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ABAP – The first Face to Face  

I came to SAP (ABAP) world from the background of C/C++ and some Java knowledge. This is a narration of my experience of my first ever face to face introduction with ABAP language. I am not here to say which language is better and which is not but to explain what I experienced when I first started in ABAP.


– Development environment – The very first shock of first connecting to an R/3 system before writing any code. I could write any C/C++/Java code on my system without bothering about to have a user/password first to connect a system and then go to ABAP workbench to write something.

Next, shock after writing hello world program, Where are the files? When we write code in C/C++, we save it as .c/.cpp/.h etc on local system but where are the files stored in ABAP? I can’t see/know the extension of the files? Great! I can not take them with me to my home for further rework (this is good, I don’t need to work at home anymore). Now in the workbench itself, you get three buttons for checking syntax, compile and then activate (now what is this activate? I never have done this in other languages). Even till date I do not know after what happens after you compile and then activate? What is the type of file after compilation and activation? Like in c we get object files and then exe files, but here its all mysteryJ


– Syntax – Syntax is pretty cool and easy – its almost like English. The big problem – I need to put a full stop at the end of everything! Even after IF/ENDIF/CASE etc. Again, in other languages it is pretty much different. During my first few program, I used to get lot of syntax errors just because I have missed the full stop or put semicolon ‘:’ because of C/C++ background.

Next was where is malloc /calloc /pointers? How to control memory? During college days, we had a nice quote – “The probability of your program crashing is directly proportional to number of pointers you use in the program”. In ABAP I get a dump but no more crashes/hangingJ No need to check those pesky hex memory locations and put hours n hours of finding the cause of memory leaks/crashes. I love ABAP in this case.


– Database connectivity – This is what I liked most and I believe that this the best feature of ABAP compared to any language in this world. I need not care about what database I am using and how to connect. I can create/define and view the tables in the same session as well just I need to define table type in my code and direct write SQL statement, no need to worry about the location of data!


Graphical User Interface (GUI) – This is more of screen programming. I think this is the place where ABAP becomes tough for programmers. First creating the controls itself is a tough task. I have done some programming in VC++ and Visual Basic (VB) as well, and the interface is so easy. You need to just drag n drop and that’s it! But in ABAP I had pretty tough time to create a nice UI. I have seen the WebDynPro also and it’s much better compared to ABAP screen programming still there is a long way to go in comparison to VB/VC++. The easiness to control the property of different UI controls/ resizing changing the colors etc is much much better in VB. I hope we will see continuous improvements in this regard.


Well, this was a short narration of my early experiences with ABAP. Now it has been almost 4 years still I keep finding something amusing/interesting in this ABAP world. I am still working in VC++ more so it’s a never ending story and learning. Still compilation errors because of full stop in C++ or because of semi colon in ABAP J.

I wish I could connect to database in C++ as easy as in ABAP!

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  1. Priya Ranjan
    ABAP is most notably one of the most advanced Platform. The language although is a dissapointment.
    ABAP is neither Functional language nor a technical language.
    I cannot write in ABAP something like

    for each sales_order for customer cust
        print sales_order where status equals completed

    instead you call some function , iterate through internal table check for the status and print the result.
    It’s also most unreadable language out there, and I had a very hard time fighting inconsistencies in language. You got to know ABAP top to bottom to write code in it, there is no IDE help etc.

    1. Anubhav Mishra Post author
      well, i have seen cobol for 2 day training and thats was all…i was not expecting anything from ABAP..its just what i experienced during transition from other languagaes…

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