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Making changes to SAP programs

What are the standards for making changes to programs created by SAP? Please include points related to OSS source code corrections.

First, SAP will not support customer modified objects. Having said that, often it is necessary to make such changes to make the system behave as required by the business. The only supported changes are those made when applying OSS notes. I'll address the two issues seperately.

1) SAP Authorised Changes (OSS Notes etc.).

The note will document what objects need changings. You should make sure you download all notes you have applied, and store them somewhere safe. Having applied a note, make sure you syntax check and generate all the objects affected by the note. For example, if an include is changed which is part of a function group, then generate the entire function group, to make sure it is OK syntactically.

With programs, I always include a comment header, explaining the reason for the change, the date and the fact that it was me who changed it. Where small areas of code are changed, I use in-line comments thus:

Inserting a line - " I 99999 MB 30/8/2001
Deleting a line - " D 99999 MB 30/8/2001

Where 99999 is the number of the note. Of course, if the note specifies a line should be deleted, you comment it out - don't actually delete it!

For large code changes, i.e. bulk inserts and deletes, use comment blocks to indicate what is happening.

2) Customer specific changes (Not authorised by SAP!)

Think again! Can this be achieved by changing config, business practices, or supplied user-exits?

Follow the same rules as applying OSS notes. However, in your off-line documentation, you must include instructions on how to apply the change - in exactly the same way as OSS notes do.

Make minimal changes to the SAP objects. I usually put my code in a form, which exists in a seperate include, whose name is in the customer name space. That way, the only extra code in the SAP program is PERFORM myclientname_meaningfulformname. (I always put the client name as the first part of the form name for easy recognition.

Test very very thoroughly.

If you follow these standards and documentation, you will find that when you come to upgrade your SAP system, or apply hot packages, the process will be far smoother.

This was last published in September 2001

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