I am developing ABAP since 2005 as part of SAP standard development (FS-PM and FS-PM Auto) as well as in customer development projects. So I started with ABAP when the usability of the development environment was not that great politely spoken … at least there was syntax highlighting.
So AiE was a great turnaround for the ABAP developers being recognized as first class citizens in the SAP universe 🙂
Prior Knowledge of AiE
As soon as it was possible to work with ABAP in Eclipse on one of our systems I played around with it a little bit. This playing around became more intense with the availability of Netweaver 7.40 and the new ABAP features in there.
So there was already some knowledge concerning AiE before I started the Feature Explorer tour.
Is the Feature Explorer Helpful for Onboarding?
From my experience it is not so easy to bring the “old-school ABAP developers” (at least some of them) to AiE as one definitely has to leave his/her comfort zone. When having worked with SE80 etc. for several years or even decades the development speed will first decrease when using AiE as one has to get used to the new environment BUT as soon as one is used to it the development speed as well as the quality gain incredible momentum (not only my experience but also of other colleagues in my company).
So in order to lower the step for entering the new ABAP development world the feature explorer is highly welcome and useful to make your first successful step which makes leaving the comfort zone not that difficult.
Favorite Feature of the Feature Explorer
I think all feature are useful end essential knowledge when making the first steps in AiE. My favorites are however the Code Completion part as well as the Quickfix feature (not only for renaming variables as presented in the tour).
Additional Features not Part of the Beginners Tour
AiE offers a lot of other extremely useful features that help you improving code quality as well as being more efficient when developing ABAP:
- Delete unused variables: great to delete all unused variables in a class with one
- Method extraction: Finally a tool support that helps you doing clean code development
- ABAP Doc: Finally you can do your documentation at the place you are working at … the code and the other developers using your code directly benefit of it
- Quick Fixes functionality: Support at the right place with the right solution proposals 😉
I Like, I Wish
In the best tradition of the openSAP courses, I also want to use this blog in order to state some wishes for the future (hopefully not too far) development that are currently missing in the new IDE
- DDIC: It would be great if the DDIC stuff would be closely integrated into AiE without having the necessity to jump back to the old GUI. I have already read some announcement of Thomas Fiedler regarding enhancements in this direction and I am eagerly looking forward to them
- Multiple LogOn pads/Manual entry of a system: In our company (and I am sure we are not the only one) we have several LogOn pads corresponding to different clients. It would be really great if AiE would support several LogOn pads when configuring the ABAP projects. It would be even greater if one could enter the system data manually as in the classical SAP LogOn
- Full enhancement support: As sometimes having the necessity to modify standard coding I would really like to use implicit enhancements. Currently this is not possible, at least I did not find a way how to do it in AiE. This should be supported as this improve the range of applicability in customer projects
- Text symbols and selection texts: hopefully the entering of text symbols and parameter texts is natively possible in AiE e. g. when creating ABAP reports
- Extraction of ABAP Doc to HTML: It would be great to get the extratcion of the ABAP Doc comments to HTML or XML in order to create the complete documentation out of the development artefacts.
AiE itself is a great tool for ABAP development and developing in it is definitely fun. Nevertheless there is some “pain” to accept when switching from SE80 to AiE but it is worth it. Any tool like the AiE feature explorer that reduces the adoption effort is highly welcome and must not be underestimated in order to enable a smooth transition to the new IDE.
Last but not least I like to mention one colleague of mine Florian Pfeffer as the two of us are heavily pushing and advertising the usage of AiE in our projects and beyond.
Looking forward to future releases of AIE with new features.