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Should we encrypt or hide ABAP source code from customers?

Is there any way to encrypt or hide the source code from customers once they have purchased the product, asks a reader? This may not be a good idea, says Matt Billingham.

My company is developing a software product written in ABAP. Is there any way to encrypt or hide the source code from customers once they have purchased the product? We don't want prying eyes to see or copy the code.
This is a cause of much controversy in the ABAP development community. The general feeling, to which I subscribe, is:

1. It is highly unlikely your company is going to develop something really different in terms of algorithms and...

techniques that needs this kind of protection. 2. Many companies have developed successful products without hiding the code -- e.g. Revtrac, Ariba, SAP... 3. If you really want to hide what you are doing, don't do it in ABAP; use Java or C, and interface with RFC/BAPI. 4. If you do manage to do it, maintenance and support will be very difficult. My advice is: DON'T.

This was last published in March 2005

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