When you graduate from a college with a computer science degree, there are several disciplines that you can steer your career towards. ERP is one of them. To keep it short and simple, ERP are software packages that supposedly should provide functionality to everything the client/company would ever need. However, it still needs to be customized to fit all your client needs. SAP is one of these packages and I will give you several reasons why you should stay away from pursuing a career or develop in SAP.
1. Documentation is Terrible, Terrible, Terrible
You are going to be working with code that could have easily been written 20 years ago. It is very likely there is not going to be much documentation or an API that you could reference to get you started. Several commands could have already been deprecated but SAP will not update that code or add much documentation to it. In the chance that there is any documentation, it can be available in German without an English version of it. Also, most SAP Press books are a sales pitch to management rather than actual technical knowledge.
2. Why use an Abacus when we have Calculators?
Tools to develop in ABAP are very rudimentary. Do not expect CTRL + Space here. The language has seen several revisions with the addition of objects but they rarely serve a purpose as they are only wrappers to existing function modules. This encourages old and new developers to keep working in traditional programming which is rather obsolete nowadays. SAP’s approach to make ABAP object oriented is simply a joke. There is no repository tool for developing in ABAP or an effective way to concurrently work on the same code. It is possible to lock your code so that nobody can edit it, but that’s about it.
3. Meaningless Names
It is probably because of old school constraints but database tables and fields name are less than 5 characters long. Tables have names such as MARA, EKKO, and VBAP. Fields have names such as WERKS, BUDAT, and MANDT. Honestly, I do not know where these abbreviations come from but if you prefer having meaningful names. SAP is NOT for you.
4. Developing in it is usually a nightmare
Tools are added that do not offer support for content made by the previous ones. SAP provides several tools to edit and create new forms. It might be SAPScript, SmartForms (oxymoron btw), Adobe Forms, or HR Forms, they will all required technical knowledge to develop. Extensive training is required to be able to develop just forms. A lot of time will be consumed by just figuring out what tool should be used or if you can mod an existing one. SAP does not replace old forms with new technology as it is implemented. It is very likely you will have to modify a form with some sort of archaic tool that should have probably been deprecated years ago. It is very likely that after spending hours trying to debug a problem with a form, you realize that the system is not configured correctly. More often than not, developers are not allowed to make configuration changes.
5. Dijkstra said so!
ABAP is the programming language created by SAP to use in their system. Its syntax is similar to COBOL
“The use of COBOL cripples the mind; its teaching should, therefore, be regarded as a criminal offense.” Edsger Wybe Dijkstra
Therefore, we can conclude that ABAP cripples the mind and it is criminal as well.
Copyright 2010 Christian Rios
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