Leaving the Shire
“If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ll ever be” said Sam.
Departing from a 15 year sequestration comfortably scribing notes about HANA SQL in my hobbit-hole, I had to journey out to new lands, trekking through winding hallways and communing with distant races such as the wise Product Managers, the stalwart Partner Engineers, the graceful Marketers, and the lofty Chief Product Expert–all to acquire Insight.
While my ultimate quest was to learn more about the life and times of the legendary SAP users rumored to possess the arcane ability to develop custom/third-party solutions to access HANA data, my role on the journey was shifting imperceptibly from the grey area of Authoring to the clean white page of Designer.
I’d set out on a road to listen and learn about these heroes, their goals, their responsibilities, their pain points, and their hopes. Inspired, I’d returned with a better idea of what things were like out there (for them), and of how things could be (for them).
I still help document the SQL API, me and a small band of journeyers who know the value of good best practices like runnable examples, good templates, and Elevenses.
And like some Precious artifact that I fiddle in my pocket, I’ll never give up writing, anyway. But in 2020, I do mean to influence more at the Design level in all I do.
Not alone and not on my own strengths, but by listening first and last.
Hey, to that end…
What can the User Assistance team (those of us who write help content) do to improve the User Experience for custom/third-party developers?
Oracles within SAP – those who work directly WITH and for this persona — sure have some ideas. And I aim to implement a few! But I also invite insights from without as well. From you. Feel free to leave your own ideas below, or email me at my name (with a period in between) @sap.com.
What’s new in the SQL Ref guide?
Since I last posted, no new version of SAP HANA has been released. However, we did re-release a version of the SPS 04 SQL Ref guide with a lot of corrections (sorry about that) based on feedback we got from within and without.
Of course, if you are using ye old HANA Service (cloud), you’d want this version.
How about some Help Portal tips?
As always, a couple tips on Help Portal you likely wouldn’t know existed… because some things are only intuitive once you figure how to do them. 😉
Create a custom PDF
If there’s a chapter or a set of topics from various sections of a guide that you want to keep handy offline, you can create a custom PDF on the fly.
To do this, load the guide in Help Portal and use the Download the PDF widget to start things off. Then, use the left pane to choose your topics, and then finish by clicking the Create PDF button at the bottom of the selection pane.
TIP: There’s a max limit of 100 topics…
Save all or part of the table of contents (TOC) – as links
While super helpful for copying portions of to blog posts or emails, it is a little fiddlier to do. In fact, I hope it still works when you try it because it’s a bit of a hack.
- Open the guide you want the TOC for.
- In the URL field of your browser, replace ‘viewer’ with ‘doc‘ and replace the last long cryptic .html value with index.html.
(If your URL didn’t have a long cryptic .html string at the end, just add the index.html directly.)
You should get a tidy HTML page version of the TOC like the one below, with the links indented to reflect their relationship to other content in the guide.
Feel free to contribute your own tips below and I’ll incorporate them in my next post as well.