I’ve followed the turmoil of SCN 2.0 the past couple of weeks, and posted a few frustrated comments / rants myself. As a veteran (I’m proud of having pre-signed up to the original SDN beta way back when), although maybe not the most active user ever, my own SAP carreer has sort of evolved with the SDN since it’s inception. I still remember Craig (or was it Mark) posting a call to anyone who could send a screenshot showing more than 100 users simultaneously logged in… those were the days. The forums and blogs made up the backbone of SDN in those first years, and most of the activities were focused on those two pillars. In a short while, SDN beat those other SAP forums out there, and although once a keen member of at least one of them, I decided to focus solely on SDN, both for my forum searches and, later, for blog posts and a bit of code exchange work.
Then, about two weeks ago, the much-awaited new version of SDN arrived. True, it was not called SDN anymore (I remember being skeptical when the new neighbours moved in – what the heck, non-techies in the garden? Who let them in?), but I’d come to value the greater community, and even read the odd non-ABAP blog or article, which was truly inspiring. But, alas, overnight all functionality was gone. Or so I thought. I could no longer see my forums. Nor the blogs. Oh, there was a posting or something that explained to me where it had all gone, and how I could reach the deep wells of accumulated knowledge I’d come to value over the years. Sure, with a little effort, I found the Web Dynpro ABAP forum, although in a new shape.
But what about the functionality? The user-friendlyness? Seems gone. Or is it? Time for an experiment. Here we go: the first ever usability test of the brand new SCN, brought to you by yours truly.
The task is simple: I’d like to go to a forum, search for a specific bit of knowledge, and post a question if I cannot find the answer. This involves the following 4 steps:
Find the right forum
Search for my issue in the forum
Search for the issue in all forums
Post a question.
The rules are simple: I’ll consider myself a newbie, and I will NOT follow the “Where did it all go…” crap on the first page – because it should really not be needed. If there’s a forum in there, it should be easy to find, right?
OK, here we go. Type in sdn.sap.com.
So far so good. Site comes up. I guess there must be some kind of discussion groups or forums on the site, right? (Remember I’m a newbie – I don’t know yet. Someone told me to go here, and this is my first time on the block).
Lots of tab-looking thingies along the top. Solutions. SAP Services & Support. Idea Place. I wonder where the forums are? Maybe under SAP Services & Support? Let’s try.
Mmm, nope. Doesn’t look to promising. Solutions? No, none of the sub-groups or whatever they are (and why do they come up in a pop-up screen that has to be manually closed? Why not just some normal dropdown list?)
Let’s try Idea Place. Sounds logical.
A new window this time. With a brand new navigational system… but nothing useful in the context of forums here, either.
Look at the right of the main screen. There’s something called “Browse”. Maybe I should click there?
Something looking like forum questions appear on the screen. They do not, however, seem to relate to any specific topic. The “Content” tab is selected by default – should I maybe click on People or Places?
Can’t hurt. Let’s try People.
Lot’s of people here, but they all look the same (non-descript grey) and apparently have neither followers or are being followed…
Hey, that got us somewhere! BI Platform, Security… ABAP Development!! As my question is WDA-related, surely ABAP is the right place to go. It even has sub-spaces. Cool. One of those must be WDA.
Well, lots of questions about ABAP show up. Problem is, they don’t seem to be grouped into categories (or sub-spaces). Maybe I should click on Subspaces?
Let’s do it.
We got ABAP Connectivity, ABAP Application Development, BSP… no WDA. But, hey – wait – ABAP Application Development has 2 subspaces of it’s own!
And we’re rewarded with… drum roll… ABAP Dictionary and ABAP Objects.
Honestly, by now it’s dark outside, time to go home, and I’ve already forgotten my initial question. Besides, this blog post is already way too long, and I’m sure some nice SDN, uh, SCN person will write a nice comment which will, once again remind me of the facts that 1 – I’m being a nuisance for writing this and am probably too dumb (read: old) to get it (you gotta JIVE, man!!), or, 2 – I’m not really supposed to be here anymore. This site has been taken over by the facebook dudes. Or kids. Or whatever they call themselves nowadays. You know, the web 2.0 generation. Those that treat people like me like the way I treated all those 40-somethings 20 years ago, who couldn’t program their VCR’s. Or program quick numbers on their mobiles. Or didn’t even have a mobile.
I’m sure that forum is in there somewhere. Heck, I followed the shortcut blog and found it, but that’s not the case.
The case is: my alter ego, the newbie, didn’t.
Conclusion: the new SCN fails the usability test. Big time. And I guess that seals it’s fate. For me.