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Next Tuesday, on March 25th the new focus group Custom Development of the Dutch User Group VNSG will have its kick off meeting!


What's all this nonsense about a new focus group you might ask. Doesn't the Dutch User Group have a special interest group for developers yet? Well, to be honest: no, we didn't. Shame on us. But on the bright side: in June 2013, during a Dutch sap_mentor meet up, roel.vandenberge, jan.penninkhof2 and I recognised this gap and decided to do something about it.

To their credit: in the past the VNSG has been organising biannual 'Developer Day' events, in close collaboration with my former company NL for Business, and these were always well attended and received very good feedback. In our opinion though more regular meetings (which are not intended to replace these events in any way) can bring developers together more often, and help in sharing best practices and collaboration between Dutch SAP customers.

So we expressed our intent to start this focus group to the VNSG back office, used sapteched_amsterdam (how convenient!), the SAP Inside Track Eindhoven (aka sitnl) and the latest Developer Day this january to reach out to interested Dutch developers, and shortly after, we met the official prerequisites. We found Jan-Willem Kaagman, a senior ABAP developer working for a Dutch SAP customer, prepared to be the chair of the new focus group (thanks Roel) and now we're ready to launch!

Totally off track: we met Jan-Willem through sapinnojam prior to sapteched_amsterdam where he joined a team with Roel, with yours truly as a Design Thinking coach and Jan as a technical expert. Which goes to show what can happen to you when you join these events :smile: .

General: purpose and mission statement

From the home page of the focus group (translated into poor English): "The focus group Custom Development wants to facilitate knowledge exchange and sharing of experiences between members of the VNSG on all things related to software development on SAP platforms. This includes Business Suite related best practices as well as new technologies."

The target audience consists primarily of developers working in the SAP ecosystem, but of course (depending on the topics discussed) anyone can join. However, keep in mind that, in order to attend the meetings of the focus group, your company must be a member of the VNSG.

Officially each focus group has (only) a chairman and a secretary, but to make this work we decided to go for an extended task force, consisting (at the moment of writing) of Jan-Willem, Roel, Jan and myself. Anyone willing to help out and contribute to the success of the new focus group is of course more than welcome!

Selection of topics

We've already identified a lot of interesting topics worth discussing such as:

  • New tools/products of SAP like ADT, HANA, SAP River, UI5, etc
  • ABAP quality tools, like Code Inspector, ABAP Test Cockpit, etc
  • Custom Code Management (as part of Solution Manager)
  • Development methodologies like XP, Scrum, Kanban, etc
  • DevOps, Continuous Integration/Delivery
  • ABAP frameworks like BOPF, BOL, etc
  • Developer best practices: SOLID (in an OO context), TDD, ...

If anyone has any more/other suggestions, please leave them in the comments. I'm sure the list above isn't exhaustive, but we should be able to have interesting content for at least the next couple of years :smile: .

Kick off meeting

So what do we have in store for the first meeting on Mar 25th? Well, we've got two presentations in which we've tried to combine old and new (thanks again Roel):

  • The first presentation will be a journey of discovery through the features of the new ABAP Development Tools aka ABAP in Eclipse. We managed to get famous Dutch ABAP veteran b.meijs (Ben for intimi :wink: ) willing to share his first experiences with the new tooling. Ben should know all about this as he was one of the organisers of the first Dutch Codejam on this very topic, only weeks ago!
  • The second presentation will feature jens.weiler, product owner of the ABAP for SAP HANA Integration team from SAP, who will explain ABAP on HANA to us. We're very happy that Jens is coming to The Netherlands to speak in detail about this topic.

At the end of the meeting we will have some drinks to celebrate this first meeting. I want to thank our sponsors (also prominent members of the focus group) for making this possible. In alphabetical order:


Ciber NL




NL for Business



Pyramid Applied Solutions

As you can see from this list the focus group is already broadly supported!

Next steps

After this initial meeting we'll have 3 more regular meetings in 2014, on May 22nd, Sep 23rd and Nov 20th! Mark your calendar!

We've also already been in touch with the UEX focus group, represented by Marcel Rabe and recent HDE tamas.szirtes3 (both very active in The Netherlands) and decided to organise a combined meeting that will be dedicated to SAP Fiori. Hopefully we can share more on that later.

But first: see you all next Tuesday!