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ABAP Cloud vs. ABAP in the Cloud
Created by Software-Heroes

ABAP Cloud vs. ABAP in the Cloud


The terms actually sound quite similar and are unfortunately often mistaken for the same thing. In this article we will look at the differences.

The question always comes up: what is ABAP Cloud and how can you develop ABAP in the cloud? The focus is usually on the development of ABAP applications in BTP. In this article we want to explain the differences and what the two terms share.



A while ago we came across the following LinkedIn post by France Cabueños. Here he asks interesting questions about what ABAP Cloud actually means for the developer. We would like to address the questions, but also the differences, in this article.



First, let's take a closer look at the two terms. So let's start with the oldest term and then work our way to the newest term.


ABAP in the Cloud

When the "SAP BTP ABAP Environment" was introduced in the "SAP Cloud Platform", the old name for the Business Technology Platform, it was an ABAP Foundation Stack that operated as a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution in the BTP becomes. The operation and upgrades are handled by SAP; the customer gets access to the machine via ABAP Development Tools (ADT) and Fiori Launchpad. Alternatively, the runtime environment is also known by the project name “Steampunk”.

At this point in time, many people always spoke of “developing ABAP in the cloud” and meant development on the ABAP environment, as it differs quite significantly from classic ABAP development. This means you have no access to the SAP GUI or the file system and the language scope of ABAP is limited. The transport does not work via the classic CTS, but only via gCTS, which is based on Git.


ABAP Cloud

The concept of ABAP Cloud is still quite young and is currently being heavily promoted by SAP. No matter whether it's TechEd, at DSAG or webinars, you'll find ABAP Cloud, the 3-TIER model and the expansion of customer systems everywhere. ABAP Cloud is a development model and not a technology. The model describes the development and expansion of an SAP system to create clean core and cloud ready applications. Many concepts from the ABAP Environment are used. But ABAP Cloud is designed for more and describes a new development model for the ABAP Environment, S/4 Cloud Public and Private Cloud, as well as the on-premise systems directly at the customer. This means that ABAP Cloud can be used everywhere; the prerequisite is an S/4 HANA system with the 2022 release.



In this section we will look at the questions asked and their challenges.


1) ABAP Evolution

The path towards ABAP Cloud brings with it many new concepts, although classic ABAP development will still be possible. Above all, it will be a step-by-step transition to the new world, as the new concepts have to be learned. To name some new topics:

  • ABAP Cloud - 3-TIER model, released APIs, use of software components, Extensibility
  • New concepts - Application Log, Application Jobs, RAP, Fiori Elements, Core Data Services, AMDP, OData
  • Obsolete things - SAP GUI, file access, Web Dynpro


This path will only be complete when you have mastered the new concepts and only make your applications available in TIER-1 and TIER-2. All remaining applications in TIER-3 will be technical debt.


2) SAP Cloud Platform

There are some challenges to operating on the BTP, but once the services and architecture are built, the challenges are the same in the cloud or on-premise. If you want to work in the ABAP area, then you use the ABAP Environment to develop your applications with the ABAP RESTful Programming Models (RAP). The apps are built using the Business Application Studio (BAS) and the application is deployed in the ABAP system. Here, the target system can also be an on-premise system.

The Business Technology Platform (BTP) is not necessarily required to work with ABAP Cloud, but it behaves very similarly to an on-premise system landscape when it comes to developing RAP applications and working in BAS.


3) New Frameworks

Core Data Services and RAP are the new standard in application development and belong in the world of ABAP Cloud, but also Classic ABAP in TIER-3. As an ABAP developer, these two techniques are set for the future and should definitely be learned. In the last few years, a lot of new topics have emerged for you as a developer and in order to learn everything you need, you should already deal with them.

On the one hand, this increases the complexity in the development of new topics, but it also removes a lot of old ballast from the past. For the transition, however, you will first have to use both worlds together in order to then remove complexity again later.


The way

Overall, it is important to take note of a lot of changes in the SAP world and to look to the future of the technology and the ecosystem. In principle, you can maintain the current development, but you will then run into a hard wall later. Now is actually exactly the right time for this change.

Depending on where you currently stand, the path can be difficult and steep or it can already be flat and you are on the home stretch. Here is an excerpt of what such a path might currently look like. The image comes from a larger document that we are currently working on and which should help us find the way forward.


© Software-Heroes



We are currently dealing with the topic of ABAP Cloud so intensively that we regularly forget that many developers are not yet at this level. This article is intended to provide some clarity and differentiate the two terms more clearly. The choice of term often seems to cause confusion, which will hopefully be reduced somewhat in the future.

Included topics:
ABAP CloudABAPTermsABAP in the Cloud
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