Come and see me at SAP Insider Events in 2015


I was recently invited to speak at two of SAP Insider’s conferences entitled “Modern Skills For ABAP Developers”, a great opportunity to talk about two topics close to my heart: SAP Enhancements and Quality Assurance in SAP Implementation Projects. I will also join other experts for an exciting Rapid-Fire-Question-and-Answer panel. Here are some of the topics covered during this 3 day event (click here for full agenda):

SAP ABAP experts will provide key lessons to:

Keep your ABAP skills up-to-date, ensuring that you remain valuable to your employer and relevant in the job market

Reduce code complexity and streamline the development process with little-known features of SAP NetWeaver® AS and Object-Oriented ABAP

Get up-to-speed on ABAP for SAP HANA®, which is different than traditional ABAP

Evaluate the various tools for web-enabling your system, like Web Dynpro ABAP and SAPUI5

Better communicate with business users

Compare the latest project methodologies, their value, and their tradeoffs, and select which is best suited to your organization

Increase your SAP ABAP IQ with field-tested techniques your company can implement right away upon your return to the office


This is a great, relevant and wide range of interesting topics, which should give attendants an update on the latest tools, techniques and provide real-world experiences. Make sure you mark the dates for Las Vegas (17.-19.11.2015) and Amsterdam (7.-9.12.2015) in your calendar. It would be great to meet you there!

2015 Trends for ABAPers – a brief overview

It has become a common theme during and after every TechEd && d-code conference series to take a look at developer skillset requirements. Ultimately, it always begs the same questions: “where do we stand with ABAP?” or “what are new trends that ABAP developers should take into account?“. Or can ABAPers actually afford to do nothing and rest on their laurels?

Me during an Expert Networking Session at TechEd

Me during an Expert Networking Session about Freelancing at TechEd 2014, Las Vegas

Below is a run down of options (including the option to “do nothing”) and trends for ABAPers. I’ve included a short POV (Point Of View) paragraph to give you my impression on relevance.

After a surge in early 2000s (WDJ, CE), We now appear to be witnessing a renaissance of Java at SAP. But of course it’s never been gone completely. However Java has been rebooted by HANA Cloud Platform (HCP), one of the main platform topics this year. As far as Business Suite applications are concerned, some will be rewritten as new cloud applications for HCP and in a hybrid environment; others might interface via OData/Gateway. Custom apps and innovations will be an interesting prospect of this increasingly important platform.

my POV: If your company or business decides to innovate its own cloud-based applications on HCP then Java should be something for you to pay attention to – if not done so already. Read on if your company is more likely to focus on Fiori, UI5 and Gateway in the medium term.

JavaScript, UI5
Since the announcement of UI5 3 years ago, JavaScript has been the new kid on the coding block and is enjoying good uptake in the SAP developer community – TechEd 2014 has shown the evidence. The recent addition of OpenUI5 extended the use case to open-source, community-based extensions of UI5 libraries. In both scenarios, Gateway and Odata are providing the supported link to the backend system.

my POV: Most SAP customers are now looking at better User Experience (UX) and implementation of products such as Personas or UI5, which are now included in licence costs and can be downloaded by customers for free. Therefore, ABAPers are well advised to look into JavaScript, jQuery (UI5 is based on it) and Gateway in order to stay current and deliver the better UX using Fiori-like UI5 apps. Because of the more imminent customer focus on this topic, I see this area as the option with the biggest “skills bang for buck” for developers. Change management and lifecycling using Git might challenge Abapers initially, but is likely to become 2nd nature fast.

Hana XS
Launched 2 years ago as part of HANA SP5, XS (Extended Application Services), it includes a full AS, web server and application services in a single place.
Even die-hard abapers rejoice once they discover the opportunities of XS. If you already know OData and JavaScript – or are thinking of getting into it – it’s a great opportunity.

my POV: If your company or business is considering application development for non-cloud, in-memory then this should be something for developers to focus on. If you know you’re way around JavaScript and Gateway/OData Services already, even better. If there is no uptake in your company for HANA XS, then this option still represents a great addition to the UI5 option described above, as it taps into a very similar skillset.

Do nothing
This is the least favourable option. Here, ABAPers just keep on doing what they’re doing, maybe keeping up-to-date with latest ABAP AS features at a minimum. Bluntly, it means you are not moving on or aiming to stay current.

my POV: Despite the doom and gloom, I’d wager very much that “there will always be a backend”, meaning that, despite all new these new layers and platforms I’ve described above, the need for an optimised and up-to-date ABAP backend will remain. As a result, this will leave ABAPers with plenty of work for the next years, maybe decades. At the same time, cost pressures and increased levels of commoditisation in the ABAP area will mean that a smaller number of developers might be required. In a nutshell, you will be very much competing on price and location.

TechEd Keynotes – they’ve grown up!

Bjoern Goerke on stage during the TechEd keynote

Bjoern Goerke on stage during the TechEd keynote

Having attended both opening presentations of SAP TechEd && dcode 2014 in La Vegas, it is safe to say that SAP keynotes have grown up. By providing a more engaging style of delivery, Steve Lucas and Bjoern Goerke have managed to capture the audience’s imagination. This is a change that was long overdue. While Lucas’ style was more off-the-cuff, it was Goerke who offered the necessary “Ueberbau”, the almost academic foundation which is an important aspect and will go down well with long-time SAP customers.

The Monday night opening was also a big advert for SAP’s product and community advocates, SAP Mentors. Altogether 4 of the group’s existing and alumni members came onstage to showcase solutions. This in itself is a case in point that Mentors are more than an illustrious group of experts who provide a sounding board for the german software business, they’re agents of innovation.

Bjoern Goerke’s demo on Tuesday morning, driven by an as-always bubbly and entertaining Ian Kimball, was another highlight and example for the change of keynote delivery style we’re witnessing. In a suit/geek style, the duo built a mobile application in 3 simple steps. An exec building an app on stage surely has to be a first within the Enterprise software arena.

All-in-all, this change in delivery style is promising and provides a hopeful lookout. For me at least.


Disclosure: as a member of the Mentor program, my conference attendance ticket is paid for by SAP.

ABAP Development for SD in SAP: Exits, BAdIs and Enhancements

A few weeks ago, when I announced my first SAP publication, “ABAP Development for Sales and Distribution in SAP”, I promised a post in which I delve a little deeper into the book, its background and how it came about. A little “behind the stage” article if you like.

good to finally hold it in my hands!

One of Pixelbase’s main mantras is very much to “Keep it Real”, to provide value for money and real-world advice. It probably might not come as a big surprise to you that “ABAP Development for SD in SAP” was written along the same lines. In order to achieve a certain “real-world feel”, I decided to create end-to-end examples and use two characters (Junior ABAPer “Christine” and Senior SD Consultant “Sean”) and a fictive company (“Byrell Corporation”). While Christine is a young developer, well-versed in topics such as OO programming, Sean is an experienced SD consultant who occasionally dabbled in ABAP, but has never created a class parameter in his life!
Continue reading

SAP Personas – silver bullet for UI simplification?

Believe it or not, even a seasoned SAP Development Consultant like me has more than a handful of dreams left when he sits by his ABAP campfire in the evening. One of my many thoughts has always been around making the user interface (UI) of traditional SAP applications simpler. This process is often described as “Screen Simplification”.

Personas is derived from Latin, where it refers to a theatrical mask (source: Wikipedia)


SAP Personalisation and Simplification

Over the last 15 years or so, SAP has been working very hard to provide tooling to make a certain level of personalisation easier. Personalisation, Transaction Variants, GuiXT, Screen Exits, Screen Enhancement BAdIs and –in more recent years- the ill-named Floorplan Manager (FPM) were one of the vast number of attempts by SAP to make the building process of friendly user interfaces simpler and easier. Continue reading

ein Buch, un livre, a book !

Some of you might have noticed that I neglected this site a little recently. However others of you might also remember that some time ago I vowed to come up with new stuff. Well, the time has finally come to reveal what the prolonged silence was all about.

I have written a book! Back in October 2011 I began talks with Kelly Harris of SAP Press about a technical book for the Sales and Distribution (SD) module of SAP ERP. A lot of emails went to and fro across the Atlantic, discussing content and format, but by Christmas 2011 I started writing.

My book will be published by SAP Press in September October 2012 and is called:

ABAP Development for Sales and Distribution in SAP: Exits, BAdIs, and Enhancements

If you are a beginner to intermediate ABAP developer, functional SD consultant, application architect or involved in a SD project then this is the book for you. In a real-world approach, it will introduce enhancement methods to you and compare them, so you understand the pros and cons. With this book I am hoping to give consultants a better understanding of the enhancement process (how to find enhancements, choosing the right method, implementing them properly).

You can pre-order the book now from the SAP Press online store, but I’ve been assured that there will be many ways to get hold of it once it has been published.

There’s a lot more to report, especially on the process of writing. Once published (October 2012), I will talk more about the book and how it came about.