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Introduction

You have already seen some of my blog entries about Portal development with Java. I have recently started learning ABAP. With this entry, I am starting a new series of blogs about ABAP development in which I will present to you my progress in the world of ABAP!

Why ABAP?

For the past couple of years, I’ve been working on the SAP Enterprise Portal, first on the implementation project, then developing some Java iViews. Later I found myself trying to understand Business Server Pages (BSP) development done in the Portal in order to support some HR applications. BSPs are similar to Sun Microsystems’ Java Server Pages (JSP) or Microsoft’s Active Server Pages (ASP), except instead of Java or VBScript, they use ABAP, mixed with HTML. HTMLB libraries work very nicely within BSPs.

So in a roundabout way, I found myself trying to decipher ABAP code, which looks like gibberish if you’re not used to it. I had programmed a little bit in COBOL in my first year at university and ABAP looked a lot like it. After many hours of pretending to understand it, I decided to actually start learning ABAP properly. Although, I’m still very much a beginner, I can happily report that ABAP doesn’t look too bad anymore.

I present to you my first ABAP program that pulls up data from an SAP table – I know the code below is trivial, but for a beginner, its pretty awesome – only a month ago, I couldn’t have written this:

My First ABAP Example Program:

Note: The table I’m using in the example was created just for this blog entry as a simple demo so you will not find this in your system.

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Some resources:

•   ABAP Development on SDN
•   ABAP on SAP Help Knowledgebase

Courses to take:

These should get a beginner started with ABAP development:

Look at course descriptions and details on booking information for these courses at the SAP Education web site.

•   BC400 ABAP Workbench Concepts and Tools
•   BC401 ABAP Objects
•   BC402 Advanced ABAP
•   BC405 Programming ABAP Reports
•   BC410 Developing User Dialogs

Books to buy:

Start with one of the following:

•   The Official ABAP Reference or
•   The ABAP Quick Reference

Summary

ABAP is an easy to learn to language. I’m probably going at it backwards: trying to learn ABAP after having programmed in Java, when most people in the SAP world seem to be ABAPers trying to learn Java.

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19 Comments

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  1. Abdul Hakim
    Hi,
    I m very much happy to see a Java Developer learning ABAP(The Most Powerful Business Application Programming Language).Itz not like going backward(From Java World to ABAP World) as you said..I can tell you that you are going upward :-).Best of Luck…

    Cheers,
    Abdul Hakim

    (0) 
    1. Alvaro Tejada Galindo
      Good for you Umair:

      After this 4 years of ABAP Development…I have come to love this programming languajes -;) Even more than I love C++, Ruby or PHP -:P

      Hope to see more of your blogs showing us you progress.

      Greetings,

      Blag.

      (0) 
  2. John Patterson
    ABAP code and syntax is probably one of the easiest to learn, the mistake people make is that because it is easy to pick up, it must be easy to do. Stick with it, in another 3 years you could call yourself an ABAP developer.
    (0) 
    1. Srinivasu Cherupally
      You are right. The crux of the ABAP programming is not coding as such but a combination of Business(Domain) knowledge and the SAP architecture. If you are good at this combination you can get required objectives done in a jiffy.
      (0) 
  3. Puru Govind
    I code in both ABAP and Java and believe me, both are excellent masterpieces in their own isolated world. Neither I have seen a better business oriented language than ABAP nor better application developmetn programmign language than Java.

    Only thing which troubles my mind is when people start using Java as system language. Coders, there isnt any better language than C to do it.. [grin]

    (0) 
    1. John Patterson
      Hi Puru
      Cant wait until your next your blog series ‘Secrets behind logging onto SAP’, I hope its as good as ‘The Power of Where-Used list’.

      Hi Ulmair,
      Your series on ‘Java development methodologies’ whilst it looks very famaliar to me, it seems to be lacking the methodology part, eg AMDD, XP or even the classic Waterfall.

      Just kidding keep up the good work.

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    2. Anton Wenzelhuemer
      Java ain’t living in an _isolated_ world at all. And what the business orientation of the _language_ ABAP  actually is remains to be explained too.

      Assembler for the masses!

      (0) 
  4. Hello,

    I checked the table ZUMAIR in an XI�@system by using transaction se16 but didn’t find it. Does this table exist by default. If not I think it would be better if you can mention in the article that the table needed to be created mannually in ABAP Dictionary.

    Regards,
    Will

    (0) 
    1. Umair Salam Post author
      I created the table for this blog entry as a demo. since it is a ztable, i assumed that its apparent it won’t be available on other systems, sorry about that…i’ll update the blog entry…
      (0) 
  5. Joachim Gross
    good idea to show the java-guys the easiness of Abap.

    just a hint from my side:

    better use table sflight for demos as this exist in all ABAP instances.

    Regards;
    Joachim (ABAPer since R/2 4.3)

    (0) 
  6. Nanditha K. R.
    I know how excited it will be to code the first program. Even I am sailing in the sae boat as you are. I really feel ABAP is more exciting than any other coding language.
    (0) 
  7. Another excellent book for learning ABAP is ABAP Objects: Introduction to Programming SAP Applications.
    (0) 
  8. hendra herviawan
    where i can download abap compiller or anything that i can use to compiler abap source code, thus any abap open source so i dont need to buy sap development environment

    hendra

    (0) 
  9. nkris nkris1
    Hi,

    Wanted to know if ABAP knowledge is a must for learning netweaver? i’m starting to learn SAP for the first time, need some pointers as to where to start from. a local company suggested ABAP is a must. I wasn’t sure,

    1. Learning a new tool in COBOL vs JAVA?? When I already know JAVA well;
    2. Is netweaver java technology phasing out ABAP?
    pls advise
    thx,
    -nkris

    (0) 

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