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ABAP in Eclipse

192 Posts
  • Please introduce yourself and tell us how long you’ve developed with ABAP

Hi! I'm Gabriela, and I've been around developing in ABAP language since 2006.

I'm from Brazil and love to learn new technologies, and the last years were filled with a lot of changes since I've began on this area. So many new things to learn, it's really hard to follow everything. I've participated in many implementations and I'm specialized on HR development, but already did some developments aside HR, for other SAP modules. I'm always trying to reach the top of the technology and be in tune on what's on and what will be.


  • Did you know about Eclipse before you took this ABAP in Eclipse Explorer challenge?

Yes, on college I have already developed in Eclipse using Java and C++ to achieve tasks given by the teachers.


  • Do you think the feature explorer is helpful to onboard new developers?

Sure. When you don't have an idea on where to start, it is a very nice place to start.


  • What is your favorite feature of the beginners tour?

The challenges that make you explore the framework features.

  • Have you explored additional features of Eclipse that you like?

I love the debbugging view of eclipse, which have a great variable viewer and in-memory features which help a lot when searching for code problems. And love to have a framework which I can work with many languages at the same time, with a smart code auto-completion, code check when typing the code, and many other features which Eclipse help when developing software.

  • Mention some ABAP developers in the community that should know ABAP in Eclipse. You can use “@” and then type their name so that they get notified when you mention them.

Flavio Rasseli, who like me, love to be in tune with the new things to come.

Hello all I am very much glad to present my first blog on SDN. I am grateful of you for showing your technical interest in this topic. Also I am very much thankful to ‘Eclipse Feature Explorer' mission.




I started my career as an SAP ABAP developer since March 2014 in Vodafone India Services Private Limited. I am having a fond of programming from starting of my college. I have worked on Eclipse for java development during my college days. Eclipse is one of the best IDE (Integrated Development Environment) for working. Eclipse provides all the features at one place. After starting my professional career I got the chance to work on SAP ABAP. Working on SAP workbench was very new to me but continuous working on it made me familiar with it.

How I come to know about ABAP in Eclipse:

As I initially started working on ABAP as a developer I came to know about the feature ABAP in Eclipse in the course ABAP development for SAP HANA on OPENSAP. It seemed very fantastic idea that I can develop ABAP programs in Eclipse as I was aware about the functionality of the Eclipse. Then I searched for ABAP in eclipse on SDN and I come to know about this challenge. I started working on it. I have completed all the steps needed for installing the eclipse with the help of blog post Step-by-step Guide to setup ABAP on HANA with Eclipse. For connectivity of back-end I faced some issues, as our system was not on service package 4 or above. In order to solve this I contacted the basis consultant and requested him to perform upgrade on the system.

On boarding of new developer will be easier using feature explorer:

As per my opinion the ABAP in eclipse will help new developers a lot, because most of the people had definitely worked on eclipse during their Academic curriculum. So eclipse will be very familiar IDE for on boarding of new ABAP developers. As they had already worked on eclipse it is very easy for them to get familiar with the concepts. They also have feature explorer using which they can solve their problems. Feature explorer explains in and out of every feature provided for ABAP in eclipse.

Favorite Features from beginners tour:

My favorite features from beginners tour are the code completion (CTRL + SPACE), the quick type hierarchy (CTRL + T), the quick fix (CTRL + 1), ABAP Element Info (F2), ABAP unit test (CTRL+ Shift + F10), re-factoring-function (ALT + SHIFT + M), where used list (CTRL+ Shift + G), Data preview same as SE16 in ABAP workbench. Another great advantageous feature of the Eclipse development is the local version history. After saving of the source code, Eclipse creates a local version. You can compare these versions with the current version. This is independent from the SAP version history. You can also compare the transported code versions, across ABAP projects.

Additional Features of Eclipse that I explored:

  • ADT (ABAP Development Tool) Links:


This is a very cool feature provided by ADT tool. With this you can easily link to any repository object. Using ADT links everything gets easier. If you want to share some code snippet with your colleague to look at, then just select the source code in the editor you want right-click on it select "Share Link for Selection." and paste the link. By sharing link there is no possibility that your colleague will not find the method or code. More information on ADT links is present in this blog. How ADT links change the way you work.

  • Split View:

This is very useful feature using which we can show 2 different codes side by side and also to have the docu opened.


  • ABAP source code search:

The new search console is provided in this ADT tool, using which we can directly search for a code snippet in source code repository and also can navigate to the related development objects.

You can get more information on ABAP Source Code search in this blog ABAP Sourcecode Search.


  • ABAP Doc:

ABAP doc is very interesting feature using which developer can document his/her code. ABAP Doc comments are used to display the ABAP element info in the source code editor, code element information pop-up, and ABAP Element Info view. I use ABAP-Docu quite often to get the syntax right. By placing cursor on keyword and pressing F1, the ABAP-DOCU will be opened in a new tab. As I have mentioned earlier about split view feature, so you can open the ABAP-DOCU in a view on the right and have simultaneously opened the ABAP-syntax in a separate view on the left. This is really a nice feature.

For learning more on ABAP Doc refer this blog post ABAP Doc.

  • Statuses:

Various statuses are assigned to the development objects, so it is very easy to know is the object active, inactive, locked.

Following are the different status of development object is indicated by a decorator:


  • ABAP Profiling:

Using ABAP profiling we can analyse the runtime behaviour of the ABAP program and the memory consumption of the ABAP program. Profiling helps both in problem analysis and in refactoring and optimization of code.

  • ABAP Test Cockpit (ATC):

ABAP Test Cockpit (ATC) is a tool for checking the quality of the ABAP development objects using the static checks. It will help you to check the ABAP programs for many types of problems, including syntax check, potential problems in performance, and errors in ABAP unit testing.

  • Templates:


Code templates help the developer to reduce the time spent on routine editing activities and improve consistency when writing code. They allow for quick generation of commonly used ABAP code, as well as easy customization. ABAP code templates are not just simple code snippets but also they include direct integration with code completion, Using shortcut Shift + Enter you can also create templates for method or function calls. Just type the full method name or use the code completion then press Shift + Enter to add the template.


I would like to share ADT (ABAP Development Tool)/Feature explorer with my colleagues vyshnavi sri  raman singh saun Deepali Mane

If you want to learn more about AIE Explorer Challenge, have a look at mission invitation:

Become an ABAP in Eclipse Feature Explorer and earn the Explorer Badge

This blog is for mission 'Eclipse Feature Explorer'

About me:

I am a SAP Process Integration / Process Orchestration consultant. I work on Java coding more than ABAP coding. FYI, SAP PO is moving towards Java single stack. Nevertheless, I am involved in a lot of ABAP coding when middle-ware (SAP PO) interact with SAP ECC. Like ABAP proxies, IDocs, RFCs.

Experience with Eclipse:

Coming from Java programming background. I have worked on very good Integrated Development Environments. Like Eclipse, NetBeans and IntelliJ. I am using SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio, which is built on Eclipse platform, similar to SAP ABAP Development Tools (ADT).

My opinion about ADT for Eclipse:

Until ADT, I thought ABAP was seriously lagging behind. In providing IDE experience, when compared to other languages, like Java. Now, I can use single tool to edit SAP PO Java code and SAP ECC ABAP code. Less number of things to remember from tool respective. Familiar coding and debugging UI experience. Features I like in ADT are, Ctrl + 1, Ctrl + Space and Shift + Enter (these are in my muscle memory). Pop-up help. ABAP Source code search. Simple joy of Copy, Cut and Paste (Ctrl commands). Intuitive UI. Can connect to multiple systems from single Eclipse instance, means less clutter on task bar. I would certainly recommend ABAP newbies to use Eclipse ADT over SE80.

What I would like to see in future?

Maybe a highly zoomed out code view (like Document Map in NotePad++). More ABAP books teaching how to use Eclipse for coding and maybe in last chapter teach about SE80 (currently, most of the books are other way around).

I would like to invite my colleagues to explorer about ADT. Karanam Trivikram Ram Manohar Reddy Bandaru and SAP PI / PO Consultants.

I would say SAP using Eclipse platform for Java, ABAP, UI5, HANA, Process Orchestration and many more is “The Way To Go!”.

After working with ADT since several months, I finally did the ADT feature explorer tour today. Most of the things I already knew, but e.g. linking the source code to the project explorer was new for me.


I'm working with SAP software since 2001. First in the area of FI/CO as functional consultant, since 2007 as an ABAP developer. During my studies I was already using Eclipse for Java and PHP development. When I started with ABAP and SE80 I really missed features like code completion and the clean up of not used variables (I know Code Inspectors tells you also where you have not variables, but that's not handy at all). Over the years I got used to SE80, but I was quite happy when SE80 got finally code completion, too.

But anyway, I was always waiting for a Eclipse based ABAP development tool.


I like the beginners tour, because, even if you are used to Eclipse, there are some features which might not miss, but which make you more efficient with your development (e.g. the code linking to the project explorer).


The reason why I like Eclipse is, that I do not need to switch the tools for all different technology. During my studies that was PHP, some UML modelling stuff and Java development. With all the new SAP technology it will be the tool of choice for UI5, HANA modelling and ABAP. But with all the plug-ins available you can make it even more powerful. For example, as we use Jira for task- and bug-tracking in my current project, I also use the Jira Eclipse plug in. This offers the possibility to save my whole development context (all the development tasks which I have to change) to the task.


But, to be honest, some tasks I still do with the good old SAP GUI tooling. E.g. debugging: most of the times I use the old "new" ABAP debugger in SAP GUI. One reason for this is, that I do a lot of debugging of update taks at the moment. This feature is missing at the moment. But as I learned from Thomas Fiedler SAP is working on that.


Dhivya Baskaran iyankannu Iyankannu Saravanan Natarajan dineshkumar kothandaraman, what's about your experience?

Hey There,

     The mission named AiE challenge gave me a chance to write how I discover ABAP in Eclipse, so here I am sharing my Experience.

About me

          I started my career as a software developer in Mainframe Technology. So for some year’s I was in front of Black- Green Screen then I Got a chance to move in SAP and from past 2 + Years I am working on same.

First Step in AiE

          I was totally new in Eclipse when I got my first work to do. I slowly started exploring the things about eclipse, started learning the coding methodology, finding the blogs which tells me how to start a new project dude and things go on and on.


         I saw a post from Thomas Fiedler regarding the ABAP in Eclipse Feature Explorer, I updated tools in my Eclipse installation. I completed the tour and will say that, it will be bit difficult at the beginning but once you will started hands on it you will surely love it. This tool is more efficient and faster.

Feature I liked:

  1. We can open multiple windows simultaneously.
  2. Quick Fix (Ctrl + 1).
  3. ABAP Element Info (F2).
  4. Method Information (Alt + F2)
  5. Format (Ctrl + Shift +F) & Format Active Elements (Ctrl +I).
  6. Inline declaration and table expressions and many more.



For the beginners best way to start is AiE Explorer.

For Shot keys refer  Shortcuts.

Lastly I would like to thank Thomas Fiedler and the team for such brilliant work.

Stay Awesome,

Romit Raina


          My name is Anurag Sinha and I am an ABAP consultant. Recently i have started doing HANA with ABAP. So this is how i get the first essence of AIE .It was really great to see the ABAP integration in eclipse. Though it took me some time to get familiar  with the interface of eclipse now its really exciting took work on eclipse as so many things can be integrated to eclipse .It's a great experience to see ABAP in new look specially the debbuging part.But only thing which i was not able to find was a pretty printer button . Will be grateful if any1 can help me with that. Overall my new experience with AIE is great and looking forward to explore more into it . Thanks for the innovation .

Hi community,

one reason why we picked Eclipse as development tools platform was the huge eclipse community. There are a lot of developers out there building tools for eclipse that we can simply use also for the ABAP development. Things like small helper tools for the source code editor but also tools like UML modeling tools are available mostly for free.

But do you know that this community is nicely integrated in your ABAP development environment?

You find all these additional tools on the eclipse marketplace that you can open via the eclipse menu:


The marketplace opens in an own window:


The marketplace offers search capabilities for you with tool categories and an integrated rating system that might be helpful to find the plugins you are looking for.

Happy searching for new plugins !

Last week Serban Petrescu already proposed some very nice plugins that he uses already in the ABAP editor. You can find them in his Feature Explorer Blog: AiE - Eclipse Feature Explorer

So I had the idea why not use this blog here to share some of the coolest plugins that you find on the eclipse marketplace with the AIE community. 

Kind Regards,



Hi guys,


I thought I would also share my experience with AiE and also try out the feature explorer. I'm fairly new to ABAP development (compared to some of your around here), but I think I grasped most of the concepts and language features available. I am currently working on an life (re)insurance system project, which mostly involves ABAP with classic dynpro as user-interface. Unfortunately, not all systems I have to interact with support eclipse, so I have to sometimes resort to SAP logon (or NWBC).


To be fair, I have used AiE for some time now and I decided to complete this challenge just recently . AiE has great potential and already provides significant improvements over SE80. My favorite features are:

  • F2 and the ability to actually link this with the editor
  • Templates. I just love how many things you can do with them.
  • Ctrl+Shift+A
  • SQL console and data preview
  • Source code refractoring


Also, another strong-point in favor of eclipse is the possibility of using pre-existing plug-ins to enhance your list of (already awesome) features. Some good ones that I have been using lately are:

  • AnyEdit (convert lower <-> upper case, sort stuff - like data declarations -, compare with clipboard)
  • PDE tootls (clipboard history)


Some things are still missing though, but I am sure that, in time, they will be included as well (e.g. more navigation support for F2 popups, full dictionary support, more debugger stuff from the 'old' debugger, etc).


The fact that we can use Eclipse for most of the SAP technologies is also pretty neat. I also sometimes work on the cloud, so I have to develop Java, Hana Native or UI5 apps, and it is very helpful that I only have to switch between perspectives and not IDEs.


Best Regards,


Few words about me

I started to develop ABAP since 2008 within the standard SAP modules (FI, MM, SD, CO etc.). At the moment, I am part of the FS-PM custom development team for an insurance company.

How I started with AiE

I want to be honest and to recognize that I had two tentative to jump from SE80 to AiE. In both cases, I gave up because it was difficult to change my comfort zone, so for example, from an "nice" form-based class builder in SE80 to an source-code based class builder in AiE. Another reason was also the debugger, because I had the false idea that debugging in the old ABAP debugger is easier and faster as in ADT.

After hearing a lot of good opinions from my work colleagues about AiE, I said to myself that I still have to give a chance to AiE and to forget my previous development style, or in other words, to make it "a part of the history"

Like as I said, it was a little bit difficult at the beginning, but now I can say that developing in AiE is 10X more efficient and faster than in SE80, having a lot of features which helps you in the application development. That's why, I try now to convince more and more colleagues to jump to AiE in order to use the fascinating features of AiE.

Favorite Features from AiE

I will enumerate some of my favorite features from AiE:

  1. The magic key combination ALT + U - Delete unused variables (all)
  2. Extract Method - an very useful refactoring feature
  3. Quick Fix (combination key CTRL + 1) - you get appropriate proposal(s) for selected object, i.e. for an new declared method in class declaration part, you can select the method name and trigger the feature Quick Fix in order to automatically create the implementation of the method in the class implementation part.


For the ones which want to know the features of AiE, the AiE feature explorer is the best way to do that.


In the end, thanks Victor Ionescu for the AiE Feature Explorer challenge and last, but not least, thanks Thomas Fiedler for providing us the AiE.


Kind regards,



Hello fellow developers,


Although I have had my first encounter with the AiE IDE almost 2 years ago, it has taken me quite a lot of time to "push" myself to start using Eclipse regularly. However I do not consider myself to be the exception here, but rather part of a majority that has been used to developing ABAP code for multiple years using our beloved workbench, and that is finding it rather hard to let go :-)


This is why I was very excited to hear about an initiative such as the AiE Feature Explorer, which really gives any AiE-newcomer a quick demo of the benefits that you can obtain by using the Eclipse IDE. (Catalin Chiuaru, you should give it a try)

There are multiple features that I find very useful which are presented in the Feature Explorer; generally speaking however I am a firm believer that one can greatly speed up the development by using a source-code based view and by taking advantage of the many keyboard shortcuts made available by Eclipse. ( This is why, even before the Feature Explorer, I had glued a list of the most important keyboard shortcuts to my monitor Useful Keyboard Shortcuts for ABAP in Eclipse )


What I find even more important is the fact that for the first time the development environment has really opened up and if there really is a feature missing from your IDE, nothing stops you from sitting down and implementing it on your own SAP NetWeaver How-To Guide: SDK for the ABAP Development Tools


So to sum it up ... there really isn't any excuse for anyone of us to not start using AiE right away ( except perhaps if one is limited by the AS used in the current project - if I recall correctly AiE is available as of Netweaver 7.31 )


Best regards


Introduction of Myself

I am developing ABAP since 2004 in the FS-PM Standard Development.

Since some years i'm part of the custom development of FS-PM and FS-PM Auto.


In my spare time i programm some tools in Visual Studio (C#).

All the years i looked to the Visual Studio and miss some nice features in the SAP World.

(e.g. Extract to Method)


AIE is a great way to bring the cool features from a cool IDE to ABAP Developers.



Pre-Knowledge in Eclipse.

Because my favorite IDE is Visual Studio, i'm not an expert in Eclipse.

I had some experience many years ago, as i tried to develop a mobile app in Jave ME.

This Experience wos not great, but i think this was an problem of Java ME ;).


My Experience with ABAP in Eclipse makes much more fun.


Onboarding new Developers

My Colleagues told me more and more of AIE, and so i tried it too.

After i installed Eclipse i had many sections. I closed all sections of eclipse which

i didn't need or i didn't know, and experimented a little bit in Eclipse.


In the SCN I read about the "AiE Feature Explorer". Then I realized that the "Feature Explorer" is

One of the sections, which I had closed. :-).

But the feature explorer is a really great tool which helps people to switch from se80 to Eclipse.

I show my collegues the feature explorer. And they like it too.


Without the Feature Explorer, the people search a feature (e.g. Where-Used List) only, when they really need them,

and that’s is very annoying. This is the reason because I’m a fan of the feature explorer.


Favorite Feature

My Favorite Feature is the Quickfix. Nevertheless I think all features are very important to bring the old-school abap developers to eclipse.


Additional Features not Part of the Beginners Tour

Some cool features for the feature explorer could be the "Extract Method" Feature or the Debugging Features of Eclipse.



I wish:

The last days, i experimented with Plug-In Projects for Eclipse.

I want to create an own Plug-In for Debugging.


For Example: The SAP ABAP Debugger have an Register card "Script".

It's a nice feature to fetch some informations from the Debugger (Variables, Internal Tables).

match this informations, and give an optical overview of the matched informations (e.g. in a Tree-View)


I found some Tutorials about Plug-In Projects, but no example to get informations

from the debugger (value of an variable).

Probably i have to ask the scn community the next days.



The Feature Explorer is a great tool to find a good access to AIE.
Thank you very much.



Hi community,

this week we launched a new version of the ABAP development tools for eclipse. You can install the version 2.36 from our common update site SAP Development Tools for Eclipse. With this version we now officially support the SAP GUI version 7.40.

Besides a bunch of bug fixes we also have integrated some nice little Santa Claus presents for you as an ABAP developer:



Reuse of SAP GUI window when running applications

Looks like yet another setting in the long list of preferences of ABAP in Eclipse but it is a nice one. You may know this situation when running an application like a simple report from eclipse. Everytime you press F8 in the report editor a new SAP GUI window comes up to display the result of the report. With the new setting "Reuse SAP GUI window when running applications" you can change the behavior in a way that the already open SAP GUI view is reused:   





This setting is very nice when having the editor and the SAP GUI view in parallel opened in your eclipse environment. Just change your code, activate, press F8 and you will see immediately the result in the SAP GUI view:





Refactoring: Pull up member


This refactoring feature was heavily demanded by our customers. When working in an object oriented way this feature is a must-have. It is now possible to move members of your class to the superclass or to interfaces that are implemented in the class. All the necessary tasks that you have to do manually in order to manage this refactoring are now being done by the editor. And guess what, it is integrated in the good old friend Quick Assist (CTRL-1).

Here you see a typical situation in your daily business. A class with several methods that you want to refactor in order to extract an interface out of the class:





So your task is now: Copy all the method definitions to the interface, rename all method implementations of the class and create aliases for the moved members to not break already existing callers of the methods. With Eclipse these tasks can be done now via the Quick Assist. So just position the cursor on the member that you want to move and press CTRL-1:





Now choose the option 'Pull-Up ....' in the menu to trigger the refactoring. The editor is now doing the necessary steps for you and the class will look like this at the end:


There are several optimizations on-going in our lab in this area like for example moving several members in one step or the extracting of complete interfaces in one step. And also the option to push down members to sub classes will be available with one of the next releases.     


Remark: This feature is available since AS ABAP release 7.40 SP08.



Duplicate ABAP Project


Now another very small but interesting feature. Maybe you had this already. You are working in one ABAP project and develop an application in your development client. But for testing purpose you have to choose another client of the system as the test data is only available there. In ABAP in Eclipse you do this by creating a second ABAP project to the same system with different client setting. That's an easy task but a little bit cumbersome as you have to enter a lot of stuff again in the creation wizard and you loose your favorite packages and others project specific settings. Therefore we now offer the possibility to duplicate an ABAP project via the eclipse project explorer:     




The creation wizard for ABAP projects is coming up and you can adapt settings like client number, username or logon language. System connection data, project settings and favorite packages are copied to the newly created projects.     



DDL Editor: Creation Templates


It was often mentioned at Teched this year that it might be helpful to support developers a bit more when starting with the new syntax for dictionary views. It would be cool when the basic stuff of the view definition is already provided by the editor when creating a new source. With ADT version 2.36 we now offer templates in the DDL creation wizard for data dictionary views. We added a new page in the creation wizard where the developer can define which kind of view needs to be created. You will see the code of the template in the wizard with a small explanation of the template:




The editor generates the code in the source and opens the editor for you:


Hope this feature will help you to learn the new capabilities of the data dictionary views. 




That's it for the news from ADT version 2.36.

Hope you will enjoy these small little features.


Have fun and Kind Regards,


Hi community,

do you know this situation? You just saw a presentation about the really cool new ABAP language features and can't wait until you can use them. Fortunately you have a brand new 7.40 system in your landscape and you write you first modern ABAP report. For sure you are using ABAP in Eclipse and you look very proud on your new piece of code like in this example with a bunch of inline declarations:


Woh, that's really nice. But .........DAMN. 


You forgot that your product owner told you that you have to deliver your code also for older releases.

[Remark: All the developers in the ABAP in Eclipse team know this situation ]


So you can't use the new feature because in older releases the code will not run. But how can you do that?

The syntax check does not tell when you are using statements that are not available in older releases.

You first have to downport your code and do the syntax check there. This is horrible !


How cool would be the world if your IDE is doing the following: 


You can do a remote syntax check in your system by using the code inspector and I will tell you now what you have to do:


First you have to define a code inspector variant (or you add the remote check in your existing variant) by using transaction SCI:



In the tree of available checks you find under 'Syntax Check/Generation' an item called 'Syntax Check in Remote System'.


Select this check and press the green/yellow icon because you have to enter additional attributes:


On the popup you have to enter the name of the RFC connection that you want to use for the remote check. Additionally you can enter the name of a transport object set. These are the objects that are transported virtually in the remote system before the check is triggered. Via this object set the dependent objects that you need for the check are defined. The object set is defined via an code inspector object set. In my example I just picked the ABAP package of my report:


That is more or less what you have to. The code inspector variant is ready to go.


Very nice is the integration of this feature with ABAP in Eclipse via the ABAP test cockpit. You can use the variant in your eclipse project to do the remote syntax-check directly from your IDE. Just specify in your project properties the name of the code inspector variant under the ATC settings:


Now you can trigger the check via the eclipse project explorer just by choosing the context menu item RunAs...ABAP Test Cockpit on the object that you want to check.The result will look like the picture above. 

Find more information about the ABAP test cockpit in general in this nice blog from Olga DolinskajaABAP Test Cockpit (ATC) for Developers in Eclipse or watch the video that is linked within that blog.


Have fun with the ABAP test cockpit and the remote syntax-check.



This feature is available on following releases:

7.02 SP14  

7.31 SP09

7.40 SP03

Kind Regards,


About this blog post

The SCN Mission called ABAP in Eclipse Explorer Challenge inspired me to write this blog post about how I discovered ABAP, how I discovered ABAP-in-Eclipse and my experience so far.


About me

I started my career as a software developer writing green-screen applications in RPG on IBM AS/400 back in 1998. Even by '98 standards, the green-screen editor was outdated and required a great deal of willpower to master. Mouse? We don't need no mouse: function keys go all the way to F24! And look at our 8 possible colors!


So when that company made a move a few years later to build Windows apps in C#/.net 2.0, I was thrilled to use MS Visual Studio 2005. Windows! User-friendly controls! Graphics! Events! Object-oriented language!


About a decade later, that same company made the move to SAP and I wrote my first lines of ABAP in 2012.


First steps in ABAP

After taking my first ABAP lessons and using SE80, I had mixed feelings. It felt like moving to an old language with an old code editor. ABAP is a language with a lot of history and I saw it as powerful and capable as any modern language, but not as sexy. I could not even test-drive my OpenSQL statement with joins as there was no OpenSQL tool. Even after two years, I never became completely accustomed to SE80 and I always wished I could do ABAP in a modern editor.


But I kept on learning and improving with ABAP/SE80: it was still way better than RPG, it's green-screen editor and green-screen world!


And here comes ABAP-in-Eclipse

In the beginning of 2014 I found out that ABAP development was now possible with Eclipse! Unfortunately, I had to set this new toy aside when I learned that our NetWeaver version was way behind the requirements. But from now on I knew that a time with a better development environment would come.


Fast forward to October 2014: I had the luck and privilege to attend SAP TechEd&&dcode in Las Vegas. One of the lectures got my attention right away: DEV165-Code better with ABAP in Eclipse. (Thank you Thomas Fiedler, Christiaan Edward Swanepoel and Sebastian Wolf!) It was the first time I could use ABAP-in-Eclipse and it felt familiar right away. I was smiling all along. The developer environment I was hoping for was finally here!


Meanwhile, a sandbox system at home just got updated to NetWeaver 7.40 and I could try ABAP-in-Eclipse to my heart's content.


The Feature Explorer

The first thing you have to do when starting Eclipse is take the Feature Explorer tour. It's useful to everyone, even if you have experience using Eclipse for some other language or a lot of experience in ABAP. There are unique features that you will not be able to live without.


My favorite new feature from the tour: Quick Fix! Automatic variable declarations, refactoring aids, and much more! There's no SE24, but Quick Fix helps in providing code generation.


My favorite new feature not from the tour: SQL Console! At last, I can type and OpenSQL statement and run it, just like in any other SQL database.


My suggestion: Add an Advanced Feature Explorer tour, including the SQL Console and debugging.


My favorite things about ABAP-In-Eclipse

  • The ABAP Development Tools are a downloadable and separate plugin, not a bundled/branded version of Eclipse for ABAP.
  • SAP makes it clear that it's the future of SAP development by making new ABAP/HANA features available only in Eclipse. (i.e. HANA database views and procedures), but SE80 is still completely compatible and uses the same code repository and locking system. So if you have coworkers telling you that using Eclipse is like cheating on SE80, you can still choose Eclipse and let them stay with SE80.
  • Some features are not in ADT yet (like SE11), but SAP GUI is integrated and the transaction opens in an Eclipse tab. It's a temporary situation and SAP have plans to improve ADT to include those.


My least favorite thing about ABAP-In-Eclipse

There are no plans to make an Eclipse version of the dynpro Screen Painter. That's sad.


Don't repeat my mistake: you can try ABAP-In-Eclipse right away

You don't need to wait for a NetWeaver update on-premise like I did.

  1. Get yourself the Developer Edition of NetWeaver 7.40, available as a virtual appliance: Developer & Trial Editions: SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP and SAP Business Warehouse powered by SAP HANA
  2. Install Eclipse and ADT by following these instructions : SAP Development Tools for Eclipse
  3. Explore and learn!

In 1999, I started my professional career at a mid-sized German hospital. In 2000, we had succeeded in bringing our at-the-time already ageing patient management and billing system through the Y2K madness that was happening all around without too much effort. Then the news came – although the system was Y2K-proof, it wasn’t built to handle multiple currencies, and the vendor had decided to discontinue the product. Looking for a replacement, we finally ended up using the combination of FI, CO, IS-H for patient management, PM for our building services and maintenance department. A bit later, MM and especially i.s.h.med for the clinical aspects were added as well. At the time, one of my main tasks was to implement various forms and additional reports. I already knew several programming languages at the time and had some experience with Oracle, Interbase and other RDBMS, so taking a dive into ABAP development was a natural choice. This was back in release 4.6D. Since then, I’ve worked for a few years one of the companies that make i.s.h.med and which is nowadays part of the Siemens AG. During that time, I had the chance to learn a lot about ABAP development both in customer projects and for add-on and product development. Since 2009, I’m with one of Germany’s largest inpatient and rehab healthcare providers. Today, I’m responsible for the development team that extends and enhances i.s.h.med and connects it with surrounding systems – but since the team is small and I can’t resist it anyway, I still write quite a bit of ABAP applications.


I actually knew quite a bit about Eclipse, even in conjunction with ABAP systems, before ABAP in Eclipse emerged in its current form. For my bachelor’s thesis, I designed and explored a modeling solution to generate “stuff” (a common technical term) in the i.s.h.med system. During that project, I learned a lot about Eclipse and its flexibility and extensibility – not only as an IDE, but also as a starting point to develop your own applications. Sadly, the prototype was never developed into a full project. At the time, I used cheat sheets to guide first-time users through my application. Although simpler and a lot less interactive, cheat sheets and the ADT Feature Explorer follow a similar basic principle that has proven to be very valuable to support new users.


Since I’m rather familiar with the “traditional” ABAP development environment, there was no real incentive for me to explore the ADT in its first stages. I use data dictionary objects a lot, and most of our development is still screen-based (dynpros), which are both unsupported. For DDIC objects, that will change, for screens it probably won’t. Combine that with the fact that you were basically cut-off from the existing documentation (descriptions and documentation texts) in the early releases of the ADT, and I think it’s understandable that I decided to concentrate on other issues and give the ADT some time to mature. At this year’s TechEd && d-code in Berlin, I took the opportunity to visit the DEV165 session and familiarize myself with the current state. I’m still not using ADT for my day-to-day development, mostly because nobody else in my team is and we’d lose a lot by splitting up the toolkit right now, especially since a full two-way transfer of the documentation is not yet implemented. However, I will be presenting the ADT during our team meeting tomorrow, including Cristina Jitareanu, Christian Graff and a number of colleagues who unfortunately haven't yet found the time to use all aspects of the SCN. I would also recommend it to Daniel Sonnabend but I know that Daniel actually has had the opportunity to take a look at the ADT earlier than me, due to the fact that we have to support far lower releases.


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