SAP HANA Development
In this blog series you will find quotes, backgrounds, suggested further readings and other information related to my latest book SAP HANA 2.0, An Introduction published by SAP Press.
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Each chapter in the book starts with a quote (or two) and for the chapter about the SAP HANA developer persona, we quote a Dutch scientist and a Franciscan friar.
In reality, programming languages are how programmers express and communicate ideas—and the audience for those ideas is other programmers, not computers.
—Guido van Rossum – King’s Day Speech at the Dutch embassy, San Francisco 2016
You can read the whole (short) speech here (Let me introduce myself. I’m a nerd, a geek)
Leve de koning! (Long live the king!)
The popularity of the Python programming language has reached an all time high. According to the PYPL PopularitY of Programming Language Index, Python is firmly on the number one position (also on IEEE Spectrum). On the more established TIOBI index, Python is still number three behind C and and Java but is expected to reach the number one position in the next couple of years.
Of course, its recent popularity is all due to the usage of Python in data science projects and machine learning with NumPy, SciPy, PyTorch, Theano, Keras, PyBrain, PANDAS, and even Google’s TensorFlow. But Pyhon has been around for some time. Did you know, for example, that the first implementation of the Google search engine was also written in Python?
According to van Rossum himself, he wrote Python in December 1989 because he ‘was looking for a “hobby” programming project that would keep me occupied during the week around Christmas‘.
For his personal home page with more stories and advice how to correctly pronounce his name, see
Or watch van Rossum tell the Story of Python (thanks to Oracle Developer).
You can learn Python for free at
- Python for Data Science and AI, IBM, 82,000 enrolled
- Python for Everybody Specialization, University of Michigan (263,000 enrolled)
- Python for Data Science, UC San Diego on edX (230,000 enrolled)
- Introduction to Python for Data Science, Microsoft (413,000 enrolled)
- Introduction to Python: Absolute Beginner, Microsoft (350,000 enrolled)
- Introduction to Computer Science and Programming Using Python, MIT (1,1 million)
Clearly, Python is hot.
The name of the programming language was inspired by the Monty Python Flying Circus BBC television show from the early 70s.
For our younger readers, here is the famous parrot sketch. Should British humour not be your cup of tea, for a bit of song and dance, the Lumberjack song starts at 3:50. Apart from Python, the Flying Circus also inspired Brexit.
Simpler solutions are more likely to be correct than complex ones.
—William of Ockham (1285-1347/49)
Occam’s (Ockham) razor, paraphrased in different ways, also known as the lex parsimoniae or law of briefness | economy: Numquam ponenda est pluralitas sine necessitate. For the quote and the sources, see Wikiquote and for the full story the episode from In Our Time, BBC Radio 4 Podcast.
There are variations on the theme. Albert Einstein is often quoted with “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” (although the source is dubious, according to the Quote Investigator). Related also is the KISS design principle noted by the US Navy (see Wikipedia).
Bebeflapula explains and also addresses overfitting with machine learning. For the blog, see bebeflapula.blogspot.com/2019/09/occams-razor.html.
If you don’t care much for philosophy, here are handling and shaving tips for Occam’s Razor (full playlist).
The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads.
Included in the original manuscript but not included in the book for lack of space a third quote for the development chapter from a Bloomberg Businessweek interview with Jeff Hammerbacher, This Tech Bubble Is Different by Ashlee Vance (14 April 2011). In the interview Hammerbacher is described as a 23-year old math genius one year out of Harvard who started in 2006 as one of Facebook’s first 100 employees.
The poets among us will know that Hammerbacher paraphrases Allen Ginsberg HOWL, I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness. You can hear Ginsberg recite HOWL on YouTube or watch the movie.
In the original manuscript, a long list of references to other material was included, which for space constraints and other reasons did not made it to the final book.
The guides are categorized by task, by scenario, by environment; there is a lot to learn here.
List of development and modeling guides on help.sap.com/hana.
SAP Development Center
Apart from the documentation, there is also a lot of information freely available on the development center. Here (developer.sap.com), we find the hands-on tutorial that you can use to familiarise yourself with the different development topics.
We mentioned the FAQ knowledge base articles of SAP Support in the previous blog about SAP HANA Administration. However, this treasure trove is not only for operations but certainly just a relevant for development topics. For example, see notes:
- 2000002 – FAQ: SAP HANA SQL Optimization
- 2142945 – FAQ: SAP HANA Hints
- 2180165 – FAQ: SAP HANA Expensive Statements Trace
- 2124112 – FAQ: SAP HANA Parsing
- 2412519 – FAQ: SAP HANA SQL Trace Analyzer
- 2596466 – FAQ: SAP HANA XS advanced
- 2393013 – FAQ: SAP HANA Clients
- (many more)
On the topic of performance, there is also a dedicated guide (listed under Performance, not under Development of the SAP HANA documentation set).
SAP Training offers a 3-day course about SQL and SQLScript, updated for each SPS release. In this training you will learn about basis concepts, SQL logic containers, declarative and imperative logic, working with hierarchies, troubleshooting and best practices, and much more:
There is also a 3-day course about ABAP programming for HANA. In this training you will learn about taking ABAP to HANA, database independent code-to-data and HANA specific code-to-data, consuming ABAP objects in HANA, and more:
These are just two of the many courses available. For the complete developer learning journey, see
To avoid any “we recommend ourselves” marketing, other relevant SAP Press titles have not been included in the book. Otherwise, on the topic of development, we would certainly have mentioned and recommended:
- ABAP Development for SAP HANA – Gahm, Schneider, Swanepoel, Westenberger (2016)
- SAP HANA 2.0 Certification Guide – Application Associate Exam – Rudi de Louw (2018)
- SAP HANA XSA – Native Development for SAP HANA (2018)
- SQLScript for SAP HANA – Joerg Brandeis (2019)
- Data Modeling for SAP HANA 2.0 – Anil Bavaraju (2019)
Wait, There is More
So much information! Where to get started? For a concise, yet comprehensive overview, check out SAP HANA, An Introduction. In about 60 pages, we cover all there is to know about SAP HANA development to get a good overview. It will also help you prepare to make the move from SAP HANA 1.0 to SAP HANA 2.0.
You will learn about
- the developer and the modeler roles, and about the tools used
- we cover SQL and SQLScript
- ABAP with code push-down
- native development domain with extended application services (XS) and related topics like OData, InA, Core Data Services (CDS), HANA Deployment Infrastructure (HDI), and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM)
- the NoSQL Document Store
- the SAP Cloud Platform, Cloud Foundry, and the SAP HANA Service
- the different client interfaces (e.g. ODBC, JDBC, Python, Go)
- SAP HANA express edition with the free developer license,
- and also SHINE, the demo and training model
SAP HANA 2.0 – An Introduction
Just getting started with SAP HANA? Or do have a migration to SAP HANA 2.0 coming up? Need a quick update covering business benefits and technology overview. Understand the role of the system administrator, developer, data integrator, security officer, data scientist, data modeler, project manager, and other SAP HANA stakeholders? My latest book about SAP HANA 2.0 covers everything you need to know.
Get it from SAP Press or Amazon:
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Denys van Kempen