After successful lectures and hands-on sessions at TechEd in USA and Europe last and this year, which attracted a lot of interested customers and partners, many “ABAP”- und also “non-ABAP”- developers have been waiting for this moment to come. Now it is there. SAP is currently running a first pilot shipment for SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio for ABAP (aka ABAP in Eclipse). ABAP Development Tools for SAP NetWeaver is the new ABAP IDE built on top of the Eclipse platform.
The pilot program has started in October 2011 with the Kick-off Workshop and will run until February 2012. Within the pilot program, a selected number of customers and partners will get their hands on the new IDE for ABAP to develop their ABAP code within it and to experience ABAP in Eclipse benefits and features live in action. The pilot program participants had been also introduced a comfortable set of user assistance materials which helped them to get a quick start with the new IDE.
Why ABAP in Eclipse?
The idea of offering an ABAP development environment in Eclipse may surprise some experienced ABAP developers, since the classical ABAP Workbench since years has proved itself as an integrated, comprehensive business development environment with a rich toolset for development, testing, troubleshooting and support running on a powerful server with a sophisticated, robust life cycle management. On the other hand Eclipse has established itself in the world as a state-of-the-art open development platform with the powerful UI capabilities, which are second to none and nowadays many developers are fascinated by its usability, productivity and flexibility.
Keeping these considerations in mind, SAP decided to combine the best of both ABAP and Eclipse worlds by providing a modern Eclipse client on top of proven ABAP development tools.
The general approach of ABAP Development Tools for SAP NetWeaver is to offer one Eclipse client that is installed on the developer PC and that can connect to several ABAP backend systems from different releases. The client is loosely coupled to the backend (IDE survives lost connection to the server) and offers state-of-the-art UI with fast client-side rendering, parallel processing, multiple views in the same context and provides a set of standard development tools for system browsing, search, editors for each ABAP development object (class, function module, program etc.) and for Data Dictionary objects. The development always takes place online on the server (as in ABAP Workbench). ABAP development objects are stored on the backend and well-known ABAP services (like syntax-check, transport, activation, version management, search and “where-used” etc. ) are also executed on the backend.
The new ABAP IDE based on Eclipse targets to significantly increase the Developer Productivity by offering features which are essential for modern development tools like
- High-performance stable, online development in several ABAP backend systems (even of different releases)
- Display/Edit of multiple ABAP objects in parallel
- Highly Customizable UI
- Efficient Source Code Editing
- Refactoring Support
- Fast Search and Navigation Capabilities
- Test-Driven Development
- Integrated Quality and Troubleshooting Tools
- On-the-Fly User Assistance
- …. and more.
Furthermore ABAP Development Tools for SAP NetWeaver targets to support the development of ABAP applications running on SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP powered by SAP’s in-memory database SAP HANA.
One major benefit of using Eclipse as the platform for the new ABAP development environment is its openness towards new tools and features via the Eclipse plug-in technology and Open Source Platform. Therefore the new IDE leverages the Eclipse Open Tools Platform to enable users to provide extensions for ABAP development toolset and to offer ABAP and non-ABAP Development tools within the same IDE.
Objectives of the Customer Engagement
The main objective of the customer engagement is to enable SAP customers and partners to evaluate the ABAP Development Tools for SAP NetWeaver . The pilot program focuses on evaluation of functional, usability and documentation aspects and includes the active collection of feedback via several channels (e-mail, calls, survey). The collected feedback will be analyzed and used by SAP’s development organization to improve and enhance the IDE prior to its general availability. Since the evaluation is currently running, SAP can’t share any release information yet.
P.S. Due to time constraints of this customer engagement initiative, we are not able to accept further participants. Nevertheless in case you are seriously interested, please send me a mail and we will surely contact you for any kind of follow-up evaluation activities of the ABAP Development Tools for SAP NetWeaver .