Today the SAP CodeJam community saw two premiers. The first code jam in Aachen and the first day in code jam history with three parallel events. Besides the event in Aachen there were also code jams happening in ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands and in Hamburg. So the magic SAP CodeJam triangle for today looked this.
Two of the code jams, Hamburg and Aachen, where on ABAP in Eclipse. This had the nice advantage for some QSC colleagues from Oberhausen that they didn’t need to travel to Hamburg to the code jam organized by QSC.Instead they could simply attend the event in Aachen.
Sebastian Wolf from the ABAP in Eclipse development team won the SAP internal raffle for the trip to Aachen and therefore joined us as our ABAP in Eclipse expert. After some final preparation, a small fight with the projector and a quick lunch with a Currywurst in our canteen we were ready to start:
Soon all twenty-something participates arrived an Sebastian kicked off the code jam. The first exercise “Connect to the System” already proved quite difficult and everyone was working very concentrated:
LTE & Live Troubleshooting
Up until then everything worked smoothly. However, as it happens always with live demos, we suddenly ran into some problems.First, Sebastian’s eclipse installation and started to behave strangely. Soon the installations of some of the participant followed. Code assists and quick fixes took very long to show up or would not work at all. Of cause we started off blaming the ABAP system in the Amazon cloud. So Sebastian suggest to switch to another server. Unfortunately, that did´n’t solve the issues. Finally one of the participants had the brilliant idea to connect to the Internet using his mobile phone instead of the wireless network. And suddenly everything worked for him.
Next up was some live troubleshooting by Sebastian. Due to a very specific SAP GUI installation used by some participants, certain functions like context menus would not work. However, Sebastian stayed calm, managed to find the root cause of the problem and fix it on the fly. So with the help of LTE, two mobile hotspots and our SAP Expert Sebastian finally everyone was able to work and follow along the exercises.
Besides the exercises Sebastian also showed some new and some soon to be released features of ABAP in Eclipse. These included the possibility to split the editor window. This feature will be available with the ABAP in Eclipse release for Eclipse Luna (http://projects.eclipse.org/releases/luna/details). And some new refactorings that will become available in the future. The feature that was most impression to me was the source code of the data base view underlying the <CTRL>-<SHIFT>-<A> (open ABAP development object) functionality expressed in the new DDL for dictionary objects (New Data Modeling Features in SAP NW ABAP 7.4 SP5). The following picture shows a small excerpt of the source code.
After the code jam had finished and the food and the beer was gone, I was thinking what for me key takeaways of there event were. After some discussions with my colleagues I came up with the following points:
- The killer features of ABAP in Eclipse are really the “small” things. For me these are functions like “Open in project” and “Remove unused variables”. The first one opens the current development object in a different project. This enables debugging in the QA system and after the bug was found to directly navigate to the same source code position in the development system. The later one removes unused variables for a method, Thereby removing old, obsolete declarations and cleaning up the source code.
The availability of an SDK for ABAP in Eclipse is another killer features for me. Also the SDK hasn’t seen very much uptake yet according to Sebastian I see the possibility to being able to extend ABAP in Eclipse as a major step compared to the closed SE80.
- ABAP developers seem to be very conservative when it comes to adopt new technologies or tools. A SAP Code Jam is exactly the right event format to get ABAP developers started with ABAP in Eclipse. While most of the participants agreed that switching form SE80 to ABAP inEclipse will take some effort at first, everybody saw the huge potential immediately. I heard the sentence “we will have to start using ABAP in Eclipse on Monday” quite a few times during the event.
- And last but not least; my new badge. Thanks Thomas Fiedler!
Finally I want to say a big thank you again to Sebastian for the great event!