James Governor's Monkchips

SAP on Rails: pretty freaky… A Shadow over Innsmouth

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The idea of using the Ruby On Rails framework to extend SAP apps and give them some prettiness potentially makes a lot of sense.

Step forward SAP4Rails, as put forward by Piers.

Culturally however the combination is very odd. Odd to the point of spooky.

SAP is the ultimate configurable enterprise system. R/3 is surely the most enterprisey system ever designed.

Ruby On Rails on the other hand is supposed to be the ultimate triumph of convention over configuration, beauty through simplicity and constraints.

I can easily imagine David Heinemeier Hannson in Walldorf telling a group of SAP engineers that BAPI is just too ugly to live. If PHP is the devil, then what the hell order of darkness is BAPI? We’d need to approach Cthulhu to get close to that level of evil. SAP is surely one of the great old ones.

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  1. SAP configurable – come on! Customisable for sure – but that requires code not configuration.

  2. It sounds a bit like breeding outside your species – unnatural, and likely to spawn some misfit bastard child – very scary.

    That said, RoR would work nicely as a front end, provided SAP API’s were friendly enough to talk.

  3. James,
    Spooky it isnt. us boring enterprisey walldorfians have always been quick to pick up on new technologies, and I think the philosophical starting point for RonR and SAP were exactly the same.

    in the 1970s real time rather than batch!
    early adopters of relational databases
    early apopters of tcp-ip
    early adopters of windows as a enterprise gui
    early adopters of unix and NT as OS
    (okay we where a bit mega-slow on the move to browser)
    v early support of Linux
    strong and early support of opensource dbs

    SAP’s model of table driven configuration, and trying to avoid heavy bespoke coding doesnt sound so far removed from the philosophical intent of ruby on rails.

    I’ll post later today on SAP’s GUI strategy….

  4. good one thomas – more SAP coverage to come. now if they would just start briefing me on things and inviting me to sapphire we could make some progress. 😉

    actually as you know only too well we have our own plan to get my sap iq up to speed

  5. neil – actually i disagree. SAP is both customisable, in the shape of code extensions, and massively configurable.

  6. Yes to customisable– and SAP last week announced at Sapphire 2006 that it will acquire Frictionless Commerce !!

    Their folio is now slowly being rendered ino a more “customisable” platform across the inter and intra economies of an enterprise :)-

  7. Yes to customisable !!

    SAP last week announced at Sapphire 2006 that it will acquire Frictionless Commerce.


    Their folio is now slowly getting rendered into highly “customisable” platform for both intra and inter ecomomies within an enterprise !!

  8. Great news!! SAP and RAILS!!
    Im an huge rails fan…i use it for all my pet projects and work with some comercial ones with it.

    SAP recently hired me for their new Development Center in Brazil, and I thought that I would never see Rails again.

    This gives me great hopes!

  9. I agree – it is a bit Frankenstein, but I still take it all as a compliment 🙂

  10. i want to use sap in rails . but i had a lot of doubts.
    saprfc could not load, have we install saprfc sdk?. how can we create sap database

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