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.
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!
We are in it together!
The interesting aspect of the book is that the two actually learn and feed off each other: Christine introduces to Sean topics such as web services, persistent objects and Business Object Layer programming. At the same time, Sean proves to Christine that not everything requires lengthy code enhancements (pricing routines, for example). In other chapters, he shows her how numbering ranges are defined. Just like in a real team environment, both consultants learn from each other. In most chapter projects, they have to weigh up enhancement options, making this process transparent to the reader. The latter is an important aspect of creating “responsible enhancements”, as there is no silver bullet, no “if A then implement B” scenario. My book tries to do away with some of the black magic that enhancements can sometimes being shrouded in.
I picked scenarios and example projects of varying degrees of difficulty which are based on my own experiences in the field, such as
- Validating sales order data
- Capturing and saving additional fields in sales order processing
- Creating CRM activities after SD order billing
- Filtering pricing data within a web service
- Using custom fields in SD pricing
- Setting a delivery block on header level
- Keeping track of delivery KPIs
- Enhance the outbound delivery monitor
- Invoice splitting using VOFM
- Changing reference number and number range in billing
In an initial chapter, readers are also introduced to practical, relevant aspects of user exits, customer exits, enhancements and BAdIs. This should give them a good foundation for future enhancement projects.
Starting with the end
Writing the book was very challenging, as every chapter more or less had to be re-engineered, starting with the end in mind. Once I knew what I wanted to bring across, I had to reverse-engineer a little project in which Christine and Sean played their parts. This was usually the most interesting, but also the hardest part. Once the plot was ready, everything else seemed to slot into place.
Another thing I noted was that I very much enjoy writing. My experience as a SAP blogger came in very handy here. I am particularly proud of the introductory and outlook chapters of the book, where I am trying to deliver a perspective for consultants and developers, providing an informative view that goes further.
A first !
“ABAP Development for SD in SAP” is also the first SAP Press publication that uses a cartoon illustration. A good friend of mine, Stuart Trotter of Rockpool Children’s Books, produced a great illustration, which emphasised my introductory message. I still can’t believe my luck in knowing someone like Stuart, who’s work further enhanced my book. Working with him and spanning the disciplines added yet another interesting facet to my project.
Lastly, I would like to thank the SAP Mentor initiative, especially its “wolf pack leader” Mark Finnern, who helped me enormously at an early stage to connect dots and people. Martin Lang, Matthias Steiner and Thomas Jung also helped me significantly in the early stages, when I needed system access for enhancement coding. SAP Press’ very own Kelly Harris and Laura Korslund helped me throughout the project – needless to say that without them none of this could have been achieved.
I would also like to thank friends and colleagues Peter Richardson, Zoe Gill, Arpit Oberoi, Ben McGrail, Stefan Karaivanov, Thomas Otter and Nick Watkins for their feedback, advice, criticism and ideas, which were essential for the completion of the book. Special thanks go to Cath Laursen and Arran McMillan for their assistance with questions around SAP CRM.
Most importantly, my family provided me with plenty of support and help during the 8 months of writing. Thank You to you all!
A Discount Code !
Use discount code UO2JL8WB1 now and receive 10% off the purchase price when buying my book through the SAP Press website (offer expires 31/12/2012).