Posts Categorized: News

pastedImage_0

Building a Startup – Your value proposition and elevator pitch

This is part 2 of my blog series called: “Building a start-up in the SAP HANA space“.

Over the past 15 years, I have developed a variety of applications. Web, mobile, some in the startup realm, some just as side projects, customers projects, partner applications, and the list goes on. Although if there is 1 common denominator across all of them, is that I generally started to write code, before I knew *exactly* what I was going to build. Looking back, I realize why I did this, and generally it was because of all the enthusiasm I had for wanting to make something work, bringing something to reality and showing it *is* possible.

metric² was no different, of course I learned a few things over years, but since I was working with a newer technology, I was keen to get my hands dirty and see what was possible. Before I got started, I put together a list of core features, a technology stack, frameworks to be used, and how it should all be integrated. I thought I was doing things “differently” than before, by starting out with a sure fire plan to develop something which was going to win. But I missed one of the most important topics, my “Value Proposition”.

I think that your value prop should be something that gets “sketched” before you write a single line of code, before you decide what tech stack your app or product is going to be governed by, and before you tell your best friend about your big idea. More specifically, it will be *what* you tell your best friend is your big idea. More often than not, and in my case, my ability to write code, without having a goal in mind causes your “code” or product to define your value proposition which is the wrong way around! It was also extremely difficult for me to blurt out what my application actually was (Just ask Mark Finnern and Phil Loewen), because I wasn’t able to clearly define what my application was to someone. So even though I had written a ton of code, was “pitching” my application and felt like my beta was finished, I went back to the drawing board to try and clearly define my value proposition and what it meant to metric².

So what exactly is a “Value Proposition”?

To me, a value proposition defines what benefit you provide, for who, how, and what makes your service unique over the competition.

Nate Gold once told this story:

The story is told of an unannounced visit by John F. Kennedy to the space center at Cape Canaveral in the mid 1960′s. Kennedy toured the complex and met a man in overalls. “What do you do here?” he asked. The man replied, “I’m earning a living.” Kennedy nodded and moved on. He met another man in overalls and asked him the same question. “I clean away all the rubbish,” the man said. Kennedy smiled and strode on until he met another man in overalls and put the same question again. This time a big smile came across the face of the man who replied, “Mr President, I’m helping to put a man on the moon.”

Nate also suggested that this should be a great example of your Value Prop, I like to think of it as the sum of the parts.

What did I do to create metric² value prop, I sat down and went through the “Hows” of what we do, (which is what Nate suggested), I tried to define what the application or product was trying to accomplish and through what means, and I came up with the statement below.

Whats the difference between a “Value Proposition” and a “Elevator Pitch”?

A elevator pitch is better suited to what you would say to someone who you just meet and they ask what you do. You say it with passion and pride, and its probably more focused on why you are doing what you do. It may also include your value proposition and add to it, or elaborate on a specific topic.

 

I created this elevator pitch for m²:

metric² is developing a easy to use web based platform making it quick and simple to build predictive, streaming and real-time dashboards helping enterprises succeed through data-driven decisions.

Why are these 2 statements important?

Once I decided what they were going to be, I put them up on my wall in front of my desk and every time I develop, or ideate something for m², I take into consideration whether they fall into category of helping to make these 2 statements a reality.

While it might seem like a no-brainer, I really believe that these are the “small” things which count to keeping you on track when building a product. (or on any project where you get to define the scope). I also believe now, that these 2 statements drive my development on the project versus the other way around.

Whats next?

In my next post I plan to chat a little bit about what a startup is? Whats the difference between a startup and a side-project? And more importantly why does it matter? We will also look at some of the stages of building a startup.


startup-ideas

Building a Start-up in the SAP HANA space

I have some fond memories of a television series from the BBC called “A Car is Born” a 15 episode show where the presenter, Mark Evans painstakingly builds a AC Cobra replica. The show highlighted his experiences, trials and tribulations of building something from the ground up.

At TechEd 2014 in Las Vegas I gave a presentation on being a part of the SAP HANA startup program, developing a product, and trying to make an impact in the world of SAP HANA. While its been an interesting ride, I really felt that my 45 minutes up at the podium was really not enough to convey the past 2 years of highs, lows, successes and failures. Since that was the case, I thought I would get back to some blogging about my experiences along the road, hoping that I can inspire, dissuade and educate others about my quest, just like the BBC show. If you are a budding entrepreneur, HANA guru or just wanting to gain some life lessons (at someone else cost), I encourage you to read on, and share your experiences through some of your life journeys.


“You should never underestimate enthusiasm”

Over the past 15 odd years of my life I have developed a myriad of applications, some that succeed, and others which failed miserably, but in every case on my path from taking the product from inception to reality, it has always been done with such optimism and enthusiasm that even if the idea was mediocre, in my eyes it was a clear winner. Sometimes this “fog” can get the better of you, but in most cases its the drive which encourages you to work late and over the weekends with the intention to build something which is going to be a winner.

Working on metric² was no different. I recall spending multiple hours at TechEd/Sapphire hearing about HANA and its opportunity to change the world, wondering what the true benefit of HANA really was, and it was just not evident to me. That was until a few things changed my perception, I was working at a customer site which had 23 different systems being consolidated into a single data mart for a single report which was run daily. People worked tirelessly to ensure 23 different ETL jobs were processed timely, correctly and accurately to produce 1 measly report, and it struck me that this would be a great use-case for HANA. I started to understand and realize more and more of the benefits, technologies like AFL, PAL, XS Engine, Columnar store, In-Memory, etc. are all clear winners to simplify IT at the foundational level. Once I understood the opportunities, the enthusiasm kicked in, and drove me to work tirelessly on metric² through challenges, time constraints and personal issues to deliver something which I *knew* was going to be a success. Yes, by this stage the fog had set-in.


“Getting started”

Since I had started work on the metric² product on .NET/MS SQL (and had 1 customer live) it made a lot of sense for me to switch the infrastructure and re-build it on HANA. It took a bit of a learning curve, but since I had developed multiple web applications in the past, it was simple and straight forward to get up and running with XS. I also went through the OpenSAP course (from Thomas Jung) which gave me some great fundamental understanding of the core technologies and some opportunities to take advantage of. With my new found understanding and development skills I started down the road of developing metric². Sketched napkins, rough architecture drawings and random emails littered my desk describing how metric² should work, but an important I never quite decided was, what and who metric² was really for, what was my target audience and who would ultimately be my end users? Unfortunately, looking back, this was one of my biggest failures in the project and still is a challenge today.

In my next post I will chat about my 1 new requirement which everyone should have before they write a single line of code: Defining your value proposition. PS. This is relevant for any form of project (Internal, external, customer etc.)

 

 

 

 


Git-HANA-Screenshot

Git <> HANA – A free, open-source Github client for SAP HANA

Git-HANA-Screenshot.jpg

Over the last few months, working on the metric² open source project, I have been frequently updating the GitHub repo. As a heavy XS Web IDE user, this entailed exporting or copying the contents of the files from the package into my local GitHub repository for the project and subsequently committing the files from there. Since there is a small disconnect between the source (my HANA packages) and the destination (GitHub) I like to often see what changes which are due to be committed, the differences between the files, or just compare the files between the 2 systems.

Being over dedicated to building solutions to some of my workflow challenges (see here, here and here), I created yet another small HANA native app called Git <> HANA. The application allows you to compare files between your local HANA package and your (or any other) GitHub repo, and it also lets you commit files directly from the UI to GitHub, and vice-versa. If a file does not exists, it will create it for you (on either side). There are a couple other cool features which you can read about below, or watch the little video I created.

If you are a web IDE user it’s quick and convenient to use, and I am convinced it will make your HANA + GitHub integration easier (I am also hoping we will also see more open source native HANA apps on GitHub as a result!!!!)

Features of Git <> HANA

- Compare files between HANA and Github
- Compare inline or side by side
- Commit files from HANA to GitHub
- Commit/activate files from GitHub to HANA
- Repo/branch selection
- Native HANA application
- Easy HANA package installation
- Open source
- handles .xs* (e.g. .xsaccess, .xsapp) files (which your file system probably does not like!)
- Image comparison
- File browsing can be done via the GitHub repo or your HANA package

You can download the app package here (newsletter sign up requested so I can keep you up to date with the app) or check out the source files here.

If you think this would be helpful or would like to see any other features, or would like to contribute to the source … EXCELLENT, please just let me know

Screenshots

  

Use the HANA Package Browser or GitHub repository as a reference.

Push files from HANA to GitHub or from GitHub to your local HANA package.

Compare Files side by side, or inline

Package Install Instructions

- Download the package
- Open Lifecycle manager (http://<HANA_SERVER>:PORT/sap/hana/xs/lm/)
- Click on Import/Export menu
- Click Import from File
- Browse to the downloaded file
- Edit the index.html file and specify your github username/password (or leave it blank and enter these details using the settings)


office14

metric² v2.0 release

After releasing metric² at TechEd Las Vegas last year it has had well over a hundred downloads, and has a couple loyal followers always offering advice and feedback (which I am truly thankful for). Last week we released version 2.0 of the free and open source app and subsequently put it onto GitHub under the MIT license which you can find here.

The biggest changes of the new version of metric² include:

  • A new UI (Twitter bootstrap based)
  • The ability for users to create their own account
  • A few new metrics
  • No longer uses SAPUI5 (a blog post in itself!)
  • The biggest change was the front-end/UI and the code has been refactored and split up into multiple library files (XSJSLib) and is simplified for easier reading.

You can download the source code over at Github or you can download the HANA Delivery unit file (tgz) here.

The primary goal of the app is, and always has been to try and visualize your big data. Along with providing a self service tool to monitor and provide insights on the data you have in, and around your HANA system, while using it to the fullest.

Short Survey

I am in the process of trying to understand where to take the app in terms of use and direction and if you are interested in helping guide the discussion, if you have downloaded, used or seen the app I would greatly appreciate if you took 1 minute to complete a short 5 question, multiple choice survey here.

(Read further below for Future updates and the mobile app) ,,,

Below are a few screenshots of the new version (2.0):

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 9.11.31 PM.png Screenshot2.png

Mobile App

If you are a HANA admin, or are simply managing your own dev instance for learning HANA, a new iOS app called metric2 – Admin will be in the app store within the next month, it will be a free app with some pretty basic core metrics centered around HANA performance/availability. Below are a few screenshots of the upcoming mobile app:

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 3.37.38 PM.png

Next Release

A couple of new features for the upcoming release (v2.1) are centered around some new metrics, including support for iBeacon devices (upload a map, designate regions and you can monitor and track from the live dashboards). Another metric in the process of being developed is around quickly and easily showing twitter sentiment using your HANA instance. Using HANA Live views will also be included as a data source option for the metrics allowing you to make use of the predefined SAP designed views. From a code perspective I am in the process of pulling out widgets to be independent, upgradable and customizable without touching the core code.

As usual if you are using the app in your environment I am always looking for ways to improve it and the feedback provided so far is invaluable. Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me at paschmann@metric2.com


pastedImage_24

Why Demo Jam ROCKS

It was Tuesday night sometime back in 2009 at my first TechEd where I was sitting in the audience and really wishing I was standing up on stage, presenting something inspiring and innovative which would encourage the votes of the demanding audience of Demojam. Well, it took 4 years to creep over personal hurdles, family time and to gain an ounce of courage which persuaded me to post an entry in 2013, this blog gives some insight into what I did, what I would have done differently, and also why Demojam really needs people like YOU!A couple of months ago (May through July) I went through the openSAP HANA course and was really impressed, not only by the DB, but more the HANA XS Engine as an Web/App server. Being a “learn by doing” kinda person I struggled to get the most out of the course content since it really didn’t apply to anything I was currently working on, until I realized the opportunity… As I described in my demojam presentation, I drank the HANA coolaid Personally, it was not so much of the big data aspect that intrigued me, but rather this concept of the DB and the app server really being a single entity from a platform, as well as infrastructure perspective. Simple. I spent a couple weeks learning a lot more, since I had something to apply it against and started developing an app called Metric²(pronounced squared).Image.png“I realized that while there are a lot of applications which are using HANA, there were very few for HANA.”My goal with Metric² was to build a web based realtime platform for showing how your HANA instance was performing, and subsequently, how your business was actually benefiting from having this type system and helping your business run better. The concept was to try and correlate performance with user impact.

OK , get to the demo jam part …

Around the end of August, Metric² was doing what I had intended and I decided to submit the app for Demojam, although, my original anticipation was to build something far more purpose built and “crowd” pleasing. However, I was really hoping that the free perspective, something useful – realtime dashboards – and a good use case – audience involvement – would hopefully win the votes and hearts of a couple techies in crowd. I created a submission video and a couple days after submissions closed, I got a welcoming, but equally nerve wracking acceptance email. Graham Robinson was actually the one who sparked the idea of a Demojam submission with his comment on a small Mac app I developed for HANA called xSync. I both cursed and thanked him for about 2 months straight when I was wondering what I had gotten myself into

After getting accepted, I had a couple interesting challenges, my 1st priority and goal was to deliver the app at Teched, which meant between the acceptance email (around the 20th of September) and October 20th (TechEd) I needed a fully function product. I also needed to put together, and have a solid presentation nailed down. I subsequently neglected the last point and as always, focused more on adding features and functionality to the app. I had conceptual ideas about what I was going to present, and set out to do something a little different by getting the audience involved by using the actual system I built to show its purpose and functionality, but also to make them feel a part of the demo.

Shortly after being accepted you also have the opportunity to have a online session with Tobias Queck and Sebastian Steinhauer, 2 really great guys and coaches who listen to your demojam pitch and provide some really solid feedback on what their thoughts and suggestions are. After speaking with them, it really calmed my nerves and gave me a certain reassurance that I was going to be OK. A great and well needed confidence boost, especially for a first timer.

Well the 30 days between the above mentioned dates just flew by, and before I knew it, it was TechEd time. The first two days of TechEd for me, included the awesome Innojam event – I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but ended up spending considerably more time helping out than I anticipated and did not get as much coding done as possible. Yes, I was still writing code 2 days before the presentation. Adding features, optimizing things and getting the website finished. Innojam wrapped up on Monday evening, I skipped the keynote to do additional coding and practicing my pitch, the Tuesday of the event unfortunately came pretty quickly and my nerves were starting to get the better of me. I was super stressed to go up on stage, especially knowing it was going to be tough to beat the other participants. I was optimistic and pressed on … on Tuesday the demojam rehearsals start around midday. You get to run through your presentation twice, with others watching and the stage/event crew helping you out with monitor setup, displays, etc. You get to meet the funny and friendly Ian Kimbell, and also Tobias and Sebastian who coach you through your pitch once again, providing some really helpful feedback.  This really helps ensuring that your demo goes  smoothly.

A word of praise – The events team are amazing people, they will literally do anything to make are you are comfortable and happy and EVERYTHING you need to be successful. I do not have enough praise for them. They really go above and beyond, and this image should give you an idea of just how far they go.

photo.JPG

Jen Abrahamson (part of the talented events team) gave me this shirt just before the event!

While going through my 1st rehearsal I was so nervous I left out close to 40% of the pitch/demo and still had 2 minutes on the clock, at that stage, i realized I needed more practice and I spent the rest of the afternoon going through my talk over and over again to engrain it as best I could. In between that – as you can guess, I was also doing last minute code changes making some small modifications. Having the audience involved proved to add its own set of challenges, since I didnt have a full time HANA system and using the developer image on AWS, it was far from a very powerful machine, I spent quite a lot of time running load tests, but was never 100% sure who and how users were going to influence the performance and subsequently the outcome of the demo … major stress factor.

Around 8pm the event started and I got my time on stage, I went through my presentation and felt it really went pretty well. It was reasonably well received, with the exception of me forgetting to mention that the app has support for gestures using the Leap Motion. During the demo I walked over to the large monitor to show this functionality, it did not work – making me look like i was swatting or catching flies Boo.


“Tell people what you are doing and why, that way when it does not work, people at least understand what you were attempting to do….”

With around 2 minutes left I asked the audience to open up the demo website on their mobile device and they got to pick which pill they wanted to purchase from my online store (running on HANA) which was being monitored by Metric². Up on the screen you could see the orders being completed in realtime and how the system was reacting to the new load. In the end around 700 orders were completed which was great, and to me, is what made the demo a success.

Link to my Demojam presentation

I was subsequently voted off the stage in round 1, I walked off the stage pretty disappointed … all I could think about was what I would need to do to win it next year. Its official, I am hooked. I now understand why John Astill has done this for so many years over and over again.

In the end, I *really* want to win. I already have around 5 ideas about what I could potentially do next year and I really hope i get the chance to redeem myself and write a sequel to this blog post, but from a winners perspective

Thinking of submitting an entry? Here are a couple tips which I learned:

  • Think small – my challenge was that I developed a full featured app, with loads of features. This is challenging at best just to demo in 6 mins, never mind apply a crowd friendly use case.
  • Your presentation is 50% of your demo – Have a creative and complimentary presentation and you can succeed very easily. (The running demo of John and Greg is a great example of a creative presentation).
  • Creative use of a technology, far outweighs technology being used for creativity. I.e. Don’t just use HANA for the sake of it
  • Come to TechEd prepared, have your 6 min pitch nailed down. I didn’t and it was far more stressful than I had hoped.
  • Even if its the same, make it look different: On Tuesday morning Vishal Sikka and Sam Yen gave some great introductions to the SAP UI5/Fiori programming paradigm. Guess what, my app had a very similar look and feel. When they were going through their presentations I was literally sinking in my seat … I was actually considering changing my color scheme and if I had just a couple hours more, I probably would have. Point is, even if your demo is a UI5 app, don’t make it look like UI5 app.
  • The devil is NOT in the details, its in the use case. Its far more important to have a sound, solid and relevant use case, than a phone number having the correct input format of (111) – 111 – 1111.
  • Tell people what you are doing – (Sebastian suggested this) – it is helpful and adds context to your presentation. Its also often hard to see what your mouse is clicking on, or what watch button you are pressing.
  • Your jokes are not as funny as you think they are – I threw a couple small jokes in and all I heard was crickets chirping, nothing breaks moral more One of Ian’s tips are not to start with a joke, and I fully agree.

The Demojam event needs some changes …

I noticed a couple of tweets a couple of days ago about changing rules, and doing things differently, having now participated in an event, here is are my feedback/comments to the demo jam organizers:

  • We need more demo jammers, way more. if it means we need to reduce the 6 minutes to 4, so be it. The event starts pretty late which also may limit the amount of Demojam presentations, the SCN event is also prior which takes up quite some time while being a big advocate for this, it might be best to restructure the timetable a little?
  • I would like to see a couple different categories. It would be great to have a “open source” category and a “regular” category. Any others you can suggest?
  • I think there should be more prizes for different criteria or per category, this could or could not be known prior to the event. At Innojam LV, there were multiple winners and this really encourages more entries across multiple disciplines.
  • I would like to see SAP employees back in, even alone. Maybe a category for best SAP employee demo? They have developed some great tech in the past, I understand it could be a slight advantage due to technology accessibility, early access, and a couple of other aspects but I also believe the audience wants to see how internal SAP employees are innovating in their respective areas. I know there was a huge thread back in 2011 from Demojam winner Matt Harding about this topic, and this is just my opinion
  • Limit previous winners? No way, I applaud jammers who can win multiple times, it encourages all other jammers to build something more creative, more innovative and deliver a great presentation.
  • Please change the voting – the “Clapometer”? I would prefer to see a slightly more transparent process … winners could be based on amount of tweets? Voting page from a mobile app? Even a panel like X Factor handing out tasteless feedback would be pretty cool and a bit more enjoyable.

In the end ….

Demojam ROCKS, I am truly grateful for an opportunity to participate. It was a great feeling to have completed a life long dream of mine. I got 6 minutes of fame up on the same stage as the greats of Vishal Sikka and Hasso Platner. Here’s the best part – YOU can too. All of us have done something outstanding, something creative and something I/WE/YOU/SCN/Attendees want to hear about. I encourage you to create or share a concept, a dream or just a downright outrageous idea for next years demo jam, and hopefully join me in showing your peers, friends and family that you are a dedicated and a creative innovator of awesome enterprise technology.

Metric² Update

For those of you who would like to download/check out Metric² – its coming! I had a huge amount of great feedback at TechEd and I am in the process of making some of the suggested changes to make it a little better before throwing it into the wild. (I developed the entire app on the concept of polling due to the XS Engine limitation of not supporting Web Sockets in SPS6 = not perfect.) You can stay up to date using the website here: http://www.metric2.com


icon_256x256

SAP Notes Viewer for Mac

Since I have been spending the last few weeks getting some Netweaver instances running on my new Hyper V server, I have spent a considerable amount of time on the SAP Notes website debugging and troubleshooting everything from installation to master guides. Since my SAP Note Viewer apps for iPhone and iPad are fairly popular and I was tired of having to login so many times, I figured I would develop a “clone” for the Mac.

The free app features a pretty basic status bar menu and when you open it for the first time, requests your s-id and password and your search language (German and English). Once opened, you can enter a Note number or search term, submitting will automatically bring up the note in your browser. If you enter a search term, the app will search and return a list of results which you can select, opening the note. The search is fairly slow, as it is, in essence, making two round trips (one for the page and the second for the results).

I have also submitted the app to Mac App Store and it is currently in review, but if you would like to get your hands on it and give me your thoughts, it would be greatly appreciated. Here is a link to a download page: http://www.li-labs.com/SNVMac.zip (450Kb), just unzip and drag into your “Applications” folder. You can also download the Mac Store here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sap-note-viewer/id575046244?mt=12

Here are a couple screenshots.

icon_256x256.png Screen Shot 2012-09-27 at 10.16.45 PM.pngScreen Shot 2012-09-27 at 10.19.01 PM.png

pastedImage_4

Quick View for SAP Notes (Windows)

In my ever growing quest to provide quick and easy access to SAP Notes (which Dagfinn Parnas started a couple of years ago with the Android Note Viewer), I recently finished creating a windows version of a small app to make opening notes just a little easier.

When deciding if I should get this done, it was purely out of personal need. Having spent the last few months building up a couple of Gateway test, stage and Prod systems, the ability to open a SAP note quickly, always seemed to elude me. Open service.sap.com/support -> click on Help & Support -> Type the note and go. Albeit the app developed still has some user interaction (until Google Glass arrives?) … it does make it a little simpler. I also found a small cmd script online which looked helpful.

Currently, the SAP Note Viewer for iOS apps, and even the mac version (+- 1,000 downloads since, seem to be fairly widely used and popular, so it seems a natural progression that a windows version may be helpful to some people. This version is considerably simpler than the others which include searching, favorites, and centered more around note references, whereas this app is purely just a “quick launch” tool straight to the note itself.

A couple of the apps features:

  • Specify your username and password at startup and the url will include this to authenticate a little easier (you may still get prompted, as I do in Firefox)
  • Open the notes as PDF’s
  • Saves you last 5 recent notes making it easier to reopen one.
  • That’s about it

The source code to the app will be uploaded to Code Exchange and you can freely modify/distribute and share as you will.

Some ideas for the app:

  • Add the ability to search directly in the app (OSX version)
  • Save the note title to the recent menu item for easier visual reference

This is the “Beta” version – so please feel free to provide some feedback in the comments. As mentioned previously – I developed this to use as a personal tool but I think of could people may find it helpful

If you have an easier way, or have a tool to open your SAP Notes, please feel free to share it with us in the comments.

Install Instructions

Download the zip file here, unzip and execute. You will be prompted to specify your password each time the app loads to avoid any sensitive data being saved. A username and password is not required.

Important Notes

Internet Explorer 6.0+ will not allow you to specify the username and password in the URL which the app uses. if you are using IE, please leave S User and Password blank. (Reference: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/834489)



icon_128x128

xSync – Making HANA XS development easier

A couple of weeks ago, I started playing with HANA development after going through a couple of the opensap courses. One of my biggest surprises was that HANA Studio was windows only. As a Web/Mobile/App developer spending majority of my time on the Mac platform, having to get my Dell out was a walk down memory lane, and caused me to not spend as much time working on the projects as I would have liked. Since Rev 52 of HANA included a XS Engine Lite IDE, a useful web based IDE for your XSJS/SAPUI5 development. I was been looking forward to getting it installed on my AWS machine and giving it a test drive. Last weekend Juergen Schmerder posted a updated really easy to follow and simple guide of going through the process and within a hour, I was up and running on the newest available rev.

First off, the web IDE was great. Secondly, not having to use my old Dell was bliss. From a development perspective I am OK with the fact I need to do schema modeling/view generation input etc. through the Studio IDE, its well built for this and has functions and customizations which are not as necessarily as generic as web/java/jquery development. I spent the weekend working on a small POC/rewrite I have been working on and enjoyed the development experience. But after a while, found myself wondering about code completion, syntax highlighting, text formatting and a few more features which are generally available in your favorite IDE.

After some digging, I came up with the concept of being able to develop locally and yet still be able to execute the code online through my browser as if I was using either the Lite IDE or the Studio. I am not sure if #openSAP intend for students to hack HANA, but that’s exactly what happened …

icon_128x128.png

Enter xSync … xSync is a *little* like dropbox for your HANA repository. Its a Mac app which runs in the Status Bar and watches file system changes to a designated development folder. As soon as you save, it saves your file in XS Engine to your package repository. Development is no longer is choir of saving, syncing and activating Even if you are not a developer, it has some useful features, it shows if your HANA instance is online – avoiding unnecessary costs, and also allows you to easily download all files from a HANA package or development project. This is great for creating local backup/snapshots regularly. Below is a quick video of the app in action.

If you are interested in testing the app out, please download a copy here – all feedback and constructive criticism is welcome as usual. Please keep in mind, this is still *very* beta. I have done my best to test, but from conception to app in a couple spare hours is always a challenge = DISCLAIMER, use at own risk!

Some technical notes and features:

- Features:
- Use your favorite IDE to edit files locally
- Save, Create, Delete, Rename files locally and have them *sync* with your XS Engine package
- Quick way to ensure your Instance is available (watch costs on your cloud hosted system!)
- Download all package contents to your local HDD
- Easily upload files/folders to your packages

- Requirements:
- HANA Rev. 52

- Usage:

1.) Download the app here

2.) Enter your HANA XS Engine URL, package (I suggest creating a test package to test the app out with)

3.) Enter the folder location of your local development objects (I suggest a blank folder to start as it will not upload existing objects already in the folder)

3.) Enter HANA username/password

4.) The log will show that the folder is being watched

4.) copy/create a new file in the folder and check the log to ensure the file was synced

5.) develop something awesome …

- Bugs/Issues:
- Renaming/creating folders could be a little better, since XS engine does not require spaces, it can be problematic

- Future Ideas:
- Sync existing files
- Maintain a local “folder” structure db for reference
- Sync from XS Engine if changes made there
- Insert your idea here
- Less ‘buggy’ for release 1

For all the HANA hackers out there … how do *you* think the app is integrated with HANA XS Engine? Any guesses? I will follow up this blog in a couple of days with the technical details and how the app works.

Screen Shot 2013-06-15 at 8.43.30 AM.png

mzl.qqijnvvh

zSCN – A iPad SCN Community Reader

After spending a couple of months traveling in 2012, I wrote a personal app for reading and following content created on the SAP Community Network. Although it was slightly buggy and ghetto, I found it way faster than firing up my MBA to check if a comment or something helpful had been posted in my local Netweaver Gateway hangout. I spent the last +- 6 months using the app and after reading a few comments on the new Idea place and in the forums, I decided a couple of others may find it helpful and set out to build a user friendly version.

Now on to the app …. firstly, starting up the app you are presented with a list of spaces (thanks to Jason Lax for creating a helpful list here!), secondly, the app uses the RSS feeds from each SCN “Space” to curate the content, each time you select a space the content is cached on the device (in a little SQLite DB) and refreshes each time the space is opened. You can also select the number of items which are downloaded in each category (blogs, documents and forums). After logging into SCN using your SCN username/password, it will download your spaces, people and saved content. Keep in mind that you cannot “save” or create content from the app, since the SCN API’s are not currently publicly available (I am hoping for some change on this!). However, each item can be selected and the original content will be displayed on the website where you can login and respond/comment. You can also easily email the item to a friend in need, or tweet it if you are a social butterfly

Currently the app has been written for iPad only but the iPhone version is in the works, but since blogs and more in depth content is more conducive to read on a tablet, I am still trying to decide if it would be warranted … any comment?

Personally, I am quite surprised the Community does not have a mobile app for iOS/Android since it would ultimately bring better adoption and collaboration amongst the users. Like all the other free apps I have developed, this is a work in progress and am hoping the direction and goals get driven by the community of users, so any and all constructive comments are welcome!

Here are a couple of screenshots and features of the app, you can download the iPad app here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/zscn-for-sap-scn/id587877577?ls=1&mt=8

Features:
- Access to your saved spaces, bookmarks and people
- View all available SCN spaces
- Blogs, messages and documents are all displayed on a single page for quick and easy browsing
- Each space includes relevant tweets
- Share articles via email or twitter easily

mzl.qqijnvvh.png

mzl.aanoimmq.png

mzl.vjmmiumh.png

mzl.mkweqdfx.png

mzl.wgoysymu.png

 


sapteched_2013_lg

TechEd 2012 and MOB 205

Well …. TechEd has passed and it was a great time. InnoJam was probably the best experience and I managed to be a part of a great collaboration which was fun from the start – I will blog a little about our solution in some of my free time in the coming weeks, but back to the topic at hand, since this was my first time as a speaker at TechEd I was slightly intimidated and anxious … my session was on Friday at 8:00AM, the night after the 3 Doors Down concert and I was skeptical if *anyone* would even show up . The morning came, and to my surprise, the room was full and even had multiple people standing at the back. I was impressed so many people attended, and showed that my investment of time and resources into the enterprise mobility space over the last few years was worth the effort. The presentation went well and thankfully I had the “Demo Gods” on my side connecting from the Venetian (iPad) to Amazon Web Services (Gateway) to Walldorf (ES Workplace) and back . After the presentation wrapped up I had great comments and questions from the audience but ran out of time answering all of them, I figured I would share the premise of the presentation here for everyone and hopefully encourage more companies to take a few easy steps to start their journey into the mobile enterprise. Firstly – this is a subset of the slides split up into 2 parts, I will also be putting together a tutorial in the coming weeks which outlines actually building this app from start to finish from a developer perspective (i.e. in XCode). In the end I should end up with the “S2F” blog series comprising of the presentation (2 parts) and the actual development project in XCode being another 2 parts. Secondly – My position with this presentation is to depict the overall process I use when developing an app, a few of the *many* considerations to make, as well as the simplicity of using a product like Gateway to actually connect and “consume” ERP/CRM/Back office data in a few lines of code. (With the help of some open source code). So lets get started ….

Part 1 of S2F: Developing an iPad app using SAP Netweaver Gateway

Part 2 of S2F: Developing an iPad app using SAP Netweaver Gateway