The real question is:
Which language and
or combination of
technologies — is
best suited to your
specific situation, its
requirements, and its
constraints, and best
meets the relevant
criteria for your
merged organization to customize and adapt the
business logic and UIs to their specific needs. The
customizing and enhancement options provided
by SAP Net Weaver AS ABAP are ideally suited to
6. How Important Is the Speed of
Development for Your Project?
Time is often of the essence — especially when your
users are waiting for functionality they need.
ABAP, the ABAP server, and the change and
transport management functionality of the ABAP
server have been optimized for business programming. Because of these (and other) features
mentioned so far, the development of business
software in ABAP is very fast. Many features and
tools needed for business programming are
already integrated in the ABAP language, in SAP
Net Weaver AS ABAP, and as part of ABAP lifecycle management. Of course, you could develop
these features yourself, so you can develop your
own database buffering or transaction logic if you
wish, but this will take some time. The more features you can use without developing them
yourself, the faster you can create an application.
In the context of our example, it is vital to integrate the processes of both companies involved
in the merger quickly and smoothly. ABAP can
help to ensure a successful merger by enabling IT
to adapt to new processes as soon as possible.
Proposed Solution for the Example
The needs of this particular scenario highlight
many of the advantages of ABAP:
It is possible to enhance an existing ABAP-
based application while enabling close
integration in the existing business logic.
We need features of a classic business application, like integrated database access, interfaces
for data migration, and automatic archiving.
We have a lot of mass data processing.
Our add-on application needs to be adapted by
other subsidiaries of the company.
We need to complete the development quickly.
Here, the recommended solution is to use
ABAP and Web Dynpro ABAP for the development project. We integrate with some existing
parts of SAP Business Suite, and we develop some
new functionality to benefit from the many
features ABAP includes for free when developing
a typical business application. We also draw heavily on the advantages ABAP provides for mass
data processing. For the UI, we both enhance
existing Web Dynpro ABAP UIs and create new
ones to take advantage of the many ways to customize and enhance both ABAP business logic
and Web Dynpro ABAP UIs.
Remember, there could be other criteria that
would overrule this decision. For instance, if you
need your add-on to be independent of the SAP
Business Suite life cycle (for example, you do not
want the add-on to be directly affected when you
patch and update your SAP ERP system), and you
need access to libraries and tools that are only
available in Java, the solution might look different and would probably be a mix of ABAP and
Java-based technologies. If decoupling the add-on
from SAP Business Suite is more important than
the cost of an additional system in your landscape, you could also develop part or all of the
new functionality on an additional ABAP application server. There is no simple equation to make
the right technology decision for you.
When considering whether to implement ABAP
or Java, the most important thing to remember is
that it isn’t a question of which technology is better, and there is no algorithm that leads you to a
particular choice automatically. The right answer
depends on the details of the situation, the conditions, and the requirements in your company.
To choose the technology that is best for your
project, you need to ask a number of questions.
We have outlined some of these questions here
and, using an example scenario, shown you how
certain answers to these questions might lead
you to an ABAP-based solution — for example, if
you are building a typical business application, an
application that should be easily adaptable and
enhanceable, or if your application needs to be
closely integrated with an ABAP-based application of your SAP ERP system.
In our next article, we’ll complete our journey
by reviewing more questions using Java-driven
examples. By the end of the series, you’ll be prepared to arrive at the right technology decision for
your particular project, and to take advantage of
the benefits and strengths of your choice, whether
it’s pure ABAP, pure Java, or a mixed solution. n
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