The Technical Approach to Clean Core
Article Series “Bringing Together Clean Core, Cloud, the SAP Extension Suite and SAP BTP – A Clean Core and Differentiation / Extensibility Strategy”
This posting is the third part of a series, which proposes a functional-strategic approach to Clean Core to help overcome the challenges, which the prevalent technical approach entails. Visit the overview page for a management summary and links to the other postings.
The Impact of a Technical Approach to Clean Core on Development
For developers, the introduction of Clean Core means that their work according to the traditional approach gets much more complicated and laborious. Due to the Clean Core Principle, they are not allowed to use the powerful ABAP Workbench anymore. Furthermore, the classic task of performing an isolated change was perfectly aligned with the structure of the standard code. The approach of identifying gaps and writing independent functional and technical specifications for them fits exactly to an implementation directly in the standard code.
When taking a technical approach to Clean Core, the project approach up to this stage stays the same and the developers are confronted with a more or less impossible task: They are facing the challenge to make the same kind of changes in an existing structure as before, but now without a direct access to this structure and without the powerful tools which they had before.
The SAP Extension Suite
The answer from SAP comes in form of the SAP Extension Suite as the new toolbox which shall enable developers to complete their tasks also in the future. However, due to its complexity, the SAP Extension Suite is perceived rather as yet another challenge than as a solution. Featuring three different flavors of extensibility, two of them with another range of tools, concepts and approaches, the SAP Extension Suite just has an overwhelming impact at first sight. A lot of material is available which provides guidance on how to select between the various options and on how to use them. Nonetheless, it takes quite some effort to become proficient with the SAP Extension Suite and in the end, the disappointing impression is that this entire toolbox is inferior to the previously available tool, the ABAP Workbench – when following the traditional approach.
The complexity and the amount of material published on the SAP Extension Suite, especially in the context of Clean Core, are their real failures. However, not for technical reasons, but because they deviate the attention from the bigger context of Clean Core. The SAP Extension Suite is clearly a technical topic, and it is the task of the development department to get to grips with it. As a result, also Clean Core is perceived as a purely technical task and the overall project approach stays the same.
Need For a New Approach
What is getting missed, is that Clean Core and the usage of the SAP Extension Suite only make sense, if the overall project approach is getting changed as well. It is correct that the SAP Extension Suite does not offer satisfying tools for completing the classical tasks of implementing individual gaps in an isolated way. When following the traditional approach, the effect of Clean Core is only the banning of custom code from the Core. There are no benefits for the custom code. Instead, there are numerous issues as described in the first posting.
However, this does not mean, that the concept or the tools themselves are wrong – they are just wrong for this purpose. They are just not suitable for trying to apply new tools according to an old approach and in an old framework for old tasks. Clean Core and the SAP Extension Suite require a new framework and a new approach (see next blog posts).