If the headline made you glance nervously at a calendar, please do not be alarmed. No, you were not sucked into some kind of bizarro time and space continuum vortex. The world did not end, the year indeed is 2013 and I’m just now posting a blog about 2012 TechEd. Sigh… See, it’s not you, it’s me.
In my defense, I started writing this blog back in November 2012 with a noble goal to help the time-challenged folks like myself to catch up on the TechEd events as quickly and efficiently as possible. But somehow I didn’t come around publishing the blog as quickly as anticipated. Oh well, let’s be honest - I know exactly what the “somehow” is. First I couldn’t stop putting finishing touches (“just one last quick edit, I swear!”) and there was also a heated internal debate whether I really should call a session “snoozfest” or just politely not mention it. Then there were long holidays, after which point I was starting to forget what on earth I was writing about. Then, of course, there was “perhaps I shouldn’t publish it on Friday – it’s going to get buried in the list” and “aah, it’s been so long, should I post this at all?” dilemma.
But double blessing by the SCN Gods (nominated SCN Mentor and SCN Member of the Month – thank you, thank you!) sent the much needed adrenaline shot into my consciousness, so I’m biting the bullet and posting this blog (on a Friday!) for everyone to see. Because I know there must be people out there who are in the same rocky boat and might feel guilty for not following the events of TechEd 2012 or even 2011 and (gasp!) 2010. But if you’re reading this – you’re already one step ahead, so it’s all good. (Below is the blog post as written in 2012.)
* * *
I’m sure this will sound familiar to many of you. Between a full time job, commute from hell, feeding your family nutritious meals of lean protein and whole grains, providing cultural enrichment to your child (AKA watching Dora the Explorer together) and minor things like sleep, there are probably only about 1-2 hours left in your day if you’re lucky.
And there are soooo many things competing for your attention in that precious little time slot. “Gym-tan-laundry”, catching up with friends and relatives (and/or other humans), financial planning, your own cultural enrichment... And don’t forget about Fashion Police and Plants vs. Zombies singing their siren song as well.
So when I found that replays from SAP TechEd in Vegas were available online and completely free of charge, one part of me (the financial planning one?) was super excited. But when I saw that an average duration of about two dozen sessions was 60 min., all other parts said – no friggin’ way!
However, after a quick progression through all the stages of grief (from anger and denial through acceptance), I found that even though the whole thing would probably take me up to TechEd 2014 to watch, there were some pieces that in just a few days worth of “me time” would provide a decent overview of what’s going on in the SAP world.
As a result, in this blog I present to you some tips on how to get the best ROI on your time investment from the SAP TechEd 2012 Las Vegas replays.
This is obviously the next big thing since sliced bread and database is kind of the core of, well, all things SAP, so regardless of your specialty most of the time investment should probably be into the HANA related content.
Some of the most interesting replays actually turned out to be the interviews (or rather short conversations). Deep Dive on SAP HANA Development: For ABAP and Mobile Developers - now 20 minutes doesn’t sound like much of a deep dive, but just imagine this being read by the Honest Trailer guy: “In the world… ruled by SAP HANA… will you survive? Graham Robinson … Thomas Jung … Thorsten Franz … Rated PG-13”. Needless to say more. Watch it!
Back in October I had an opportunity to take the online course “In-memory database” at openHPI (led by Hasso Plattner himself) and would highly recommend reviewing this course in the openHPI archives. At minimum watch the 20 min. introduction video – Prof. Plattner’s enthusiasm is truly contagious, so if anything it’ll get you more psyched about this concept than any TechEd session. Note though that this course is about the in-memory databases in general, not specifically about SAP HANA (which IMHO is even better).
If you still have time, these replays provide a decent technical overview on HANA:
Both are 60 minutes long. There is also Accelerating ABAP Applications Using the Best Features in SAP HANA: Hands On Session which is not as much about HANA as about using some kind of “accelerator”. I have to admit that presenter’s voice almost put me to sleep (it was 10 pm – give me a break!), but I quickly woke up on minute 11 when I heard the words “some boring ABAP stuff”. Really? I know it was meant as a joke but it’s probably not a good idea to call someone’s job “boring”, especially at a professional event. Just sayin’…
I’ve accidentally clicked on the short interview How the SAP Mobile Platform is Being Leveraged by Developers and Partners with Jagdish Bansiya and Bryan Enochs and truly enjoyed it. Just two down-to-earth dudes having a friendly conversation, it almost felt like being right next to them. What a treat! One of the best values for the time spent.
After that I couldn’t miss Mobility Platform Road Map and Strategy, also by Jagdish Bansiya. Even though I couldn’t fully understand some parts of it, it was presented in such an informal, approachable, almost warm way that it made me feel confident that if need arises, I can do it too.
In all honesty, the Cloud stuff was of the least interest to me, so I just semi-scrolled some sessions. Our Cloud Strategy and Road Map - I’d recommend scanning the presentation material, but session itself was rather a snoozer, unfortunately.
Integration of Cloud Solutions from SAP is livelier than the roadmap one. If you have time for only one Cloud-related session, this is the one I’d recommend. Interestingly, slide 10 of presentation says ‘Service is always up and running … (no IT ops)’ but slide 20 - ‘Active monitoring of queues’. Uhm, so who’s going to monitor the queues, Accounting? Something doesn’t add up…
Another notable session is Developing Apps and Interfaces with Our Cloud Solutions with an On-Demand SDK. Demo starts around minute 20 mark and it runs for only 42 minutes.
… and the rest
The only session I could file under “the old-timey ABAP” was The Brand-New ABAP Test Cockpit – A New Level of ABAP Quality Assurance (46 min.). This feature, in my opinion, would probably be of most benefit to the larger size teams and companies, but, if time allows, I’d recommend scanning through it to everyone, just to be aware of what’s available.
Guest Keynote with Clay Shirky – wow, if you only have time to watch just one session, this is the one I’d actually recommend over any technical stuff. Entertaining, thought provoking and all around highly enjoyable presentation. Simply awesome! I almost missed it assuming it’d be like the 2005 Will Farrell’s SNL ‘Oracle Conclave’ skit (does anyone has a video link?) and was pleasantly surprised. The best part – since it’s TechED, you can watch it in the office during work hours guilt free.
In conclusion I’d like to thank the team behind the cameras, who have done such amazing job recording, editing and posting all the replays. The only thing I could wish for the next TechEd is a little more “lean” editing (e.g. some introductions could’ve been omitted) and more interviews or reports directly from the floor. The feeling of presence and inclusion that the interviews provided was truly priceless.
Also a special thanks goes to all the presenters and interviewers/interviewees. It’s easy to make fun of the videos sitting at home miles and months away, but if I had to make an appearance myself, I’d be just like a deer in headlights, so – hats off to all the brave participants!