Recap TechEd Las Vegas and SAP Portal news
This blog describes what TechEd Las Vegas offered for people interested in the SAP Portal. After taking a short vacation after TechEd, here is now my blog and view at TechEd in general and what it offered for professionals working with SAP Portal.
The event took place in Las Vegas, at the Venetian. I attended TechEd once as an SAP Mentor and as a speaker in the ASUG track. Being an SAP Mentor gives you a unique inside view as Mark and Aslann do their best to offer special sessions to us Mentors.
This is really great, but also means that Mentors have even less time to go to sessions, the exhibitor hall, the networking sessions, demo stations and so on. I volunteered to help out at the hands-on session PMC260. Doesn’t sound like a huge task? It’s a 2 hours session that was held 3 times. Makes 6 hours, plus the two one-hour ASUG sessions I was involved in. Makes 8 hours presenting, counting also the 3 expert networking sessions (only 1 was planned, helped out in the other two), sums up for a total of 9 ½ hours. Have mercy with me that I cannot give a complete overview of all the SAP Portal related sessions.
Full house with SAP TechEd, Sybase Tech Wave and InterBike going on at the same time. Social media was everywhere at TechEd. The screensavers of the laptops were configured to show a twitter stream, knowledge quest was everywhere, QR codes helped, SAP published TechEd apps for your smartphone of choice.
Session PMC260 – Experience SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.3 in Action From an Admin Perspective
This 2 hours hands-on session was held by John Polus (13 consecutive TechEds!!) and Aviad Rivlin from SAP. Planned to be offered two times, a 3rd session was offered because of the huge demand. Every session was full (ok, except the last session on Friday, but 2/3 full on a Friday at 8am is not bad).
The session covered the new admin features of Portal 7.3. The killer feature to-be is the system sync from SLD: no more “stupid” system creation in the portal landscape, including typos, wrong port, SAP client, and so on. System changes are automatically synced. Also nice are the new wizard for iView creation, role upload and creation. I’m confident that these features will make the life of every portal admin easier and minimize the number of errors.
What was my role? Basically I stood in the back or walked around, looking for someone lost in the tasks or asking a question. The session also features THE answer to the most important question when thinking about going for Portal 7.3: Business Packages and ECC versions.
Portal 7.3 needs SAP Business Suite 7 or above (which – I think – translates to ECC 7 EHP4). At the end of the hands-on session Aviad gave an overview of the Enterprise Workspaces.
PMC231 – SAP NetWeaver Portal as a Launch Pad for Mobile Applications
The sessions was given by Fabio from Petrobras, I was a co-speaker at this ASUG session, presenting my architecture of the mobile solution Petrobras implemented for a mobile SAP Portal. The session was full, showing that every session that covers mobility is of high interest. The nice thing about the solution presented is that you can have a mobile solution without the need of Sybase, 3rd party software or native apps. Web-enabled access to portal content in a mobile browser friendly version is already possible and gives instant results.
Judging from feedback I received the content presented is “hot” and some interesting takeaways were presented, hoping that everybody learned something.
PMC227 – The New Signature Design in SAP NetWeaver Portal 7 EHP2
In my session I presented the EHP2 for Portal 7.0, gave an overview of the signature design and how you can customize it: the easy way (both in terms of effort and later SAP support) and the hard way (writing your own design / functionality from scratch). Almost nobody at the audience already runs EHP2 or 7.3, so I hope that the audience got some good tips.
PMC220 – How to Amaze Your Portal Users by a Great User Experience
This session was held by Sven Kannengiesser from SAP. He is in the SAP Portal team responsible for the hardcore portal implementations. Meaning: the customer does want to use the SAP Portal, but not in the way SAP planned it to be used. So he is doing the “heavy” customizations. Heavy meaning: when you know HTML, CSS and how to write Java code that leverages the portal functionalities (API, JPA) it’s not over complicated, but still time consuming. To give you an impression: The screenshots he showed were from a current project, 6 month time, 3 Java developers, 2 designers for HTML and CSS and usability / requirement gathering staff. The problem here is of course the support. As soon as you do something similar and run into a bug / error the support offered by SAP will make you wish for a standard portal.
As there is a demand in knowing how to customize the portal in a way demonstrated, maybe SAP can publish some sample code here at SCN.
CD250 – ASUG Influence Council: SAP Guidelines for Best-Built Applications
This ASUG session presented the best-build applications guideline SAP publishes on SCN. http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/bestbuiltapps
The book has an impressive downloaded number, but still isn’t known to every customer or partner. Richard Probst and Joerg Nalik explained the idea behind the book, how it is written (agile) and what are the expectations from them and SAP on how the book should be used. The problem is the speed of change SAP is throwing at their current portfolio. New products like Gateway and SUP change the architecture completely; new corporate recommendations for Web Dynpro or HTML5 make it hard to have a definitive guideline. What is valid today may be obsolete in 6 months.
Even with these ongoing changes, this is the book every developer and architect has to know and use it every day! You don’t need to buy it: it’s available online, as ePub, as a Wiki you can also collaborate on the SCN forum.
Of course, HTML5, mobile (browser) access and SAP consumption is not only possible with the SAP Portal. This can be done also in ABAP: ICF service (REST, JSON anyone?) or BSP. If you want that your mobile users access directly you ABAP system this is a solution you can consider.
Other session focused on REST or on the new HTML5 UI SAP is developing. It is obvious that mobility and accessibility by different devices has reached SAP. There are many ways of making SAP more open and not always you need Sybase.
Sybase Tech Wave
In parallel to TechEd happened Sybase Tech Wave. As a registered TechEd participant you gained access to the lecture session. This wasn’t well advertised, but you only had to go down one floor and check the session schedule at the huge screen installed there.
SAP Portal on device
The SAP Portal team demonstrated the SAP Portal on device. It’s a mobile version of the SAP Portal, giving the user access to basic portal functionality like UWL. The interesting point here is that the slides presented included Sybase. Now, why do you need to have Sybase SUP for accessing the portal via the browser? You don’t need to, but it looks like the corporate strategy from SAP is to place Sybase on everything that includes mobility. I believe that the mobile SAP Portal without Sybase won’t survive, so how will the mobile version integrate with SUP? Maybe by using the hybrid web container, as the authentication handler or by having a very smart offline version of the portal for an offline sync of the UWL items?
Expert networking sessions
The Expert sessions are a nice way to share and interact with experts in an informal way. The problem is the sound and the number of attendees. Nevertheless, I spent a lot of time at this kind of session and learned a lot. Looking closely you can even attend a session of important people.
The SAP Mentors had their own lounge (lounge 5), so if you wanted to see an SAP Mentor in action, this was an excellent opportunity! As blogged earlier, I gave a session about mobile user management for the SAP Portal. Didn’t really work out as planned, so lesson learned: don’t do a demo on a new laptop. But I will do the same demo at SAP Inside Track São Paulo that will occur next Friday, 7th October.
John Moy giving his expert session on how to develop mobile applications with jQuery mobile
The other 2 expert sessions I was involved into weren’t planned: they just happened. I waited together with fellow SAP Mentor Butch NcNally for Yari Zur to give his session about the new UI at SAP. He didn’t show up, so Butch and I took the opportunity to host a spontaneous session. Directly after this session Butch gave a session about SAP Portal at ASUG. As Harald Reiter joined the session I couldn’t resist. Even won a nice ASUG bag (that I gave later away as a gift in my ASUG session PMCXYZ).
Midnight mobile madness
Google, Motorola and SAP presented this evening event on Wednesday (only by registration). Motorola used it to present their mobile portfolio, SAP to show how to develop mobile applications with Sybase. Lots of good food, free drinks (+wine +beer), lots of good questions (solution given by drinking more beer), lots of angry birds and of course: gifts (smartphones, angry birds and even a tablet).
The Sybase developer studio is Eclipse based, so prepare yourself to one more Eclipse installation on your computer. Other sessions and information gained while connecting to people WebDynpro Java is dead, err, mean: not the strategic UI anymore, but SAP is working on an alternative to Web Dynpro ABAP: HTML5 UI.
The SAP Portal has > 10.000 installations, 63 customers are already running Portal 7.3; considering that the GA was at 30.5, this is impressive. As far as I know, these >10.000 installations does not translate to the same number of clients, this number is > 6.000. But I may be corrected.
The number of SAP Portal sessions wasn’t as high as last year’s TechEd or at this year’s ASUG annual conference at Orlando, but the sessions given focused more on advanced topics (integration, customization) instead running the portal (installation, administration). SAP HANA and mobility were omnipresent. A little bit more of it won’t hurt, as many attendees won’t be able to get their hands on HANA or Sybase for quite some time. Especially here in Brazil HANA will be unreachable for some time. The import tax urges companies to have their HANA installation abroad.
Mobility is a huge topic, but besides the hyped apps for normal end-users it was hard to find industry specific solutions.
The keynote was given by Vishal. As SAP Mentor you get special seating, right in front of the stage. And there was an impressive number of SAP Mentors!
During the keynote nothing really new was announced, the focus laid on how to implement and integrate new software like HANA.
In the keynote project orange was announced. This is the code name for running BW on top of HANA.
Also announced during the keynote was the site experiencehana.com. Take a look at fellow SAP Mentor laskdjflsdkjf blog’s to read more about it.
On Thursday there was even a free concert for TechEd attendees.
Nesta edição de TechEd houve a participação de todos os SAP Mentors do Brasil: