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When talking with developers, basis and others with a keen interest in change control the topic of ABAP custom object version control often arises. In particular the difficulty many have in ensuring the version of each object is the same in each system in the landscape.

They tell me it’s not uncommon, for example, for someone to have broken into PRD to make slight change to an object and then forget to replicate this back in QAS and DEV or for an object to make its way to QAS and for some reason get stuck there.

Good change control process and automated change control technologies can certainly help manage the flow of objects from DEV to PRD in an orderly sequential manner and so is a very good place to start. Change control ensures there is a process around making changes, the workflow and approval requirements for each and so makes an immediate difference to the quality around object version control.

What about the current state of play though?

Although object version information is held within SAP in various places, unfortunately there are not a lot of technologies available that enable developers, team leaders or project managers to quickly get at this information to compare versions and make decisions accordingly. The amount of times one comes across an object version spread sheet or an access database as a version control method, even for extensive and complex SAP environments is surprising. The problem with this is the database or spread sheet accuracy relies on human discipline and so comes with no guarantee of accuracy.

What is required is a tool that allows you to easily, simply and very quickly compare custom objects across multiple SAP systems allowing project team members to quickly see which objects are different in DEV, QAS and PRD and then to drill down to see just what these differences are. Such tools will provide confidence (or not) in existing change control procedures as all differences should be accounted for by a good change control technology.

The good news is that technologies are being developed by third party software vendors to assist with this type of system and object version visibility. Keep an eye open on the SAP EcoHub, TechEd exhibit halls and vendor promotional materials and searches using terms such as “SAP custom code version tools” should throw up a range of options for consideration.

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9 Comments

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  1. Matthew Billingham
    I’ve worked on quite a few pretty sizable SAP installations with quite convoluted system landscapes in the past 15 years, and we’ve managed perfectly well with the built in version management.

    But then, breaking into production as you suggest is highly controlled and would never result in a discrepency between prod and dev in the way you describe.

    What is missing in the built in, however, is that you can’t check a whole class, or function group easily. You have to check each method, on its own, then the private/protected/public sections.

    matt

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  2. Kenneth Murray
    I’ve never liked the statement “3rd Party providers” are providing tools.   I would think an expensive Enterprise Quality system would already have tools to do this.  3rd Party should be more for filling in application functionality that SAP does not focus on.
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    1. Rick Porter Post author
      Unfortunately most expensive enterprise vendors do not really focus on making much of what it has available simple and easy to get to and use – this is then a gap third party providers fill quite well.

      Regards, Rick

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  3. Thomas Zloch
    My personal wishlist of additional CTS features missing in SAP standard (as far as I know):

    – test import (find import and activation errors before actually importing)
    – undo (backout a transport by automatically resetting all objects to previous version)
    – overtake check (prevent older, unapproved changes surfing into production along with newer, approved changes)

    Can I have these, please? 😉

    Thomas

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    1. Rick Porter Post author
      Hi Thomas,

      Good change control process should virtually eliminate the need for an ‘undo’ one would think? I believe that, at this point in time at least, that SAP do not support the concept of undo. There is a SAP note to this effect – its quite old but I don’t know af any later notes. Perhaps some else does?

      I believe CTS central will have some kind of feature around this when available. Overwrite and overtake checks are avaialble in in add-on change control technologies but not in CTS just yet.

      Regards, Rick

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  4. Sandra Rossi
    I agree that there are missing tools, but some powerful ones are often unknown.

    SREPO transaction is a powerful tool that gives you an overview of different objects/sources, though it doesn’t give you access to the detailed differences (you have to access the versioning tool of each object to run the individual comparison)

    I also provided a “transport simulation” program in the wiki section of SDN, it can be very useful for situations of missing objects in the target system.

    I’d love to have a tool to restore or compare version in mass, by transport request especially.

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  5. David Drake
    Great tip on the SREPO transaction Sandra!  I hadn’t come  across this one before, it’s really a step in the right direction and provides an ability to get a simple list of objects that are different between two systems.

    I don’t want to come off as being too critical, but unfortunately It does look like the developer got pulled off the project before they could get to the good bits 🙁 notice how there are no dropdowns on selections, German messages and also an inability to drill down to see if or what the actual differences are – or even copy and paste the object names into the needed alternate session editor.

    Another limitation I found during my exploration was that transaction SREPO only considers Y and Z objects to be customer owned , this maybe a problem for some of the larger or more progressive companies using the newer namespaces such as /xyz/.

    If you like what you see in transaction SREPO, I suggest you take a look at the free apps in Salt (saltapps.com) especially the Matrix app – it allows you to compare whole landscapes simultaneously, drill down and also analyze the new namespaces (without the long wait), it also provides the transport information and relative versions so that you can see why the difference is there and what to do to fix it.

    Cheers,
    Dave

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  6. Pranesh Siddhanti
    We can use tcode SE39 to compare code in different system which highlights line by line basis in code but is limited to single object (report/FM/Include/method) at a time & may not be suitable for comparing mass change but is still a good tool.
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