SAP Watch

Nov 14 2007   6:21PM GMT

SAP ABAP: Dead or alive?

JackDanahy Jack Danahy Profile: JackDanahy

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

2  Comments on this Post

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  • ABAPer with Java Flavor
    SAP is implementing new technologies in all the new areas as it see to it fits. For the new emerging SOA, Web Services, XI and Java/NWDI, SAP has made significant improvements for the SAP SW. Also it's not just Java but there's also .net as well. Which means for the SAP to work seamlessly among all the alphabet soup of technology the technologies SAP needs to develop these new areas. But for the core modules, SD, CRM, SCM, there's nothing better than the ABAP since the BASIS layer is built up on this ABAP language. For example to make SAP Ecommerce more appealling and robust to it's customer, J2EE has been chosen which is one of the core standard as well as the .net so SAP is going that way but SAP also built BSP so ABAPer can also build it's own Ecommerce or HTTP thin client applications. Only one thing that seems to lagging is the way all this new technology communicates with ABAP backend; RFC needs to be improved and it shouldn't be so much depend on the performance of ERP Backend work load.
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  • Harsha jadhav
    It is of my opinion that ABAP is very alive and why does it not matter to the outer world. If I am a customer and if I am going to use SAP for my work I would obviously prefer people who know SAP better. When it comes to this question whether or not if anything is to be newly written in ABAP would surely be a question from the TCO point of view as JAVA is still not as close to SAP as ABAP (I hope this is picked in the right way). Hence any new SAP implementation would not be possible without a ABAP programmer at site. Hence it is up to the JAVA community who would want to be faithful to SAP to learn the depths of the SAP application and architecture instead of putting lots of bespoke things at the helm of the customer from just a programming language perspective. Having said that it is now to the old and large ABAP developer community to clinch upon the newest offerings from SAP to fortify its faith and nearness and hence get polished.
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