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author's profile photo Former Member
Former Member

NetWeaver Basis support...with a Mac???

Those of us who prefer a non-Windows desktop platform are often frustrated and disappointed with the lack of support we find for our platform of choice in the mainstream business world. But, again some of us are stubborn enough to stick to our guns and try to live an “alternative” lifestyle.

Recently, after being a full-time employee for over 12 years, I decided to become an independent NetWeaver Basis consultant. So, one of the first things I had to think about was having a laptop for my new business. Having recently bought a Macintosh laptop for my personal use (just a couple of months before I made up my mind about going independent), my decision was actually about whether or not to buy a Windows laptop or use my Mac and risk my future clients denying me access to their office networks.

Why a Mac?

Being a Unix fan, I love the idea of having a Unix-based desktop (in case you weren't aware, Apple's operating system’s core is a BSD Unix called Darwin). I can run the Mac Terminal application and develop/test Unix scripts right there, and run SSH and X-windows and other Unix tools without the need for add-ons. Plus, audio, video, modem, wireless and every other piece of hardware on my laptop works like a charm out of the box -- which is usually not the case with most Linux distros. All that apart from the legendary simplicity and elegance of the Macintosh user interface.

But, as you probably know, not everything in a Mac lover’s life is sweet potatoes, especially if you work in the non-Mac-specialized IT world. Two of the main drawbacks (for me, anyway) are the relative shortage of free software and utilities as compared to Windows and Linux (though this is getting better as more people use Macs), and the lack of support from many software vendors in the business arena.

SAP, I must say, is one of the few large business software vendors that have always (since I can remember) provided a Mac client. Not as nice as its Windows-based cousin, but the Java GUI does the job (for the most part) ...in the ABAP-based world, that is. However, SAP does stop short of providing Mac support for all NW front-end components. And since lately I’ve been focusing on Portal and XI, I will need more than just SAPGui in order to support my future clients with my Mac.

So, this is where things start getting more difficult:

SAP’s official position on Portal Administration functions is that Internet Explorer (which only runs on Windows) is the sole supported platform. Nevertheless, I have tested most of the basic functions to work well on Firefox for Mac.

As far as XI, I believe the Java Web Start-based Integration Builder tools are also only officially supported on Windows. But since Web Start runs on the Mac as well, there is in theory no reason why the IB tools would not work properly on my laptop, and my initial testing of them has been successful. By the way, the same goes for other Java-based GUI tools such as Visual Admin, SDM GUI, and even SAPinst. All of which I have tested to work ok - just for fun, as I usually prefer to run those tools via VNC or X emulation.

In any case, living outside or on the edge of official SAP support is not a wam a cozy feeling, if you ask me.

Some other things a NetWeaver consultant might need that you can’t run on a Mac are:

  • NetWeaver Developer Studio (though I want to try tweaking the Mac version of eclipse, just for fun, but haven't had a chance yet).

  • Other specialized NW front-end components, such as the ones used for MDM.

  • Microsoft Project.

  • Microsoft Visio.

  • NetMeeting.

So, with all of the above shortcomings and iffiness, who is going to try to support SAP customers using a Mac?????

I, for one.

I'm not sure how successful I will be, but here’s my basic checklist for the road:

SAP SW: SAP GUI for Java

SAP Download Manager

Browser: Firefox

Office suite: OpenOffice.org

Project SW: Project Viewer by Steelray

Omni Plan

Diagramming SW: Omni Graffle Pro

Remote Desktop: RDC client for Mac (from Microsoft)

Chicken of the VNC

VPN clients: Nortel Contivity and Cisco VPN clients for Mac

Oh! and, yes... Virtual PC for Mac with Windows XP Professional...to run IE, NWDS and all the other stuff you still can’t run on a Mac 😔 . After all, I can’t afford not to be able to support my clients! I promise to use it only when nothing on the Mac will do ;). Perhaps I will be able to do without it some day?

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  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Posted on May 21, 2007 at 02:58 AM

    BTW, not to divert attention from the original topic, but as you might have guessed, this thread was originally written with the intention to be posted as a blog. But due to the new SDN blogging policy (see my thread Comments on SDN's new blogging policy , I had to post it here ).

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  • Posted on Jun 13, 2007 at 04:35 PM

    Hola Carlos,

    First at all congratulations for become an Entrepreneur, i believe in SAP NetWeaver as a product and for sure you will sucess in this area 😊

    About to use Mac... yes there exist some limitations, nevetheless i know few Project Managers that use Macs in SAP Partners and they are very happy... several tools are available for Mac or just on-line..

    But is not windows, so you need to adapt your mind to other alternatives... for example the SAPGui for Java ...For the administration of SAP NW System, the Visual Administrator tool is Java and will be replaced in the future for the NWA tool, so it become more universal and you will feel more and more confortable with this...

    I assume that you have a Intel based Mac... that's good cause you also can run Windows in your new laptop using the best of both worlds..

    Kind Regards,

    Luis

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    • Former Member Former Member

      Hi everybody,

      I am really happy to read what Meinolf has shared with us and how she is doing her work and njoying it to work on Mac Machines.

      Well I am a SAP -HCM Functional Consultant and I really dont face much of a problems as you guys especially consultants like Meinolf and Carlos has to face.

      But I am surprised to know why world is still sticking to windows ...may be becoz they dont know much about Mac or what ..???

      Today SAP is moving towards more of Web based applications i.e front end is BSP or WebDnypro ABAP and back end is R3 so its great to see this change which is more user friendly but we consultants have to work more hard to handle these solutions.

      I also would like to know if you guys have heard any body using XServe (Mac servers) for SAP how are they doing in corporate world. there are XRAID servers from APPLE, never heard about them...did you hear anybody using? pls. share it yes.

      I am also using my MAC Machine for my personal work that is for Rock Music, I am handicap without my powerbook G4. for recordings, for performing, experimenting etc etc. thats one more use I am doing of my machine.

      Cheers,

      Rick

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