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Visiting SAP NetWeaver Development Nerve Center

imageI am visiting Walldorf this week, one of the nerve centers of the SAP NetWeaver development.

For all of you who have never had the privilege to come here, I took the picture to the left this morning. It is the main entrance to building WDF03 better known by it’s old name: BAC short form for Basis Application Center.

If there is something that you would like me to tell the developers here in Walldorf, now is the time. Write your questions or recommendation in a comment to this post.

I will let you know how they reacted.

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  • Hi Mark,

    I'm interested in the ABAP Workbench news (eg. New ABAP related tools, news in ABAP Objects for higher release, new things in SE80, etc).

    Thanks a lot,

    Ps: What is the planned release date for 'MiniWAS 6.40 with ABAP engine for Windows', if is there any?

  • Hi Mark,

    Here are some, mostly language-related:

    1) When you save break-points in the ABAP debugger, you should be able to also save the watches, so that they don't have to be re-entered with each new execution.

    2) An ABAP sub-class should be able to redefine the signature of an inherited method (method overloading).

    3) At times it would be useful to have a variable of type class.  This is handy in class factories.

    4) Date/Time! I don't understand why ABAP has never supported date/time variables.  I know I can get a timestamp, but that's just a concatenation which doesn't support date/time mathematics.

    5) Booleans.  Real booleans.

    6) Open SQL support for case insensitive searches (rather than having to store redundant text in upper case).

    7) Color syntax-highlighting in the editor.


    • Other suggestions:

      "7) Color syntax-highlighting in the editor."
      1) More customizable ABAP Editor.
      Eg: - more customizable colors in code for better code overview.
      - commented color after comment in the end of line (") not only for the first position(*)
      - Color indication for the depth in nested statments...something like 'Pretty Printer' does, but with colors.

      2) Some kind of check for expessions within ''.

      *-->  Material
          CLEAR r_wa_fieldcat.
          r_wa_fieldcat-fieldname = 'MATNR'.
          r_wa_fieldcat-ref_table = 'MARC'.
          r_wa_fieldcat-ref_field = 'MATNR'.

      In ALV Grid fieldcatalog, if I type 'MATRN' instead of 'MATNR', there is no message, that there is no field MATRN in MARC.
      I know it would be difficult to implement such check, but it would be very useful.

      3) It's more for basis:
      - Graphical unpacking tools for .SAR and .RAR files...something like WinZip/WinRAR

      4) ... and of course more documented Programs/Classes!


  • Hi again,

    I forgot the biggest issue as a 3rd party application developer interested in developing apps on top of NetWeaver: I can't protect my ABAP source code (not sure if the same applies to Java).

    It should be possible in NetWeaver to deliver an application that cannot be viewed let alone modified (eg. license key checks bypassed).

    I just read an article saying that the source code is not accessible inside Business One, so perhaps the solution is already present just not activated for NetWeaver?


    • Hi Scott

      I'm not sure whether your post was a troll or not, or even whether it was specific to the traditional SAP customer - nevertheless I have to reply.

      I don't want to start any holy wars, nor waste anyone's time listing all the obvious benefits of Open Source, but I'll just say this ...

      In my opinion, a HUGE factor that has made R/2 and R/3 such a success over the years has been the availability of the application (and the majority of the basis) source code - first in assembler, then in ABAP. I don't need to tell anyone who's worked with SAP how invaluable it is to have access to the source code of a transaction or report that's misbehaving, or to be able to copy and modify something that does almost but not quite what you or your customer wants.

      I for one would always advise my customers to approach core or 3rd party SAP-related software - where the source code was unavailable - with great caution.

      In its own way, SAP has carried the torch for Open Source software for decades. I'm proud of them.


      • Hi,

        Yes - I guess I'm a bit confused about the code protection argument. Maybe if you explained why you think it is necessary it would make sense.

        I'm one of the thousands of SAP people thankful that ABAP is visible, and HTML too for that matter, to help me understand what's happening when things go wrong.


        • This reply is for both of replies to my original posting.

          Trolling?  Seems an unusual observation... anyway, no.

          Source code protection is necessary when providing products for evaluation, particularly if that evaluation distribution is made available over the Internet.

          Whether source code protection is used for clients is a decision for each business to make, but they should have the opportunity to choose.  If your business model doesn't require it, then simply don't use it (no harshness intended).

          Remember that NetWeaver is a platform and as such provides developers with the opportunity to look beyond the major enterprise market in which SAP software has traditionally been used.

          I actually have no problem with clients having the source code.  They are contractually bound to protect it anyway.

          Concerning recommendation to clients for only using app's with source code, what's the reason for that?  Just because it's inside SAP?  Surely the platform doesn't determine whether source is provided?  What about other software like messaging middleware, my experience is that you don't get source code there.

          As for SAP's open source initiative, does anyone here have the source for the WAS kernel, ITS or .NET Connector? 🙂

          It's interesting that SAP have decided to prevent Business One customers from accessing source code.


          • Just noticed that Dirk Feeken has corrected me in the ABAP Programming forum.  Business One is not written in ABAP (I'm quite surprised).


  • The specific and very reasonable wishes regarding the ABAP language have reached the ABAP group. Not a big surprise that most points have been discussed internally already and are adressed in Web AS 6.40 while others will come in later releases.
    For example the two process debugger which stays open next to the debugged mode (=>no loss of watches) or the new support for generic programming allowing dynamic type creation. 
    But I would suggest to discuss topics like method overloading in ABAP Objects (yes, there are reasons why it is not supported) or software delivery without source code in the ABAP discussion forum.
    A description of the already done 6.40 features can be found in the Web AS 6.40 development news in the service marketplace. A shorter summary can be found here in SDN ("What's new in ABAP") like the teched presentations about ABAP language and Workbench news. Use the smart SDN full text search ("ABAP 6.40 News",etc...) That's what I usually do.
    And a Mini Web AS 6.40 on Windows is also in development but no release date known, yet