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Can you take me higher?

If I have worked farther in IT, it is because I was moving on the higher and higher abstractions of systems. Sir Isaac Newton might turn in his grave if he read my mutation of his famous quote. But what I said is so true. It is so true that Bruce Eckel started his famous Thinking in Java with “The progress of Abstraction”.

Today when I look back at my career and things I have done it seems to me that I have also been elevating myself with this sort of abstraction. My first love was BBC Micro. These little computers used Motorola 6502 and had hopping 32kb of RAM. After a brief stint with BASIC on these machines I moved on to assembly of 6502. It was quite fun for a geek in 8th Standard. Later I used the 8086 assembly in engineering school. Pascal, C etc. also came during this period.


Then I programmed some in CGI-Perl. In fact two of the blogging sites I publish are powered by Perl. But now coming to the real thing. With the release of NW04 and WebDynpro. That bar in this abstraction game has been again raised. Just think about a single iView based on WebDynpro fetching info from a SAP CRM system and you will be amazed. Let us break this

  • iView is being viewed in a browser which is running on top of an OS using the network.
  • iView was served by Portal Server via Page Builder. iView is created inside WAS on the WebDynPro Runtime
  • PRT or Portal Runtime is also in these layer
  • WAS is running on top of JVM
  • JVM is running of top of OS

While I might have exaggerated few things above. But you would agree with the layers of abstraction involved. Isn’t it magic how every thing works when it works 😀

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  • Adding and taking away abstraction layers is one of those things that Computer Scientist love!

    If there is one thing I have learned over the years (laws of Computer Science?) it’s the following:

    1) To increase performance, take away a layer.

    2) To reduce complexity, add a layer.

    It sounds like choosing between your father or mother 😉 

    • Very interesting spin to these thoughts Father or Mother? I am wondering which option of yours is Mother and which one is Father.


  • Change WebDynpro (being mainly the UI-layer) to CAF (containing all layers for this new layer, including WebDynpro). 
    While you start with hexcode on assembler and wrap and wrap single functions into larger functions and languages, the newest layers purely consist of Metadata, but not anymore of coding. Out of this metadata you generate your coding – and if you can generate it, why only Java? It could also be ABAP or .NET.

    And I would add some other abstractions. We are now on the SAP-systems on a level of abstracting from Database and Operationsystem. With CAF (including WebDynpro) we build the base for abstracting from the programming language.

    And I also would view it from a different angle: the type of people you need to “program”. Assembler is very difficult, and only a handfull of people were able to do that. With each layer you extend the number of people able to work with it. With CAF you go in a direction which allows classic non-programmers to “programm”.

    • Mario,

      I haven’t had a chance to read your much praised blog series on CAF. Though I would love to do so. So please pardon my ignorance. And this comment from you have finally nudged me in that direction that LAZY ME is gonna read it.