ABAPers of the world can be happier now. The much-awaited ABAP flavor of Web Dynpro is now available as part of SAP NetWeaver 2004s. I am planning to do a few blogs, tutorials & eLearnings on this new tool in the near future. To start with, here is an introductory blog.
Developing ABAP Applications using Web Dynpro is one of the scenario variants under the Custom Development IT Practice & Developing, Configuring, and Adapting Applications IT Scenario. (For more details about IT Practices and IT Scenarios, refer to the Building the Bridge – From IT Practices to Usage Types blog series by Matt Kangas).
What is Web Dynpro for ABAP?
As you may already know, Web Dynpro is the UI technology for developing client-independent applications. It comes with a programming model, set of tools and a run-time. The platform independent metamodel definition enables Java and ABAP to be the run-time environment for Web Dynpro applications.
Web Dynpro ABAP and Java
If you are familiar with the Web Dynpro (Java) perspective in NetWeaver Developer Studio, you can appreciate the similarity between that and the above Web Dynpro Explorer (ABAP). Yes, the tools in both environments (Explorer, View editor, UI Element Outline, Property editor, etc.) are pretty comparable. Not only the tools but also the programming model, UI elements, etc. are similar in both the worlds. Due to the nature of these two worlds, there are some basic differences between these two tools, like the list of UI elements available, wizards, graphical tools and source code control & transport. I will cover the differences in detail in a future blog.
The benefits of using Web Dynpro for ABAP
Using WD-ABAP would make sense, if you are planning to develop a web application (or a non-SAPGUI application, considering) to expose the business functionality that primarily resides in the ABAP stack. Here are some of benefits of using WD-ABAP against other comparable technologies.
General Web Dynpro benefits
- Since Web Dynpro is based on MVC model, your business logic is naturally separated from the presentation logic. This is a good programming practice, so that the business logic could be re-used by multiple UI applications. In the future if you decide to change the UI technology, or build another application using a different UI technology, the same business logic (Model) could be re-used.
- Web Dynpro practices less-coding more-design principle. So, it is a programmer-friendly easy-to-use tool, which increases productivity
- The flicker-free screen updates, client-side dynamics, caching, 508 accessibility support etc. are automatically taken care of by the Web Dynpro framework.
WD-ABAP specific benefits
- Since the run-time is an ABAP engine, many of the ABAP programming, DDIC and workbench elements are available inherently for WD-ABAP tools Remember that you are within the ABAP Object context, and so all relevant restrictions still apply. Dont get carried away with this power of doing SELECT-* and CALL-FUNCTION wherever you feel like. WD-ABAP is purely a UI technology and so your Model should reside separately as mentioned in the following point.
- Integration of business logic (Model) in the form of Function module / BAPI / RFM, ABAP global Class, ABAP Web Service / Client proxy is seamless.
- WD-ABAP applications can be deployed into SAP NW Portal as iViews and can exploit the Portal functionalities such as Portal Eventing, Object Based Navigation (OBN) etc.
- Adobe Forms designed in the Form Builder (transaction: SFP), can be integrated into WD-ABAP views.
The Web Dynpro for Java has been around since SAP NetWeaver 2004. Because of this, to some extent, the term Web Dynpro itself is being used to indicate the Java flavor. As mentioned in the first paragraph, Web Dynpro for ABAP is available as part of SAP NetWeaver 2004s. This minor release of NetWeaver that is primarily meant to support mySAP Business Suite 2005 and mySAP ERP 2005, is currently under ramp-up phase. The general availability is scheduled for Q2 of 2006.