After months of defect resolution and testing our code finally shipped this morning. The effort to deliver this product was beyond anyone's estimation. The difficulty was not so much on the .Net front, but more in the area of system coordination.
Some background...we set out to develop a WPF/Prism application which would be run on a mobile handheld device (think fat, rugged iPad). That, in itself, is not terribly difficult, it was everything else that proved to be challenging. Namely four separate SAP systems, all contributing data which get bundled up and distributed to the mobile device via SAP's NetWeaver. And then back up again...
On a good day it's hard enough to get SAP to play with SAP, raise that to the fourth power and add SAP's own client synchronization framework in the mix...well, you get the idea. It's a minor miracle it works at all.
This is my second large SAP/.Net development project, and this one being the largest and most complex of the two. Now, I'm the first to admit that I can be a techno-bigot. I love working with C# and .Net and frameworks like Prism and MEF. There is a real elegance that can be achieved and when you get it right it's poetry in motion.
Compare that with SAP...well, it's a dinosaur. A plodding, kludgey artifact from the Stone Age. I'm sorry, it's not my intention to offend, but it's true. I sometimes wonder how long SAP can continue, while the rest of the world races ahead with more and more sophisticated development tools? Not to mention the inherent complexity and true cost of ownership.
That said, I can say SAP does what it says on the tin, often times with a half dozen SAP Consultants hovering over scratching their chins. I have to admire these guys, namely because they have the patience and persistence to work with these types of systems. I don't know if I could do what they do. If the technology I'm working with becomes too restrictive or cumbersome or complex I simply find another. Not so in the world of SAP. What you see is what you get...warts and all.
Enough of that. In the end, after shedding blood, sweat and tears, we got there and it was a real team effort of two very different IT cultures.
Now onto version 2...