Even though I'm not at SAP TechEd 2017 in Las Vegas this year, I have been following it intently through Twitter. As Bjorn Goerke (CTO of SAP) usually likes to make a visual statement with his Keynote presentations, he also had some great news to share (at least for any ABAP developers out there). News that blew up my Twitter feed and it's all that I've been seeing for the past couple days now. Bjorn shared that they are introducing ABAP on the SAP Cloud Platform (SCP).
While I've been doing ABAP development for over 3 years now, this news was something that answered the lingering questions I've had since I learned about HANA and SAP's shift to the cloud. "Where does ABAP fit in?" "How do I know if I'm in the right field and learning valuable skills that will progress my career?". These are reasonable questions to have, especially when that is what my job is, to develop in ABAP. And with the breaking news, a wave of relief comes over me, the question at hand is answered, and the gap is filled.
Even though ABAP is going to be on SCP, that doesn't mean it will be the exact same. I have heard that the SAP GUI and SE80 will not support ABAP on SCP. And the extensibility will be much different. According to this blog, ABAP will not be apart of the in-app extensiblity, but rather it will be supported as part of the side-by-side extensibility along with Java and Node.JS. What this means is that upgrades will be a lot simpler because they are decoupling customer extensions from the core product.
What does this mean for ABAP Developers?
So what should I do since ABAP is now going to be supported even further down the road? I can just kick my feet up and keep coasting along, right? Wrong!
This is the perfect time to start a transition of the tools used to develop and start to really learn the surrounding languages and technologies also supported. Below I have listed some of the steps I plan on taking to learn some new technologies and preparing for SCP.
No more SE80
I have recently downloaded the Eclipse IDE with the ABAP Development Toolkit(ADT). I am going to be committed to using Eclipse as my primary ABAP development environment. And if I ever need to get into the SAP GUI, they offer a nice little feature that embeds the GUI right into the Eclipse window.
Lots of Objects
Since ABAP on SCP is going to be restricted to limited types of objects, it will be the easiest transition if I start becoming extremely comfortable with creating all of my development within classes and using Object Oriented programming style.
Git it right
The Web IDE uses Git for source code versioning. This will be something new that I will have to learn since I'm used to the system taking care of that with transport organizer.
I hope that this news was just as exciting for you as it was for me. And even though there's a lot for developers to learn, it's an exciting road ahead. The best thing that we all can do is to be open to change and be excited to share and collaborate with others. That is the only way we can all keep progressing.
I would love to hear your questions and comments, so please feel free to ask and share!
I have provided links to the blogs that I've read on this topic below: