Pixel Perfect on Revision3

How come I as one of the Enterprise guys here at Adobe need to blog about “Pixel Perfect“? Maybe everyone in the Photoshop universe already knows about it and I am stating the obvious, anyway… Revision3, which recently re-launched has a cool video show about Photoshop hosted by Bert Monroy. The first episode is now available.
I put myself on the guest list for the Revison3 re-launch party in San Francisco last week and then I did not make it up there… I think I am getting old 😉 BTW all Revision3 videos are now also available as Flash Video, including my favorite: Diggnation.

Robert Scoble at SAP Developer Network day

I wrote before that I am excited about the upcoming SAP TechEd and SDN Day, but the news keep coming. That excitement doubled when I learned that Robert Scoble, famous tech Alpha Blogger, will attend SDN Day to do interviews for PodTech and mingle with the SAP developer crowd (BTW PodTech has now an SAP channel; Check out the interview with SAP Chief Architect Vishal Sikka).
You can find a summary of all Adobe activities at SDN Day and SAP TechEd here. It is pretty amazing, the most comprehensive partner participation I have seen at any SAP TechEd, which shows the depth of the SAP Adobe relationship.
I still need to configure a demo server and tomorrow it is off to Vegas!

Exclusive Flex Workshop @ SAP SDN Day

You know already that I am excited about SAP TechEd and the long list of sessions around Interactive Forms. However I am especially excited that I was able to recruit Flex Evangelist James Ward to do a two hour hands-on workshop at the SAP SDN Day on Sept. 11 in Las Vegas. During the last months we have done some work to show how a Rich Internet Application developed with Flex 2 can be integrated with an SAP backend. Here is a video with a 12 minute demo showing the results. If you know the traditional SAP GUI this stuff is pretty impressive.
If you are at all interested in developing Flex applications on top of an SAP backend make sure you sign-up for SDN Day and bring your laptop. We will get Flex Builder installed and you will be able to take the samples you developed home and play more with this exciting new technology.
By the way we will repeat the workshop at SDN Day in Amsterdam on October 17.
Also I will compete in the SAP TechEd Demo Jam, so if you participate please root for me (I will do live coding on stage, so this could get very interesting… No risk, no fun).

It’s Time to get ready for SAP TechEd 2006

SAP TechEd '06: See you on SDN Day!

Time is flying. I barely recovered from last years SAP TechEd and the preparation for this years event is in full effect. As we are extending our partnership with SAP to provide engaging user experiences for business applications there will be a significant number of presentations and workshops around Adobe technology integrated with SAP solutions.

First and foremost we continue to educate on SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe. Markus Meisl has compiled a nice summary of all Interactive Forms related sessions. Actually SAP Interactive Forms by Adobe is also a key word in the SAP TechEd search index (Las Vegas, Amsterdam). I will present together with Markus a 1 hour overview on Interactive Forms at SAP TechEd in Las Vegas and in Amsterdam. Hands-on workshops I would like to highlight include “Interactive Forms in Web Dynpro for Java: A New Way of Accessing Your ABAP Back End” (Las Vegas, Amsterdam) and “Using Interactive Forms in SAP Workflow” (Las Vegas, Amsterdam)

For those of you interested to learn how SAP leverages Adobe Flex technology attend some of the sessions around SAP Visual Composer and SAP Analytics. I recommend “Creating Flexible Business Applications Using SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer” (Las Vegas, Amsterdam) and “SAP xApp Analytics Implementation Project from Zero to Go Live” (Las Vegas, Amsterdam).

Ensure you also attend the SDN day (one day before SAP TechEd). I am working with SAP on a special treat: An exclusive two hour bring-your-own-box hands-on workshop demonstrating how to develop engaging Flex 2 applications using Flex Builder and integrate them with SAP (both in Las Vegas and Amsterdam). I also submitted additional SDN day session proposals on Interactive Forms, with the opportunity to meet the Adobe engineering team. More details in my SDN Blog… If you are interested to participate please comment to this or my SDN Blog.

If you are attending SAP TechEd in Las Vegas or Amsterdam please make sure to stop by the Adobe booth and say hi to the team. I am always interested to discuss ideas around Web 2.0 and the enterprise as well as sharing restaurant and party tips 😉 (I discuss both on my private Blog).

Finally with some luck our proposal for the SAP TechEd Demo Jam will be accepted (an enterprise mash-up with Flex and SAP).

SAP TechEd '06: I'll be there!

SAP slams Open Source and Oracle

UPDATE: Clearly Shai’s comments were taken out of context. He provides a much more balanced view in the disucssion (Here is the recording, Open Source discussion starts at 35:30) then reported by Vnunet. I encourage you to judge for yourself.

Seems it is the big “SAP stirring controversy” week. On Wednesday Shai Agassi was speaking at the Churchill Club in Silicon Valley. Unfortunately I missed this event (there is so much going on right now), but apparently he made some pretty bold statements.
“Open source will fail to deliver innovation and is more likely to break applications, according to Shai Agassi, president of the product and technology group at SAP.”
I am wondering if these statements were taken out of context. In general SAP is supporting Open Source Software and was very early on supporting SAP applications on Linux. Also there are a number of initiatives in the SAP Developer Network around Open Source projects.
“Open source is great for debugging, but it’s crucial not to touch [the code],” said Agassi.
Clearly not the best day for Shai. Here is some feedback…

Jeff Nolan, SAP Ventures, Venture Chronicles
: Open Source is no silver bullet to be sure, but open source is less about software and code, and more about a new development process that is highly collaborative and social in it’s roots. I’m no open source zealot to be sure, but it does strike me that this is possibly one of the best proposals for unleashing developer productivity, developing new applications (Firefox), and creating a new class of infrastructure technology (too many to list).

Dave Rosenberg
: SAP’s Shai Agassi was at the Churchill Club making very bold and ill-informed statements about open source.
“Open source will fail to deliver innovation and is more likely to break applications”
Wow. That’s about as bad FUD as you can get.
“We all talk about how great Linux is, but if you look at the most innovative desktop today, Microsoft’s Vista is not copying Linux, it is copying Apple.”
It’s true that Vista is copying Apple, but that’s on the UI, not the system architecture.
“Intellectual property [IP] socialism is the worst that can happen to any IP-based society,” he said. “And we are an IP-based society. If there is no way to protect IP, there is no reason to invest in IP.”
The thing that strikes me is that SAP could have taken the high road and embraced open source products. Instead, Agassi calls it “IP Socialism.”
Can SAP possibly be so naive as to think that open source products won’t eventually match up to their offerings, or is this just an attempt to sway public opinion? Either way-I now equate SAP with MS.
I find this extremely disappointing. Agassi was one of my fave tech execs and now I think he’s a fool.

Update 1:
It was just a matter of hours and the story is all over the Internet… see comments on Slashdot, Cnet and SDN.
Lets see what SAP will/can do for damage control.

In my opinion the best comments on this topic can be found on Silent Penguin:
E.g. David Welton states: “I would really like to know what the context of his remarks were. I find it hard to believe that this is supposed to be a general remark – especially watching how open source is being used more and more to enhance the usefulness of SAP, or even to make Netweaver a more attractive development platform. Then again, Shai’s remarks on PHP being “just for college students” were followed by SAP Ventures’ investment in Zend.”.

Update 2:
Thanks to ZDnet the discussion with Shai at the Churchill Club as well as a follow up interview is now available online.

Update 3:
You can read Shai’s response in his Blog on SDN.

SAP an early adopter of Ajax?

There is a good discussion over at the SAP Developer Network around AJAX and SAP Web Dynpro. Benny Schaich-Lebek, who works in the SAP NetWeaver Product Management team, sparked the discussion with his controversial Blog entry “AJAX @ SAP – an Old Hat!”. I know Benny and he is a very knowledgable guy. Unfortunately the use of German “humor” in his Blog did not work out for all readers (read some of the comments).
Basically Benny states that Web Dynpro uses XML communication between server and web client and therefore is leveraging the basic foundation of AJAX. While Web Dynpro developers do not write Java Script the Web Dynpro engine generates Java Script based on the Web Dynpro model which is leveraged on the client.
Benny’s Blog trigerred also a more detailed response by Daniel McWeeny. Unfortunately Daniel has not all the facts straight (see Benny’s comment to Daniels Blog).

However I think the whole discussion misses an important point. AJAX has become the buzz word du jour because Google, Flickr and others use it for innovative new web based applications with rich client user interfaces. So this is not about the technology but about improved user experience on the web. And I think this is where Web Dynpro falls short. Web Dynpro UIs resemble pretty much HTML user interfaces. I talked with a number of SAP UI developers who feel that the Web Dynpro UI patterns are very restrictive and do not allow them to provide an innovative new UI experience to customers. Switch over to another development group at SAP working on Visual Composer. They recently integrated the possibility to generate Flex/Flash user interfaces based on Visual Composer models, providing a very rich user experience for Business Analytic Dashboards.

I need to close for today but plan to write a more extensive Blog entry about the disruption rich client UIs will bring to the enterprise software space.

Pictures and Video Footage from Vintage Computer Festival

The Vintage Computer Festival last weekend was great! In particular the Homebrew Computer Club retrospective was a lot of fun. Turns out the secret of Apple 1 is that Woz is the fastest hex code typist 🙂 Even in school Woz could write with a typewriter faster then any of the girls in his class.
I wish I had those skills… I could produce many more blog entries…
If you missed the event Cnet has a number of video clips available. Also there a a lot of pictures on Cnet as well as on Flickr.
I only had my cell phone camera, so unfortunately not the best quality…
Here is the panel and it turned out a couple of old school hackers were in the audience including Captain Crunch.

Homebrew Computer Club Retrospective

From left to right: Michael Holley, Steve Wozniak, Allen Baum, Lee Felsenstein and Bob Lash.

BTW they have some really interesting exhibits in the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, so if you are in the area stop by and visit it.

Adobe Illustrator 1.0
Adobe exhibit including Illustrator 1.0.

Original Apple 1
Original Apple 1

More on Computing History

If you are interested in historic (well I guess that means older then 10 years) computer hardware and happen to be in the Bay Area this weekend do not miss the Vintage Computer Festival 8.0 in Mountain View. I will certainly be there. The highlight is the Homebrew Computer Club Retrospective panel discussion Saturday at 1:00pm.
Looking forward I already signed up for the Sun Founder’s Panel on January, 11. IMHO this could be one of the best events next year. Having Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy, Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, and John Gage in one room, do I need to say more?
Finally I rediscovered a lot of older hardware at my recent move. It is always suprising what shows up in those moving boxes, especially since I had a lot of stuff in storage for a number of years. My wife convinced me that there is not enough room in the house for all this “junk” (afterall I was single when I bought it), so I started to move the interesting pieces into my office to start my private handheld computing exhibition 🙂

My little handheld computing history exhibition

The most interesting piece is certainly the Sony Magic Link PIC-2000 (in the back of the picture). It is from 1995 if I remember correctly. It is powered by General Magic‘s MagicCap. It is still my favorite handheld with a very intuitive UI and great features, like a build in modem, backlight and 2 PC Card slots. Back in 1995 I worked on a project with E-Plus, Cable&Wireless and General Magic connecting the Magic Link to a Cell Phone. So I could actually use it to request email and browse the web using wireless data connectivity (9600 kbps). We also developed a restaurant reservation system for Geneva, which we demoed at a global telecommunications conference in Switzerland.

Nowadays I am working without a PDA (just my laptop). I just find the current devices (e.g. Blackberry) not very compelling. However I am excited about the announced Motorola Q. Maybe that will convinve me to use a handheld again.

SAP TechEd Vienna Impressions

I am on my way back from Vienna to San Francisco and wanted to take a minute to update you on TechEd in Europe before I head to Boston on Monday.
To make it short: The event was great! It was a great opportunity to meet people with whom I had exchanged e-mails on Interactive Forms, both from SAP and SAP customers.
The event (the third European TechEd I attended to educate on Interactive Forms) clearly showed that we have created critical momentum. A number of developers and architects stopped by our booth to tell me that they have implemented Interactive Forms in SAP NetWeaver and start to use interactive PDF forms to extend SAP business processes. The feedback is overwhelmingly positive. What more can I ask for as a Product Manager.
My personal three highlights of the show:
1) The two hour Interactive Forms overview session I jointly presented with Markus Meisl and Volkmar Jaekle from SAP. The room was full with about 130 attendees. Volkmar is an SAP consultant who presented the implementation of Interactive Forms at Cincinnati Insurance. It allows insurance agents to fill-out electronic claims forms and print checks right in their office, resulting in improved customer satisfaction (I think I will write about this in more detail another time).
2) The Interactive Forms Birds-of-a-Feather session. I wasn’t sure what to expect since these sessions compete with the main program and you never know if somebody shows up. Well, I ended up with 45 attendees and spent most of the time on my laptop showing new features of a “fresh from the labs” LiveCycle Designer 7.1 build. The new table wizard is great!
3) The TechEd party… I have to say the TechEd parties improve every year. You would not expect this from a company like SAP and especially at a Tech event in Europe. Great band and performances and a great opportunity for me to catch up with some of my friends from SAP I hadn’t seen in a while. You can find the party pictures tagged with SAPTechED on Flickr.

Finally (I think we are landing soon), SAP released a new book called “mySAP ERP for Dummies”. They had free copies and book signings. I was pleased to see that Interactive Forms are extensively featured in the book! Another proof that Adobe technology is now deeply entrenched in the SAP universe. If you have the book, check out page 244. The interactive PDF insurance form screenshot is from one of my favorite demos… I was so surprised to see it in the book. Kel Varsen (the user name we use for a lot of our demos) will become famous!

That’s it for now… Hope to see some of you in Boston.

Crowded Booth
Busy Adobe Booth at SAP TechEd in Vienna

The History of Adobe on the Internet

After reading Bill’s recent Blog posting I went to the Internet Archive project he references and looked up the first archived Adobe web page from 1996.
This reminded me of another project by Google integrating 20 years of Usenet archives into Google Groups.
I used the Internet for the first time in 1991 when I started to go to school in San Diego (as part of a foreign exchange program). In Germany I had alread used an acoustic coupler back in the 80’s to connect to various Bulletin Board Systems and the German Datex-P X.25 Network.
With the Internet access in San Diego I discovered a new world of applications like FTP, Gopher and eventually also Usenet news groups. Fast forward 15 years and this seems to be ancient history. A history I believe is important to be preserved similar to old hardware finding its way into museums.
After Google completed the project of indexing the Usenet (the ones which they were able to assemble from different archives dating back to 1981) they created this interesting collection of links with important Usenet postings. Among others it includes references to the first mention of Microsoft and the first “Me too” post (OK, maybe not that important).
Inspired by the list I started to do my own research and compiled a list of postings documenting the history of Adobe on Usenet.

Continue reading…