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SAPscript/ABAP skills obsolete?

I have been in the forms development area using SAPscript/ABAP for the past five years. Is this skill set soon to be obsolete now that Smart Forms seems to be the tool for developing forms?

SAPscript skills will be needed for the foreseeable future due to the sheer number of existing forms that require ongoing maintenance (and perhaps migration to a newer form tool someday). However, the number of forms still being developed with this tool is declining, so it is only a matter of time – how much is anyone's guess – before those that have failed to keep their skill set current will be at a significant disadvantage.

The good news: Not only is Smart Forms easier to learn than SAPscript; in addition – based on observation in classes and workshops I have led -- those with a SAPscript background seem to adapt to Smart Forms more readily than those without it. Also, the tool is simply more enjoyable to use.

The 'bad' news: It is only a matter of time before those relying upon their Smart Forms skills may themselves need to prepare for the next generation form tool being developed jointly by SAP and Adobe Systems (available starting in WAS 6.40).

As with many things, the best opportunities will be available for those whose understanding goes beyond the mere form tools themselves. For instance, ability to configure output determination and conduct unit testing in the major SAP modules, coupled with sensitivity to the business context and rationale for a particular output type, as well as excellent communication skills and attention to detail all contribute to a well-rounded form developer, one that would be an asset to any project team.

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