I have been working on SAP HANA for the past two years. SAP HANA XSA adds so much more new possibilities to the new SAP platform offering by incorporating NodeJS and also providing the multi-target application development approach for having each application have it's isolated runtime environment, Text search, predictive analytics, Geo-spatial capabilities, etc., etc.
This all sounds great but if you want to get up to speed, how do you go about it? Well, you can do any of the following:
download the VM from the Express Edition and run it as long as you have a powerful enough system
download the installer and install this in your own Linux environment
go through SAP Cloud Appliance Library and get an instance on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure Cloud.
In this document, I describe some of the steps I had to do in order to be able to build and run XSA applications.
Once you have an SAP account and an AWS account, launching the SAP HANA Express edition in the AWS cloud was really simple.
The problem happens after you get this running - the AWS Linux instance for HANA Express is lacking in memory and disk resources - so right away, you will run into strange issue due to these factors.
Second - resize your Linux system from the r4.xlarge which is a 4 core 30 GB system to r4.2xlarge 8 core 60 GB system. The HANA instance is consuming 30 GB and as a result any build takes a long time and most of the time, it times out. To resize the instance, you can do the following steps as outlined here. Once you do that, the build and run should work smoothly and you can focus on learning and developing XSA applications instead of spend hours and hours struggling with the environment and hitting your head against your laptop or wall - which is not the best thing to do... I had to learn the hard way - but at the same time - I had not added a volume to the AWS instance or resized an instance before. So when I did those steps, i then realized I should have done those first instead of spending many hours troubleshooting issues arising from the environment.
Hope this helps you if you are running into issues building and running applications