Archive by Author | richheilman

EnterpriseGeeks Podcast – SAPPHIRE NOW Day 2 Wrapup

Tom, Eddie and Dan discuss their impressions of Day 1+2 at SapphireNow.  Get the eGeeks views on the keynotes, the broad themes and what the show floor is like.

Running Time: 00:24:03 minutes

Show Links

If you have questions, suggestions, or topic ideas for future episodes, give us a shout here.

enterpriseGeeks at SAPPHIRE NOW

Hey egHeads.  Just wanted to drop a line and mention that my fellow enterpriseGeeks, Thomas, Ed, and Dan will be hosting a couple of live podcast sessions on the show floor at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando next week.  On Tuesday from 1:00-2:00pm, the guys will have the Agile vs Waterfall debate with Vijay Vijayasankar, and on Wednesday from 12:30-1:30pm, the Certification 5 will join the podcast to discuss SAP certifications.   These sessions will be taking place in the Communities & Social Networking Lounge Area in the Line Of Business(LOB) Campus.  Make sure to stop by at these times and check it out.  Yours truly will be staffing this area as well, so stop by and say hi anytime, Monday through Wednesday.  Also, if you are attending the SAPPHIRE NOW event in Frankfurt, make sure to find Craig and say hi. He’ll be handling some GC/Mentor activities next week.  See you all at SAPPHIRE NOW in Orlando.

UPDATE: Annual TechEd Thursday Night Dinner

Hey eGheads.  Just wanted to give a quick update.  We have reservations for 7:00 PM on Thursday(10/15) at Fogo De Chao in Scottsdale.  We are getting a private room  at the restaurant.  For those of you who have RSVPed to me, you are in, but if you have not RSVPed by now, I can not guarantee seating in our private room.  The “Train” concert starts at 9:00 PM( Doors open at 8:30 PM ), so I think we have plenty of time to eat and get back to the convention center for the show.  Remember, this dinner is not an SAP sponsored event, and you will be responsible for the costs of your own meal and transportation.    Yes, even you, customers!!!   The cost of the dinner is approximately $47 USD per person.  This includes salad bar, hot sides, and 15 different cuts of meat, and I assume a soft drink of some type.  So please try to arrive about 7:00 PM and come hungry.  See you all there.

Annual TechEd Thursday Night Dinner

Hey eGheads.  For those of you who hang with us at SAP TechEd, you may know that we like to do a nice dinner together on Thursday night before the evening event.  For the past couple years, having TechEd in Vegas made it easy to find very good all-you-can-eat buffets in very close proximity, and most everyone stayed in one hotel as well, which made it easy to meet up.  Now this year, it is a bit of a challenge, since conference hotels are so spread out, and from what I’ve been told, there are not really any good all-you-can-eat buffets worth the time/money.  I reached out to a fellow SAP Mentor Harald Reiter, who happens to live in Scottsdale, which is a suburb of Phoenix, and he suggested a nice Brazilian style steakhouse, called Fogo De Chao.   I went to a place like this in Atlanta a few years back with Tom, and it was really good.  Basically, you pay a flat rate, and they bring huge skewers of meat to your table, and they slice some off for you.  Every few minutes, they come around with a different kind of meat, all kinds of beef, chicken, and I believe pork as well.  It’s a real meat fest for all you carnivores out there. The dinner will probably run you just over $50 with tip.  So to all the eGheads out there, who will be in Phoenix for TechEd, come join us for dinner on Thursday, October 15th.  Check out the Fogo De Chao web site for directions.  If you definitely plan to join us, either comment here, or DM me, so I can get an accurate count, and make reservations if required.  We are hoping to squeeze this in before the Train concert, but have not yet set an exact time to meet at the restaurant.  So monitor our tweets on that day for more details.  Check the About page for our twitter ids, if you are not following one/all of us already.  See you all at TechEd 09.

SDN Points For Sale

Recently I found out that getting to ASUG/Sapphire 2009 in Orlando  is going to be a bit tough for me this year.  First, since my session submission was not accepted, that means no free registration. Second, nobody wants my travel expenses hitting their cost centers.  I guess I can’t blame anyone in these tough times.  So I am taking matters into my own hands and will try to foot the bill myself(sort of).  Most people know me from SDN, and know that I have accumulated a large amount of SDN points over the years.  These points started out as a way to entice people to contribute on SDN, and has worked quite well I think.  There was a time where you would get a free T-shirts when reaching certain point milestones.  Mostly people like them for recognition, now-a-days.  Anyway, I don’t really have any use for this points anymore, my wife has been nagging me to get rid of them, I’ve gotten all my T-shirts and other SAP swag, so I’ve decided to sell all my SDN points on eBay.  I have over 50,000 now, so there is plenty to go around.  I’m selling them in blocks of 1,000 at $19.99 a pop.  A good deal I think.  I plan to use the profits to finance my trip to ASUG/Sapphire, which means this could be viewed as a private charity as well, meaning that you can deduct the cost of your purchase on your taxes next year.  How great is that?   You get SDN points for doing nothing, and you don’t have to pay tax on that money.  And as an added bonus, you will get a good feeling knowing that you helped me get to ASUG/Sapphire.

Here is the Ebay link to the auction for anyone interested in bidding:


One final note, the sale is only for today, April 1st.

ABAP Freak Show: February 18, 2009

In this episode of the ABAP Freak Show we will take a look at how to retrieve data from a NetWeaver ABAP system via web services, and consume that data inside of SAP Business Objects Xcelsius. We will start by creating the web service provider in NetWeaver, and finish up by creating the web service connection and building our model in Xcelsius.  For this demonstration we will be working with a NetWeaver 7.01 system and Xcelisus 2008 SP1.

From ABAP to Flex

After seeing my tweets(@RichHeilman) over the past several months, a few people have asked me about what I’ve been working on related to Flex.  Most of the readers here recognize me as an ABAP developer more than anything else, but for the last half of 2008, I took a break from ABAP and dove into the Flex world.  This was great for me, as I wanted to learn Flex anyway.   I was charged with the task of creating a suitable grid control for Xcelsius using the Xcelsius SDK and Flex 2.  Basically my team(SAP BPC Solution Management) wanted to create Xcelisus models and embed them into the SAP BPC(Business Planning and Consolidations) product, but the grid control which is delivered by Xcelisus is not quite what we wanted.  It is not very visually appealing.

I was the only one working on this piece of the project, so my first task was to actually learn Flex.  I would describe the learning experience as better than learning java and not as good as learning ABAP.  No surprises there, I guess.  I like Flex a lot, but found myself missing ABAP when it comes to simple things like internal tables.  I actually learned a lot by reading the book, Adobe Flex 3: Training from the Source.  If you are  looking into learning Flex, I would highly recommend this book.

So once I had a basic understanding of Flex ( MXML and ActionScript ), it  was time to start playing around with the Xcelsius SDK.  The SDK helps imagein making connections between the actual UI component, its property sheet, as well as enables cell binding to the excel spreadsheet in the Xcelsius designer.  You then create the components using Flex Builder. The Xcelisus Add-On Packager, which also comes with the SDK, allows you to package all these pieces into one component .xlx file.  This component .xlx is then added to Xcelsius using the Add-On Manager,  and as you can see in the image to the right,  you can then use them like any other component which Xcelsius supports.  The .xlx file is the only file that the end user requires to use the BPC Data Grid in an Xcelsius model.

After doing some prototyping, I started coding the actual development.  First, I had to create the actual grid UI component which will be the visible runtime component. Second, I had to create another flex component which would be the property sheet. which would allow the user to change attributes of the grid component at design time.  Here is where the Xcelsius SDK comes into play. Basically it consists of a handful of methods that you use to create the cell bindings in Xcelsius as well as connects the property sheet component to the actual UI component. It also contains documentation about how to use the SDK.  As you can see in the below image, this grid component looks a lot like the DataGrid component in Flex. The reason is that the BPC Data Grid extends from that component.  We plan on adding more features to the BPC Data Grid, but for right now, we just wanted to get the baseline grid working.  Some features that we get for free that the existing grid in Xcelsius does not support are things like, a true column header, sorting, re-arranging columns, and row selection. This grid is fairly simple and implements a lot of what the existing grid has, but at least it has a column header. On the right side is the property sheet which is the separate flex component.  It has four different tabs to work with, and allows you to set other properties of the grid as well. Mostly, the properties are the standard ones delivered with the Flex 2 DataGrid component.


Here is an example of an Xcelsius model which is using the BPC Data Grid as well as other standard UI elements which it also interacts with. For example, If a row of the grid is selected, the appropriates changes are made to the line chart below.


A How-To guide about how to consume BPC data using Xcelsius, as well as a demo video, have been published on SDN.  This How-To guide also contains the  BPC Data Grid component(.xlx file) which you can install into Xcelisus using the Add-On Manager.  This is NOT an official SAP development, hence the reason why it is released via SDN, and not the service market place.  Of course, this also means that it is not supported by SAP Global Support either, so don’t try it.

All-in-all, I think this project went pretty well, and I am happy with the results.  I learned a lot about Flex and also the fundamental concepts used in developing RIAs.  At some point, I will be adding new features to this component, and of course fixing bugs as well.  I also plan on doing a new release when/if Xcelsius starts supporting Flex 3.