SAP Teched this year – Hmmmmm…

I love Teched for many different reasons.  One of those reasons is that it delivers great sessions on what is new.   What will be coming!   I love Fiori, Personas, SAPUI5 – bring them on.   I need to know this information just to stay a step ahead.   Did I say a step ahead?  Yes.   Because, honestly only a hand full of companies are using the newer things.  Sometimes you have to look hard to find a shop that is using ABAP objects.  How many years ago was that first at SAP Teched?

So yes, it was an awesome Teched for learning new things!    Good news.   Great News!   It is great news to see what the future will bring.  It is great news if you are a consultant, or you work at SAP.   Me, I’m just excited to learn.

But, but, what about ABAP?

Is it used anymore?  This new technology how does it mesh with the old?   Will ABAP developers be needed?   I mean I really couldn’t find very many good sessions with JUST plain old normal ABAP or even ABAP Objects.  The ones that I found were ASUG lead.

So back to the question, will ABAP developers be needed?

YES!

At least in all the company I work at.   Yes, it was true at most of the companies where the people I talked with worked at.   So with the new technology is ABAP gone?  Not yet, and I have a hard time believing it will be in the future.   I look at the newer programming technologies and see ABAP in the background.  Proxy, RFC… they needed some way to get from the back end to the front end.

Does that mean I’ll ignore the new stuff?  NO, of course not.  I love the latest and greatest.   I love learning.  

So here’s why I am writing this blog:

  • There wasn’t much on ABAP at Teched.   Sure the newer things were there.   ABAP for HANA, Renewed ABAP, one webdynpro class
  • I was insulted several times during Teched.  
  • I heard my ABAP friends worried about their current skill set.

First there just wasn’t much for the plain ABAP programmer.  At least not much unless you are upgrading to HANA or are buying something new. 

I was insulted several times.  Yes, more than once.   And was it personal?  No, of course not.  Everyone I met was wonderful.   But……..   In several sessions – not just one, the comment was made, “Bring in your web designers, your ABAP programmers will not understand”.  Really?  I sure understand.  I get it.  How I design now is different than how I will design when I am designing Web applications…   However, I do design some Web Dynpro, again not quite the same thing.   I also use the web.  I can see how a good web page is designed.  And need I remind people that some of us, yes me, started on mid-range or main  frame programming.   And you don’t think that was a big change?  So before you say your “ABAP” programmers will not understand web development, you may want to rephrase that.   Maybe you should say they will have to think about things in a different way.  Or just say developers and leave it at that?  Just a suggestion from the sideline.  And a bit of a rant.

ABAP programmers worried about current skills.  Well, I would say that you always should be a little worried.  You always should keep learning.  However, look at the newer web based technology, and know that it is calling ABAP behind the scenes.  Also remember, if you are like me and want to stay with more interactive programming, then yes upgrade those skills.   Keep them current.  However, everything is “with a grain of salt”.  It may be a while before you actually use those skills.

Overall:

I enjoyed Teched.  I learned a lot.  And I know my company is one of those that are looking at HANA.  And HANA for ERP.  So those sessions where very important to me.   Also Personas were big for me.  I don’t know if we have or are getting a gateway server.   If we do, that’s going to be a quick win for us.  So Teched was great for me!   At times, yes, I was insulted.  But it makes me just want to “show them”.  It is really a challenge to me.   I do worry that this Teched missed the bus with some of their customers.    There was a lot of beginner content that just wasn’t there.  And as much as I want to learn HANA and know it’s in my future.  Some of the content on HANA just seemed like a sales pitch.   Sales pitches are usually left at SAPHIRE…  Teched is usually the place for the details.

So what do you think?   Please add your comments.  I’d be interested to hear about how Teched was for you.


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4 Comments

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    I am sorry I missed seeing you – how did your session go?  How did the networking lounges go for you?

    This is great feedback for the TechEd team.

    Tammy

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      I believe my sessions went well.   I had a lot of people there.  Yet another reason I think the begining sesions were missing.   My expert networking session went well.

      I als must say there was a huge turn out for expert networking sessions.   I think we were too close to each other.   At times it was hard to hear.  You know those times where 20+ people showed up.

      Sorry to miss you too!

      Michelle

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  2. Katan Patel

    Hi Michelle,

    Great article & something certainly close to my heart & I am sure many others.  I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of skills & keeping current.

    One thing that was different to when they released ABAP OO about 10 years back is the advent of freely available information & access to systems for trial.  Unless you already had OO skills from working in other languages, it was quite difficult for traditional ABAP developers to transition to OO thinking.  With the increased availability of information through SCN, MOOCS & a move to use more open source technology developers have many resources available to help pick up the necessary skills. This freedom of information also allows businesses to make more informed decisions without total reliance on service implementors.  For this reason I think the transition for companies to adopt newer technologies may not have such a long lead time as may have previously taken. 

    I recently started to start to skill up in JS & HANA.  The techniques I am applying here are quite complimentary to my ABAP skills & so I would definitely recommend developers not to to delay & get involved.  

    With so much business logic deeply ingrained in ABAP, I think our jobs our safe for now. Will their be a HANA only business suite option available with no NW stack?  When & if that happens then we might need to start reviewing the relevance of ABAP. 

    Cheers,

    Katan

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    1. Michelle Crapo Post author

      Hi Katan,

      I believe there is HANA for the ABAP stack.  Of course, I could have interpreted my sessions that I went to wrong.   But we can access HANA via ABAP.   Our ABAP statements for the most part will speed up with the use of HANA.  That is if you used good programming practices and used thing like joins and <gasp> for all entries correctly.   To make HANA run even faster, you can learn HANA specific language.

      Also, a really cool thing, you can gradually bring up ABAP programs onto HANA.  If you have some long running programs you can use HANA with them, while leaving the rest of your system alone.   Cool Huh?

      Yes, I think upgrading our skills is very important.  However, keeping the “older” skills in tune, great performance, great performance tools, etc. is very important.  There should be a balance new and old.  

      And it truly depends on where you work. Some places may not move to HANA for years.   And you don’t want to totally forget it.  That’s where the “free” tools will really help.

      BTW – what did you think about Teched?  Did you get to go?

      Thank you for the comment,

      Michelle

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