SAP ABAP


What Is SAP ABAP?

Predictions about the death of ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming), SAP’s four-decade old programming language, have continually failed. ABAP has evolved to stay relevant through the waves of change such as object-oriented programming, Java, Webdynpro, SAP HANA, SAP Fiori, and cloud applications. With large SAP customers continuing to use ABAP, a new generation of programmers continue to join the passionate, senior cohorts of ABAP programmers.

History and Evolution

ABAP is a fourth-generation programming language that was introduced by SAP in the 1980s. It was created for the development and the customization of SAP software. For many decades, it was the only language that could be used to customize or develop SAP software components.

ABAP is a multi-paradigm programming language, meaning programmers can utilize procedural, object-oriented, and other programming principles. Programs written with ABAP can run alongside those based on other languages such as Java, JavaScript, and SAPUI5.

ABAP has continued to thrive even as SAP acquired non-ABAP solutions. SAP has released ABAP on the cloud, enabling extensibility of SAP solutions to the cloud. Now, ABAP is used to develop applications for SAP Fiori, SAP S/4HANA, SAP Business Technology Platform, etc.

What Is SAP ABAP?

Predictions about the death of ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming), SAP’s four-decade old programming language, have continually failed. ABAP has evolved to stay relevant through the waves of change such as object-oriented programming, Java, Webdynpro, SAP HANA, SAP Fiori, and cloud applications. With large SAP customers continuing to use ABAP, a new generation of programmers continue to join the passionate, senior cohorts of ABAP programmers.

History and Evolution

ABAP is a fourth-generation programming language that was introduced by SAP in the 1980s. It was created for the development and the customization of SAP software. For many decades, it was the only language that could be used to customize or develop SAP software components.

ABAP is a multi-paradigm programming language, meaning programmers can utilize procedural, object-oriented, and other programming principles. Programs written with ABAP can run alongside those based on other languages such as Java, JavaScript, and SAPUI5.

ABAP has continued to thrive even as SAP acquired non-ABAP solutions. SAP has released ABAP on the cloud, enabling extensibility of SAP solutions to the cloud. Now, ABAP is used to develop applications for SAP Fiori, SAP S/4HANA, SAP Business Technology Platform, etc.

Looking Ahead

SAP made a big move in releasing ABAP for the cloud to ease the migration and maintenance of existing applications to the cloud via the ABAP environment in the SAP Business Technology Platform.

ABAP developers can now leverage their seasoned expertise on the cloud with only some training in the ABAP RESTful application programming model. They can do this despite some substantial differences between the new and old ABAP.

The most popular use of ABAP for the cloud is adding custom functionality to SAP S/4HANA installation on the cloud. There are restrictions on this capability, with ABAP cloud applications only having limited access to data in the core SAP S/4HANA through a set of OData services.

Clients can be opportunistic in their application development and integration strategy with ABAP, along with other options such as Java, Python, node.js, HTML5, etc., based on their software portfolio, developers’ skillsets, and specific use cases.

In addition, SAP customers with complicated customizations are now aiming for a clean core. Modern approaches allow for decoupling customizations from the core business systems with cloud extensions. Clients also aim for clear separations between SAP and third-party extensions.

In summary, ABAP can continue to play a major role in the application strategy. However, organizations must invest in upskilling and select the programming model that suites them best. They must also aim for a clean core to deliver nimble and rapid applications that impact the business.

30 results

  1. Research Findings on ABAP: To Rewrite, Replace or Retire

    Reading time: 1 min

    SAPInsider research studies the trends in ABAP strategy as more companies move to SAP S/4HANA and Cloud. It presents findings on the factors that drive ABAP strategy, whether companies are retiring, rewriting or replacing it with standard functionality, and the challenges such as skills and risks. This content is available to (General or Premium) members.…
  2. Karl Kessler image

    Key Considerations for SAP S/4HANA Cloud ABAP Environment

    Reading time: 7 mins

    The SAP S/4HANA Cloud ABAP environment provides ABAP developers with full ABAP development tool access to released SAP S/4HANA Cloud business objects and extension points. These interfaces are guaranteed to be stable, removing adaptation efforts after a version change. ABAP developers can directly connect and carry out on-stack development tasks similarly as in the on-premise…
  3. Migrating Legacy ABAP to SAP S/4HANA: A pragmatic approach

    For customers that have invested heavily with custom ABAP over the years, the idea of trying to migrate to SAP S/4HANA can feel overwhelming. But with careful planning, hope is not lost. In this session, we’ll explore some pragmatic and methodical approaches to SAP S/4HANA migration that allows you to take stock of where you…
  4. A Developer’s Guide to the ABAP RESTful Programming Model

    Developer Guide: Understanding the ABAP RESTful (RAP) Programming Model

    Reading time: 17 mins

    To help ABAP developers meet the business needs of their organizations and make coding more efficient, SAP provides programming models. These models have changed over the years as requirements and technologies have changed, and now, with the user experience taking center stage in a constantly evolving business landscape, a flexible and efficient development model that…
  5. New Features for SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment

    New Features for SAP Cloud Platform ABAP Environment

    Reading time: 16 mins

      by Karl Kessler, Vice President of Product Management ABAP Platform, SAP SE   SAP Cloud Platform ABAP environment was released in September 2018 as a platform-as-a-service offering for the ABAP developer community. It enables developers to build cloud applications with an SAP Fiori user interface optimized for SAP HANA, with a primary purpose of…
  6. Migrating Custom ABAP Code to SAP S/4HANA

    Reading time: 18 mins

    Ever since SAP first introduced SAP S/4HANA back in early 2015, there’s been a lot of confusion in the SAP community about what SAP S/4HANA really is and how it will affect the SAP development landscape going forward. With so much misinformation out there, these mysteries can be hard to unravel — especially for customers…
  7. Introducing ABAP Platform 1809

    Introducing ABAP Platform 1809

    Reading time: 18 mins

    While the cloud has been receiving the lion’s share of attention, a significant number of on-premise ABAP-based systems are running productively in SAP customer landscapes. To support these customers, SAP has released ABAP platform 1809, which serves as the technical foundation for SAP S/4HANA 1809. ABAP platform 1809 delivers a wide range of valuable improvements…
  8. ABAP Platform 1809 Optimizations for SAP HANA and SAP S/4HANA

    Reading time: 5 mins

    by Karl Kessler, Vice President of Product Management ABAP Platform, SAP SE ABAP platform 1809, the latest release of the on-premise ABAP platform — is a thorough foundation for SAP S/4HANA and SAP S/4HANA Cloud. In addition to delivering improvements to the Eclipse-based ABAP development tools that enable the efficient development and enhancement of business…
  9. An Inside Look at SAP’s Release Strategy for the ABAP Stack

    Reading time: 5 mins

      by Karl Kessler, Vice President of Product Management ABAP Platform, SAP SE   In September 2018, SAP released version 1809 of the on-premise ABAP platform. ABAP platform 1809 is the technological foundation for SAP S/4HANA 1809, and includes an ABAP programming layer that is fully optimized for SAP HANA and for the development and…
  10. ABAP Development in the Cloud

    Reading time: 29 mins

    An exclusive Q&A with Central Finance Bootcamp speaker David Dixon. This content is available to (General or Premium) members. Sign in or Join for free! Sign In Become a Member