In my opinion reuse tools are a strategic asset of ABAP application server and in fact this is the main difference between ABAP and Java application server. The reason is very simple: AS ABAP contains lots of tools for business programming which allow rapid development of business solutions. I already explained that in detail:
- Reuse Tools as Part of SAP Branding and Value Chain in SAP Ecosystem
- Reuse Tools – the Treasure Chest of ABAP Systems
- Sometimes I’m blogging about reuse tools like LP solvers: Operations Research & ABAP
- Last but not least SAP Mentor Thorsten Franz and I wrote a book about development of business software using reuse tools: ABAP Development from Scratch.
Since NW 7.0 there is a new software component SAP_BS_FND that is not part of AS ABAP and only available in SAP Business Suite systems (ERP, CRM…). The first thing I do when looking at a new Enhancement Package of SAP Business Suite is the content of BS_* structure packages because they are a treasure chest of reuse tools. What are the benefits?
- I think it was the right decision of SAP to focus on strategic frameworks as foundation of SAP Business Suite. Even more: it is absolutely necessary there is a common infrastructure, data model for business applications of SAP Business Suite.
- In my opinion there should be a common data model – think of Business Partner data model as common foundation for SAP ERP and SAP CRM for example.
- I think creating a new software component is a big chance to establish a release strategy optimized to the release cycle of SAP Business Suite and not dependent on SAP NetWeaver.
But what are the drawbacks of this strategy?
Of course there is nothing wrong that SAP presented at SAP TechEd a demo system with a special set of software components. But there I see two problems:
- SAP can’t reuse their tool suite for new products on top of SAP NetWeaver like Gateway which is on top of AS ABAP but not SAP Business Suite – therefore it has no software component SAP_BS_FND. For these kinds of application SAP has to do a downport of the applications to SAP NetWeaver which happened quite often.
- Customers and ISVs face the same challenge: If they want to create application on top of SAP NetWeaver they can’t use applications of SAP_BS_FND.
If SAP wants to strengthen SAP NetWeaver as a platform for rapid custom development then SAP NetWeaver should contain relevant frameworks from SAP Business Suite Foundation like Business Object Processing Framework in main package /BOBF/MAIN for example. This could be established by a usage type “NetWeaver + SAP Business Suite Foundation” like SAP TechEd demosystem. And this would help SAP to develop products on top of SAP NetWeaver like Gateway, too. And this is something contradictory: pushing reuse tools into SAP Business Suite Foundation is a kind of confinement which can prevent rapid development.