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It’s Steampunk now

Sometimes internal project names leak. In this case we didn’t really mind because SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment or even ABAP PaaS are real tongue twisters. So, in this blog it’s Steampunk, and yes, we love that name, too.

It’s been almost a year now since our announcement that keeps attracting so much attention. We promised a minimum viable scope enabling you to write ABAP code in the Cloud, for the Cloud. No matter whether you want to transform your existing on-prem code or write new Cloud extensions for SAP S/4HANA or others. And we promised a living thing that evolves and that you can influence.

One year later, Steampunk has grown up (well, at least to teenage level, I’d say ;-). This blog is a short summary of what has happened so far. But before we come to that, let me try to anticipate the main question you might have by now, which probably is:

If I go productive with Steampunk now, will I be the first?

The answer is simple: No, don’t worry, you won’t be. There are productive business users out there already, using solutions created on Steampunk and running live on Steampunk. There are lots of productive customer and partner scenarios in development with a go-live planned for early 2020. And we do eat our own dog food and build SAP SaaS solutions on top of Steampunk, the first one planning to go live within this year.

But what exactly are the first customers actually doing with Steampunk?

The majority of current Steampunk use cases are extensions to on-prem SAP business systems. Many customers and partners value Steampunk as an innovation platform, and appreciate the access to technology they don’t have yet in their on-prem landscape, like the new ABAP RESTful Programming Model, or brand-new SAP HANA capabilities. In current typical scenarios, Steampunk apps play a hub role integrating SAP systems, SAP Cloud Platform services and external services. From a strategy perspective, many customers now use Steampunk and start their journey to decouple extension code, with the goal to keep their digital core stable and clean.

The Steampunk team has delivered on their promises, even if we still have a long way to go, and even though important features like partner enablement or trial systems still have room for improvement (stay tuned for TechEd announcements). A huge thanks to all the Steampunk folks who got us where we are today, and to all customers for their trust and continued valid feedback. Because of you, people today write relevant Steampunk ABAP code and run it in productive scenarios, turning business data into business value. This is a huge success after less than one year.

As you’ve probably read in the media, SAP made generous early retirement offers to people like me who’ve been around for a long time. I’m glad I haven’t accepted any of them, and Steampunk is the main reason. So, as I said above:

It’s Steampunk NOW.

Harald
August 20, 2019

 

Reality check – what has happened since September 2018?

 

Re-reading our announcement blog from last year, we thought it’s a good idea to have a close look at all our promises again. Let’s try an honest reality check here and compare them to our achievements of the past 12 months.

Deliver ABAP PaaS (= Steampunk) on top of SAP Cloud Platform

Steampunk is alive and kicking. We’ve delivered quarterly versions (1808, 1811, 1902, 1905 and 1908), and we’ve always been able to keep our service level agreements.

Set up a program for early adopters and learn from first customers

The Early Adopter Care program was established immediately in September 2018, and all stakeholders can give feedback via the SAP Influence channels. Many customers had dedicated dev angels from the Steampunk team who provided support and collected feedback. All this input is extremely helpful and has already shaped the latest Steampunk versions.

Offer a trial version

We’ve been offering trial versions, but until today only for some of you, based on invitation. Not good enough, we know. Stay tuned for SAP TechEd 2019 announcements. [update: here we go]

Support backend connectivity to on-prem systems and to the Cloud

Backend connectivity via HTTP (including OData) and RFC has been enabled with technical users. Principal propagation is in the pipeline.

Start with a small whitelist (the public stable interface) and grow it responsibly

We got the “small” part right, but are still working on the speed ;-). At least the list of released objects is growing continuously. Well-known services such as number ranges have been Cloud enabled and were added to the whitelist recently.

Allow for ABAP dynamic programming in Steampunk

With dynamic programming, Steampunk must ensure at runtime that only whitelisted objects are used, which is a bit tricky. Anyway, dynamic object creation, dynamic method invocation and dynamic SQL are enabled now – more examples of a growing scope.

Make latest SAP HANA capabilities available in ABAP

We did. For example, we’ve added ABAP Managed Database Procedures (AMDP), Core Data Service (CDS) hierarchies, SQL windowing features (aggregation without grouping) and graph capabilities. And ABAP now supports HANA spatial data types, decfloat, and several date and time specific types.

Simplify development with the ABAP RESTful programming model

This is what brand managers do to software: The RESTful ABAP programming model (RAP) is now called ABAP RESTful programming model (we stick with RAP though ;-). But seriously – we have delivered. And RAP now supports the managed scenario, significantly simplifying Fiori development.

Contribute to abapGit

Steampunk customers use the open source community solution abapGit to import ABAP objects into their Steampunk systems. The cooperation with the open source community is great, and SAP has contributed, most prominently the Eclipse plugin.

Simplify adaptation of custom code from on-prem to the Cloud

As part of Steampunk, we now offer a Fiori app to assist with the adaptation process. The Custom Code Migration app supports moving from existing on-prem solutions to S/4HANA or to Steampunk. Within ABAP Development Tools (ADT), you now get Quick Fixes to replace obsolete ABAP statements and deprecated APIs in your custom code during the migration project.

Offer reduced pricing for partners

We have added Partner Edge development licences offering significant discounts to partners.

Provide better support for partners who offer services and apps to their customers

Ok, better tool support for partners was on the roadmap for 2019, but unfortunately we won’t make it in time. Sorry for that. This is our number one prio now and scheduled for 2020.

Write tutorials

The number of Steampunk tutorials has grown from initially 8 to now 28, with more in the pipeline.

Roll out roadmap information

A Steampunk roadmap is available, including the ABAP RESTful Programming Model (ARP … I mean RAP ;-).

Stay tuned for TechEd 2019 with lots of lectures, hands-on sessions and tutorials in the app space.

8 Comments
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  • Cheers for ABAP! 🎉

    Pricing is still quite expensive without partneredge. Are there any plans to allow more than one client in steampunk system?

    Btw does the photo say steamFUNK? 😂

    • Thanks 😉

      More than one client: that’s included in “better support for partners”. Prio one now.

      Steamfunk: It does. The banner is from the last Steampunk party in Walldorf with the SAP Big Band, where I was talked into playing the drums for one song and got this banner as a gift from the band. I think most people in the office didn’t realize until today that it reads funk instead of punk 😉

  • Thanks for the update Harald. It is encouraging to see the progress you have made in one trip around the sun.

    I am sure there will be much more details about this in coming TechEd’s

    Cheers,

    Nigel

  • Looking forward to Tech Ed 2019, and seeing ABAP establish as a credible cloud platform. ABAP is an amazing language and a big cheers and thumbs up for you Harald and Team.

    Any credible organisation must own and control it’s destiny and SAP must control ABAP and continue making it better and better like Apple did with Swift and now Google with Kotlin.

     

    I would love to see ABAP and Fiori Elements made more tightly integrated and finally something like swift ui emerge a new generation ABAP UI cool, light weight and easily deployable.

     

     

  • The pace of innovsation on Steampunk is too slow. What I expected and where this product could / should have been. I am actually surprised that his has hardly generarted any comments. I am excited and disappointed at the same time.

    Too many restructions even after one year.