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Author's profile photo Michael Keller

the ABAP time machine

Dear SAP Community, it’s Christmas time and so it’s time again for a Christmas special blog πŸŽ„

Finding a theme was really easy this year. I took part in the ABAPConf 2022 with a presentation on “ABAP and time”. In the run-up there were assumptions about what I could tell. With his almost legendary sense of humor (please check the title of his ABAPConf 2022 contribution), Dominik Panzer guessed the idea of an “ABAP time machine”.

Ok, it wasn’t a time machine written in ABAP, but thankfully I recycled his idea for this blog. Curtain up for our journey through time together. Here’s a picture to get you started.

I really like this picture. Maybe one of the best typical time travel imaginations. A tunnel in space and time and something is flying through – alarm clocks. Homage to Alice in Wonderland?”

Anyone can take part in this journey. How does the time travel work? Everyone writes a comment to this blog and answers the following questions:

  1. To which point in our rich ABAP history would you travel back with a time machine?
  2. Why would you travel at this point in time?
  3. Would you change something in connection with ABAP?

There are many reasons to travel back in time to an important point in the history of ABAP. Your comment can be funny or it can be a professional or technologically serious topic (who wants to prevent BINARY SEARCH or design it differently πŸ˜‰). Ok, let’s have fun…


Greetings, thank you for your comment and stay healthy


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      Author's profile photo Michael Keller
      Michael Keller
      Blog Post Author

      Here's my contribution:

      1. I would like to travel just before the birth of ABAP, something in 1983.
      2. Be there from the beginning, but also to influence the design of ABAP.
      3. ABAP should not be implemented as a procedural language but directly as an object-oriented language. Hopefully this will save thousands of ABAP developers a lot of nerves in the future πŸ˜‰

      By the way, you could also request graphics libraries. So Enno WulffΒ  can later develop games in ABAP and someone can port Doom to ABAP out of technical interest. But please in a defused version for office people. Without blood, but with many FI documents that want to be posted.

      Author's profile photo Andrea Borgia
      Andrea Borgia

      Assuming one can travel without bad news as fuel (see THHGttG as to why that doesn't work), I'd say before the invention of sapscripts to prevent it πŸ™‚


      Author's profile photo Michael Keller
      Michael Keller
      Blog Post Author

      I understand very well! πŸ˜‰

      Author's profile photo Marian Zeis
      Marian Zeis

      When I first read the title I thought you write about this:


      Author's profile photo Michael Keller
      Michael Keller
      Blog Post Author

      Ok, was not my intention but sounds really useful!

      Author's profile photo Swathi Vuddala
      Swathi Vuddala

      I would like to travel to future of ABAP with these features

      Graphical editor with many built in plug-ins resulting in less development time.Β 

      Rich built in apis to interface with machine learning and data science technologies to take full advantage of data



      Author's profile photo Matt Dion
      Matt Dion

      I would like to go back to this morning when my BTP dev landscape didn't give me this screen πŸ˜€



      Author's profile photo Matthew Billingham
      Matthew Billingham

      I'd go back to the beginning and haveΒ true andΒ false as proper boolean types.

      Author's profile photo Shai Sinai
      Shai Sinai

      I would go back to the future after SAP revised all their basic cross-application functionality (date/time, dictionary, file processing, Excel, etc.) into official OO API and I would downport it to NW 7.00.

      This includes supporting editable ALV in CL_SALV_TABLE (or in ALV, in general)

      Author's profile photo Peter Inotai
      Peter Inotai

      Nice ones πŸ™‚

      However this seems to be a far future to me πŸ™‚

      Author's profile photo Dominik Panzer
      Dominik Panzer

      Two things:

      • I would prevent the first abap developer from using hungarian notation at all... so nobody in the ABAP-world will know hungarian notation exists
      • I would tell the responsible person "you don't need to limit the characterlength of the name of ddic objects. memory and space are no problems in the future. trust me".
      Author's profile photo Peter Inotai
      Peter Inotai

      I would go back to past when it was decided:

      • method name can be up to 30 char only (makes life difficult during naming unit testing methods)
      • no support will be done in ADT for method level editing/locking only on class level
      Author's profile photo Michael Keller
      Michael Keller
      Blog Post Author

      Support for that 30 char limitation thing. Sometimes I sit in front of my computer thinking about an appropriate method name. It's like a challenge: Bring most meaning into 30 chars πŸ˜‰

      Author's profile photo Sergio Ferrari
      Sergio Ferrari

      Here's my contribution:

      1. I would like to travel just before the birth of the SELECT ... FROM the database SAP HANA
      2. Set the ORDER BY PRIMARY KEY ASCENDING as the default and implicit option
      3. Despite small impacts on the performance, it would have required much less effort to adapt to SAP HANA (and nowadays even to SAP S/4HANA)
      Author's profile photo Enno Wulff
      Enno Wulff
      1. I would like to travel to year 2002 when I was self-employed and the SAP shares are affordable. for reasons...πŸ˜…
      2. At this time things were easy. easy products. easy product names. things were complicated, but not that complicated.
      3. maybe a better gui graphics engine wasn't that bad...?! πŸ€·πŸ˜€
      Author's profile photo Paul Hardy
      Paul Hardy

      I would do a series of short hops to the 54 points in time when someone at SAP wanted a structure to store error messages in i.e. message type, message number, the four message variables etc. and force them to use the one that already existed rather than create a new one with the the field names subtly different e.g. MESSAGE_V1 vs MSGV1 vs ATTR1 and so on in 54 different flavours.

      That way tens of thousands of ABAP programmers would not have to have spent millions of hours moving the values from one structure to another.

      When the RAP came in yet another error structure was created with different names yet again so this is NEVER GOING TO STOP without such a time machine.

      Author's profile photo Andrea Borgia
      Andrea Borgia

      SAP is like the Tardis, always bigger on the inside πŸ˜€