Anthony Cecchini is the President and CTO of Information Technology Partners (ITP), an ERP technology consulting company headquartered now in Virginia, with offices in Herndon. ITP offers comprehensive planning, resource allocation, implementation, upgrade, and training assistance to companies. Anthony has over 20 years of experience in SAP business process analysis and SAP systems integration. ITP is a Silver Partner with SAP, as well as an Appian, Pegasystems, and UIPath Low-code and RPA Value Added Service Partner. You can reach him at [email protected].
Enterprise software development is constantly evolving, and the SAP ecosystem is no exception. For many years, the ABAP language has been the backbone of SAP applications, powering the core processes of countless businesses. However, with the rise of cloud computing and the demand for more flexible and agile solutions, SAP recognized the need for a modernized approach to ABAP development.
This led to the introduction of the ABAP RESTful Programming Model, also known as ABAP RESTful Application Programming Model (RAP) and the Cloud Application Programming (CAP) model. For a good understanding of these, please take a look at Comparing ABAP RAP model with the CAP model at itpfed.com.
In this short post, I hope to give the newer ABAP developers a feel for how ABAP got to where it is today by looking at the different programming models SAP has used throughout the years. Including the shortcomings that led to the next innovation in the model.
The Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) language has been at the heart of SAP’s application development for decades. It has continuously evolved to meet the changing demands of the business world.
Let’s take a look at the evolution of the ABAP Programming Model…
- Classic ABAP Programming:
The journey of the ABAP Programming Model began with Classic ABAP Programming. In this phase, ABAP was used to develop monolithic, tightly-coupled applications. These applications served businesses well for years, but they lacked the flexibility required in the modern, fast-paced world of enterprise software.
- Introduction of Object-Oriented ABAP:
To address the need for more flexible and modular development, SAP introduced Object-Oriented ABAP. This step allowed developers to leverage the power of object-oriented programming (OOP) principles in their ABAP code. It introduced concepts such as classes, methods, and inheritance, enabling developers to build more scalable and maintainable applications.
- SAP Fiori and the ABAP Programming Model:
The introduction of SAP Fiori brought about significant changes in the ABAP Programming Model. SAP Fiori aimed to provide a modern, intuitive user experience for SAP applications. To achieve this, SAP introduced the ABAP Programming Model for SAP Fiori. This model encouraged developers to build applications with user-centric design principles in mind.Key features of the ABAP Programming Model for SAP Fiori included:
- MVC Architecture: It promoted the Model-View-Controller (MVC) architectural pattern, separating data, presentation, and user interaction components. (first introduced in SAP WebDynpro)
- OData Services: Developers used OData services to expose data and functionality to the front-end, enabling seamless integration with SAP Fiori applications.
- Annotations: Annotations in ABAP allowed developers to add metadata to their code, enhancing the user interface with meaningful information and behavior.
- Transaction Handling: Built-in support for transaction handling made it easier to manage complex business processes.
As technology continues to advance, SAP seems committed to ensuring that the ABAP Programming Model remains relevant and adaptable to the changing needs of businesses.
Here are some key aspects of the future of the ABAP Programming Model:
- ABAP RESTful Programming Model (RAP):
The ABAP RESTful Programming Model, commonly known as RAP, is a significant leap forward in the evolution of the ABAP Programming Model. RAP was introduced within the SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment in 2018. It embraces modern development practices, including a service-oriented architecture, data modeling with Core Data Services (CDS), and built-in support for authorization and validation.RAP empowers developers to create modular, microservice-like components that enhance agility and simplify maintenance. It also seamlessly integrates with SAP Fiori, allowing developers to build modern, user-friendly interfaces. This evolution enables ABAP developers to embrace modern development paradigms and stay competitive in the rapidly changing technology landscape.
- SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP):
SAP Business Technology Platform is SAP’s platform-as-a-service offering that provides a unified environment for building, extending, and integrating business applications. The ABAP Programming Model is an integral part of BTP, ensuring that ABAP developers can leverage the platform’s capabilities to create innovative solutions.BTP offers a wide range of services, including analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and IoT, enabling developers to build intelligent and data-driven applications. This integration opens up new opportunities for ABAP developers to enhance their applications with advanced features and capabilities.For a better understanding of the Business Technology Platfor, see our 2 part series on itpfed.com. Part 1 is available here Demystifying the BTP (SAP Business Technology Platform) – Part 1
- Open Source Initiatives:
SAP has been increasingly embracing open source initiatives to foster collaboration and innovation. ABAP Open Source, for example, allows developers to contribute to the ABAP ecosystem by creating open-source projects and sharing code. This approach encourages community involvement and enables developers to harness the power of collective knowledge and creativity.
- Integration with Cloud and Hybrid Architectures:
The future of the ABAP Programming Model includes tighter integration with cloud and hybrid architectures. As more businesses adopt cloud technologies, ABAP developers will need to adapt to new deployment scenarios, such as running ABAP applications in the cloud. SAP is committed to providing tools and solutions to facilitate this transition and ensure that ABAP remains a relevant and integral part of the SAP ecosystem.
- Enhanced Developer Experience:
SAP is continuously investing in improving the developer experience for ABAP developers. This includes enhancing development tools, providing comprehensive documentation, and offering training and certification programs. A better developer experience not only accelerates development but also attracts and retains top talent in the SAP ecosystem.
The ABAP Programming Model has come a long way from its origins as Classic ABAP Programming. It has evolved to embrace modern development practices, including object-oriented programming, user-centric design principles, and service-oriented architectures. The introduction of the ABAP RESTful Programming Model (RAP) and its integration with the SAP Business Technology Platform represent the future of ABAP development, empowering developers to create agile, intelligent, and innovative solutions.
As technology continues to advance, SAP seems fully committed to ensuring that the ABAP Programming Model remains a robust and adaptable platform for building enterprise applications. ABAP developers are encouraged to embrace these advancements, continue their learning journey, and explore new possibilities for creating business value in the ever-evolving world of enterprise software development. The future of the ABAP Programming Model holds promise for those who are willing to embrace change and innovation.