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Developer Advocate
Developer Advocate

As a technology company SAP is over 4 decades old. Over that time it's innovated at a tremendous pace, and along the way it has abstracted, invented and reinvented technologies like no other company I know. In parallel with this, there's been an incredible growth in community, business and technical. In this post I want to focus on the technical.

The oft unspoken status quo with the SAP technical community is that the members operate within a bubble. It's a very large and comfortable bubble that powers and is powered by the activity within; folks like you and me learning, arguing, corresponding and building within communities like this one - the SAP Community Network. We have SAP TechEd, which is now called d-code. We have SAP Inside Tracks. We have InnoJams, DemoJams and University Alliance events too. Every one of these events, and event types, are great and should continue. But there's a disconnect that I feel is moving closer to the surface, becoming more obvious. This disconnect is that this bubble, this membrane that sustains us, is in many areas non-permeable.

There are folks who operate on both sides of that bubble's surface. Folks that attend technology conferences that are not SAP related. Folks that are involved in developer communities that have their roots outside the SAP developer ecosphere. Folks that write on topics that are not directly related to SAP technologies (but with a short leap of imagination surely are). But these folks are the exception.

SAP's progress in innovation has been slowly turning the company's technology inside out. Moving from the proprietary to the de facto to the standard. Embracing what's out there, what's outside the bubble. HTTP. REST-informed approaches to integration. OData. JavaScript and browser-centric applications. Yes, in this last example I'm thinking of SAP's UI5. In particular I'm thinking about what SAP are doing with OpenUI5 - open sourcing the very toolkit that powers SAP's future direction of UI development. With that activity, SAP and the UI5 teams are reaching out to the wider developer ecospheres, to the developer communities beyond our bubble. If nothing else, we need these non-SAP developers to join with us to build out the next decade.

I try to play my part, and have done for a while. I've spoken at OSCON, JabberConf, FOSDEM and other conferences over the years, and attended others such as Strata and Google I/O too. I've been an active participant in various non-SAP tech communities in areas such as Perl, XMPP and Google technologies. This is not about me though, it's about us, the SAP developer community as a whole. What can we do to burst the bubble, to help our ecosphere and encourage SAP to continue its journey outwards? One example that's close to my heart is to encourage quality Q&A on the subject of UI5 on the Stack Overflow site. But that's just one example.

How can we reach out to the wider developer ecosphere? If we do it, and do it with the right intentions, everybody wins.

Update 04 Mar 2014

The massively popular code sharing and collaboration site now supports OpenUI5 bootstrapping. Read this post for more details. Step by step!