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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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  1. Marilyn Pratt
    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.
  2. Bhavesh Kantilal
    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!

  3. Stephen Johannes
    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,


    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

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