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Getting in pace with S4 HANA, New generation ABAP, IOT

Experts, This is regarding an issue I am facing (and a handful of my colleagues too).

Issue: In the faced paced world of SAP , I, being one of the SAP ABAP Developers, feel very outdated in terms of how I code and how to approach solutions. We are constantly in fear of the correctness (the right way of doing it in considering performance in HDB, new syntax from 7.4 EHP 5.0 onward, any many more ).

Could anyone of you please list down the steps which could take us closer to the current / latest developments in HANA and which could help us to deliver the best of the lot to the customers/clients?

From my own experience, I have been a technical developer for my ~7 years of career (SAP R3, 4.0, 4.6C, 6.0, 7.4, 7.5 versions), SRM 7.0 classic, extended classic, also, I have developed a couple of custom webdynpros in past.

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  • This question reminds me of the good old story about the parents asking some famous parenting guru:

    - When do we start to discipline our child?
    - How old is your child?
    - 2.
    - Then you are two years too late!

    Seems to be 7 years too late to ask how to stay up to date in the SAP world. :) Getting some ABAP books and doing some Google search might be a good start.

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4 Answers

  • Best Answer
    Jul 21, 2017 at 02:19 PM

    Hi Mohit,

    a bit delayed reply for you....

    I can understand the situation you are in and believe me most of the guys are in your shoes including me.

    ABAP stack has been so robust and easy that we have sometimes taken if for granted and have been doing everything from DB modelling to backend logic to frontend development using Dynpro, BSP and WebDynpros. This is not what happens in other technologies where in you have dedicated backend and frontend developers. Full stack(genuine ones) are very few.

    My view is that the same will happen in SAP world going forward. My take on this:

    Master the DB modelling: Basics almost don't change here, only how you do. You have been working in SAP and would know the data model already. Learn how this would be done in the new word, both in ABAP Stack and HANA stack. Pick the basics like creating tables and views, creating and using CDS and their lifecycle management. Worry about simple things like foreign keys, value table checks, locking, authorisation checks and stuff... If you have ISU on S4 then you're lucky to have a system to look at. Nothing can be better than looking at how SAP standard applications are done.

    Master the Backend and Data expose: This bit is close to our FMs and classes that we use to build to house the business logic. BOPF is an excellent abstract framework to standardize development on SAP, learn this. With code pushdown to HANA, you should also be versed with stuff like Stored Procedures so that you can execute functions on the DB itself. Think of how you could take the function

    ISU_REGISTER_ESTIMATION and move it completely to run on DB rather than on application server. Learn Odata to expose data for integration aspects. SAP again comes to rescue by tying up everything to CDS.

    Try and stay away from frontend: This place is very crowded with so many frontend developers already cheaply available in the market. For them UI5/Fiori might be easier whereas for us the learning curve is a bit steep. Furthermore, I guess most of the UI development in coming years would be template driven and the UI attributes handling would be driven from backend. That's where SAP have CDS to aid metadata driven UIs. So here also backend learning leads. This stack is most disruptive and prone to frequent technology changes(who knows, gestures and speech might be mainstream inputs in 5 years time)...and being candid am a bit lazy to play this catch up game.

    Outside of this there are so many buzzwords and technology trends like Big Data, IOT, Machine Learning, Blockchain. What you need to do is understand the architecture and building elements. For example, in Big Data you have Lambda and Kappa architectures, different ways of consuming data like parallel batch processing, stream processing, Hybrid approaches. Next would be understand the product line from SAP and see which fits where and also to compare it against open technologies like Hadoop and SPARK which is integrated in SAP VORA and with SAP Smart data services.

    For IOT, Machine learning and Blockchain, SAP will provide the platform for you to work on and eventually all these technologies have to connect to backend for the business to run. So again your understanding of the backend and integration technologies will be most important. I would say focus on the basics and give another year before you jump into the solution offerings by Leonardo platform. By then you would have much more use cases to refer to.

    As Matthew pointed out, there's lot of stuff available freely to refer to but you will have to learn. Hope this helps formulate the path...


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  • Jul 23, 2017 at 08:00 PM

    First off, check the SAP Roadmaps on different Technologies / Modules / ...

    As Matthew points out, get an expert to guide you (temporarily) in your team. You could possibly determine a list of "next-gen topics" of importance to your team (together with this expert).

    Next, why not try some of the OpenSAP-courses to get familiar on S/4HANA, Fiori, UI5, IoT, ...? These are free and the only 'cost' is time.

    Also, there are tons of elaborate (E-)Books and E-Bites (fast-paced mini-episodes focussing on one Topic) on the new SAP-Technologies out there ...

    A combined effort - both from your company / management in committing time or other resources and some motivation to do some home studying - can get you up to speed,I hope.

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  • May 27, 2017 at 05:16 AM

    Either figure it out for yourself, like most of us who are using the new stuff have, or get your company to hire an experienced ABAP developer to advise.

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  • Jul 26, 2017 at 01:49 PM

    Thank you all for your inputs, this is certainly helpful.

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