I had the good fortune to be invited to SAP’s Innovation Weekend 2010 in Berlin, a pre-cursory hackfest and idea exchange in the two days prior to the main SAP TechEd event at Messe Berlin. Walking around talking to people thinking, discussing, designing and building innovative prototypes covering a huge range of topics, I came across Phil Kisloff (@kisloff) and Fred Verheul (@fredverheul) who were building something using Composite Designer (part of the Composite Application Framework). “That doesn’t look much like SE38!” I thought.
Sure, SAP have been developing non-core software, services and processes for years now. But it hasn’t been until today that the realisation has truly hit home for me. The only team I’ve found that’s building anything in ABAP here is … ours. Ok, Gregor Wolf told me about some very interesting work on Webhooks last night which involved some ABAP coding, but that was probably more out of necessity rather than anything else. BPM is on everyone’s lips. Moreover, to speak of SAP’s Java server offering is already passé and almost uninteresting.
And then there’s River.
There is of course plenty more to say about River, as you can imagine. The project is very interesting and they’re attempting to address hard problems and built a very current offering. But what struck me the most about River is the technologies they’re using, and the audiences and customers that SAP are addressing. These are expanding all the time. Lior even related to me that it had been difficult for his team to find a person who knew ABAP, to help with some of the (minor!) experimental BAPI backend integration!
A far cry from the days of old. This is not your father’s SAP.