This weekend there was the SAP Inside Track Walldorf – organized by Katarina Fischer Fischer and Daniel Koller. After they welcomed all participants, Malin Liden from SAP gave an amazing talk about the value of community as “next competitive battleground”. You can see her in this picture taken by  Fred Verheul.

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I hope, Fred, that it is OK that I “stole” your picture from your Twitter-post. I was so focused on this talk so I forgot to take a picture.

Then the talks started. Tsovinar Chugaszyan told us news from HTML5DevConf this autumn in San Francisco. She covered HTTP/2, Web Sockets, Internet of Things vs. Web of Things. Many of her messages have been very inspirational as the following: “fall in love with problems, not solution.” I interpret this sentence that I have to raise the bar higher – to achieve extraordinary results I have to solve extraordinary problems.

She ended telling about one funny approach of alcohol-based UX Design testing: A web site must be so simple that a drunken user can use it; http://theuserisdrunk.com/

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I am always impressed about the creativity of UX people.

After an exquisite lunch there was a „marketplace“ where all participants could walk around at some information points. A managed to listen to three different presentations:

  • Martin Fischer presented SAP Gateway for Microsoft which is a new SAP product. He showed an Excel plugin that allows importing data from OData services to spreadsheets and even allows CRUD methods. I really liked this approach since it allows to build Microsoft solutions quickly on top of existing Fiori apps. This gives me hope: perhaps SAP will finally learn how to develop solutions that are easily to integrate.
  • I visited the information point of Espresso Tutorials. Their concept is different from SAP Press books: they focus on eBooks that contain practical guidelines. They are shorter and hopefully more up to date than books which are more time consuming to write. They also have translators who which translate the eBooks into English. I will definitely use my voucher to look into their book portfolio.
  • Daniel Koller presented a session about HANA-based IT Infrastructure Monitoring at SAP. This is a really interesting approach to collect and evaluate huge amounts of operational data in computing centers. With those methods you can control operations and perform root cause analysis. At this point there was an interesting discussion about “correlation” and “explanation”. At the moment we are good at calculating correlations in data sets but this this something different than explaining a phenomenon.
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At this time I decided to propose a talk about logical abduction at the next Inside Track (see below) and hope that it gets accepted. I already blogged about this topic and an application in the area of rule systems: Root Cause Analysis of Rule System Execution.


Later Martin Fischer presented a talk about Splash and BUILD – new prototyping tools for modern UIs. From my perspective BUILD is really promising. At the moment users can tests it in a Customer Engagement Initiative. The Fiori capabilities are not that strong compared to other tools like Axure but I think it is just a matter of time when BUILD will be the most advanced tool

After that I listened to a talk by Maximilian Lenkeit who presented his session from Barcelona “Building SAP Fiori-like Apps in the Internet of Things Era. He showed how to build 3D graphic with D3.js, showed a Web Socket scenario with external sensors and explained how to build custom controls. He answered many questions from the participants about technical details.

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I liked that he took the time to look at the HTML code to explain isometric perspective and isometric projection for creating the 3D effects.

I took some notes about Do’s and Dont’s for creating custom controls from his talk:

  • The most important message is that you wrap your code into a custom control.
  • He recommended to use sap.ui.core.HTML and to do the rendering in onAfterRendering. This has the advantage that the DOM tree is preserved after invalidation.
  • You give the data to a property in the custom control as JSON model. He warned to share JavaScript objects due to lifecycle problems.
  • He recommended using theme parameter especially the method sap.ui.core.theming.Parameters.get().
  • D3 works fine with UI5, if you use other libraries you should put those into one file to make them compliant with the UI5 loader.
  • He showed how to propagate events out of control to the surrounding app and recommended to use D3 scaling to achieve responsibility.

Maximilian is a really good and competent presenter and I would like to read more blogs from him.

The SAP Inside Track ended with a “What’s New for Developers” by Thomas Grassl. He gave many interesting news: SAP organized 120 Code Jams in this year. And he announced a new SAP Gateway system ES4 is available with IDES data. Later developers used the chance to get into discussion f.e. about the future of openUI5.

“Mind the Gap!”

I decided to offer a short session a session about my experience with latest SAP technology. I was working with those technologies in the last years: HANA, BRFplus, ABAP Core Data Services, Personas, Fiori, Analytical Fiori Apps…

I made the experience that the new technology is problematic. In the past the SAP portfolio was smaller and better integrated. Today there we have to care about browers, browser versions, browser modes. Not everything is covered by the PAM – there are exceptions for different databases.

A typical example are ABAP Core Data Services in NW 7.40. In my blog entry Some Best Practices for ABAP Core Data Services I described features that are no completely available in the PAM. Moreover there are some errors that can lead to severe software logistic problems. You have to know those restrictions otherwise your SAP implementation project can get into severe trouble. In this picture taken byHendrik Neumann I explain use cases and problems when using ABAP CDS.

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Another problem is that more and more solutions have a heterogeneous architecture. If you want to develop an analytical Fiori app using the Analytical Path Framework there is complex installation prohttps://experience.sap.com/news/want-build-better-user-experience/cess: Analytical Path Framework – Installation The challenges of installation and administration are:

  • you need different skills: Web Dispatcher, HANA, XS Engine, Fiori Frontend Server…
  • usually different administrators have to work together
  • a smoke test can only be done if all activities have been performed correctly – in many cases an administrator has problems to verify that everything has been done correctly
  • in case of a problem there the feedback from the system is disappointing: you see a blank screen, you press a button without a result and so on. Without browser developer tools you will have problems to analyze a problem. But which administrator can analyze HTTP traces?

To let me mention my experiences – every new technology have errors, restrictions and limitations. In the last months I made the experience that the quality often is not as it should be and OSS notes are published too late.

If you implement latest SAP technology I recommend the following:

  • study OSS note carefully
  • give you administrators time to understand the technology
  • developers and admins have to work together to perform root cause analysis
  • use sandboxes to try out changes in complex scenarios
  • be prepared that  many things will not work – if your project schedule is too tight you will fail.

These advices are well known but I really give the advice to keep them in mind because I made the experience that often the quality of latest SAP technology is not as good as it should be. So we need to take this into account and do proper risk management. SAP does a great job to educate developers about this technology but IMHO sometimes forgets about the administrators who have to install and run the new technlogy.

sitFRA is coming!

If you liked SAP Inside Track Walldorf or if you got curious about this event you should save the date: In march 2016 there will be the SAP Inside Track Frankfurt – which was announced at SAP Inside Track Walldorf by Hendrik and Christian. I am already looking forward to it. The SAP Inside Track is like a family reunion and it is always great to meet peers and share knowledge.

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Last year sitFRA was a huge success and I am sure that it will be the same in 2016. The official announcement of this event will be found in this blog space, soon.

Summary

SAP Inside Track Walldorf proved the concept of community events is relevant and important more than ever. We use those events to share knowledge and our experiences, to expand our business network, to discuss latest SAP technology, to learn about relevant non-SAP technology and to get inspiration. It is the community that makes this possible. SAP Inside Tracks are organoized and visited by people who are passionate about what there are doing. They are curious and want to learn new things but also want to share their knowledge.

It was an awesome event and I really liked the UI focus of SAP Inside Track Walldorf – unfortunately I could not attend all sessions because of the parallel tracks. But I used the time for discussion with experts like Denise Nepraunig. I am glad the the SAP community is getting more and more diverse and more women are talking at technical events.


And last but not least I want to thank the organization team as wenn the corporate sponsors BridgingIT and Espresso Tutorials for making this event possible. All speakers got a Glühwein from Katarina – which she praised at best of its kind. I will definitely inform you via Twitter if she is right. By the way – Twitter is always a good opportunity to follow an SAP Inside Track in case you can not attend. This can be the case because parallel to sitWDF the SAP Inside Track Istanbul took place and according to what I could read it was a huge success.

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