Understanding SAP ABAP


Back in the 1980s, SAP developed ABAP for SAP R/2 with the expectation that its customers would use it to improve SAP’s software. Originally developed for use on mainframes, ABAP  (Advanced Business Application Programming) is a descendant of COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language). While ABAP was updated to work with client-server technology, it still retains many features from SAP R/2 in SAP R/3 and later versions. 

Although ABAP allowed users to design their reports and interfaces, the language was originally designed by programmers. Technical customers and developers then developed the SAP R/2, R/3, ECC, and S/4HANA ERP software products using the ABAP programming language. 

Understanding SAP ABAP 1

Many of SAP’s applications are written in ABAP. Originally, ABAP was a completely procedural language, but it now includes object-oriented capabilities. The NetWeaver ABAP platform from SAP systems is the only commercially available ABAP application server, while programmers and developers make up the bulk of an organization’s ABAP language expertise. Devs use and execute the ABAP code on the SAP NetWeaver ABAP platform and application server.

In certain companies, the line between SAP Basis administrators and ABAP developers is blurry at best. Some Basis administrators and ABAP programmers also have working language knowledge. However, in most SAP organizations, Basis and ABAP programming continue to operate as two distinct but related domains of expertise. 

SAP ABAP Workbench

Developers in the SAP ERP system use the SAP ABAP Workbench as a set of tools to write various applications in the ABAP programming language. The multiple components of the Workbench work in design to operate together seamlessly.

The primary characteristics of the Workbench and ABAP development tools are as follows:

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    Channels are easily shared across servers.
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    Information integration facilitates the sharing of code and improvements between different platforms.
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    It allows remote functional calls to enable interaction with external apps.
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    It also talks to programs on the computer's desktop.
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    All phases of the software development process benefit from the use of Workbench tools.
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    The Workbench provides users with the Functional Designer, Debugger, Object Navigator, and Screen Painter for ABAP language coding.
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    A developer has the ability to create, test, and run ABAP programs in the SAP system with the help of this graphical programming environment.
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    There are four different categories on the ABAP Workbench menu:
    Overview, Development, Test, Utilities.

The functionality of the Advanced Business Application Programming Workbench includes:

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    When working on ABAP programs, developers take advantage of the ABAP Workbench's integrated tools by simply double-clicking on an object to launch the corresponding tool.
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    The ABAP Workbench is where devs create and modify various ABAP objects and development packages, including reports, transactions, function modules, screens, menus, etc.
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    Developers use ABAP code for making apps, debugging them, analyzing their performance, handling of ABAP managed database procedures and database objects, making menus, and so on.

The ABAP Workbench includes the following essential ABAP development tools for ABAP programs:

  • ABAP Dictionary
    One of the most vital components of the toolbox is the ABAP dictionary, which helps with the efficient management of tables via SE11 code. The ABAP Dictionary is vital for anyone focusing on SAP systems.
  • Editor for ABAP
    An integral part of the ABAP Workbench, the editor program for modifying ABAP code is the platform on which devs construct their logic and draft and revise code.
  • Object Navigator
    As the hub of the ABAP Workbench, the Object Navigator unifies all of the other tools and provides a productive setting to write code. It helps create a unified setting for various programming tasks. Because of its user-friendly interface, it is the go-to program for creating complex applications with numerous displays and function modules.
  • The Function Constructor
    Like the ABAP Editor, this gives devs access to every SAP standard module. However, its principal use is in defining certain activities that other applications can access.
  • Screen Painter
    Devs use Screen Painter to help build the ABAP objects in the ABAP Dictionary (views, SAP database tables, etc.).
  • Menu Painter
    Menu Painter is a tool for constructing program interfaces. Devs use it to generate the buttons, menu bar, icons, and other features or modify the predefined user menus. Furthermore, devs can specify things such as whether a double-click of the mouse or an enter keypress should initiate a menu event.
  • Class Constructor
    In the same way a Function Builder helps create functions, a class builder helps create ABAP objects of a specific type.

Reasons for Using SAP ABAP in Your Company

SAP’s success in attracting millions of users worldwide is largely due to the fact that its design is for the running of distributed applications. As a result of the adaptability of ABAP code and ABAP programs, SAP applications on a SAP system have the ability to combine data from many different databases to better serve their users.

The shortage of competent ABAP programmers makes it difficult for many businesses worldwide to fill open positions for ABAP consultants. ABAP developers must constantly expand their understanding of new technologies to stay current in their field, meaning their days are always full of new problems to solve.

Some of the benefits of working with SAP ABAP development tools and ABAP programs include:

  • It's all about the numbers and the procedures

    Today's business and technology sectors are heavily dependent on data. In turn, data requires processes for upkeep and applications. Creating reliable means of understanding, administrating, planning, and analyzing data is crucial. For instance, automating electronic communications with their suppliers requires supplier master data.

  • The possibilities are endless

    In their specialized role in ABAP, developers may have the opportunity to learn every nuance of SAP's pre-built applications function. Furthermore, many basic apps are significantly tailorable to their specific requirements. New applications can also be also built from scratch to perform novel business procedures.

These developers are typically endowed with a great deal of leeway and potential. What may seem obvious to them is not necessarily so to those working in other areas of IT, giving ABAP developers a leg up in terms of personal growth and the opportunity to make a real difference through their work.

  • The learning curve for ABAP programming is at an all-time low

    Devs have the ability to download the IDE, the runtime, and many tutorials without paying a dime. If they've decided to learn ABAP, there's no need to second-guess about when to begin. Devs can start learning at any time or whenever they wish.

  • The SAP community is a welcoming one

    People from many walks of life make up the SAP community and welcome new members online all the time. There are numerous options for social interaction, information exchange, and creative output in the form of blogs, tutorials, and discussion forums available as resources online.

  • It’s a great resume item and job skill

    As a result, SAP counts several of the world's most recognizable brands among its clientele. There’s still significant demand in today’s working world for technically competent ABAP programming developers who contribute to the long-term success of all types of businesses. Talent is in high demand, and its practitioners are usually compensated handsomely.

A wide number of consulting and development partners all over the world assist SAP’s many satisfied customers. There’s currently a wide range of available employment opportunities for the niche there as well.



As previously mentioned, one of the two primary languages used to build SAP applications is SAP ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming). This language is SAP’s take on traditional system administration, while the other main language in use is Java. 

There are many important differences between SAP Java and SAP ABAP that dev teams need to understand, including:

  • Java is widely utilized in IT as a major player in many open-source projects. All SAP business applications, hosted or installed locally, utilize ABAP.
  • Java is the language of choice for portals, integration solutions, collaboration scenarios, and SAP products.
  • Thanks to ABAP’s lifecycle management capabilities, enterprises manage their IT landscapes with scalability and reliability.
  • SAP Portals are typically hosted on internet/web applications written in Java Server Pages (JSP) and Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB). They also require a Java Stack to function. When an application runs on the Java Stack, it utilizes Java Threads.

Working With BairesDev on SAP Projects

SAP ABAP allows for tailoring to the specific requirements of each company through a wide range of configuration options. It opens up a fascinating new opportunity for businesses to hire a specialist who can close the gap between the standard and desired levels of software performance. Working with an outsourcing provider is a great way to reap the benefits of this without breaking the bank.

Companies must consider various aspects and pros versus cons when choosing an outsourcing provider. Gaining the capacity to build, support, and update solutions while navigating complicated SAP landscapes efficiently and reasonably are among the most crucial. By choosing to outsource, companies can focus on managing their operations with the assurance that a properly chosen SAP outsourcing partner proactively will take care of their complicated IT requirements. Over time, they’ll then have the ability to handle the day-to-day software challenges and the wider digital transformation picture for their company.

Problems Faced by SAP Users When Using ABAP

Though programmers generally find ABAP intuitive, it presents significant challenges for SAP users with less technical backgrounds. Among the difficulties are the following:

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    Time to market and efficiency
    Learning to code in ABAP is a lengthy process that requires expert knowledge. The slower speed at which ABAP customizations are typically delivered discourages business stakeholders and drags down time to market. Depending on the company’s needs, it could cause delays that cost both money and reputations.
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    Poor Return on Investment (ROI)
    SAP customers rely heavily on the ABAP system because of its vital role in every business. Its complexity is well known in the industry. Professionals with ABAP expertise are in high demand but short supply. Therefore, they have the freedom to command exorbitant salaries. Due to this, they may significantly change their enterprise software’s total cost of ownership (TCO).
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    Delay in updates
    The SAP environments of the vast majority of businesses are highly customized using ABAP. Whenever a patch, service pack, or enhancement pack requires applications to the SAP ERP, they take more time and effort if there are more non-core custom items.
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    Dead or unnecessary ABAP code
    Many redundant lines of code remain after an upgrade from one system, such as R/3 to ECC to S/4HANA, even though they should have long since been eliminated. Since technical debt increases SAP’s overall upkeep costs, this doesn’t help matters.

What Makes a Good SAP Outsourcing Partner?

Companies must consider many factors when deciding on an outsourcing partner for SAP projects. However, when it comes to SAP specifically, decision-makers should try to focus on expertise over anything else. Companies should choose a provider with proven experience working with the relevant technology.

Teams should strive to find a seasoned SAP programmer or programming team with the skills required to adapt to new features and stay current with the platform. Prospective partners must demonstrate their ability to undertake individualized configuration audits to assess and enhance processes like project management and data migration.

Companies benefit greatly when working with companies that offer independent testing. This approach is more likely to result in a successful and cost-efficient outcome than solutions that rely on additional outsourcing of certain jobs.

A SAP outsourcing partner should bring more to the table than simply being knowledgeable and must fit in well with the rest of the company. SAP software can affect every part of a business, which means approaches require tailoring to their specific requirements rather than relying on generic optimization techniques.

An outsourced SAP development team must demonstrate an awareness of and a readiness to investigate their hiring organization’s unique goals, values, requirements, and interdepartmental dynamics.

A SAP partner operates as a go-between for an IT department and the various teams in the organization. Therefore, the chosen SAP experts must mesh well with their firm’s culture. Companies must strive to pick someone who shares their enthusiasm for development and is comfortable imparting their knowledge to team members with backgrounds unrelated to information technology.

Hiring companies should also verify achievements. A few names of certificates and accreditations undoubtedly pop up as they research potential SAP partners. These assure the hiring organization that the partners they’re considering have received recognized and extensive training and have achieved a level of excellence above and beyond the norm.

Most of these certificates are from SAP, which offers exams and certification for its many products at the associate, specialist, and professional levels. Companies should take a look at the options and zero in on the ones that would be most useful to their company. 

Business owners must also continually consider the long game. Even if they’re only seeking partners with experience in one or two sectors at first, their needs will likely expand as their company does. A real SAP expert team or developer must have the ability to handle the future support required. 

A good SAP partner provides operational support for all SAP modules and integration support for all permitted applications. They must be well versed in developing bespoke HCP extensions and the latest business-friendly software development.

The ideal outsourcing partner or developer is also well versed in the latest SAP version, making them capable of discussing and offering useful enhancements. They should know which upgrades are the best fit for their company and implement them accordingly.

To assess their company’s release readiness, the outsourcing company must run in-depth reports based on SAP’s internal release review notes for the solutions they’ve selected. This report should generally highlight productivity and adaptability for the corporation, as these characteristics are most likely to impress their reader.

Companies should pick a provider that’s sure of their team’s ability to create rollout plans for each upgrade, including the specific actions each department must complete before anything goes live. If the company takes this preventative measure, they hopefully won’t have to fix any issues after the upgrade is available to their coworkers and clients.

Developers or outsourcing providers may list their skills and make a pitch if given a chance, but it’s up to the hiring company to make sure their claims match their expectations. It’s important the hiring company also shares its vision for the company’s future, whether it’s long-term objectives or short-term plans. Even if their work doesn’t seem like it fits under SAP at first, there are probably solutions and apps support at every stage.

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