cloud portal defaults onto HTTPS and Chrome was not allowing my service from my HTTP based SQL Anywhere instance. I got around this by setting up HTTPS on the SQL Anywhere web server. There is now a prompt to trust my own SQL Anywhere service, which I am obviously prepared to do for my own site.

I used SQL Anywhere to query the @SCNblogs timeline only for bitly links from January to March 2014. Last time out I screen scraped extra information from SCN but not this time. (Where are you #SCNAPPY?) I uploaded this data into Lumira and shared my Lumira “Story” to the Lumira cloud. I could then use the public URL of this on my Cloud Portal Site. As shown below. Now I do assume there is currently a web site statistics service available to the owners of the SCN site, however it would be great to have stats available to the community. In my opinion best served via the SAP HANA Cloud Platform and Portal as these are already capable of handling SCN logon user accounts.


The next page of my site…

A world of SCN events

Let’s say you have organised an inside track, code jam or innojam or another community event and you have a venue. You are going to want to put that venue on a map πŸ˜‰ for people to find it.

For my portal site, I setup a search of SCN tags for these events and passed the result through the Geonames free api to get the location details. The way I mapped the results was using SQL Anywhere, in a similar way as my blog here but this time using the location information on a map. Obviously this is using a free service and the locations are sometimes wrong and it would be better for the original content to be geotagged or placed on a community map e.g that map being based on a free πŸ˜›  SAP HANA Cloud Platform ESRI map and shared via the HANA Cloud portal. I used the free openstreetmap based map from Mapquest to show the location of SCN events.



Old ABAP developers around the world

Based on my previous analysis of @SCNblogs bitly links, details in my blog Choropleth maps of @SCNblogs links and crime data using SQL Anywhere , then Katan Patel’s blog came top for January 2014. His blog title (and link) What’s an old ABAP developer supposed to do? . So I have chosen to title my map and portal page “Old ABAP developers around the world” as discussed in the original blog and I am sticking with it now

On the portal site the interactive nature of the SVG produced by SQL Anywhere can be used as intended.

The SCN/Jive platform prevents the interaction with the map so only a static screen shot is available here


Now I will cover some background of my deployment of Geoserver to the SAPHCP as shown in the video.

Maps from Neo

As stated previously I had created the SDN points KML timeline using Geoserver. When I found that I could deploy Geoserver to the SAP Netweaver (Neo) Cloud (as it was in 2012) I did ask a few questions on the forums. One question was answered by VladimirPavlov  and he did find that his name listed for Bulgaria on my map. To me that’s one of the great things about SCN, in that you can get help and answers from people around the world.

The links in that thread no longer work as I have now have deployed the latest version of Geoserver 2.5 into the SAP HANA Cloud Platform under another application name. A runtime only deployment and my intentions are to use it with other SAP software in the future.


The old SDN profile pages still exist “out there” as the above screen shot covers Vladimir’s entry on my map.

Now back to covering portal pages on my site….

Where in the world are you?

Back in 2010 Marilyn Pratt’s blog “Where in the world are you?” suggested (and covered various attempts) to map SCN users. Some discussion about what platform(s) could be used in the comments section in the blog. Guess which platform I suggest nowI did make a comment on Marilyn’s blog when it appeared in 2010. The same Geonames georss api I mentioned in my comment is used with SQL Anywhere for the “A world of SCN events” portal page.  With SQL Anywhere I have more control over the data and can filter and format it directly with SQL Anywhere (have you downloaded SQL Anywhere developer edition yetJ ). The same issues probably remain today as they did back in 2010 and even prior to that, in that users may not want to share their exact location on a publicly accessible page. However maybe things change and on logging onto the portal you could choose to share your location only during the session and it is not saved. Using this method a local SCN event could be highlighted.

On my portal page I used the HTML5 Geolocation browser based support to place my location, this time, on a Mapbox map and again using leaflet.js. Also I did a quick alteration of Rui Nogueira’s weather based app (covered hereLightweight HTML5 apps and Git on SAP HANA Cloud Platform” ) to use the Lat/Lon version of the openweathermap api. Therefore I could get local weather information for the current location. The portal allows me to bring both to the same portal page and sharing relevant information about SCN events could be a next step.


A couple of suggestions for the SAP HANA Cloud Portal

  1. Opening the main site up to the public setting could offer a warning if there are still individual pages set to private. I fell over that issue and was puzzled at the beginning as to why my site prompted for logon when set to public access. There was still a page set to private.
  2. Could the generated QRcode be simplified for the site? In its current form it can’t be read with my iPad2 but that maybe a problem with my iPad (it’s old and the screen is broken πŸ™ but I still used my iPad with iMovie to create my video). A URL shortener service for example BITLY could be used πŸ˜› … but seriously some way to simplify the QRcode/URL even further (I know the URL can be customised).

Contest Details

As per the contest rules then a link to the announcement blog is required.

Movie Challenge Announcement blog.

And I have commented on document here SAP HANA Cloud Portal 2014 Movie Challenge: Instructions in regards to my entry.


Two items that almost made it to my portal site,

@SCNblogs followers

The chart below covers the top 10 locations of the followers of @SCNblogs. There is a data quality issue collecting location information from twitter accounts, as it depends on what has been entered for the location. It was not consistent so I only quickly tidied up the data. The Lumira chart shows the top 10 locations.


The Best SCN blog title – key words – in the world (probably)

The following screenshot is a Lumira tag cloud covering a breakdown of the words used in tweeted @SCNblogs titles. It only covers the top blogs that had the most clicks via the BITLY link. So if you are considering a click friendly title then I think using the following key words would help (probably πŸ™‚ ) : ABAP, HANA, Fiori or SAP/UI5.


2015 Update to my HANA Cloud Portal Site

My updated 2015 HANA Cloud Portal site can be found here at this link

I have chosen to update my site after discovering the SAP HANA version 8 used by the HANA Cloud Platform was spatially enabled. The inspiration for the update was triggered by an SCN blog by Trinoy Hazarika based on SAP HANA, this lead me to try out his methods on the HANA Cloud Platform and follow up on my own ideas for my HANA Cloud Portal site covered in this blog. I do like the way the HANA Cloud Portal enables me to bring all the components together in one place.

Trinoy’s blog link and Thank You to Trinoy for posting his blog on SCN.

Experiences with SAP HANA Geo-Spatial Features – Part 2

I was focused on recreating my original use of the Google Earth browser plugin for my SDN points 2004-2010 data set and the “Where in the World are you” sections in my original blog above.

All the details on how I created these two sections with the HANA Cloud Platform was blogged in my DataGenius entry here.

The update requires a user to logon to the site with the SAP ID service (your SCN user account). I had previously enabled a public setting on my site and did not want any authentication. However with this update I need to use the SAP ID service as a method to log SCN users on my map. I now needed to lock down my site for some pages to require a logon before using the page. One of my suggestions in my original blog suggested improvements in the way public and private pages were handled by the HANA Cloud Portal. I found I was prompted for to logon to my site because I had a page set to request logon but my overall setting was public. I have now found that the portal site clearly indicates secure pages by a key icon next to the portal page. Either I missed this before or I like this improvement πŸ™‚


One issue I have found with the SAP ID authenticated pages is that the page opens in a new web browser tab (both Chrome and Safari) but hitting the back button I am returned to my Portal site and can continue as normal. (this redirect happens only on the first access in my experience so far).

As the default authentication method for the XS applications in the HANA Cloud Platform is to use the SAP Identity service (SAP ID service), then to use all the pages on my site you need to logon using the SAP ID service (which is your SCN account ID). This enables the “SDN World of Points” and “Where in the World Are You” pages on my Portal site. This makes sense as I want only SCN members on my map which is enabled by the SAP ID service.



The above pages will be hidden if you have not logged onto my Portal Site.


Another updated page on my portal site covers the statistics from the @SCNblogs twitter feed. The new page features a blog published in May this year that mentions ABAP. The blog from Paul Hardy is titled

Mastering SAP Technologies 2015 Melbourne

but the SCN URL mentions the killing of ABAP.

And this blog generated a number of clicks from the @SCNblogs twitter feed. I know this as I have an SQL Anywhere based process to collect the data from twitter and the shared BITLY links used by the @SCNblogs account. Screen shot below of Pauls blog that received the highest number of URL BITLY clicks and from the most countries. The page is hosted by SAP Lumira Cloud which will be saying goodbye at some point but it is straight forward to include in my Portal site right now. Screenshot below of the top blogs for @SCNblogs/bitly links for May 2015.


Let’s Encrypt

An issue I had previously with the HANA Cloud Portal was using the Chrome (and other) browsers refusing to mix HTTP (unencrypted) and HTTPS (encrypted) web services. I had originally come to use SQL Anywhere mainly for its spatial capabilities but have been so impressed I use it for many other things and for a number of pages on my Portal site. I find it a genius database that enabled me to achieve a lot more than the spatial features that initially attracted me to this platform (so much more than a traditional database in my mind that I’ll call it a platform to build other stuff :)). For my original site I used openssl to generate the HTTPS/SSL certificates required for me to trust my Portal site. However for anyone else who had not imported my certificates to their browsers there would be an issue of trust. Up until now (to my knowledge) there has not been a free method to get a signed certificate that is trusted by the most widely used browsers until the LetsEncypt service arrived. LetsEncrpt is focused on automating the process to allow HTTPS/SSL/encrypted traffic to public websites. A google search lead me to the process where a manual signing of CSR could be achieved. This allowed me to get LetsEncrypt to sign my SQL Anywhere CSR created by the createcert command.

At the time of updating this blog then the @SCNblogs twitter feed is frozen in time due to “technical issues”. I have however included in my site a page to generate worldwide bitly click maps from the last 5 tweets. (time will tell if/when @SCNblogs starts tweeting again if my page will update :)). Screenshot of the page below, whereby selecting ONE row the bitly click links will be mapped. My SQL Anywhere blog Choropleth maps of @SCNblogs links and crime data using SQL Anywhere covers how I map the bitly clicks and I use the Let’s Encrypt certificates on my SQL Anywhere web server service.


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      Author's profile photo Vera Gutbrod
      Vera Gutbrod

      Hi Robert!

      Great contribution. Your blog is of course accepted for the movie challenge and you will receive SCN points and the badge at about end of this week.

      Kind regards and thanks


      Author's profile photo Amir Blich
      Amir Blich

      Excellent post Robert.

      Thanks for the time you've invested in this blog and the level of details.

      Can your site be shared publicly?



      Author's profile photo Robert Russell
      Robert Russell
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Vera and Amir,

      Thank you for kind comments about my blog.

      I have chosen to publish publicly but will not "advertise" it's presence that much as I do rely on a SQL Anywhere developer instance and not sure how the license relates to using it in this way. My intention was to learn more about SAP software and using SQL Anywhere for demo and testing. Also it only runs on a AWS EC2 micro instance with 600mb so not exactly production ready, so performance is for one user πŸ™‚

      Its an SCN World Portal Site

      I have tested on a Mac. With Chrome/Firefox & Safari (also my iPad2) the initial links on Safari may redirect to setup trust & the back button would return to my site.

      I have added a "Welcome" page that explains the need to "trust" my https SQL Anywhere services (I am not paying for any certificates myself πŸ™‚ ). Then all the services in the site should work.

      Thanks again.