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SAP Help Portal tries to go "darknet"

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UPDATE 04.09.2017: the issue seems to be mainly fixed now. Check Laura Nevin's blog post on this:
Improve search engine results when searching for SAP HANA docs

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Alright, the title is rather click-bait, but the current situation with the new help.sap.com portal is rather annoying.

For a rather long time, one could bypass the remarkably unsuccessful attempts from SAP to provide a well-working search functionality by simply pointing, say, google to help.sap.com (and maybe your product area).

Personally, I found this so useful, that I found a nice way to integrate this into the browser search bar (https://blogs.sap.com/2012/06/20/how-to-setup-sap-hana-sql-reference-web-search-with-your-browser/ ). All in all, really a workable situation.

Now, with the new portal (http://news.sap.com/the-new-sap-help-portal-is-here/) this is a thing of the past. Unfortunately, even the backup-site (help-legacy.sap.com) will go down soon (https://support.sap.com/support-programs-services/about/help-index/support-portal-faq.html).

While other major community websites broadly embrace traffic via search results (https://stackoverflow.blog/2017/03/09/anyone-actually-visit-stack-overflows-home-page/ ) our own fabulous 1DX adventure seems to disagree with, yes, the users. Somehow, that seems rather not clever to me...

Therefore, I came up with an "idea" on the product feedback site "Idea Place": https://ideas.sap.com/D41614 (Enable external search engines again).

If you manage to log in and register (honestly, I have no idea what is required to do this successfully - I just know that users that wanted to vote on my ideas had been greeted with the error message "looks like you don't have access..." and not given any further hint on how to change that) and agree to the idea, why don't you try and vote it up?

Alright, thanks for your time and reading this through. Looking forward to seeing whether a) this is something that "the community" wants as well and b) if our SAP colleagues from the help portal are willing and able to provide.

Cheers,

Lars

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17 Comments

  • Mar 30, 2017 at 03:52 AM

    :( dont have access to "SAP User Assistance Innovations". Even if I log-in I am not able to search/find this idea.

    Will you be able to change the category to General or something?

    • Mar 30, 2017 at 05:34 AM

      Unfortunately, there seems to be little I can do about this. Changing the category is not an option as this is the category assigned to this specific topic.

      If anyone reading this knows what is required to get access to existing ideas in the idea place, please don't be shy and let everyone now!

      • Mar 30, 2017 at 07:27 AM

        So IDEA place goes darknet, as well?

        This is what happened when I clicked on "Take Me Back" after the cited access error message appeared:

        Well, another nice digital experience, SAP won't stop by one.

        scntakemeback.png (12.5 kB)
    • Mar 30, 2017 at 02:27 PM

      Agree... I can't see that idea either :(

  • Mar 30, 2017 at 08:56 AM

    Idea place has different "idea place" per topic (like one for the community, one for the idea place itself and then several for different products), but I never stumbled upon an idea place where I needed to register again. Is this some kind of really secret topic or why does the normal login not work?

    I don't want to register again, but I'd love to vote in your idea.

    Maybe Jerry can help out here. I'd love to mention him to get his attention to this discussion faster, but I know he's reading a lot here, so he'll find it at some point. :)

    EDIT:

    Wait... from the startpage I can see that there are areas for SAP employees. So maybe that's the reason for the message, Lars? Maybe your idea is in a SAP-only area?

    This is the idea places overview: https://ideas.sap.com/ct/c_b.bix?a=OD3837 and I can't find the "SAP User Assistance Innovations".

    • Mar 30, 2017 at 09:42 AM
      one for the idea place itself

      Where's that listed in the overview? (Not that I personally would have a new idea to share...)

      Resume: I guess one could get quite a bit more "User Assistance" (not neccessarily as "Innovations")...:(

      • Mar 30, 2017 at 11:28 AM

        The idea place for Idea Place

        .

        I have no idea how to get there without already knowing the link, though. Another thing Jerry could help with, because he provided it.

        • Mar 30, 2017 at 12:16 PM

          Ain't it funny: At least there's already an idea for the missing link to the idea place for the idea place.

          Even funnier: As to a comment there, within Idea Place, lowly frequented places get closed - s. below:

          (By the very same standards, everybody understands that unused tags won't be closed too soon...)

          By our own standards, we typically close low engagement sites 
          • Mar 30, 2017 at 01:14 PM

            Another platform change, for the Idea Place this time. I wonder what that means to the currently existing and not yet delivered ideas...

            • Mar 30, 2017 at 05:02 PM

              Hi, Steffi:

              I'm still learning about the transition, and I'll need to determine which ideas migrate over and which we might want to remove. For example, if we aren't going to deliver something, then moving the idea will just clutter the system.

              In no cases, however, will an idea be lost completely -- especially if it's under consideration.

              --Jerry

          • Mar 30, 2017 at 06:19 PM

            I should have used that for the title!

        • Mar 30, 2017 at 05:02 PM

          Hi, Steffi:

          I'm not sure which link you mean?

          --Jerry

    • Apr 04, 2017 at 06:03 AM

      Maybe it is indeed in a SAP-only area, but I have no way of verifying this.

      Meanwhile, a colleague hinted me towards a workaround for searching product specific content. When you limit the google search to the help.sap.com site and include the exact product name into the search string, then chances are that it will provide you with the right page. This works because the full product name is present on every single page...

      For example a search for the SELECT syntax in HANA could look like

      SELECT "HANA PLATFORM" site:help.sap.com

      So, while not the most 'techie' solution to the problem, it is good enough for me to not spend more time on finding out how to work the fantastic idea site..

      Cheers,

      Lars

      • Sep 05, 2017 at 03:33 PM

        Just re-post it in Jam. Ha ha ha, no, don't.

        I thought I was clever by searching for Lars' name, but there does not appear to be a 'search' idea submitted...

        • Sep 05, 2017 at 11:39 PM

          Looks like these are just my "HANA" ideas and the "search" idea was in the "SAP USER ASSISTANCE INNOVATIONS" section... ok, I give up with this. It's completely unclear to me what areas in the idea place are open to whom. Fortunately, the idea place is going away soon, so we will have a new system for user feedback that we don't like or understand... *cough*

          Anyhow, the original problem seems solved by now. I added an update to the discussion and the link to the blog post announcing the fix: https://blogs.sap.com/2017/09/01/improve-search-engine-results-when-searching-for-sap-docs/

  • Mar 30, 2017 at 05:06 PM

    Hi, everyone:

    I'm doing my best to absorb everything here, but I wonder if it might just be better to submit this idea again in the Idea Place section for the community: https://ideas.sap.com/ct/ct_list.bix?c=3F1503D6-1AE6-409A-A17A-8360D3F46A40.

    Everyone here should have access to that, plus our Idea Place does have "search" as a category.

    In the meantime, I do have colleagues who focus on "search" as a topic. I'll bring this conversation to their attention.

    Best regards,

    --Jerry

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