ABAP Environment - Steampunk
In this article we want to introduce you to the ABAP environment or ABAP in the cloud and how it works. In the end, we also look at the added value of such a solution.
The ABAP environment in the cloud has been around for a number of years, and over the past few years the platform has evolved and expanded in terms of functionality. That is why it is already coming to the fore for many companies in order to further develop the systems. But what do you need the platform for and what is it good for, we want to clarify that in this article?
Keep the Core clean
This principle is currently being "sold" to many SAP customers as the best strategy for expanding a SAP system. Behind this is the statement that it is best not to expand the system with modifications and enhancements so that upgrades and updates can be imported without problems. Especially if these updates are then delivered every 3 months in the future. The motto is to use the standard process and not make any extensions.
As a customer, we have the challenge of properly implementing our changes in SPDD, SPAU and SPAU_ENH after every update. But not only these adaptations prevent an upgrade, the use of standard elements and function modules can also be a challenge. If interfaces change here or data elements are removed from the system, our in-house developments no longer work.
In order to save this effort and to accelerate upgrades to the maximum, you should provide Clean Core for your main system.
And this is exactly where the ABAP Environment comes in, as an independent platform is made available here, which is decoupled from the actual system and so we cannot change any standard or use any standard functions. ABAP Environment is also known under the internal name Steampunk, more on this in a SAP blog. What exactly does a steampunk system look like:
- The gray box is the Business Technology Platform (BTP for short). The ABAP Environment runs as Platform as a Service (PaaS) and is subscribed to as a service via the Cloud Cockpit.
- We can now use the Connectivity Service to connect our on-premise system or other cloud systems in order to communicate with them. Furthermore we now have the possibility to communicate with web APIs and to use them (right side).
- We manage the BTP via the Cloud Cockpit, an application in the browser. We access our development system in the cloud via ADT (Eclipse), here we also have the option of working with git, for example if we want to access open source projects or if we are migrating our software.
The ABAP environment runs as an ABAP system in the cloud and has a few specific points that we want to address here:
- SAP HANA database - This means that a powerful in-memory database is available and we can use the latest features of the platform.
- Base stack - Only the base stack of the system is installed so that components such as ATC, gateway and base components work. There are no specialist modules such as FI, CO or MM.
- ABAP 4 Cloud - The range of ABAP language is very limited and is mainly limited to the new language constructs of modern ABAP. File access functions don't work here as we're working with live interfaces.
- CDS - Core Data Services are a main component of data modeling, which are set using tables in order to provide a uniform data model.
- RAP - The ABAP RESTful Programming Model is the development model for applications and apps in the cloud.
- BTP Services - We can also use all of BTP's services, such as: IoT, AI, user management, analytics.
- Fiori - As a front end, we only have Fiori and apps available, all applications are developed here. SAP GUI is no longer available and should therefore slowly be phased out.
A limited range of APIs and reusable elements from SAP are available for this purpose. We'll take a closer look at what's available in another article when we go into the development on the platform.
SAP is currently also working on a version of the Steampunk platform that is directly integrated into an S/4 HANA system. This should be available in the first step of the cloud version, but will also be offered for on-premise in 2022/23.
This means that you no longer need an additional system in the cloud and you don't have to communicate with the Internet via APIs. The same rules will apply as for steampunk (work with ADT and restrictions in development). The development can then be carried out Clean Core and only released objects from SAP can be used. This is a first preview of the platform, so some things and the scope may change before the release.
An ABAP environment in the cloud is still useful, especially if you want to make applications and APIs available for the Internet because the users do not necessarily work in the same network. Furthermore, the development will behave the same on both systems, so that you can reuse the knowledge that you are now collecting.
Develop ABAP in the cloud? This is already possible today and promises good approaches with an innovative platform. For development in the cloud, however, a few things have to be taken into account and, above all, a lot of new things have to be learned. In the next article we will look at the development in steampunk.