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The New Enhancement Framework – Part 1

Tony CecchiniAnthony Cecchini is the President of Information Technology Partners (ITP), an SAP consulting company  headquartered in Pennsylvania. ITP offers comprehensive planning, resource allocation,  implementation, upgrade, and training assistance to   companies. Anthony has over 17 years of  experience in SAP R/3 business process analysis and SAP systems integration. His  areas of expertise  include SAP NetWeaver integration; ALE development; RFC, BAPI, IDoc, Dialog, and Web Dynpro  development; and customized Workflow development. You can reach him at [email protected].

The NEW Enhancement Framework

This month’s Blog will begin a look into the NEW Enhancement Framework offered in SAP NetWeaver 7.0 (formerly 2004s).

SAP provides a large set of customizing options enabling SAP customers to adapt SAP programs to their needs. Customization alone, however, cannot always fulfill all customers’ requests for individual adjustments or enhancements to meet specific requirements. In such cases, programmers can enhance or change the standard SAP functionality by modifying the ABAP source code of the underlying development objects. This provision to modify standard capability provides a major advantage of SAP systems over other ERP systems.

Up to now, there have been two methods available for meeting SAP software adaptation needs, where IMG customization alone was not a solution:

– Modifications to SAP development objects either with or without the support of the Modification Assistant

– Enhancements to SAP development objects at predefined locations in the source code using customer exits, appends, includes, and as of SAP R/3 4.6, Business Add-Ins (BAdIs)

SAP NetWeaver 7.0 (formerly 2004s) offers the new Enhancement Framework that not only is intended to unify the modification and classic enhancement techniques, but also offers you almost the same flexibility as modifications without the limitations of modifications. The new Enhancement Framework, which is integrated directly into the ABAP Workbench, enables you to change and enhance the SAP source code without modifying it. This means no REPAIRS!

Why use the New Enhancement Framework

Why is this good news for you and me? Well first, it means no more getting permission for repairing an object as well as no more repair keys! Please do not misread this as wholesale permission to go out and enhance the system thoughtlessly! You will see in later posts that you have to give some thought to how you structure your enhancements because what you create must fit into the structure of the Enhancement Framework that enables you to organize the enhancement options and their counterparts on the implementation side. This means that the explicit enhancement options and all enhancement implementation elements (enhancements) have to be part of particular containers, which also serve as transport objects.

The second reason this is good news is because the new Enhancement Framework significantly reduces the number of adjustments necessary after an upgrade because your enhancements survive the upgrade. With modifications, the changes are overwritten by the upgrade and must be reapplied. With the new enhancement approach, some adjustments still may be necessary if, for example, the upgrade changes the enhanced object in a way that is incompatible with the enhancements, but the reduced number of adjustment leads to a  strong overall reduction in your total cost of ownership (TOC).

In the next post I will look deeper into what the limitations are of the current modification concept. Although current SAP modification tools facilitate the handling of modifications with flexibility, you pay for this flexibility with some problems that are inherent in the very concept of a modification.

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