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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 .

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48 Comments

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  1. Bastian Stritt
    Hello,

    can we apply for this Pilot Phase or at least for another Pilot/Beta Phase?

    I’m looking forward to use Eclipse with ABAP since the Day I heard from it…

    Regards,
    Bastian Stritt

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    1. Olga Dolinskaja Post author
      Hi Bastian,

      since the customer engagement initiative has been already running since october, we are already in the middle of the evaluation and unfortunately not able to accept further participants. Nevertheless if you are really interested, please send me via e-mail your contact data, and we will surely contact you for any kind of follow-up pilot shipments of ABAP in Eclipse.

      Best regards,
      Olga.

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  2. Stephen Johannes
    Based on what I have seen of this tool in presentations, for most heavy duty ABAP developers who love SE80, this still has a ways go in order satisfy the needs of the traditional ABAP developers.

    Now for java folks learning ABAP and people new to the language, this might be an easy way to transition into the ABAP environment.  However if my end-users still require the SAP GUI for their work all this will do is increase the TCO in managing my desktop SAP components enterprise wide.

    As I also understand if backend ABAP system doesn’t provide something via API then SAP GUI windows are launched for those features.  I’m still trying to figure out how this benefits those of us running only running our “2020 applications”.

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. Olga Dolinskaja Post author
      Hi Stephen,
      we are very interested in feedback of traditional ABAP developers since SAP’s development organization focuses among other things on developer productivity and reduction of developments costs (TCD) for using ABAP in Eclipse and therefore integrates the most important ABAP development and quality and troubleshooting tools natively into the new IDE. If you want to share with us how and which ABAP tools your developers most frequently use or give any kind of feedback on features which are imperative for your developers in the new IDE, please feel free to contact me directly via e-mail.

      Thank you in advance and Best Regards,
      Olga.

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      1. Stephen Johannes
        I need to come up with a list, but anywhere there is a punch to a SAP GUI screen to get information because there is no server-api to show that or is not integrated in eclispe needs to be eliminated.  I think full data dictionary support would be require to even make some folks do this.

        Second deploying a “thin client” such as SAP GUI is a royal pain across several thousand users.  A fat client such as eclipse needs to have clear deployment/rollout strategies to reduce this cost.

        In terms of support the fat client means that I need to provision workstations and lots of other overhead not associated with ramping up an ABAP developer.  You are making our SAP support landscape more complex and not simpler.

        Finally since eclipse is just calling backend ABAP server API’s, why couldn’t this have been done with something more daring using as true server side browser based editor using BSP/webdynpro ABAP? 

        Take care,

        Stephen

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        1. Community User
          Why do you need an on-demand IDE for building on-demand apps? Take a look how apps are build for iPhones, Android… There are good reasons why sincere IDEs are rich clients.
          Just my 2Cts,
          Christoph
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        2. Joao Sousa
          One clear example. I’m writing a program and I need to create a data element or a table.

          If I have to use SAP GUI to do this, that Eclipse is useless.

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  3. Mauricio Cruz
    I truly think that we ABAPers from SCN should be able to test this, even if we’re still in BETA phase. This could be distributed i.e. as an “Add-on” for AS 7.0X trials.

    I know lots of ABAPers that are really eager to test this new approach for ABAP Development, and I believe that community feedback will bring greater – and faster – results!

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    1. Olga Dolinskaja Post author
      Hi Mauricio,

      you are definitely right: the SDN community should be able to test ABAP in Eclipse and give their feedback on it. Currently it is a bit early for such offering, but we think about it as one of the next follow-ups of this first customer and partner engagement. Stay turned!

      Best Regards,
      Olga.

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  4. Kumud Singh
    Hello,
    It made me think this morning:
    While I was coding in Java , I remember Eclipse as an IDE, for it was wonderful. As I could get code assistance , execution,  all on the same platform for server based application. For Java it was a great breakthrough. This saved lot of time and effort.
    Now for ABAP we have many of the attributes already. So whether it would be as great breakthrough is to be wathced. However, I am sure in eclipse working would be fun and enjoyable.

    Regards,
    Kumud

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  5. Paul Hardy
    Eclipse is Wonderful.

    SE24 is rubbish. When I went on a training course and was shown SE24 and told that is what we had to use going forward I fell off my chair laughing. In recent years SAP has started to relaise that designing products that are agony for human beings to use is maybe not a good thing, so projects like “ABAP in EClipse” are a welocme departure.

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    1. Stephen Johannes
      Seriously.. The eclipse based tool still has to punch out to SAP GUI based screens because it can’t display everything that SE80 does and you are complaining that you can’t learn SE24.  I will assume that you never wrote a program in your life using VI, EMACS or XEDIT :).  Honestly adding SAP GUI in eclipse for a traditional SAP installation is just going to reduce overall ROI, because managing deployment of the tool across desktops and making sure folks have another fat client on their machine is going stink.  Now if someone was going to make a ABAP Webdynpro browser based client to edit ABAP that would be cool and more innovative than trying to force ABAP developers to use another fat client.

      The tools aren’t really that hard to learn and honestly the drill-down/where-used features of the SE80 workbench are super productive and once you add in the code completion lookup in 7.02 and above the editing becomes even more pleasant.

      Take care,

      Stephen

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      1. Paul Hardy
        Amazing as it may seem I have learned to use SE24, I use it every day. I just don’t like it much. I do like SE80, and I do like the “where-used” functions. And you are bang on right the only languages I have ever programmed in are BASIC / PASCAL / JAVA and ABAP.
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        1. Michelle Crapo
          Um…

          SE24 and SE80 are the same transactions – just click the Display object list, and also there is a where-used in SE24.

          Well…  I guess I can see why you would like Eclipse better.  Really there are a lot of people that will not want to change.  Me?  I would not mind looking at it.

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          1. Gregory Misiorek
            neither can i…but i think the evolution of consolidating development objects is SE11/SE24/SE38->SE80->SE84, with each becoming a superset of the prior. eclipse is a jump in evolution as it has started with Java and SAP is now getting back to its roots with ABAP. HANA lives on eclipse and maybe has a chance to dim the SUN. the longer the better for us, the sappers.

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        2. Stephen Johannes
          The problem I had was you said that tools were developed to be user un-friendly when you look at the “legacy development tools” and realize that based on the technology at the time, the tool was actually a step forward.

          Personally after survived through college courses on C or C++ using no graphical IDE’s and having to write code using shell based unix editors, old/current versions of SE80 would have been a dream to have for those projects.  Simple things such as syntax check in an editor or language key-word help would have been nice.

          I’m all for better developer tools, I just don’t know if replacing a tool that works for something with a larger footprint is a good idea.  I’m sorry but eclipse(at least the SAP delivered versions) have been disk and memory hogs and not something I would want to have to support for a large team of developers.  It also goes against having a zero-desktop client footprint which is need if you want to deliver “on-demand” solutions.

          Take care,

          Stephen

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          1. Paul Hardy
            As I keep saying I like SE80. I started programming ages ago also, and I can see how good SE80 is by comparison. I never said SE80 was bad but everyone seems to think I did. It is the SE24 thing I don’t like.
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    2. Michelle Crapo
      Once you learn / or hear about the other side, SE24/SE80, this would be a great subject for you to comment on.  Perhaps even write a blog about Eclipse without comparing it to the current ABAP editors.  Maybe you could be one of the people that try it out.  It seems you are very passionate about it.

      Since I am not familiar with Eclipse, as an editor, I can’t say a lot about it.  Just that many people would have trouble adapting to it.  Stephen’s answers are more clear.

      Michelle

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      1. Paul Hardy
        Dear Michelle,

        I apologise for being unclear. the training course I mention was ten years ago. I have used SE24 and SE80 every working day since. I like to hope I know how to use them, he he. I do like SE80 and SE24 isn;t the end of the world but I do like Eclipse a lot better.

        Cheersy Cheers

        Paul

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          1. Paul Hardy
            The other gentleman said that the problem with Eclipse is that it has to be installed on your computer, and how right he is. All Java development is done this way. Since I program in both languages I tend to prefer the SAP way of having everything in the database. Anyway leaving tht aside what we will end up (I presume) with is a “plug-in” to Eclipse which will, as stated “punch in” to your SAP system. The first argument is that this is difficult to roll out to thousnads of users – I would say that you only need to roll it out to your developers, na dlots of developers download all sorts of things to their PC anyway. The second argument is that it (trial version of Eclipse for ABAP)cannot do all that SE80 provides. I would wholeheartedly agree, but the supposed benefit of an open source platform is that if something is missing you have thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of developers who can have the chance to add the missing pieces of the Jigsaw puzzle. I know I would. this is what the SDN and similar communities are all about. I will get off my high horse now,and aplogize if I have seemed arrogant or offensive to anyone. In any event, Eclipse does not need me to defend it, it will speak for itself. Guten Abend!
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            1. Stephen Johannes
              My biggest argument is if you want to deliver on-demand solutions(just they are different toolset) then why introduce yet another thick client.  The whole point of having these new browser based technologies was to get rid of the old SAP GUI. 

              Now only if the editor API’s for ABAP source were fully public so that could do a code exchange project for a WebDynpro/BSP/AJAX server based ABAP editor.  That would definitely be more interesting that tried to make ABAP look like Java :).

              Take care,

              Stephen

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    3. Joao Sousa
      SE24 is rubbish? First of all I must say that I develop in XCode (objective-C), Visual Studio (C#) and SAP 8ABAP).

      SE24 looks archaic yes. New programmer laugh because it’s not cool. Bottom line? It does what it is supposed to do, and I have never found it to be much less efficient then it’s cousins. 

      The main advantage is of course fast deploying, and tight integration with the server. In the business context, it makes much more sense.

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  6. R. Vleeschhouwer
    Hi Olga,

    Thanks for the informative blog.
    I really think developers should embrace new technologies and different technologies could learn from each other.

    I do have two questions:
    1: What are the development plans for the future. Will there eventually come more functionality in the eclipse IDE or will they become the same so that it will be a choice for the developer which IDE he prefers?
    2: What will be the lowest SAP version where you can use the eclipse IDE?

    Regards,

    Robin Vleeschhouwer

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    1. Olga Dolinskaja Post author
      Hi Robin,

      thank you for your interest and questions.
      There will be more functionality in ABAP in Eclipse, since the new IDE also targets to support the ABAP development on top of the new AS ABAP for HANA. Currently SAP plans to support the common subset of classic ABAP tools for SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP 7.x systems and significantly improve their usability and developer efficiency in Eclipse in comparison with the ABAP Workbench. Exact version of the SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP 7.x supporting the new ABAP IDE is currently in a definition process. As soon as there is more clarity on that, I will let the SDN members know. Stay turned!

      Best,
      Olga.

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    1. Olga Dolinskaja Post author
      Hi Sampath,

      the transport request mechanism is already integrated in the Developer Studio for ABAP (create new transport requests, assign objects to transport requests etc.).It is also planned later on to integrate the transport across system landscape as you know it e.g. from the Transport Organizer (SE09).

      Regarding enhancements it is possible for BadIs to implement the relevant implementation class
      in the Developer Studio for ABAP IDE, but the requiered metadata must be entered in the SAP GUI.

      Currently the integration of UI (WebDynpro for ABAP) is not planned.Following the principle of clear separation of the application and presentation layers, we focus first of all on developer efficiency in ABAP for the implementation of the business logic. If UI is required, it still can be implemented in the SAP GUI. For the applications on top of the SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP powered by the in-memory database SAP HANA we plan to support SAPUI5(based on HTML5).

      Best regards,
      Olga.

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    2. Olga Dolinskaja Post author
      Hi Sampath,

      the transport request mechanism is already integrated in the Developer Studio for ABAP (create new transport requests, assign objects to transport requests etc.)It is also planned later on to integrate the transport across system landscape as you know it e.g. from the Transport Organizer (SE09).

      Regarding enhancements it is possible for BadIs to implement the relevant implementation class
      in the Developer Studio for ABAP IDE, but the requiered metadata must be entered in the SAP GUI.

      Currently the integration of UI (WebDynpro for ABAP) is not planned.Following the principle of clear separation of the application and presentation layers, we focus first of all on developer efficiency in ABAP for the implementation of the business logic. If UI is required,it still can be implemented in the SAP GUI. For the applications on top of the SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP powered by SAP’s in-memory database SAP HANA we plan to support SAPUI5 (based on HTML5).

      Best regards,
      Olga.

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  7. Kiran Kumar Valluru
    Hi Olga,

    Good to see an IDE for ABAP development. It is remembering my java development using Netbeans and Eclipse IDEs.

    Is there the automatic code generation, like ‘generate getter setter methods’ .. !!

    Also looking forward to see how the debugger will be in Our ABAP IDE.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Kiran

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    1. Olga Dolinskaja Post author
      Hi Kiran,

      thank you for your interest. We plan to offer the extensive set of features for the refactoring support and advanced source code editing. Among other things it will be possible in the editor to use predefined source code templates and to create method and interface signatures automatically. I think it goes in the direction of generation of setter/getter methods that you are describing.

      Best regards,
      Olga.

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    2. Olga Dolinskaja Post author
      Hi Kiran,

      thank you for your interest. We plan to offer the extensive set of features for the refactoring support.
      Among other things it will be possible in the editor to create method and interface signatures automatically.
      I think it goes in the direction of the creation of generation of setter/getter methods that you are describing.

      Best regards,
      Olga.

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  8. Edward Pelyavskyy
    Hi,

    There is no need to have ABAP in Eclipse. ABAP is the best language for solving business problems inside SAP systems. When my PC breaks down I can be operational on a new PC within minutes after installing SAP GUI.

    Do not “contribute” to ABAP identity crisis by suggesting it needs Eclipse. Contrary to a popular belief (especially among the new users),
    ABAP is a very modern business oriented language.

    Long live SE80!

    Regards,
    Edward

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    1. Joao Sousa
      My thoughts exactly. From all developer tools that SAP has produced, nothing beats SE80.

      Why does SAP think the future will be different? SAP Developer Studio failed to provide traction to the Java initiative which is almost dead with ESS/MSS migrating to WebDynpro ABAP.

      The advantages of having a local client are nullified by the complexity of the configuration alone (unless SAP surprises us, and makes something they have been unable to make for the past 10 years).

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      1. Tom Van Doorslaer
        When staying in the SAP gui, SE80 is perfect.
        If you start developing for BPM, SUP, or WDJ, it’s interesting to have a single development environment in which you can develop for the backend, middleware and frontend.

        I don’t believe Eclipse is going to replace SE80 (that’s just doomsday thinking). ABAP Eclipse is an alternative to SE80. Whether or not you choose to use it, is entirely up to you.

        I don’t know about you, but I like alternatives and I welcome ABAP in Eclipse. Although I’ve attended the hands on and was not entirely convinced yet. But I blame the early stage of the hands on system.

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        1. Joao Sousa
          It’s interesting to have a single environment but this won’t be it, since Olga says Webdynpro ABAP will remain SE80 only (and that they don’t have plans to expand).

          So, what’s the point? Another IDE? Less focus on the core tools?

          I work with mobile apps so I’m used to work with several IDEs (Eclipse, Xcode, Visual Studio) and I don’t have a problem with that (and i code both the ABAP and the application code).

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    2. Hadi Moezmahdavi

      I am really new to ABAP and SE80, and in fact only been using it few times so far (finished the basic training few weeks ago), my background is Java programmer where I have used Eclipse many times, to be honest I really liked SE80 and liked the idea where everything is based on server unlike Java as was mentioned above when your PC breaks down you can be operational on a new PC within minutes after installing SAP GUI unlike Eclipse where it can sometime be a big headache trying to install etc..

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  9. Raghavendra Prabhu Mithal

    Hope the eclipse platform is not like this new SCN, looks are good but difficult to use. I still love the old SCN.

    I saw some statements like SE24 is rubbish, I think it is does what it needs to do.

    I have had chance to work in eclipse before, and yes, though it is a wonderful tool, but it is quite sluggish many a times. Frankly speaking, I dont find a need to replace SE80 which is so tightly knit with SAP environment and life of a ABAPER. I love SE80, I think more functionalities could have been incorporated in SE80 itself instead of a new platform.

    Long Live SE80.

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    1. Joao Sousa

      I’ve been working with Netweaver Developer Studio, and if ABAP is going to be anything similar then I won’t use it. NWDS is an unstable piece of rubish, that keeps throwing JavaNullExceptions all over the place (the IDE, not my code). I’m running 7.3 SP07 and I have to ignore all the UI errors and pray that they don’t have any negative effect on the coding.

      The current state of NWDS is in my opinion appauling.

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  10. Olga Dolinskaja Post author

    ABAP Development Tools for SAP NetWeaver (aka ABAP in Eclipse) is now generally available with SAP NetWeaver AS ABAP 7.03/7.31 SP4!

    Download and installation instructions (SMP login required): https://service.sap.com/sap/support/notes/1718399 

    In the near future we also intend to offer a trial version on SAP SCN.

    Join ABAP in Eclipse community http://scn.sap.com/community/abap/eclipse to stay updated about ABAP Development Tools, discuss IDE-related topics, publish interesting materials or links or make enhancements proposals!

    Best Regards,´

    Olga.

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