Lifecycle Management Matters
How to Get the Most Out
of ABAP and Java in the
Context of SAP Technology
by Dr. Thomas Weiss and Martin Jaekle, SAP AG
Dr. Thomas Weiss (thomas.
firstname.lastname@example.org) joined the
SAP Net Weaver Product
Management Training team in
2001. He is now a member of
the SAP TIP Core Product
Management team. His areas
of focus include ABAP, the
Enhancement and Switch
Framework, and connectivity.
Martin Jaekle (martin.jaekle@
sap.com) joined SAP in 2008 to
contribute to strategic decisions
focusing on SAP Net Weaver Java
and related topics, after having
been responsible for various
aspects of software development and product management
at different companies.
So you are an SAP customer planning a custom
development project, or an SAP partner that
wants to develop an add-on — which technology
and which development language should you
choose? Is ABAP better than Java? Or is Java better than ABAP? Is ABAP the past and Java the
future? (See sidebar on the next page.)
This two-part article series shows you that it
isn’t a question of which language is better than
the other. The choice depends on the situation,
and sometimes the answer is both. It’s like asking
which means of transportation is best: There is a
big difference between going somewhere in your
town and journeying to a distant continent, not
to mention mitigating factors like time and cost.
We’ll show you how to create a mental map to
evaluate your options and make this decision by
walking through some example scenarios that
illustrate the questions you need to answer for
your project’s unique situation and conditions.
In this first article in the series, we look at a scenario in which ABAP is best suited for the project.
In the second article, we will explore two examples that illustrate a Java-driven approach. While
the scenarios demonstrate sample decision paths,
the direction that you choose depends on the
various, and often specific, requirements of your
After reading the article series, anyone involved
in the decision-making process — such as project
leads, IT managers, and architects — will be well
equipped to determine which language and technology is the best fit, how to best profit from
SAP’s offerings, and how to leverage the strengths
of these complementary technologies.
3 Considerations for Any Project
While choosing the right technology depends on
your specific situation, there are some considerations that are relevant to any project. We
recommend asking these questions at the very
beginning of your decision-making process.
1. Are you keeping development to a minimum? The less you develop, the lower your costs.
If you do not develop anything, you don’t need to
design, debug, or support it. You can simply use
SAP Modification Justification Check, which is a
free service for SAP Enterprise Support customers that will check if the functionality you need is
available in an SAP standard application. You will
learn if there is a user exit or a business add-in
(BAdI) that you can implement to get the functionality, or if there is a workaround or process
reengineering that might do the job for you.
2. Are your existing systems and stacks sufficient? It is pivotal that you preserve your existing
investments. Introducing a new technology with
a new development language in your landscape
may increase both TCO and TCD. Try to capitalize on the existing knowledge in your company.
3. Are you adhering to basic design principles? These principles are crucial to the success
of all IT projects: Develop as locally as possible,
minimize the calls between systems, and reduce
the data volume transported from one system
Once you have looked at these basic considerations, you are ready to evaluate your options. In
the next sections, we will outline some additional
questions you need to ask to make the right technology choice for your project by walking through
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