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ABAP and NetWeaver, together forever

ABAPers no longer have to worry about losing their jobs to NetWeaver. As explained in this response by Jon Reed, NetWeaver has been adapted to suit ABAPers and ABAP is no longer is considered too proprietary.

I have just graduated and am now working for an SAP consulting firm. I have been trained on ABAP. I am scared about its future. I would be excited if I could jump into NetWeaver, EP or XI, but I don't find my company working a lot on these upcoming technologies. Further, I feel I need to have good experience in Java to switch my line to NetWeaver, which I lack.

Could you please suggest a good solution? I am also astonished by the fact that many of my senior colleagues happened to take their ABAP certification exam in the month of November. If ABAP lacks future ,why do they have to be certified in the language?

I have written a lot about the future of ABAP in previous editions of this column so I recommend checking out older questions on this topic also. There is so much to say about ABAP and it's too much to cover in one question. But I would start by saying that I don't agree ABAP doesn't have a future.

A few years ago, that looked to be true, but today, SAP has backtracked on that and provided a way to develop in ABAP within NetWeaver. Basically, NetWeaver 2004S provides a wide range of development choices, including ABAP/BSP, ABAP/WebDynPro, Java/WebDynPro, Java/JSP, and .NET. ABAP programmers will tell you that ABAP can still get the job done faster and better working within NetWeaver. So, it doesn't sound to me like ABAP is going away and SAP has found a way to use web services to "wrap" code in a universal layer that allows developers to work in their environment of preference and deliver functionality that can be integrated by third parties. This takes away the big criticism of ABAP (that it's too proprietary), so I see the future of ABAP as strong.

However, ABAP consulting isn't as strong, due to the many options companies have for ABAP coding, including offshore resources and remote development. Bottom line is that the SAP programmer of the future will know NetWeaver, Java, and ABAP, as well as a range of Web-based development protocols. So, I think your question has set ABAP and NetWeaver against each other, whereas the future involves both of them together. And I think that also answers your question as to why ABAP certification is still relevant to your colleagues.

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