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This year I finally managed to attend the SAP Inside Track Netherlands (SAP Inside Track 2014 Netherlands -- #sitNL). From the list of attendees and the agenda (Agenda #sitNL 2014) I already had really high expectations for the event. After the event I have to say that #sitNL by far exceeded my expectation. In this blog I'll try to sum up the interesting things I learned. I would also like to convey the spirit and the fun of the event but I'm afraid my writing skills are not up to this challenge.

The Community

According to twan.vandenbroeks key note 87 people attended sitNL 2014. Which, by some funny coincidence, is also the number on Twans SAP mentors shirt.

Speaking of SAP mentors; I was really impressed by the number of SAP mentors present. Sometimes, it even seemed that every participant was one of them.

As sitNL was only the second SAP Inside Track I attended I didn't know so many faces at the beginning of the event. For a newbie like me the SAP mentors shirts where really helpful to map the Twitter names I already knew to some real people. Besides the technical session the possibility to meet and discuss with lots of different people from the community is the main reason to attend a SAP Inside Track.

#sitNL on Twitter

So what where the hot topis at sitNL? In order to also play with some technology today I downloaded some 650 tweets with the hash-tag #sitNL from Twitter and created some visualizations using SAP Lumira . First, I created a tag cloud showing all hash-tags except #sitNL. The tag cloud shows that discussion and disseminating the knowledge from SAP Teched && d-code was one main topics.

Looking in more detail in at the top 15 hash-tags reveals that the internet of things, SAP UI5, SAP HANA and the SAP Inside Track Frankfurt where other hot topics. Because of the quick and dirty analysis I did with the tweets, the hash-tag SAP hides some other topics that where discussed extensively, the SAP Web IDE and SAP security.

But if you take a closer look on the authors of the tweets you'll notice, that most of them came only from a few authors. Consequently, you should probably take my analysis of the hash-tags not to seriously :wink:

The Sessions

In contrast to jeroenvandera, who already wrote another nice review of sitNL (A recap of the  the #SITnl), I didn't attend any of the sessions in the BI track. Instead, I focused on the sessions in the two tech tracks. I won't give a review of all the sessions I attended here. Each single one was really good in its own right. Instead, I'll just focus on the few topics and discussions that made the biggest impressions on me.

TechEd && d-code Recap

I really enjoyed the TechEd && d-code recap by jan.penninkhof2. As I, in contrast to about 85% of the listeners, didn't attend TechEd it was nice to get some first hand impressions and information from it. Jan made two points that I think are very important. First, he pointed out that SAP HANA Cloud Integration is the preferred option to integrate cloud and on premise apps. Which leaves SAP PI as just one of the other possible integration solutions like 3rd party tools or direct connections. He pointed out that if SAP PI isn't the preferred integration solution any more, there doesn't seem to be much focus on the Java stack any more at SAP.

The second thing he pointed out was, that the s-Innovations applications might be the new core. This means that s-Innovation apps might replace the classical business suite applications in the future. In my opinion it will be really interesting to see if SAP really will be able to make this shift happen.

SAP Security

I also really enjoyed the SAP security session by joris.vandevis. Besides the demonstration of a few security issues his statistics on SAP security research were very interesting. What really surprised me was, that 50% of all SAP security issues are found by just 8 security researches. I'm not an expert in this area. However, compared to the number of developers and consultants working on SAP products and the number of SAP installations world wide, this seems like a extremely small number.

Agile Software Development with SAP

wouter.peeters2 gave a nice experience report on agile software development in the context of SAP. Besides describing the tooling (i.e. Jira) they are using at his customer for a agile planning and issues tracking he shared his experiences on topics like pair programming and test driven development. He also presented a cool idea to use the eCatt test data container to store the test data used in ABAP Unit test.

Everything else

Obviously, there were many more topics. thorsten.franz raised the interesting question in tamas.szirtes3 session on HANA native development what libraries and frameworks where readily available for it. How would one, for example, handle the requirement for some kind of workflow engine in the HANA cloud platform. Something that would be quite easy with a classical ABAP stack.

Also there were quite some interesting discussion regarding the pros and cons of the SAP Web IDE in a28guests session. While Denise was only able to present her session because of the Web IDE (she had to use someone else's laptop because of some issues with the display port), robert.eijpe raised some interesting questions regarding the dependencies between e.g. SAP UI5 libraries in the Web IDE and a backend system. How can users be sure the app they developed with the SAP Web IDE will also run with the SAP UI5 libraries available in their backend?

Finally, if you want to know why WAT is never a good name for any product you should have a look at this talk Wat by Gary Bernhardt.

Surprise Session

However, the session that really got me thinking was thorsten.franzs surprise session. He asked the question if communities need trouble makers. I will not try to recite the lively discussion here. Instead I want to add some thoughts from my personal experience. I think trouble makers can really bring something positive to a community. I remember working with different people that might qualify as trouble makers in the sense Thorsten intended. One, for example, was one of my supervisors at university. I don't know how many times I rewrote papers based on his comments and questions. While this was sometimes tough it forced me to think in more detail about certain aspects an in the end helped to created better results. A similar situation was when I was trying to convince a seasoned ABAP developer of some new framework. The following discussions forced me sharpen the requirements as well as to find an optimal solution for them.

So in summary I think fred.verheul was right with his closing statement: "Yes, we need trouble makers".


sitNL ended with a pub quiz hosted by sven.vanleuken. While I managed to get the first round questions wrong several time I nevertheless learned some nice useless facts for this session. I know now that:

  • the national anthem of the Netherlands has 15 verses
  • the flag of Monaco turned by 180° is the flag of Poland.

After that there was a nice dinner with delicious food from Mrs. Penninkhof. She had prepared the best Som Tam I've eaten outside Thailand so far.

So the only thing I can really say as a summary is: see you all at sitFRA in March and sitNL2016.