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2002 SAP Application Developer Summit: What's the buzz?

What draws the crowds a conference for SAP application developers?

LAS VEGAS -- The Web Application Server (WAS) and business warehousing were the hot topics at this year's SAP Application...

Developer Summit last week.

The biggest crowds at the annual SAP application developers' summit were drawn to Thomas Schuessler's sessions about WAS. Jeff Marin's session on Introductory J2EE for SAP developers and many Object Orientation-sessions drew crowds as well.

The summit is a small, very focused event for SAP professionals looking to boost their knowledge about programming and widen their horizons. It attracted about 450 people. The event is run by the publishers of SAP Professional Journal and SAP Insider, who did a kept the focus on learning with a minimum of distractions.

The three days included more than 40 sessions on topics such as performance tuning in ABAP and advanced programming for the new Web Application Server. Michael McGinity, IT manager at Reliant Energy, Houston, Tex., said he appreciated the way the event was organized around different tracks to allow him to focus on his specific area of interest.

"I'm really glad about the [development team] manager track, as it helps me understand the challenges and opportunities of my team members better," he said. "A track specifically for managers in this type of technical environment is a new approach to me, and I like it."

The Internet Transaction Server (ITS)drew less attention and its status appears to be in limbo. There were some sessions on how to optimize ITS with decent attendance, but the people we spoke to ranged from declaring ITS so dead it might as well have a tombstone to those who saw ITS holding its ground nicely alongside new technologies.

Archiving usually doesn't steal any headlines, but Holger Jischke, vice president and chief operating officer of Easy Software, Great Valley, Pa., a summit sponsor, said his session about archiving was well attended.

"There were about 70 people in attendance in the session," he said, "and later I got a lot of questions about it."

Some attendees praised the targeted technical focus of the event, although some complained about the restrictions of lecture-style learning.

"Some hands-on training or live demos would have helped the learning process," one attendee said. "But that's icing the cake. Relatively speaking, this was a good event. I'll probably be back next year."

Rob Shapiro, publisher of SAP Professional Journal and SAP Insider, Dedham, Mass., said he was happy about the success of the event.

It seems that no matter how things went at the slots and the craps-tables in the casino after the daily sessions, everybody at the event considered themselves winners in terms of SAP knowledge.

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