AiE (Feature Explorer)… or why I find developing with ABAP not so bad anymore
I am an ABAP Developer since 2002 in different customer development projects. Coming from source based tools to the form based ones was a little bit annoying, cause of so much additional clicks and time effort (e.g. think about renaming several parameter names in different methods of a class).
So I was very happy when I saw the first time that ABAP is going to Eclipse.
Did I know AiE before the Feature Explorer challenge?
Yes, I use AiE over one year on my personal pc now. Since a half year we also use it in a customer development project on the customers virtual desktops (it was a little effort before the customer accepted this, but finally we are all happy 🙂 ).
Can the Feature Explorer help to onboard new developers?
From my point of view the Feature Explorer can help for the very first step with AiE. But if it should really help to onboard new developers, much more features should be added to the explorer which show the people the great advantages of AiE compared to the old tools (e.g. method extraction, different QuickFix options, ABAP doc, …). Of course this is already in the backlog of the AiE team I think.
My favorite feature of beginners tour
The feature I most like is the refactoring stuff (of course not just the renaming of a variable which is described in the explorer). It reduces the refactoring effort a lot compared to the effort which was necessary in the ABAP workbench.
Additional features of AiE I like
There are several features I like:
- as mentioned the refactoring options
- ABAP Doc
- the nice integration of ABAP Unit Tests and the Coverage Analyzer
- FPM integration
- ABAP Resource URLs
- and finally (not directly an AiE feature) that I have all my different projects (UI5/Fiori apps, HANA XS, Java, …) at one place so that I have not to switch between different IDEs
One more thing regarding the features …
… I want to mention is, how we use the ABAP Ressource URLs. Of course we are sending around the URLs when we have to clarify some topcis regarding a specific code part. But we are also use it, to “integrate” AiE into the result dashboard of a code check tool we use.
Let me say some words regarding the tool. The tool, called ConQAT, makes static checks on our ABAP code. Things like duplicates, long programs, long procedures, nesting deeps, … are checked. Also the results of our code inspector checks are integrated in the dashboard. One big advantage of the tool is that you see at a glance if the quality is moving to a god or a bad direction, because a base line can be defined against my checks are done. For new projects of course the base line is zero, cause my complete coding should be free of issues. But for maintenance projects which are running since years it makes sense that a base line is defined which covers the current state of the coding. So the delta displays only remarks regarding new/changed coding.
Before AiE we had the result in the dashboard and to fix an issue we had to copy the object name and to search it manually in the ABAP Workbench. Now we have the ABAP Resoure URLs integrated into the dashboard and we just have to click on the link to get to the coding which we have to fix. A much more convenient way from our point of view. Thx to Thomas Alexander Ritter for giving us the information about the ABAP Resource URL APIs (ABAP Resource URL documentation).
I like, I wish
As my colleague Christian Lechner did it already in his post (AiE Feature Explorer … The Next Generation of ABAP Development) I also want to add some wishes here for the future:
- Regarding the template functionality it would be great to be able to define templates which can be distributed automatically in a team. There are several common templates which have to be updated from time to time. Instead of exporting it to XML and sending it to all team members such a distribution option would be great (either using the central templates in the backend or via a separate repository).
- ABAP Doc: As my colleague mentioned, the extraction (e.g. to XML) of ABAP Doc would be a nice feature. I would also like to have the chance to influence the extraction using a specific “writer” interface/abstract class to adjust the result or to create a complete different result. Because most of the customers want to have a technical documentation, my “little dream” is that I have a tool where I can manage my requirements (maintain a business description, bundling of affected code objects or tagging them with the requirement, …). If something is changed in the coding of the requirement I just have to generate my documentation instead of adapting it manually.
… with AiE for me it makes much more fun to develop ABAP code. Another point which supports this are the great new language enhancements which were rolled out with NW 7.40 SP02 und SP05. I am looking forward to the future releases of AiE and NW 7.40 SP08 (where I can hopefully define my DDIC things with CDS 😉 ).
Thx to the whole AiE Team. Great work.