Sunday, January 13, 2008

"Custom Code over my dead body"

Custom code is a nightmare of every upgrade project. It is a pain to maintain and upgrade it but on other hands sometimes there was no other way to avoid implementing custom specific functionality without it. SAP enables customers to adapt SAP business programs according their specifics processes. Nevertheless it is not possible to satisfy all customers for individual adjustment or enhancement of SAP solutions to meet specific needs. In these cases, customer can enhance or change the SAP standard. SAP is advising to do not modify standard code by custom code within its software and topics like: simplifying complexity, customizing vs. extending … were discussed in detail during SAP’s analyst summit (so called SAP Industry Influencer summit) in December 2007. According a blog one of participants of this event Michael Krigsman new SAP paradigm in this area is “Customizing is out; extending is in”. Michael interviewed Peter Zencke (member of the SAP Executive Board; responsible for the development of SAP's new application platform based on enterprise SOA) and he described three types of customization:

1. Setting configuration "switches" - which continues to be an accepted and approved method to make packaged SAP software work in varied customer environments.

2. Directly modifying code - "which SAP will not support, so customers can maintain the ability to perform in-flight maintenance."

3. Extending the software - using a "composition layer" that gives access to SAP’s SOA services, has become the approved way for adapting SAP software to meet specific requirements, such as those posed by “micro-verticals”.

So forget about options 2 and 1st and 2nd in terms of ESA (SAP’s Enterprise Service Oriented Architecture - SOA) means that SAP provides a base, on top of which third parties (customers, partners, etc.) can write new applications and which prevents the core SAP standard code from being changed. There are new concepts of Enhancement Framework, Switch Framework, new BAdIs introduced to secure clean and free future upgrades without reprogramming of customer code.

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