You may have heard about ANST already: it is a tool released by SAP a few months ago to help us find OSS notes. Indeed, when you face a bug in the software, instead of trying to find the exact keywords needed to spot the corresponding note on SAP service marketplace, you can now start transaction code ANST_SEARCH_TOOL and reproduce the error… the program will do the job for you and find the exact note you need!
How can it be?
Basically ANST will record ALL the pieces of code (methods, classes, programs, function modules, etc.) that are executed while reproducing the error. Once done, the system will simply search for all OSS notes that are fixing something in the corresponding lines of code, and which are not already implemented in your system. You can find more information here:
I’m writing this blog post because I’ve been using this tool quite extensively for a while (our system is SAP CRM702 SP7) and I must say that I’m pretty impressed. It’s just great. I mean it: it’s GREAT!
Major advantages compared to “manual searching”:
- You don’t have to bother trying to find the right keywords to search for notes (which used to take me a lot of time as I often ended up debugging the system to find the name of the faulty piece of coding).
- You don’t have to run through myriads of OSS notes that cannot be implemented in your system in the end. Most of the notes displayed by ANST are filtered against the support package of your system, so it is most likely that they can be implemented. Awesome.
- You’re one click away from a list of your custom code (BADI, User exists, Enhancements, etc.) involved during the recorded process (which could explain the system behavior as well :). So you don’t even have to use the layer debugging functionality to see where your own code is being used!
- Even customizing tables are listed… Hats off.
- And it is FREE! How cool is that?!
- The tool will search in the correction instructions of the notes… hence no correction instructions means no note found. In other words if only manual steps are required to fix something, you’ll still have to search for the note or KBA yourself on SAP service market place. But that’s no big deal: maybe someday we’ll be able to filter out OSS notes with correction instructions on SAP portal, to avoid any overlap between automated and manual search.
- The major drawback according to me is definitely that the tool is delivered with very recent support stack levels only… which make it available for very few customers. So do not hesitate to add a comment at the end of this blog post if (like me) you would like it to be downported: maybe we can make a difference if enough people show their interest ? (mimic the “vote” mechanism on SAP Idea Place).
As a conclusion I must say that I’m spending approx. half of my time fixing bugs in SAP software during project implementations. So when such a fantastic tool — that I believe will be useful for 100% people implementing SAP solutions — is released, I’d like to shout a big: THANK YOU for saving me so much time! And when on top of that it is released for free, it would be my pleasure to pay a beer in Paris (France) to anybody that worked hard to make this happen (like you mister Carlos Escribano)!
Now let’s take a look at a real life example, and see how we can solve a bug in SAP CRM WebUI within a few clicks.
PS: sorry for the very low sound… I’ll try to fix my mic next time!