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Former Member
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I recently dined at a restaurant in Chicago's Greektown where a sign proudly proclaimed that their gyros are made completely from scratch. As I waited for my gyros to arrive at the table, I wondered why it was taking so long. Oh well, I reflected, I suppose you can't rush culinary art. Having had my fill of the ubiquitous Kronos version slowly rotating on the spit at the local hot dog joint, I was very much looking forward to experiencing the Real Thing.</>

At long last, the food arrived. I looked down at my plate, piled high with strips of meat, enough to persuade me to once again start the Atkins diet, inhaled the spicy aroma and took a healthy bite. As I chewed, I could tell right away that this was a far cry from what I was used to.</>

Boy, was I let down.</>

It tasted merely okay.</>

Along similar lines, I remember talking to a junior forms programmer who was jubilant over the successful completion of a Purchase Order Smart Form he had written from scratch. It had taken him a long time to develop but he had learned from it. Good for you, I thought. Not so good for your company.</>

After all, there is a preconfigured Smart Form for the Purchase Order that has been created by SAP Labs. Other than the personal satisfaction and knowledge gain, as a practical matter, there is little reason not to start with this existing template. After all, doing so can save a great deal of time, even for an experienced programmer. In addition, there are plenty of other excellent ways to gain knowledge, such as cross-training on many unrelated forms instead of focusing on a single form.</>

In fairness, there are a surprising number of people that still do not know about the free set of twenty preconfigured Smart Forms, since it does not come loaded with SAP. In addition, the link to download the set from the SAP Service Marketplace has moved around several times. Its current and hopefully lasting home is: The "Preconfigured Smart Forms" link is on the right side of that page.</>

The set of free preconfigured SAPscript forms developed by SAP Labs is also a moving target. At the moment, the best way to find it seems to be a search in the SAP Service Marketplace on the phrase "SG SAPscript" (without quotes).</>

The mark of a truly good programmer is not just how well she writes code, but how well she learns to avoid writing code. And by that, I don't mean passing it off to someone else (as tempting as it may be)! Rather, this trick involves leveraging existing resources, be they preconfigured forms or other types of code. To shave time off a programming task, I may rely on multiple sources, such as my own past code, that of my colleagues, the SDN, SearchSAP, whatever else my friend Google has to offer, and so on.</>

Certain things are better when made from scratch. However, when it comes to SAP output forms, the less time spent in the kitchen the better.</>

This is part 3 of a series of Weblogs on SAP output forms.</>