#SAP Inside Track, Walldorf 2019 – Experiences, Learnings and Reflections – #sitWDF
2016: The first SAP CodeJam I ever attended was way back in 2016, when I was a student in Singapore. Over the course of the day, under the leadership of Craig Cmehil, I came to realize the importance of attending CodeJams on a regular basis. CodeJams present developers with a platform to experiment with a variety of recent SAP technologies under the guidance of an expert. It helps so much to have someone take a look and help one get un-stuck especially when one is just starting out. Oh well, don’t we all run into issues now and then, even if we are not technically newbies? 😊
In addition, attending CodeJams come with the added benefit that one could also develop applications in an area that they have never been exposed to before. Most of these hackathon-esque activities are carried out on developer systems for which we receive special access (for *free* ). Isn’t this alluring enough to TYOD (take-your-own-device) and head to the nearest SAP CodeJam that is happening near your city?
2017, 2018: To be honest, I was pretty much unaware of SAP Inside Tracks three years ago. It was when I decided to change continents and continue my professional journey in the EU, in cozy little Luxembourg, that I stumbled upon my first SAP Inside Track Walldorf (the mothership edition) in 2018 (Thank you, Twitter!). I had attended sitWDF and sitFRA as a participant in 2018 and was absolutely amazed by the Community fervor and enthusiasm. This, along with some active participation on Twitter helped open up a entire universe of SAP enthusiasts who meet up regularly to participate, share ideas and learn from one another via SAP Inside Track events and Stammtisch’s around the globe.
This year I had chosen to submit a presentation proposal at sitWDF which, to my pleasant surprise, made it to the final SIT agenda! *yay* This also meant that that I could devote some time, experiment with new things and come up with a demo for my talk! Thanks to everyone who encouraged and guided me along the way to do so – Prof. Jorge Sanz, Craig Cmehil, Abdel Dadouche, Bob Caswell and Manjunath Chandrashekar for your invaluable support.
24th January 2019: One thing that I love the most is traveling, and combining long train journeys with books to read is by far my favorite way to kick off any vacation, staycation or in this case SIT-cation.
Traveling from Luxembourg to Walldorf by train takes over 5 hours, but when you have enough books to catch up on and if you ensure you are adequately caffeinated along the way, it would not seem so tiring at all.
25th January 2019: CodeJam
I had signed up to attend the SAP CodeJam – this time the topic was ‘ABAP on SAP Cloud Platform’ that was conducted by Andre Fischer. The session included several hands-on topics that we could experiment with in the development environment that was shared with us.
Not only did we get a chance to create ABAP console applications and exposed Core Data Services, but also to experiment with the development of HTTP services and communication with external APIs from the ABAP environment. Thank you, SAP Community, for taking the time and organizing CodeJams such as these – it is a great way to get in touch with the experts and get an understanding of what lies in the product roadmap as well.
Why attending CodeJams is fun:
- CodeJam is a community-developer event much like the SIT’s themselves
- It is a great way to access (special) developer edition softwares or platforms
- If you are passionate about side-projects, this is a great opportunity to seek help/advice from the experts or from fellow-participants
- Last but not least, CodeJams help developers to connect and learn from each other, one may even come up with new ideas to innovate at work just by interacting with other 😀
26th January 2019 a.k.a D-Day:
It was a chilly winter morning at Walldorf where ROT-03 was bustling with activity. The hashtag #sitWDF already seemed to be trending for several hours now and I was certain it would continue for days and weeks to come.
I was handed the sitWDF badge at the entrance desk and was so happy to see the words ‘Speaker’ against my name written on it. This is surely one for the keeps (er, not really, as I had to return it on my way out but hey, at least I have a picture).
Participant at sitWDF 2018, Speaker at sitWDF 2019
A couple of highlights not to be missed:
The sticker table – #shareyourstickers – One of the first that I had seen and heard of. When Matthias Wild tweeted about this new addition to sitWDF this year, I was already on my way to Walldorf and missed the chance of contributing to the sticker round-up.
I found some cool stickers and badges from different SIT events, I also snagged a couple of them! This is indeed a great idea and I hope this continues at sitWDF and other SAP Inside Track events as well.
Were you able to spot the raspberry pi sticker amidst the rest?
Twitter Wall – Several monitors that had #sitWDF and #sapcommunity hashtags being tracked and their associated tweets being displayed in the ROT-03 hallway. A fantastic idea to take a look who’s-tweeting-what about the event.
A pro-tip: Carry a power-bank along to events, as it helps you take pictures the whole day especially if you are one who solely relies on taking pictures from your mobile, without having to worry about the battery dying. Well, as you may have guessed, my phone was not alive for too long after this and some of the pictures below have been borrowed for this blog (come with due credit).
**drum roll** 🥁
SAP Inside Track Walldorf 2019 – Sessions
1. Keynote: Free beer or headache – Are you doing Open Source right? – Frank Köhntopp
The emphasis of this talk revolved around how companies are moving towards Open Source and why security becomes crucial. A single open-source project may have more than 2000 contributors (as was shown with two very creative Python scripts that pulled together all the images of the contributors of a certain open-source project) and taking necessary security measures/fixes becomes important to everyone involved in developing and maintaining the codebase. Also an important takeaway is to ensure that applications are running on the latest version of software at all times.
Credit: RonaldK – @SBasisCheck
2. The Competitive Advantage of Cooperation – Why Nice Guys (should) Finish First – Volker Stöffler
This talk highlighted what Evolution and Social Structures really are, along with serving as an eye-opener for deep-philosophical concepts like Selection At Work amongst others. Cooperation between individuals was delineated via the mathematical notion of ‘Prisoner’s Dilemma’ and the subtle difference between cooperation and competition was also explained. Several instances where cooperation works and where it fails were described by Volker and it really struck a chord, as most of them were relatable real-life examples.
3. SAP Leonardo IoT Usecase Debrief – Experimenting with model deployment scenarios – Anusha Choory Balaji
Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to present a session at sitWDF. The overall idea was to elaborate on my winning entry from the openSAP Ideation Challenge in November 2018. The talk covered the usage of smart edge devices like sail-drones along with its integration points with SAP Leonardo and S/4HANA Suite. Some IoT/ model deployment scenarios were discussed and was also demonstrated via SAP Predictive Analytics and R, in the second part of the talk.
It was indeed a great experience getting to present my idea and also learning from the gurus at the same time. It not only gave me an opportunity to make my ideas heard, but also make my work seen at the same time. It also led me on the path to explore and experiment with new technologies and services within and beyond the SAP space. I hope to present longer and in-depth presentations in the IoT and Leonardo realm at some of the SAP Inside Tracks later this year.
4. Group Photo – Frank Köhntopp
We had a lovely group-picture taken after the talks planned for the AM. Thank you for the picture, Frank!Credits: Frank Köhntopp – @koehntopp
Credits: Heike Fiedler-Phelps – @HeikeFiedlerPhe
We had delicious burgers from a food-truck and I was kind of lucky to get the last vegetarian burger!🍔
5. Practice – Relax – Reactivate – Svea Becker
Post-lunch, I attended Svea Becker’s relaxation session where we learnt how to unwind, relax and also grooved to her tunes. I always believed and still believe that I have two left feet, but I somehow found the courage to attend her sessions as it helps to move my rusty joints once in a while. This was my second relaxation session that I had attended with Svea in the lead (the first was at sitFRA 2018), and I am pretty sure I was not the only one who benefitted from her sessions. Her enthusiasm is infectious and it made me re-think my (current, almost non-existent) dedication towards physical activities and exercise.
6. Creating apps with UI5 a.k.a Attack of the sitKIDS Robot – Tobias Hofmann
Tobias led us into what I would like to call the deep-dive into the SAPUI5 application life-cycle. From dev tools, testing frameworks, REST, Swagger and Code Coverage, to understanding what factors make a ‘Minimum Lovable Product’, this talk had it all. We were allowed to take a sneak-peek into Tobias’ private cloud – quite impressive (it makes me want to have a similar setup of my own).
Standing ovation to Tobias who managed to keep his composure and carry on with this presentation even though we were attacked by a sitKIDS robot. I was too busy trying not to laugh, was holding my sides and still trying to pay attention to the talk. I wish I had videos that captured the extra-terrestrial being’s interaction with the laser-focused Tobias.
Also, this is a good take-away from his talk. Applies to not just creating UI5 apps but in every other walk of life as well. 😉With all due credits to Tobias Hofmann – BridgingIT GmbH
7. What can you achieve in only 5 days with SAP – Twan van den Broek
The first session that I had attended of Twan was at sitFRA 2018, where he spoke about “nothing”. I was in splits, this was probably the best talk I have attended so far.
This year, I ensured that I attended his sitWDF presentation which was about innovating with SAP (Mobile Innovation Lab) in just 5 days. I loved that the entire theme was around the Legos, the truck that he put together for the event and of course, the brilliant usage of SAP ‘Legonardo’. The presentation was about how they are innovating rapidly with close interaction with customers, by using the latest technologies in the SAP Leonardo space that usually comprised of, but not limited to SAP Cloud Platform, IoT, Machine Learning/AI and SAPUI5.
8. The Rise of Multi-modal Databases – Vitaliy Rudnytskiy
Vitaliy took us into a mini time-travel to the 1970s and continued to the 201x (RDBMS to NoSQL to …), where we learnt about the evolution of databases, their origins and also the specific needs they catered to and fulfilled. We had participants that covered all possible age groups – the ABAP experts and at the same time participants who had not heard of the Y2K. It was quite interesting to understand the notion behind multi-modal databases and also to learn more about OrientDB. This talk definitely helped broaden my perspectives about databases in general and opened up an entirely new exploration path for me, personally. I look forward to experimenting with and building cool applications with these multi-modal databases.
Credits: Morten Wittrock – @mwittrock
9. CloudFoundry development with on-premise data – Volker Buzek
The talk by Volker was about the NodeJS API project aka the SAP AppRouter that helped expose on-prem data. It was a captivating talk that highlighted how data from SAP and non-SAP systems could be exposed via the Cloud Connector via a secure path to connect to a NodeJS application on Cloud Foundry on the SAP Cloud Platform. We took a wefie and I just edited Volker’s picture a bit to highlight that I was really present and was not making it all up. 😉
Credits: Volker Buzek – @vobu, Edits: Yours truly, me
10. ABAP Continuous Integration Plugin – Andreas Gautsch
Andreas spoke about his project – ABAP CI plugin for Eclipse which could help speed up ABAP development. It was an engaging presentation, it highlighted several aspects of the plugin itself and benefits that the plugin could help bring along – notably, the automation of repetitive tasks and for providing immediate feedback with respect to failed tests etc. The plugin has some cool features like visualization of the state of the source code, which could help in Test-driven Development and custom-coloring of ABAP projects among others.
Drones, robots, programs and functions! – the sitKIDS presentation was scheduled to the last one for the day where each kid (solo and teams) was asked to come up on stage and present his/her project. The projects included tiny robots that made cute sounds, robots that moved along a given path, bots that were programmed to wade their way though boxes either by navigating across the gaps or by jumping over obstacles. The second part of the presentation included Snap projects made by kids, they built programs that generated visual patterns on the screen. I also remember seeing function definitions and function calls being made within the Snap environment by children who were clearly not more than 7-9 years old and that was truly amazing.
All the sitKIDs were given goodie bags for their wonderful work and the speakers at sitWDF were also handed ‘speaker-presents’. This year, it was a choice of organic plant seeds(and soil) for wild SAP tomatoes or the fireflame SAP chilies. A thoughtful gift indeed. Thank you so much.
With an inspiration from the caricatures on Roland Kramer‘s slides at sitWDF, here is an illustration of myself, clearly elated with the fireflame chili seeds!
And, that is where we come to an end of the 2019 chapter of the SAP Inside Track Walldorf event.
Overall, it was a nice couple of days where I met some old friends and made new ones as well. However, there were a number of sessions I missed and also a number of amazing people whom I could not meet in person at sitWDF. I really hope I can attend more SIT events in 2019 (hopefully as a speaker!) and interact with more people from the SAP community.
As we wrap up another recap of SAP Inside Track Walldorf 2019, I would like to thank the sponsors, organizers and volunteers who made all this happen. The organizers and volunteers put in a lot of effort into the execution of these events, they are usually the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave the building. So, a shoutout to all the organizers of sitWDF – Daniel Koller, Svea Becker, Larissa Brinkmann, Matthias Wild, Andreas Huppert and Jitendra Kansal for making this event a memorable one for all of us.