ABAP in Eclipse and the Feature Explorer
The Feature explorer
Only when a technology catches on with its public does its potential get realised and I do think the ABAP feature explorer will be helpful in onboarding new developers as a vital tool in teaching new developer how the eclipse ADT works. Of course if the features tour didn’t exist then some other form of online tutorial would surely fill the gap but I do think that having the learning experience integrated with the application help is particularly well suited to material like this that doesn’t require the learning of new skills but the transitioning of existing ones to a new environment. Also, the feature tour is a well-designed educational experience. I particularly liked the little tasks it made you carry out to complete an activity.
So what do I think of the eclipse ADT? I’m still undecided. There were some feature I particularly like such as having code validated and errors displayed in real time as typed. I also liked the renaming feature. However, it didn’t inspire sufficient confidence for me to want to ditch se80 immediately. Firstly, I found some task (such as calling a where-used list) noticeable slower when executed from eclipse than when executed from within the SAP GUI, although I found it interesting that some other people blogging on the same topic didn’t have this experience. Secondly, I found some of the controls chunkier than the integrated workbench such as needing to hold down ctrl to drill down into an include rather than just double clicking but in all honestly this was probably just a case of old habits being hard to break. Finally, the fact the way to carry out some task development task such as maintaining the ABAP dictionary seems to be by simply launching a GUI window from inside eclipse made me feel that this isn’t yet a complete development tool. I think my approach from here will be a gradual move towards eclipse, I look forward to using it when I feel I can afford to lose a bit of time working with an unfamiliar tool but will stick to the familiar ABAP workbench when I am more pressed.