Uninvited advice regarding SAP and Java
Wednesday 5 October 2005 @ 3:39 pm

The last year (or maybe even years) I’ve been living in two completely different worlds. The first world is the well known world of java, j2ee, open source, nice discussions about technology and every month a different approach. As one can see, a pretty nice diverged environment that’s inspiring to get creative. The other world is the world of SAP, dominated by the vision of small town german Walldorf. Legacy and slowly moving targets are the keywords in this world. Both worlds seem to be pretty opposite of eachother but I always thought these two worlds get together pretty well.

How wrong I was! My goodness! Yep SAP is breathing Java all over the place. They have a J2EE server, the have a java based enterprise portal, the have an eclipse based development environment and they have a Java API for every product they sell. Sounds nice, doesn’t it. Nope, not at all. Two simple reasons: SAP refuse to adapt any standard except those needed to pass marketing technical interesting certifications (they have their own strange portlet api, strange deploy and manangement models, strange UI solution and so on). But this reason is acceptable (hey, SAP wants to make money and making money is way more simple when you lock in your customers as much as possible, every big player tends to do so). What’s not acceptible is the fact their API’s are designed and written by monkeys! And worse, the same bunch of german bonobo’s are using these API’s to write the their own merchandise. And we, the simple straighforward java developers, are required to either adjust their products or rewrite solutions from scratch using this mixture of rotten bananas and lines of java code. And for the worst (yep we’re diving deep in the bile called SAP), whenever you’ve written a nice solution using their API because the standard products/packages they provide are not sufficient enough to meet business requirements, you are facing (one year later) the invincible fact they have both changed the API and have written their own solutions. Meanwhile the SAP marketing army has overflown your customer with useless ideas and your home brew solution is kicked out for not being visionary enough.

Okay, I have to admit, I’m exaggerating a bit, and indeed this frustration driven (nope, it hasn’t happened to me yet, I’m just trying to figure out how disclose SAP XXX, in this case MDM, through SAP EP) blog is not the complete truth. And yep, those nice german guys sometimes have brilliant ideas and sometimes they even express real vision but keep in mind, this blog is not far away off the truth either! So, whenever you decide, for whatever reason, to do some tailor-made SAP based java development, think twice! Sometimes it’s better to wait a year or two or three (the so called Sit And (do not) Program strategy).

— By Okke van 't Verlaat   Comments (2)   PermaLink


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