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ajt (2546)

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UK based. Perl, XML/HTTP, SAP, Debian hacker.

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Journal of ajt (2546)

Wednesday July 19, 2006
04:09 PM

Learning COBOL

[ #30345 ]

This week I have been trudging through the heat of a record breaking July heat-wave up to Feltham in London to learn SAP's ABAP programming language. ABAP is basically a proprietary version of COBOL with a proprietary version of SQL bolted-on.

The official SAP training notes are dreadful, even worse than the SAP BASIS/NetWeaver notes from the last course I went on. The instructor seems to be very good though, so now I've got writers cramp with trying to keep up with him - I've not taken written notes since I did my degree over a decade ago...

ABAP is a rather primitive language, there isn't a lot to it really, but there are decades of kruft building up, in layer upon layer of obfuscated, inefficient and poorly written code. Rather than refactor working but poor code, SAP simply abandon it and rather than change anything and risk breaking something, they add new code somewhere else and ignore the old code...

As far as I can make out, the SAP deployments out there are riddled with "cargo cult programming", bad practice, code that replies on deep magic, and code that relies on faults in SAP code else where. It's all very scary...

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