Dear all

still WWI seems to be the tool with most of the interest here raising still many questions. Below only a small list of questions raised in this context are listed.

As well on regular basis questions are raised in context of

  • GLM
  • Report Distribution

 

The blogs:

WWI for Experts

and

WWI for Beginners

 

seems not helping the community.

 

The questions might be:

  • Is the tool to complex?
  • Is the demand from customer to complex?

 

Looking into future (and looking on the option of the e.g. using “Idea place” of SAP to share ideas):

  • What are your wishes of a future solution in S/4 HANA?
  • What could be simplified?? Optimized ?
  • What is missing?
  • etc.

Please share your ideas/doubts etc. By using this option: may be SAP can provide a better solution

 

This is a list of examples of threads in relation to WWI:

https://answers.sap.com/questions/122688/dynamic-text-output-issue.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/122687/wwi-error-in-display-of-released-report-in-cg50-an.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/118496/hyperlinks-in-wwi-template-using-phrase.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/114719/wwi-in-ehsm.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/100359/glm-printer-determination.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/92580/cg42-wwi-template-not-working-after-upgrade-to-sap.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/106728/fm-program-to-read-parameter-symbol-data.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/104557/job-status-in-cg5z.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/60455/sap-glm-large-document-sizes.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/128802/cg54-parameter-user-entry-field-issue.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/132793/changing-of-wwi-anchor-roots.html

https://answers.sap.com/questions/130797/using-ehs-report-comparison-with-o365-word-2016-re.html

 

 

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5 Comments

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  1. Mark Pfister

    Hi Christoph,

    I can think of multiple reasons why people struggle so much with WWI so much.

    • For WWI Server installation
      • Unwillingness to read the existing documentation
      • WWI Servers are in between worlds: You need SAP EHS and Basis Experts, as well Windows Server and Office Experts to set it up. In big companies these are normally different departments. It is almost impossible to find the skill-set in one person – at least I have never seen one.
      • no best practice document is available from SAP. The Cookbook is good – but contains all possible ways how to set up WWI and is therefore not a best practice document
      • There is no training available for setting up WWI
      • It is complex
    • For WWI Layouting
      • Unwillingness to read the existing documentation
      • Most people do not understand that this is basically it’s own programming language
      • People think they can learn it in a week
      • There’s no book on how to code WWI
      • Only online learning from SAP is provided
      • There’s tons of really horrible WWI coding out there. And this is where people learn from
      • As a programming language it has the worst possible IDE – MS Word build into SAP 🙂
    • For both
      • It’s build on MS Word technology
      • MS word was never build / designed to be an automate text creation tool
      • MS Word changes frequently

     

    Is the tool to complex?

    Is the demand from customer to complex?

    I deal with WWI for over 10 years. I have not yet come along a requirement that couldn’t be solved with it…

    It is a very powerful and therefore complex tool. If i do WWI layouting work I still learn new things. Do I love it – for sure not! It drives me nuts every now and then. It’s more a love hate relationship. But in the end you can create relay good results with it!

    Looking into future (and looking on the option of the e.g. using “Idea place” of SAP to share ideas):

    For S/4 that I want a tool with the same capabilities but:

    • No Microsoft word
    • No external tool / Server needed -> a 100% integrated solution
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  2. Christoph Bergemann Post author

    Dear Mark

    many thanks for your feedback. I can confirm most of your doubts (and your feedback on the several topics as well). From my point of view I would like to add this “issue”

    Using SE80 (and anything around ABAP) the SAP system as such is helping you to handle changes very good (you have transports, versions etc.). This is not the case in WWI.So if you do not document (somehow) what you do/work on (and which version is “active”) it can be a painful “ongoing support”

    Many people “ignore” that WWI has a history (currently WWI SP43 is in place). So many WWI reports have be generated with “old WWI” versions in the past. This adds complexity to WWI environment

    Personally. WWI does have some flexibility. But even if i always try to avoid to use the flexibility there are many case cases in the past in which we have had the need to set up “customer specific WWI report symbols).

    One such example is the “if/else/endif” story. This is nothing “WWI specific”. We know that from ABAP as well (and it is common for sap script and other techniques).  But it is not easy from “support point of view”. If you “simply” check the document you need to have “deep knowledge” of the WWI layout story (in combination with generation variant and other stuff) to explain why this (and not a different value) is printed in WWI.

    This complexity (i have the feeling) we can not avoid (even looking on S/4 HANA).

    So I agree. If there would be no server no Word no local WWI no gen WWI life can be much simpler. Currently: I have no idea how SAP will solve this topic (I might imagine a XML driven story in SAP.. but who knows).  As you may be know: with Enhancement packge ) there is the option available to use something different than WWI to print etc. BUT ALL IS CUSTOMER SPECIFIC. Never heard of somebody using this option

    Especially in the area of GLM at least: the tool provided by SAP must be flexible so that we can create whatever look and feel. Especially Labels are a “pain” factor in WWI (do not forget SOPs and all the otehre WWI repors you need)

    So let us hope (and corss fingers) that SAP might come up with a good idea for a follower of WWI

    C.B.

     

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    1. Mark Pfister

      Hello Christoph,

      Using SE80 (and anything around ABAP) the SAP system as such is helping you to handle changes very good (you have transports, versions etc.). This is not the case in WWI.So if you do not document (somehow) what you do/work on (and which version is “active”) it can be a painful “ongoing support”

      You have Versions for your WWI Templates and Include Templates. However these are limited to 100 versions – which is not enough unfortunately – at one point you would need to restart numbering with 0. This is really a thing SAP could change to make things more workable!

      You can import and export WWI templates so you do not need to do manual changes in the production system on the WWI Templates. But you need to change the generation variants – which can be hundreds.

      I would recommend:

      • to only use one active Version of a certain WWI template.
      • do WWI coding only in QA and transport (export / import) the changes to PROD
      • every change that you want to transport should be a new version
      • document your changes and coding in the WWI template – like you would with every other programming language

      But I agree – handling changes in WWI could be supported in a more integrated and straight forward way!

      This complexity (i have the feeling) we can not avoid (even looking on S/4 HANA).

      I agree – if you want a flexible layout with lots of logic in it you will end up with a more complex WWI coding. Same as in every other language.

      As you may be know: with Enhancement packge ) there is the option available to use something different than WWI to print etc. BUT ALL IS CUSTOMER SPECIFIC. Never heard of somebody using this option

      I have never seen a client using something else then WWI completely. Some create XML via WWI and print the XML.

       

      An XML based output would be a great thing for S4.

      Greets

      Mark

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  3. Jan Buchmann

    Hi Christoph

    Very interesting discussion you’ve started. I can agree to what you (and Mark) have stated before. Maybe just to add my two cents:

    WWI is indeed a powerful and flexible tool, but also incredibly complex. And for a total newbie, to be honest, totally scary. (MS Word generating data out of SAP…uhm…yeah, right)

    The Cookbook is an absolute must and a good starting point. But one can still get a bit lost. There is also plenty of other valuable documentation out there – most of it from yourself …;-). Whether it really is “unwillingness to read the existing documentation” as Mark stated – I don’t quite know. Perhaps to a certain extent. But because WWI is “just different”, it makes it time-consuming and frustrating to actually get going. It can take days (or weeks, as in my case) to even just get a „Hello World“ report.

    A best practice document would be awesome. There are so many different use cases which WWI can cover. But there are also really simple scenarios that do not require a highly sophisticated WWI landscape.

    Skillset is also a major obstacle. One almost requires a combined functional consultant + technical consultant + Basis administrator + Windows administrator. Good luck with this job hunt!

    Related to this, perhaps another aspect which I had faced in particular. If a project manager sees in an implementation project the requirement to develop reports, he will typically just throw some ABAPers at it. These poor guys will face a tough landing, since WWI has (almost) nothing to do with the rest of their ABAP world. In my mind, WWI reports should be developed by the EHS consultant instead and planned accordingly.

    Regards
    Jan

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  4. Christoph Bergemann Post author

    Dear Jan

    in context of “. But because WWI is “just different”, it makes it time-consuming and frustrating to actually get going. It can take days (or weeks, as in my case) to even just get a „Hello World“ report.”

    This finding from you is surprising to me. I will need may be need 30 min to get something like “Hello World “printed. If the person acting does not achieve this goal with in max 1 hour using WWI then the person should not start an EHS career (at least not a WWI career).

    The “x min” include: maintain data on spec. Prepare WWI layout. Prepare gen variant

    IN context of;

    “A best practice document would be awesome. There are so many different use cases which WWI can cover. But there are also really simple scenarios that do not require a highly sophisticated WWI landscape”

    I am sorry to say: WWI is one of the “hard core” applications in EHS. The issue is. it is used to generate whatsoever report…. (E.g. SDS, LAbel etc.) Therefore a kind of”best practise” document is nearly not possible. What you can do is to write down a list of (a kind of FAQ)
    1.) do it like that

    2.) don’t do it like that

    3.) and “test cases”(refer to my blog EHS WWI for beginners)

    In context of:

    “Skillset is also a major obstacle. One almost requires a combined functional consultant + technical consultant + Basis administrator + Windows administrator. Good luck with this job hunt!”

    Yes this is really the highest painpoint you have raised. Once again (in live system) we “struggle” with WWI (WWI server crashes etc. etc.).  Here the worst is to work on the “reason for this”. Even assuming that SAP will try to help you: the “local” issues you have to consider is “endless” (and this was shown once again in the last weeks in live system; Mark has talked as well about these kind of issues)

    This is one of the reasons why i “hate” the synchron approach in WWI. You have no chance to check:is any WWI server up and running (in mormal mode). You must always check “deepr” (this is waste of time etc.)

    In context of:

    “Related to this, perhaps another aspect which I had faced in particular. If a project manager sees in an implementation project the requirement to develop reports, he will typically just throw some ABAPers at it. These poor guys will face a tough landing, since WWI has (almost) nothing to do with the rest of their ABAP world. In my mind, WWI reports should be developed by the EHS consultant instead and planned accordingly.”

    You expect to much from a “project manager”. It strongly depends on the skills of the person. If the person is managing e..g. normally SAP SD driven projects then he need clearly help from you (acting as function or technical person) that ABAP is not WWI

    In context of

    “The Cookbook is an absolute must and a good starting point. But one can still get a bit lost. There is also plenty of other valuable documentation out there – most of it from yourself …;-). Whether it really is “unwillingness to read the existing documentation” as Mark stated – I don’t quite know.”

    My “WWI blogs” seems not to help (at leats once a month we have a new thread in context of WWI) the community. To a certain extent. some persons seems to have the trend: i start WWI (not really knowing the WWI basics) and then “crashes” most likely at first day. For ABAP: this is might be an approach; but for WWI: it is the wrong approach

    Honestly the sap online help is a “starter”. BUt even for a beginner:it is not good enough (the help gives you guidance; but that’s it)

    May be to add some more wishes to SAP:

    A follow up tool of WWI need to support these “core” processes:

    1:) we should be able to define whatsoever kind of layout

    2.) it must support bar code, logos etc.

    3.) it must support the process to retrieve data from data base (either EHS or other SAP modules)

    4.) the result should be stored in data base

    5.) can be used in e.g. GLM. report distribution

    6.) the customer should have the chance to “enhance” the solution (e.g. own report symbols)

    7.) we should not need a “gen Server” but must have some control on “generation” mechanism (to know that generation is ready etc)

    8.) especially the tool must support the many GLM needs (most complex part of WWI)

    etc. etc.

    May be you can add wishes (on that high level) as well

    C.B .

    PS: Last but not least: if you look on “market”. it is not easy to get an experienced EHS person EHS is generally a SAP module there it is helpful to have “chemical” background. This “skillset” is not easy to find.  For WWI: this adds challenges as well

     

    PPS

    Hello EHS world. I have not seen any trehad the last yeasr regarding the “relevance flag” (in context opf WWI). Are you satisfied how SAP solved the “change mark” topic?

    I ask this quesiotn becuase looking on a recent project I have once again seen a “customer specific solution” to handle the “relevance flag”

    PLease provide as well feedback on this topic (which is a must for MSDS generaiton.

     

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