How does the work of an SAP full-stack developer look like? Benefits of knowing ABAP and Fiori.

published: 11.12.2023

ABAP, which stands for Advanced Business Application Programming, is a programming language created by the German company SAP. It is used for transactional management of large amounts of data in business applications and enables their processing tailored to user needs. It has been in use for over 30 years. Its “age” and application in a powerful, well-organized corporate system may make it seem uninteresting and lacking in development opportunities. Nothing could be further from the truth…


A powerful engine and even greater possibilities

Is there room for a developer to demonstrate their skills in the old German order? Definitely yes. Since its introduction in the 1980s, ABAP has gone through various stages of development, including the introduction of object-oriented programming from version 4.6C onwards. With the evolution towards SAP HANA in 2011, ABAP gained new capabilities, allowing developers to use in-memory technology for real-time data processing. While the “old” ABAP indeed did not offer developers many possibilities, the situation with the “new” ABAP looks completely different. Current versions of ABAP allow for advanced customization of solutions, similar to most languages, according to user expectations: from changes in database tables, through processes, to creating practically custom modules based on SAP. Stating that almost 100% of the application can be modified would be too risky, but it can certainly be adapted a significant part according to preferences. In principle, everything can be personalized – provided there is a budget and time for it.


One, two, or all modules?

Most ABAP developers specialize in working on specific modules—usually a few of them linked to each other in a business sense. Deep knowledge of specific modules is not required for programming itself, but it greatly speeds up and streamlines work. Understanding user needs is crucial, and therefore, good collaboration with the client or functional consultant is essential. The most challenging part of this work is determining business requirements.


Not just the backend

ABAP is associated with the backend but is not limited to it. In reality, it is an agile platform that combines access to the database layer with the user interface. Its backend involves creating programs that handle business processes, process data, and customize the functionality of ERP systems offered by SAP. From the user’s perspective, there is the possibility of directly using data in the form of a report or application. However, within SAP itself, these capabilities are limited. Enter Fiori. What would take many hours of work with ABAP can be created in an hour with Fiori and with much better results.


ABAP and Fiori – what results from this combination?

In response to user expectations regarding ease of use and functionality, SAP created Fiori. It is a platform consisting of numerous applications that allow users easy and fast access to key data. The developer working in Fiori uses SAP UI5, which is SAP’s overlay on the JavaScript framework. In theory, Fiori specialists do not need to know ABAP but rather JavaScript. In practice, however, creating a good interface without at least a basic knowledge of the backend would be very difficult.

From a developer’s perspective, knowing ABAP and Fiori allows for the creation of a solution that meets the client’s expectations from start to finish. As an ABAP developer, one builds a robust backend, and then, using Fiori, creates an application that enables the appropriate interaction between the user and the data. This combination speeds up work, provides satisfaction, and offers development opportunities. It is also an asset in the job market. How to learn it? It’s worth starting with a very practical online course offered by SAP. Recently, the company has also provided extensive documentation on its new solutions.

“Last but not least” – the combination of skills in the ABAP and Fiori areas in one set of hands also benefits the user: they get a tool for more effective analysis, which translates into productivity.


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