They really managed to do it. The first German edition of the ABAP Objects book came along with a SAP Mini Basis 4.6D on three (!) CDs. Don’t ask. It was real pioneer work – For us as well as for the readers. No documentation. Hanging installations were the rule and not an exception (nowadays, it is vice versa, of course). The book forum at the SAP Press home page spilled over with complains – but there also were sympathy and helpful hints. And we learned. Already the second corrected German edition came along with two improved CDs. And those were also the ones delivered with the first English edition by Addison Wesley. But just to mention another footnote of history: Because I wanted to enhance and complete the documentation very shortly before the deadline of the English book, I indeed burned the CD ROMs some late evening on my home PC, tested the installation only once on a laptop and sent these to the publisher. And those were the Master Data of all those 4.6 CDs of the hitherto English edition (which is still on the market)! – unbelievable nowadays.
But those times are definitively over now. From release to release (6.10, 6.20, 6.40, and presently 7.0 – all of them available with SAP Press books) the Mini Systems improved. And now, in the framework of the SAP NetWeaver technology platform, there is a dedicated little team in SAP NW PM, that officially develops and rolls out the ABAP Trial Versions via SDN and other channels for common use.
Thanks to that development, the situation had changed dramatically for the current book – ABAP Objects – ABAP Programming in SAP NetWeaver. When I started to work seriously on that book in January 2006, I found myself in the lucky position to get my hands on one of the first versions of the NetWeaver 2004s ABAP Trial Version – exactly the same release, the whole book is about. With other words – I could de facto start from the same point as most of the readers:
- All the examples used in this book were programmed and tested exclusively on my 1.59-GHz laptop with 1.0 GB RAM under Microsoft Windows XP, Service Pack 2, with an installation of SAP NetWeaver 2004s ABAP Trial Version and user BCUSER.
- When installing the trial version, I followed the installation instructions strictly and did not make any other changes to the computer.
- I installed the trial version exclusively in order to write this book, and did not undertake any changes or development work other than those described in the book.
- All screenshots were taken from the Trial Version (since the original version is in German and the development was done in German, I undertook the somewhat tedious task to administer the system as a translation system and to translate all the system texts to English – another nice weekend …).
- All the development objects that were created for the book are contained in a package called Z_ABAP_BOOK – with texts in English and in German.
- The package Z_ABAP_BOOK and all of its development objects – covering programs, classes, transformations, Web Applications and, and, and, – is readily available in the current SAP NetWeaver 2004s ABAP Trial Version that is available for download at the SDN and that comes with the book DVD.
- The package Z_ABAP_BOOK is also available as an online addition to the book in the form of transport files at http://www.sap-press.com or http://www.sap-press.de/1210.
Everyone who has an installation of SAP NetWeaver 2004s ABAP Trial Version (or another AS ABAP) will be able to recreate (preferably in an own package Y_ABAP_BOOK) or to examine the examples contained in the book in that system!
The new ABAP Objects book, is not a book for dummies. The same holds for the examples in package Z_ABAP_BOOK. Those of you who tend to learn all of ABAP in 3 days should better look elsewhere. The ABAP Objects book certainly does not claim to be an easy path through the jungle of possibilities in ABAP (but it is definitely a path). Apart from the practical introduction, it provides little in the way of step-by-step instructions for creating the examples. Even the practical introduction is not intended to be very simple. Rather, it is an introductory tour with a lot of room for individual initiative. The book does not specify exactly where to click your mouse every time; instead, it lets you discover whether you want to use this or that function. Rather than going into the minor details and secondary considerations, such as the maintenance of program attributes for every individual sample program, it explains only what is essential for each example. Therefore, the reader clearly is challenged to think a little “outside the box” in each example.