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Don’t tell me I am OBSOLETE – it hurts !

At the end of 2008, I wound up a good sized engagement as its program manager, and went on vacation. When I showed up at work after that – I had an awesome oportunity waiting for me. A short term gig – A project that needs an extra pair of hands to work on some CRM planning application.


I started my career as an ABAPer, and then moved on to some functional areas, BI, SEM etc. All through – my weapon of choice when trouble hit me, was ABAP. Don’t know how some functionality works in IMG – hey put a ‘/h’ and debug it.  Can’t make allocations work with standard SEM functionality – code an exit function….you get the idea. But as time progressed, although I continued to keep tab of all design activities in my projects – I hardly got a chance to write any code myself.


Then along comes this new gig – and the moment I got the requirements, it has been flashing on my mind “the only way out is to code”. Now, I do have expert programmers in this project, people whose skills are definitely more current and better than mine in the subject. However, I couldn’t help trying out the coding by myself, albeit with a limited intention : to get a prototye working so that some one can build a good production application out of it later.


So with all the confidence in the world, I opened up the function builder and started to code. Now, I was a darn good ABAPer when it was my full time job. I used to pride myself that I can write a whole program without ever doing a syntax check (actually a naive game that we used to play in those days –  with associated bragging rights as the prize). While I did expect my ABAP to be rusty – I sure did not expect to find that most of what I typed was declared OBSOLETE by the compiler. You know, when I left ABAP – it was legal to say “data itab like blahblah occurs 0 with header line”..and classes and methods were things that  were only used by developers in SAP labs.


Any way, I did find how to write the code the “modern way”, with lots of SDN help. I did not find much difficlty with the algorithm itself – guess it is like driving. Once you learn it – you probably can do it later, even if you have had a gap in between. In about a day’s time – I could make the application work in BPS. It was amazing – the sheer joy of watching the final program compiling and executing flawlessly – it gave me a huge boost, the type I never get in my regular job these days.


When I was a full time programmer, I used to have this weird problem –  Code will start showing up in my dreams, and I will single step through it – and sometimes it will go into infinite loops and I will panic and wake up from sleep. My family used to make a lot of fun of me. Thankfuly, I have not relapsed into that stage this time – at least not yet.


Well – that is it. I will offload the actual development to an expert this week. Hopefully he won’t make much fun of me after seeing the code. This experience has set me thinking. A lot of people I know – briliiant configurators and programmers, are doing “management” roles now. Most of them excel in management and they seem to like it too. I am planning to ping them and see if they would ever like to go back to their “roots” one more time . I have a sure they will get a kick out of it – like I did.


I will most probably go back to my regular job as soon as I finish this assignment, but I have made a note to myself. I will definitely do some development myself in every assignment – something small at least. It is too good to miss out – and hey I don’t want any compiler ever telling me that what I wrote is OBSOLETE. I am not THAT old.

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  • I got a chuckle out of this and can relate.  One of the things I did when I began to work with the content strategy of the ABAP pages here a few years ago was to upload a document that consolidated those changes.  I was glad to pull these out of extended new language notes and help documents as they had confounded many.
    I believe these were described in the newer books by Horst Keller. What I particularly found useful was explanations of "why" these are obsolete keywords.
  • Well Vijay, suffice to say, you are not the only one. When none of my codes work; and it happens once a while; I get irritated, frustrated and mostly grumpy with myself.

    And almost always I wake up in the middle of the night, with the solution staring at my face and a programmer that I am at heart; I end up coding at the 3 in the morning all excited!

    Great post!

  • Your comment is very true especially even if you switch from doing heavy duty custom coding and only do user exit/small fragment type work.

    I stop doing dialog programming for about a year or two and then had to build a new transaction with a simple ALV grid.  I had to grudgingly go back to to remember what options were necessary to get things going.

    Take care,


  • Vijay,
    I still face these "obselete" frowns from ABAP  even after 10 years of experience.   Maybe change is one thing people cannot accept so easily. Even though I knew there are lot of changes like objects/oops, my hand goes on to key in tranditional decade old ABAP and then realise after the compiler kicks me out.
    Your old friend