Ten things that are changing at developers.sap.com
The SAP Developer Relations team has been busy the last few months re-designing the web experience for visitors to the Developer area. We’ve just published the first of many updates to come this year and here are some of the reasons to have a look:
1. Github-based tutorials and user feedback
We have changed the process and tooling for publishing online tutorials to use a Github-based system. The tutorial documents are authored using markdown, published in a public Github repository and our web infrastructure looks for any new or changed tutorials every fifteen minutes. We’ve also incorporated a continuous integration tool that is triggered on every commit/push to test for spelling errors, broken links and a few other checks as well.
The tutorials we are creating are curated, structured content which will walk you through the first steps of working with SAP products and technology and gradually build up so that by the end of a series you are ready to try and implement something on your own. The individual tutorials are arranged in groups, and the groups make up a tutorial series.
While the tooling and processes make life easier for tutorial authors, using a public repository makes it simple for users to provide feedback by creating an “issue” in Github. Establishing this two-way communication channel has already helped tune up a few of our first tutorials published, and can (and should) also be used by visitors to request new topics for the various tutorial series.
We have been busy creating tutorials using our new system for a number of SAP products and topics like SAP HANA, SAP HANA Cloud Platform, SAPUI5, SAP Web IDE, IoT to name a few (with many more ideas in our backlog). The first interface we built for the tutorials is a “finder” (as we call it) to allow you to quickly filter by product, topic or experience level. You can also search the entire catalog based on keywords (or a combination of the above).
We’ve found this to be very useful if you know what you are looking for (a particular tutorial or subject). One could consider this the “power user” view, but identifying the starting point for a particular series may require navigating back through the series links. As a result – we created the Tutorial Navigator.
3. The Tutorial Navigator
As mentioned above, we wanted to make it fast and simple to find a tutorial series of interest and dive right in. In the tutorial navigator, all you need to do is select your experience level (for a topic of interest) and you will see tutorial groups across all products and topics. You simply need to click on a group and you see the tutorials in an ordered set. On the page are tabs to select the other experience levels if you need to move up or down in the level of complexity.
Most of you are probably familiar with the “how-to” documents currently found in SCN. To make it easier to maintain and find those documents the tutorial navigator will soon host Github-based how-to documents with a tutorial catalog-like finder for filtering/searching. For now, there are links to current SCN how-to docs. In the future, how-to documents that are stand-alone (not part of a series) will be found in the How-To tab of the tutorial navigator. The how-to documents found in SCN today that do form a series will show up in the “Tutorials” tab of the tutorial navigator.
Having tutorials is great, but to be really useful, you need access to the product used. We’ve collected the main developer-related trials and downloads on one page to make it easier to get up an running.
The new concept for product and topic pages is a like the cockpit of a jet aircraft. Everything you would want (access to tutorials, trials, downloads, documentation, product info, demos, blogs, Q&A etc.) should be at your finger tips. We’ve taken the first steps to create the concept with more changes to come.
7. Events pages
The Developer Relations group runs a lot of hands-on events each year all around the globe. SAP CodeJam events are 5-6 hour hands-on time with an SAP expert across a number of topics. Check out the page to see the available topics, currently scheduled events and a link and instructions on how to request a CodeJam in your city.
SAP TechEd is clearly our biggest hands-on event, and we have big plans in store. Check out the Developer TechEd page for some initial descriptions and check back often as plans update.
We also present at a number of third-party events, so check out the Other Events page to find out where you can meet up with SAP Developers.
Consistent with the “cockpit” experience is the aggregation of developer focused resources. We’ve added pages where you can find and view SAP CodeTalks (short videos with product and topic experts), Links to online documentation and an archive of the monthly SAP Developer News (and you can sign up for the news distribution as well).
You may have seen the recent press release and blog from Steve Lucas on the Apple-SAP partnership. We’ve created a developer focused page which links to help you getstarted with iOS development, SAP HANA Cloud Platform and an FAQ. More details on what this means for developers is coming soon, so you will want to check back periodically to stay up to date.
10. Simpler navigation
Last but not least is faster navigation within the developer area. In addition to touch-device friendly top-level navigation, we’ve added a floating navigation bar to allow you to quickly jump from one area of the developer destination to another.
This is just the beginning of the changes you will see rolled out in 2016. Also in the plans are gamification, personalization, many many more tutorials, how-to documents refinements on page structure and navigation as well as some special surprises…