ABAP in Eclipse- The Future of ABAP Development

The post was written by Dr. Thomas Harmuth, Managing Consultant Development at itelligence AG

The ABAP Workbench has proved its worth as a development environment by enabling efficient development on ABAP based systems. However, those developers who are already familiar with the development environment Eclipse will miss some functionality. Now SAP is working on enabling ABAP development within Eclipse. itelligence is participating in a pilot project in the form of a Customer Engagement Initiative (CEI).

The history of Eclipse at SAP

Today, Eclipse already plays a major role as a development environment for SAP systems: The SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio for Java, the SAP HANA Studio and the Sybase Unwired Workspace for the development of mobile applications as well as the development environment of  SAP Business ByDesign base on Eclipse.  

The best of both worlds

The new “SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio for ABAP” now makes it possible to develop classic ABAP programs within Eclipse. By integrating the SAP GUI into Eclipse, the power of Eclipse is combined with the power of the ABAP Workbench: The lifecycle management of the ABAP Workbench containing transport system, activation, and version management stays established as well as the possibility to navigate via mouse click, e.g. into the Data Dictionary. Using Eclipse, it is possible to work on several systems simultaneously (opening many screens arbitrarily), to maintain code templates flexibly, to use a powerful automatic code completion, to maintain favorite lists of objects, to generate links to code sections and so on…

For users of the ABAP Workbench it is unusual to develop on their own PC and to have to synchronize with the SAP system. The advantage is that the development on a PC does not suffer from a session fail-over. By the way, the synchronization which is performed by the SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio for ABAP follows the “pessimistic approach” which is well-known to the ABAP Workbench user: It is not possible for two developers to maintain the same object at the same time.

When will it be available?

In October 2011 SAP performed a kickoff for a Customer Engagement Initiative (CEI). Within this CEI, a few partners of SAP are testing the new SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio for ABAP. The testing phase is ending at the end of the year. During the testing phase, the partners provide feedback to SAP about inconsistencies and missing resp. desirable functionality. itelligence takes part in this testing phase with approximately 10 developers, some of whom are familiar with Eclipse and some of whom are not.

We expect that the SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio for ABAP will be available to customers in 2012.

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