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Q&A

 

ABAP Development in the Cloud

Now available using SAP Cloud Platform, ABAP Environment

November 14, 2018

Thank you for registering to read the discussion transcript on taking advantage of the newest ABAP innovations, enterprise-grade SAP Cloud Platform business and application services, and the power of the SAP HANA business data platform to build breakthrough business applications in the cloud. Please find the transcript below.


Matthew Shea: Hello, and welcome to our first Q&A on SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment. Thank you for joining.

As of September 2018, the new ABAP development and runtime environment — SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment — is here. SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment is a completely new environment for SAP Cloud Platform, comparable to SAP Cloud Platform for the Neo, Cloud Foundry, and Kubernetes environments.

I am excited to welcome a panel of experts from SAP to answer questions on the advantage of the newest ABAP innovations, enterprise-grade SAP Cloud Platform business and application services, and the power of the SAP HANA business data platform to build breakthrough business applications in the cloud.

I am joined today by:

  • Karl Kessler, Vice President of Product Management ABAP Platform
  • Chris Aron, Global Go-to-Market, SAP Cloud Platform
  • Mahadevan Venkata, Industry Experts, Global Go-to-Market, SAP Cloud Platform
  • Florian Wahl, Product Management, SAP Cloud Platform
  • Reddy Venumbaka, Product Marketing, SAP Cloud Platform

Before we take your questions, Karl will share a brief introduction to the new platform.

Karl Kessler: We are excited about the feedback from the market regarding our new ABAP platform-as-a-service offering that has been live on SAP Cloud Platform since September 4.

SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment is based on the ABAP stack running on top of SAP HANA.

It comes with a cloud-optimized subset of the traditional ABAP language and leverages all modern SAP technologies, such as semantic data modeling with core data services (CDS) and a responsive user experience with SAP Fiori.

SAP GUI and transaction code SE80 are not supported. Instead, you will use the ABAP Development Tools for Eclipse. SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment serves as an extension platform to SAP S/4HANA and supports connectivity based on the well-established Open Data Protocol (OData) and HTTP(S) protocols.

We already have more than 10 customers actively using SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment. Please don't be shy and get started immediately. Simply post your questions to the chat. A team of proven ABAP experts will answer your questions as quickly as possible.

Comment From Smriti: Is there any tutorial for SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment for ABAPers?

Florian Wahl: Hi, Smriti. You can find a list of available tutorials at the end of this announcement blog.

Comment From MB: What are the typical use cases for an SAP customer who is mostly on SAP ERP Central Component (SAP ECC), SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM), and SAP Business Warehouse (SAP BW) /SAP Business Intelligence (SAP BI)?

Mahadevan: Hi, MB. There are two main motivations for this service:

  1. Keeping the core clean: In ERP and other classic releases, customers would end up customizing their systems heavily (modification, enhancements, and so on). As we all know this is an impediment for new innovations. So by moving the customizations to SAP Cloud Platform, we are able to keep the core clean and benefit from latest innovations in the core.
  2. By using SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment, we are now able to leverage the vast ABAP experience our customers have and exploit all the modern functions SAP Cloud Platform has to offer (for example, internet of things [IoT], machine learning [ML], analytics, and SAP HANA).

So these are the two main benefits.

Comment From Anurag Singh: In the announcement blog, there is a response to a comment about technical challenges related to making a trial version available. Is there any good news for our community on the trial version?

Karl Kessler: We are working on a trial version, but it is technically challenging due to the size of the ABAP service (16GB runtime, 64GB SAP HANA). We think of an offering that is comparable to the App Space TechEd experience where you can make yourself familiar with the tools and infrastructure. App Space was very successful at TechEd. ABAP was the high score.

Comment From Anurag Singh: One more question is regarding the roadmap. In the blog, there were points on the focus of the first version and a planned version. Is there a roadmap published where we can see present features and planned innovation?

Florian Wahl: Hi, Anurag. We will share the latest product roadmap of SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment as part of the general SAP Cloud Platform roadmap. To access the roadmap, click here.

Comment From Jack: What learning curve does a traditional ABAP developer need to overcome to do development work in the cloud?

Mahadevan: Hi, Jack. In terms of learning, we are expecting ABAP developers to focus on new programming techniques such as CDS, OData, and SAP Fiori. Also from the tools perspective, users will need to work with the Eclipse platform.

Comment From Guest: Hello, is there a URL to direct us to where we can develop our first "Hello world!" with SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment?

Florian Wahl: Hi, see the following "Hello world" tutorial that describes how to begin: https://developers.sap.com/tutorials/abap-environment-console-application.html

Comment From Vishnu Etikyala: Hi, are all FRICEW (forms, reports, interfaces, conversions, enhancements, workarounds) elements of ABAP developments supported?

Mahadevan: Hi, Vishnu. In general, all whitelisted ABAP object types can be accessed. The detailed list can be viewed in the official product document.

Comment From Meher: Is this also applicable for SAP ECC 6.0 systems on SAP NetWeaver 7.4 or just SAP HANA-based back ends?

Florian Wahl: Hi, Meher. Currently, support is limited to extensions to SAP S/4HANA Cloud. As soon as we release support for on-premise extensions, back ends not based on SAP HANA will be supported as well.

Comment From arghadip: Is there any already-built standard program available that we can use to learn? We learned ABAP coding by checking standard ABAP programs.

Karl Kessler: In the SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment we pursue a different philosophy. Rather than examining and copying standard code, your extensions will be based on stable application programming interfaces (APIs). We will make it easy to consume these APIs in your custom development with wizards and OData consumption.

Comment From Naveen: Hi, what is the support plan for the Eclipse platform?

Mahadevan: Hi, Naveen. ABAP Development Tool (ADT) on Eclipse is our strategic development environment. This means all developments will be done on Eclipse and deployed on SAP Cloud Platform.

Comment From Bharath: Mahadevan, thanks for explaining the benefits of SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment. Could you provide more details about the benefits of moving custom code to SAP Cloud Platform and keeping the core clean? When we execute a custom report, will the SAP system check if the data is in SAP Cloud Platform or in an on-premise environment first and then execute the report? Isn't this an extra load on the system every time?

Mahadevan: Hi, Bharath. The developments will be done in Eclipse. This means you will check the code to see if it is cloud compliant in Eclipse. If all the code is good, then you are able to deploy it. All the checking functionality will be performed using whitelisted APIs, so most of the load issues should be optimized.

Comment From Andrew L.: The announcement blog shows that Eclipse is used with the SAP Cloud Platform, which then connects to back-end systems. I can see this could be useful for back-end systems that don't currently support Eclipse. But what is the advantage for back-end systems that can already be developed using Eclipse?

Karl Kessler: The idea of SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment is to decouple extensions from the core. Of course, you can access existing back ends with Eclipse, but then the extensions reside in the core in the traditional way with all the existing limitations, meaning low adoption of innovations offered by the ABAP platform on top of SAP HANA.

Comment From Kimberly: Are there any YouTube tutorials for learning ABAP in the cloud?

Reddy Venumbaka: As of now, we don't have YouTube videos. You can start with tutorials on ABAP. To access these tutorials, click here.

Cloud-specific ABAP tutorials are planned.

Carrie Whyte: We are also considering adding ABAP in the cloud to our monthly virtual series called SAP Cloud Platform in the Garage. Every month we cover a different development topic in the platform, with more topics coming throughout 2019. Check it out here.

Comment From Anurag Singh: For SAP Fiori applications, how will the draft handling be done since Business Object Processing Framework (BOPF) is not supported?

Florian Wahl: As part of the roadmap there will be an intermediate solution for BOPF-managed objects that can be used as part of the new ABAP programming model (RESTful ABAP Programming Model).

Comment From Tom – Chicago: Our challenge is that many of our customers have grown addicted to the aggressive use of implicit enhancements, and the benefits of innovation are often over the horizon. Ninety percent of our work is addressing immediate business needs. How do we make the business case for our customers to give up their current development environment?

Mahadevan: Hi, Tom. Yes, as a developer myself, we get used to enhancements. While enhancements were great, they can't be really used for innovation in this modern world. Even if you use enhancements, there will be the odd occasion where customers would need to adjust enhancements using SPAU_ENH, etc.

The idea here is for all new applications, developers use the modern programming construct. Further, all new SAP Cloud Platform capabilities such as IoT and ML will need the new approach. (By the way, implicit enhancements should be avoided in the first place.)

Comment From Pepe: Can I use SAP HANA studio instead of Eclipse?

Karl Kessler: No, since SAP HANA studio is not required for ABAP development. Even if we fully exploit the SAP HANA layer, we will do this always in an ABAP-managed fashion (for example, think of ABAP-managed database procedures: They are developed and debugged on the ABAP level, but fully exploit the SQL script potential of the underlying SAP HANA database).

Comment From Meher: If we were to enhance our current screen of an SAP S/4HANA Cloud system, do we get to use Eclipse and modify an SAP Fiori-based screen using the new SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment option? Is this applicable to SAP Hybris?

Florian Wahl: For these cases we have the so-called In-App extensibility framework of SAP S/4HANA. This framework allows easy modifications within the system itself. For SAP Fiori-based screens, for example, we have the user interface (UI) adaptation mode that allows modifications of the UI on the fly.

Eclipse will be used only for custom code that is developed and run on SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment, separated from the core system (SAP S/4HANA Cloud).

Comment From Bharath: Will SAP eventually make it mandatory that any custom development should be done only using Eclipse and deployed in SAP Cloud Platform? Would we still have the option to have most of the custom DEV in SAP Cloud Platform and still develop new custom objects in an on-premise environment using SAP GUI and transaction code SE80?

Reddy Venumbaka: SAP recommends custom development with SAP Cloud Platform. Separating custom development or extensions from the SAP S/4HANA system will make it easy to upgrade. It is still possible to extend SAP S/4HANA using In-App extensibility.

Comment From Pepe: What classic ABAP points will be left unused in SAP Cloud Platform?

Mahadevan: Hi, Pepe. Classic ABAP Dynpros and WebDynpros are left behind. They cannot be used. Other aspects of ABAP language will either be gradually supported or left to rest.

Comment From Vishnu Etikyala: All development tools (ABAP, SAP Web IDE, etc.) are moving to SAP Cloud Platform to extend SAP S/4HANA on the cloud or IoT/Leonardo, etc. Will SAP S/4HANA on-premise edition have support until an end date from SAP as we have today for SAP ECC? This information would help in supporting a decision making cloud versus on-premise for an SAP S/4HANA implementation.

Mahadevan: Hi, Vishnu. On-premise support is not going anywhere. We have a huge customer base that is moving to SAP S/4HANA on-premise edition and continuing to use SAP ECC. Of course, they will follow the regular support lifecycle and release pattern.

Comment From Bharath: Regarding SAP Business Workflow, do we develop this in Eclipse or using SAP GUI in an on-premise environment?

Karl Kessler: Classical workflow offers tools for simple workflow creation based on the SAP Fiori UI. In addition, we have the SAP Cloud Platform workflow services that use SAP Web IDE tools.

Comment From Anurag Singh: In some cases, we generally implement an SAP Note for the fix in an ABAP program. Now, if we move to SAP Cloud Platform, how will ABAP fixes be handled?

Karl Kessler: In SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment the infrastructure is fully managed by the SAP DevOps teams. They apply patches and hot fixes based on agreed-upon service-level agreements (SLAs). There is no need for you to apply SAP Notes in the traditional sense.

Matthew Shea: How can I move existing on-premise ABAP extensions to the cloud?

Florian Wahl: First of all, the most important part will be to check if existing custom code fulfills the concepts we have available in the cloud (e.g., whitelisted APIs and objects, new syntax, use of CDS, SAP Fiori UIs, and so on). This can be done using an ABAP Test Cockpit-based check that checks your existing coding against the ABAP language used in the cloud. For more information, refer to this blog.

Matthew Shea: How can partners move their existing ABAP applications to the cloud and serve multiple customers?

Florian Wahl: For code transformation, see my answer to your previous question. In terms of serving multiple customers, we are planning to deliver a productization infrastructure that enables partners to offer their ABAP applications in a software-as-a-service-like scenario.

Comment From Bharath: In Karl’s comment above, he stated that the SAP DevOps team will apply hot fixes in SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment. If we encounter an error in standard SAP functionality, do we have to contact the SAP Dev Ops team (I believe SAP will not charge the customer for this)? Is the Dev/Ops team a standby team from SAP to improve SAP Cloud Platform product quality by releasing fixes?

Mahadevan: Hi, Bharath. Yes, if there is an issue with standard SAP software, then SAP will take care of it.

That is also another reason why we recommend that customers use standard software so that SAP can take care of all support and other efforts.

Reddy Venumbaka: @ALL: How are you planning to use SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment? When are you going to get started? You can send a response to me at saiprashanth.venumbaka@sap.com.

Comment From TM: Will SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment support a serverless scenario such as an SAP S/4HANA enterprise event?

Reddy Venumbaka: SAP S/4HANA events can be handled by serverless functions. ABAP does not support serverless functions yet.

Comment From Bharath: Usually a customer applies an SAP Note to fix a gap in standard functionality. I am not clear how the DevOps team will implement the fix as an SAP Note for the customer?

Florian Wahl: Hi, Bharath. Gaps in standard functionality will be fixed by the SAP DevOps team. We have regular maintenance as well as the opportunity to deliver emergency patches via our support channels.

Comment From mark: What technologies must be learned by classical ABAPers going forward?

Mahadevan: You will need to learn Eclipse tools. For ABAP, you’ll need to know code pushdown (CDS, enhanced open SQL), OData, and SAP Fiori for UI development. These are the main areas.

Other useful topics include test-driven development, working with Github, etc.

Comment From Anurag Singh: One question is regarding the class generation for OData service. In an on-premise environment, the OData service will have the data provider class and model provider class. Now in SAP Cloud Platform, I have seen Service Definition and Service Binding. Is there an underlying class generated and also could you share more details on Service Definition and Service Binding?

Karl Kessler: In the ABAP Restful Programming Model we will provide points where you can hook in ABAP code (classes, methods) that the program model will invoke at well-defined points, but on a strictly typed level rather than on a generic framework level that is difficult to analyze.

Comment From TM: If I build an extension for my SAP S/4HANA on-premise edition in SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment and SAP Fiori, how do I integrate the custom SAP Fiori app in SAP Cloud Platform back to my SAP S/4HANA on-premise edition SAP Fiori launchpad?

Florian Wahl: For SAP S/4HANA Cloud there is the opportunity to add custom SAP Fiori tiles that are referring to a cloud-based extension. We are working on making this available for SAP S/4HANA on-premise edition as well.

Comment From Sarath: Thanks for this Q&A. How can we handle the current on-screen validations that we do with the help of ABAP enhancements or user exits in the SAP S/4HANA SAP Fiori UI? How do we move those same validations to SAP S/4HANA?

Reddy Venumbaka: You should use SAP S/4HANA In-App extensions.

Comment From Vishnu Etikyala: While we are extending SAP S/4HANA using SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment, are there strict standards to be followed? Do we have any guidelines for this task?

Karl Kessler: Yes, we have a strict guideline that refers to the standard APIs to be used that are published in the API hub and the whitelisted objects. The compiler will reject any violations.

Comment From mark: What if a company has not moved into SAP HANA or onto SAP Cloud Platform? In such a scenario how can classical ABAP consultants get hands-on training in all the technologies mentioned by you? Could you provide any direction, guidelines, or advice?

Mahadevan: Hi, Mark. You can get a lot of examples, samples, and tutorials here.

Florian Wahl: You can also take a look at our product expert page that lists most of the information that we mentioned. To access this page, click here.

Also, a good starting point for you is to read this blog.

Comment From Vishnu Etikyala: How can forms be developed ? This Q&A session is so helpful. Thank you for your time.

Florian Wahl: Hi, Vishnu. Forms development in the cloud can be done using the SAP Cloud Platform Forms by Adobe service.

Comment From Paco, México: What happens if our client needs to customize a standard functionality such as adding a new column or a validation?

Mahadevan: Refer to the In-App extensibility concept. This will help you in extending fields, to do some validation using custom logic, etc.

Comment From TM: I’m not too sure whether this is considered an ABAP development on cloud question, but from SAP TechEd 2018, I've noticed that the current ABAP RESTful programming model is different from the upcoming one where BO becomes a first-class citizen where we are going to have syntax such as define behavior, modify entity of, and so on. Is there a migration path from the current programming model to an upcoming programming model, or is the current programming model going to be backward compatible?

Karl Kessler: We will support BOPF-managed behavior so that you can reuse existing action, determination, and validation methods.

Reddy Venumbaka: Thanks for taking time to join the call.

If you have more questions, please contact me at saiprashanth.venumbaka@sap.com.

Here are some links to get more information on this topic:

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