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Grab your hat, Indy! We have work.

Indiana Jones is probably a well known person to many readers. In movies, computer games and books you can accompany him on his adventures. But what does he have to do with this blog and software development in ABAP? Well, he as a fictional personality nothing. But his profession because he is an archaeologist.

Some time ago, I noticed what makes software startups perhaps really attractive: there are many freedoms. One freedom, for example, is to start quite often on the green field. There is no legacy system and thus no existing source code. Therefore, no customers and no maintenance. You can focus on one goal: to create something new. That can be a blessing and a curse.

But not all people work in startups, so there is another world. I’m part of this “other” world. And many of the readers probably too ๐Ÿ™‚ I often work on software that has a history and less often on software whose history is just beginning. I work with data that has “grown” over the years.

An SAP ERP system is a nice example in this context. The longer it runs, the more there is: more applications, more data and more technological possibilities.

The technological possibilities can be illustrated by lists: Based on the WRITE statement, table controls, “classic” ALVs, CDS-based ALVs and so on. It’s always about lists that show more and more records over the years. Somebody once explained this circumstance to me as follows: Normally, nothing is deleted in the system. Hard drive space becomes cheaper and cheaper. ๐Ÿ™‚

But with the use of a new technology, sometimes an other technology is left behind. Also data is affected. Data older than 5 years does not interest anymore, even if the enterprise has a data stock of 15 years.

In this context, the archaeologist comes into play again. Discover what was lost for a long time. This could soon be another job alongside consultants, developers and project managers. Maybe we all are already in some way “archaeologists” (sometimes we are so busy with the past that we miss the present and the future) ๐Ÿ˜‰

In my experience, many applications, whether standard or custom development, have a long lifetime. That makes sense, investments in software should be as economical as possible. So it can happen that a report was written 15 years ago and since then it does what it was written for – no need to change it.

The challenges are perhaps a little bit different in a startup, which is creating a new product with the latest technology. Really? Maybe the challenges are the same? The developer working on legacy code cannot find the documentation written 15 years ago. For the developer in the startup, who works with cutting edge technology, there is simply no documentation for his business case. It’s too up to date. The result or better the reality is the same. No documentation, hopefully more motivation.

Where did these thoughts lead me? Well, no matter if a challenge has arisen from a history or from a desire for a new product: it remains a challenge that has to be mastered. However, since nobody can handle all the challenges on their own, as no one can master all technologies, one should get help.

One possibility in the SAP ecosystem is – oh wonder – the SAP Community Network. Good networking increases the chance to get help ๐Ÿ˜‰ But also much more. This will be the story of another blog.

A few words at the end. The idea for this blog was born because Michelle Crapo recently mentioned the Terminator movies in a comment. In this context, I somehow thought of Indiana Jones, another famous movie hero from the 1980s.ย The link could have originated in my thoughts from the contrast between these two heroes: past and future play a big role in their films. Something that concerns us in the IT again and again or in one sentence: “Can someone quickly explain to me his Industry 4.0 strategy while keeping his legacy systems running smoothly?” ๐Ÿ™‚

Last but not least a perhaps in the future typical job advertisement for an ABAP developer/archaeologist ๐Ÿ˜‰

  1. See source code that nobody has seen for a long time.
  2. Follow secret instructions to the goal of your search.
  3. Enable secret switches and discover how they work.
  4. Use technologies from another era and understand the concept behind them.
  5. Bring back long lost knowledge.
  6. Avoid traps and pitfalls.
  7. <idea of the reader>

 

Best regards and thanks for reading

Michael

 

 

 

 

6 Comments
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  • 7. Avoid reinventing the wheel.

    8. Distill the essence of solutions to find ‘generic’ principles.

    9. Make older ABAPers feel goodย ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Thanks for your blog, Michael!

    Best,
    Mike

    • Nice ideas to continue the list ๐Ÿ™‚ As a retro-computing enthusiast I like the number 8. There are many key principles that can be better understood in a simple environment.

  • 10. Be aware you may break your leg, arm or something similar.ย  That happens after you change the old code and move it into PRD without fully understanding it.

    11.ย  Look at that code you wroteย  ummmmย  X years ago.ย  ย Then you realize it’s a trap! Run.

    Love this blog!

    Michelle

  • And after you have done step 1 to 11 you discover that you accidentally have reinvented the wheel twice. But instead of using the ( probably ) better and more modern code, you put this into a museum and still use the legeacy code.

    • The future often scares many people. Not only on Halloween. Recently, a company talked about its own digital currency called “Libra” ๐Ÿ˜‰