A long time ago I wrote an application server for SAP in Perl,
SAP::Rfc to talk to SAP R/3 and
TT2 to generate the web pages. It was used in one
project and worked well. Last year we used it again to turn
a SAP report into a web page on the intranet, now it looks
like we may use it again.
It's a good job it's decent code, all modular with decent design, unlike some of the ABAP I have to work with daily...
Recently I put out some minor patches to fdf. Having just moved house twice this year and currently labouring with a cold I've been a bit slow it completing the exercise and finishing the patches off.
I've had some more feedback, this time on the interim release, so this is good, I just don't feel up to doing anything about it today, even though I'm off work. Having a cold ruin your day when you are on a scheduled holiday isn't much fun.
Recently I got two emails with suggestions to fix it and other ideas. The ideas are good but as we're in the middle of a house move I don't really have the time to work on them and move house all at the same time.
I've therefore put out a beta release of the next 0.5 version incorporating some of the fixes and the ideas, while I work on the other fixes, suggestions and the changes I was planning anyway.
Our talk went very well - though there were only a handful of attendees. I wasn't able to cover any of the technical detail of how we did it all - legal wouldn't let us say anything useful. It was all done with standard Perl and ABAP but if I told you how I'd have to kill you!
The train ride home was slow and tedious but I made it home all in once piece with all my SAP user group mementoes...
Dinner at Old Trafford was good, got back to my MASSIVE suite at the Midland at a civilised time for a decent night's kip.
Breakfast was good - don't know if it was worth the £10 that the company paid for it though.
More talks today, ours is towards the end. First off there was some body language person, interesting but not really that relevant. So far the talks have been very below par, poorly constructed and not very well presented. The more you look round the more you realise how really good our SAP system and team is relative to other firms.
Today was the first day of the SAP UK&I User Group Meeting. Lots of scary looking vendors circling over lots of scared looking users. It's a very predator/prey atmosphere. At least I'm accumulating lots of useless "swag".
Tonight we have dinner at Old Trafford, my dad will be jealous!
I've just completed my SAP ABAP Object course today. Very interesting technology. SAP's ABAP technology may be obsolete, proprietary and slow but it does work in it's given space. The object bolt on is a bit Heath-Robinson, but that's not to say that the object model in C++ or Perl is a bit of a hack either.
My instructor for the course has his own web site, it's very different from the world of SAP: The Naked Gene Juggler (safe for work)...
At the moment I'm testing a new browser at the moment. Arora is very fast but lacks a built-in adblocker. I could just install Squid on my home server and route everything through that but I'm finding most community sites not too badly plagued with adverts unlike many commercial sites that are overloaded to the point of being unusable.
For my own amusment here are some Perl community adverts:
This week I'm on a SAP delta course between SAP R/3 4.6C and ECC6.0. So far the commute hasn't been too bad, the instructor is good and the material has been well paced.
It's really good to see the new stuff in the latest version of SAP, it is a vast improvement from 4.6C. At the same time some of it is clearly incomplete, immature and not very stable and worst of all other programming languages had this kind of technology a long time ago.
For historical reasons I maintain two separate Perl blogs as well as Perl content on this blog. As I've been doing a lot more Perl at home and work of late I thought it best to update things.
I've blogged on use Perl; for a long time, but frustrations with the interface and the development of better syndication technology makes it less important to me and many of the people I follow.
The Perl is Alive site is a newer site, which I'm blogging on at the moment to help it grow. I need to add some more articles to it as well.
For much of the last and this week I've been working on an interface between one of our pumps and SAP. It's been not the easiest process, lots of little problems but it had mostly come together by yesterday. Today we learned that the pump in question will be manufactured for at least another 6 months with three incompatible interfaces. It means a lot of unexpected work at a time when I don't have any extra time to do more work.
I think the business will be reasonable and accept a delay - they are after all getting three times the work, but that eats into following projects which other parts of the business won't be happy with.
The Perl and Unix/Linux side of the work has been dead easy. Even the SAP development has turned out to be quite simple, I have mostly just made minor tweaks to existing code. The Windows side has - as to be expected - been the most complicated and difficult part of the development. Nothing on Windows is easy or straight forward - everything is complicated and obtuse - it's no wonder most software for Windows systems is buggy and unreliable - the underlying platform is so awkward.
We've been running with the QM2 project now for a few days and it's been going mostly quite well. There have been a few stability issues with Windows but other than that it's been a positive experience. Yesterday the line assembled a pump using the old method and the staff complained quite a bit - they very much prefer the new style after using it for only a few days.
Another win for Perl and open-source!
The "Quality" project has now been live for almost a week at work. It has been a really interesting project and though there have been challenges, I've come through with a solution that I'm mostly happy with.
One of the nice unexpected outcomes has been that throughput on the line has risen by 15% now that staff are not writing numbers down and instead using bar-code scanners or interfacing the test equipment directly with SAP. This means that they can do what they are paid and trained for - build product - rather than filling out endless forms.
One of the less good outcomes was a report I wrote sometime
ago for a different part of the business started to produce
strange results. The reason was that there was a subtle bug
in my report that no one noticed before but the new data
in the system exposed. Thankfully it was a one line change
SELECT statement and it's all fixed now.
It's been one of the best projects I've worked on at work for ages, partially because it's been a "multi-disciplinary" project that I'm best suited to, being a generalist rather than a specialist, it's had a large Perl element and it's been actually fun to do with good people to work with.
I've started to use the ikiwiki wiki-engine. It's a really nice wiki engine in it's own rights but from my perspective it actually makes for a good web CMS.
It all stemmed from an interesting talk at this year's UKUUG meeting: Organising sysadmin documentation. I knew about ikiwiki but not bothered with it previously, preferring to to use the Kwiki wiki-engine. I've made really good progress with ikiwiki so far, I even plan to write something up for DA.org.