Veteran SAP career expert Jon Reed has fielded quite a few questions from ABAP developers concerned about SAP’s apparent focus on Java over ABAP. Indeed, things have had a distinct Java-flavor lately, which Reed discusses in depth in his most recent guest column, What SAP says about the future of ABAP.
As a follow-up, he asked Thomas Jung, who presented “ABAP Development: Update Your Skills to SAP NetWeaver 7.0” at TechEd Las Vegas this year, to take a look at the column and add any clarifications. Here is what Jung had to say:
Jon, nice article. I did see one thing I thought was interesting. You said, ‘But there’s no question that when it comes to designing new enterprise services, Java is the language of choice in most cases.’ You might want to ask someone at SAP what nearly all of Business Suite and Business by Design Enterprise Services are written in. You will find that the answer isn’t Java. But you make an excellent point in this article: does it really matter if the Enterprise Services themselves are written in Java or ABAP? No, not as long as the results are ‘open standards based.’
Jung went on to add:
Yes, to the outside world, it really doesn’t matter if it is ABAP or Java, since either way, the services are exposed via open standards. That is true. But at the same time, it is important to note that we continue to leverage the investment SAP, its partners and its customers have already made in the business logic written in ABAP.
Our eSOA strategy doesn’t mean that you have to discard that investment. Quite the opposite. You can continue to gain benefit from that investment while also extending it to new and open opportunities.
Perhaps the most important point Jung wanted to get across to us, and to the readers of this blog, is that the question of whether Enterprise Services are written in ABAP or Java is not the most key issue. Jung wants us to remember Vishal Sikka’s message that the underlying programming language is not as crucial as understanding how SAP is “wrapping” the code and exposing applications via Enterprise SOA.
So how do we summarize the question of whether ABAP is dead? We can start by saying that you can’t answer it completely in one blog entry. We’ll return to this topic frequently as more information comes to light.
But for now, we can safely say that ABAP is not going anywhere. It’s also becoming clear that whether you’re an SAP ABAP person or an SAP Java person, if you don’t make a commitment to understanding the latest generation of modeling tools (CE, Visual Composer, Aris for NetWeaver, etc.), and how they fit into the emerging Enterprise Architecture, you’re going to be left behind.
As of this writing, the final word on “is ABAP dead?” is not “yes” or “no.” The answer is that we’re asking the wrong question.
Jon Reed & Matt Danielsson