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I am particularly interested in the SAP advances towards Eclipse IDE in the area of ABAP development. I started using Eclipse several years ago for Java programming at University, and I became familiar with the tool. When I started in the SAP world I began as a developer in the Java stack, developing applications in the SAP Web AS Java and SAP NetWeaver Portal, building Web Dynpro for Java applications, portal components, EJB components and other Java developments. During all this time, I made extensive use of SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio (SAP NWDS) that is, essentially, an Eclipse based IDE with added features for SAP Java programming.

In a SAP Course I attended some time ago, the instructor said there were plans from SAP to introduce the possibility to develop ABAP in Eclipse. Now, I can see that it was not just a rumor because it seems SAP is taking it seriously.

I installed a few days ago version ADT 2.19, and I created some ABAP projects with some programs like executable programs or class pools. I also discover dictionary tools, GUI-based more than Eclipse integrated, to manage ABAP dictionary objects. Then I discover this SDN mission to discover the Feature Explorer in version ADT 2.24 and I was glad to install the new version to have a look. I think the Feature Explorer is a good idea, the guided stages makes platform learning more entertaining and it helps developer to understand the concepts discussed. I have discovered new features that were not available in version 2.19 or that I missed. It was very interesting the feature “Use the code completion to insert a method or function call including its signature, it is like Pattern tool in ABAP Workbench and in Eclipse I only knew the method or function name completion without its signature. Another good features I think are very important and should be present in any IDE are the access to the language help (F1) and the possibility to view the version history of any source code object. The “Link with editor” is also a useful tool to locate development objects in the hierarchy tree.

Besides Feature Explorer, I have checked the integrated debugger in Eclipse and I like it. Maybe be some feature missing like the use of watchpoints that I could not use. I want to try ABAP profiling feature also, but currently our systems are not in version SAP NW 7.4 as it is required.

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