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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).

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Positioning in IT Practice / IT Scenario

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.

The development environment of Web Dynpro for ABAP (to be short, ‘WD-ABAP’ from now on) is tightly integrated into the ABAP workbench (SE80). ABAP classes are generated automatically from the metamodel created in this design tool. Custom coding is done in ABAP for tasks such as business logic (Model) access, event handling, and dynamic screen modification. The ABAP stack of the application server (Usage type: AS-ABAP) is the runtime environment for executing the generated ABAP classes and custom coding. Based on the client from which the application is triggered, the unified rendering takes care of rendering the UI in respective technology (for example, if it is triggered from a web browser, the Web Dynpro UI metadata is converted to HTML, JavaScript and rendered using HTTP(S)).

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Web Dynpro Explorer in SE80

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 UI definition is stored in the form of meta-data, which is rendered dynamically at run-time by the rendering engine based on the client. This means, you don’t have to learn and code using HTML / HTMLB and JavaScript (as done in technologies like BSP, JSP, etc.). I am sure the ABAPers will be glad to know that they don’t have to deal with HTML & JavaScript to develop the web applications 🙂
  • 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. Don’t 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.

Availability

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.

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30 Comments

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  1. Subramanian Venkateswaran
    Good to see the title of the Weblog. Can’t wait for the series coming up. As you have made the Tutorials for WebDynpro available(last time the count was 100), if SDN can provide for WebDynpro for ABAP, that would be simply amazing.

    Best Regards,
    Subramanian V.

    (0) 
    1. Marilyn Pratt
      Great idea Subramanian and one that Venky and the SDN/ABAP team are going to support.  Keep posted on the ABAP pages in the coming weeks for some exciting activity.  I also am going to be looking for your feedbacks as to what kinds of tutorials and multimedia are best for the community.  I’m just as excited as you folks about the availability of Web Dynpro for ABAP and think it would be super if we can enable some “hands-on” work with the community.  Thanks, Venky!
      cheers,
      Marilyn
      (0) 
  2. Subramanian Venkateswaran
    Good to see the title of the Weblog. Can’t wait for the series coming up. As you have made the Tutorials for WebDynpro available(last time the count was 100), if SDN can provide for WebDynpro for ABAP, that would be simply amazing.

    Best Regards,
    Subramanian V.

    (0) 
    1. Marilyn Pratt
      Great idea Subramanian and one that Venky and the SDN/ABAP team are going to support.  Keep posted on the ABAP pages in the coming weeks for some exciting activity.  I also am going to be looking for your feedbacks as to what kinds of tutorials and multimedia are best for the community.  I’m just as excited as you folks about the availability of Web Dynpro for ABAP and think it would be super if we can enable some “hands-on” work with the community.  Thanks, Venky!
      cheers,
      Marilyn
      (0) 
  3. Subramanian Venkateswaran
    Good to see the title of the Weblog. Can’t wait for the series coming up. As you have made the Tutorials for WebDynpro available(last time the count was 100), if SDN can provide for WebDynpro for ABAP, that would be simply amazing.

    Best Regards,
    Subramanian V.

    (0) 
    1. Marilyn Pratt
      Great idea Subramanian and one that Venky and the SDN/ABAP team are going to support.  Keep posted on the ABAP pages in the coming weeks for some exciting activity.  I also am going to be looking for your feedbacks as to what kinds of tutorials and multimedia are best for the community.  I’m just as excited as you folks about the availability of Web Dynpro for ABAP and think it would be super if we can enable some “hands-on” work with the community.  Thanks, Venky!
      cheers,
      Marilyn
      (0) 
  4. Abdul Hakim
    Hi Venky.
    I am very much happy to see this weblog.It is so special for me because this functionality is from ABAP side.I will be more happy if SAP improves the scope of ABAP similar to java in EP/XI/MI arenas..

    Regards,
    Abdul

    (0) 
    1. Anonymous
      Hi Abdul,
      ABAP has traditionally been a robust app server to handle business transactional processing.  The development environment is also more mature than most of the other language environments. Thanks to the advent of ICM/ICF, which has opened the the ABAP server to handle web requests directly.  SAP is using both ABAP and Java in the respective areas of strength.  (For example, as you may already know, the XI runtime is primarly the ABAP server).
      (0) 
  5. Abdul Hakim
    Hi Venky.
    I am very much happy to see this weblog.It is so special for me because this functionality is from ABAP side.I will be more happy if SAP improves the scope of ABAP similar to java in EP/XI/MI arenas..

    Regards,
    Abdul

    (0) 
    1. Anonymous
      Hi Abdul,
      ABAP has traditionally been a robust app server to handle business transactional processing.  The development environment is also more mature than most of the other language environments. Thanks to the advent of ICM/ICF, which has opened the the ABAP server to handle web requests directly.  SAP is using both ABAP and Java in the respective areas of strength.  (For example, as you may already know, the XI runtime is primarly the ABAP server).
      (0) 
  6. Abdul Hakim
    Hi Venky.
    I am very much happy to see this weblog.It is so special for me because this functionality is from ABAP side.I will be more happy if SAP improves the scope of ABAP similar to java in EP/XI/MI arenas..

    Regards,
    Abdul

    (0) 
    1. Anonymous
      Hi Abdul,
      ABAP has traditionally been a robust app server to handle business transactional processing.  The development environment is also more mature than most of the other language environments. Thanks to the advent of ICM/ICF, which has opened the the ABAP server to handle web requests directly.  SAP is using both ABAP and Java in the respective areas of strength.  (For example, as you may already know, the XI runtime is primarly the ABAP server).
      (0) 
    1. Anonymous
      Hi Venkat: There is no Smartforms UI element available as of now in Web Dynpro.  Thanks.
      (0) 
    1. Anonymous
      Hi Venkat: There is no Smartforms UI element available as of now in Web Dynpro.  Thanks.
      (0) 
    1. Anonymous
      Hi Venkat: There is no Smartforms UI element available as of now in Web Dynpro.  Thanks.
      (0) 

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