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How to be a self-taught NetWeaver and ABAP expert

I have been a Java developer for last 9 years, so I am familiar with SOA using JEE technologies. I want to teach myself SAP NetWeaver. Can you suggest a way to do this?

I have been a Java developer for last 9 years, so I am familiar with SOA using JEE technologies. I want to teach myself SAP NetWeaver. Can you suggest a way to do this?
Since you are an experienced Java guy, you have a nice background for the NetWeaver world. It is unfortunate for you that there are only a few areas in SAP that really need Java. The important ones are the Enterprise Portal (EP) including WebDynpro for Java (Web Modeler) and the mapping and adapter engine in XI, now called PI (SAP's middleware). If you want to be a successful NetWeaver developer, you ultimately need to learn ABAP above anything else. Even as a Java developer you can only survive in the SAP ecosystem when you are very good in ABAP and know also a bit of the functional side of the SAP product range (SD, MM, FICO, etc).

There is no lack of coders, but there is a lack of developers who understand their work and know how to navigate securely through SAP without needing too many explanations. In SAP, normally the developer tells the consultant how the system works, not the other way round.

For self-study there are several approaches:

To get acquainted with the JEE stack, you can download the SAP JEE engine and the Eclipse based IDE (SAP Developer Studio) from sdn.sap.com for free. You can also download the trial for the EP Portal. There are many tutorials around on the SDN.

However, that will keep you in the orbit around NetWeaver. To touch ground, you need to get ABAP. For this there are three options:

  1. ABAP Trial: The cheap one: download the ABAP 7.1 Trial from SDN. This has the full IDE and runtime but no business modules; for developers and training it is fully OK; that is like starting with JBOSS and NetBeans, you can do all you want.


  2. Subscription: If you need a deeper look into NetWeaver there is the SAP Subscription for 2500USD/year; this is the full range of applications including ABAP, JEE and all applications; it also has SAP PI (XI) in it. As a Java guy I recommend to start learning PI, since it is one of the most important modules, has a lot of demand in the markets and will let you approach the SAP-world step-by-step from the interfacing perspective..


  3. SAP Discovery Server: Finally there is the SAP Discovery Server for approx. 10.000USD; a full features Fujitsu-Siemens-Server with all SAP installed; it is the same as the subscription but includes in addition the hardware and frees you from the tedious installation work, which is especially time-consuming if you need to install the JEE engine.


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