RIP SAP NetWeaver ABAP Developer Edition

Published by Tobias Hofmann on

5 min read

With great sadness I had to read that the SAP ABAP Platform, Developer Edition on Docker is dead.

SAP removed the version from Docker Hub already in January, and since then, news about it were never promising. And on 13. October 2022, SAP let the ABAP Developer Edition officially die. This decision will also affect already installed local versions. To run the software, you need a valid license for NW and the DB. Currently the ones that were part of the package are all, and it seems that with “these standards apply to all locally installed delivery formats” SAP won’t provide new license files. So yes, even a locally available ABAP Dev Edition is digital garbage. Delete it and free up the 60GB of data.

Many thanks to the people at SAP that worked hard in the first place to provide us the ABAP Developer Edition (including HANA and a at that time recent NW release). The underlying NW was not artificially limited. You could install additional software on top of it (Fiori Apps or Personas). It gave SAP_ALL access, making it possible for architects to explore easily different options like SSO, SAML 2.0, OAuth, integration scenarios, even connect it to BTP and learn, design and POC ideas. It allowed trying out ABAPGit before having to convince the Basis team.

The downloadable version of NetWeaver had a long tradition. Once known as MiniSAP they were even distributed on a CD when you bought an SAP book. Generations of SAP developers accessed at least once in their life sap.com/minisap. The list shows that a local runnable version of NetWeaver once was common: NW 7.0, CE, Java, ABAP, with MaxDB, ASE, HANA.

SAP tries to move to the cloud. At least for BTP a trial and free tier is available. For the free tier the available services are nice, a wrong click can cost you a lot of money, and services might shut down over night. But, you get at least access to some services for free and unlimited and an ABAP system in the cloud. Developers can code RAP and OData as well create Fiori apps.

The cloud offering for developers won’t help when you work in reality and not in marketing. Gaining access to an S/4HANA system is not always easy at customers or at partners. The available release might not be what you want, permissions is limited, installing add-on is rarely possible. Trying out new POC, architecture or integration scenarios normally means to have a project. Short: working with a new ABAP system to try out, to learn, evaluate ideas is hard. The locally runnable ABAP developer editions were of great help.

Of course, the developer editions weren’t used by everyone. The normal SAP developer maybe never really used them. But the drivers of innovation, the SAP developers that push their employer, that try out new ways of solving problems, that bring great value to their employer, these were using the developer editions. These are the people that ensure that SAP is used at customers, that SAP can innovate, that more and more people join the SAP ecosystem. These highly motivated people go the extra mile, fight for their ideas, and they need support. One important pillar for their success is of course access to software. Being able to build a POC. And SAP is now turning their back on them. Ignoring them.

SAP’s decision to ignore them is not wise. Take a look at the recent DSAG survey presented at their annual conference this week (slides in German). On premise is important. It is not going away. This is reality.

The data, right from SAP customers (!) shows clearly: an on-premise developer system is more than needed. 93% are using on premise SAP solutions (and no, this is not referring to some Leonardo solution) and in the future, this will still be 85%! This survey is from DSAG members. These are the highly motivated SAP customers. These are the ones that actually are innovating, that try out to be informed what the future brings, and even for those customers on-premise is the future. Not offering a local ABAP developer edition is even stranger when looking at the data regarding the obstacles companies face.

63% say that skills are a problem. Skills people can obtain by trying out things using their own developer edition. Skills that may include breaking a system. Doing this with a local version means just to reinstall it. You can’t do this in the normal dev system at customers.

I do not understand why SAP is not focusing on enabling the people that drive SAP at customers. The highly motivated people that in the first place ensure that SAP can sell software. That their sales people are even invited to present SAP’s portfolio. Next time SAP is facing problems in the market, complains that competition is stronger, and customers are switching to other solutions and vendors: Dear SAP, this is your fault.

You do not support the people that make you a success at customers, than don’t complain you lose customers.


(with SAP I mean mostly their top management)

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Categories: SAP

Tobias Hofmann

Doing stuff with SAP since 1998. Open, web, UX, cloud. I am not a Basis guy, but very knowledgeable about Basis stuff, as it's the foundation of everything I do (DevOps). Performance is king, and unit tests is something I actually do. Developing HTML5 apps when HTML5 wasn't around. HCP/SCP user since 2012, NetWeaver since 2002, ABAP since 1998.

1 Comment

Dave · November 22, 2022 at 07:28

Well said Tobias. I started my ABAP journey in ’98 just like you. I’ve been installing my local version of SAP from the very first MiniSAP on Linux. Back in the Hasso days it felt like SAP was engineering driven but today it’s marketing driven and this Developer Edition decision is just stupid. They will regret it and hopefully they will realise that sooner rather than later and reverse it.

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