Category > Tips & tricks
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DDIC structure key

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Today when I want to create a SALV I always create a DDIC structure with the data elements already set to show the texts I need. This avoids the need for code to manipulate the field catalog.

Find everything at once

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The ABAP editor is full of functionalities yet to be discovered. When I do CTRL-F to search for text, the option I usually choose is “Find next”.

APPEND STRUCTURES do more stuff than I thought

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During all my ABAPian life I was convinced that APPEND STRUCTURES had one single purpose: to add new extra fields to an existing standard table. But I recently learned that they let you do two more things after all:

Search form methods, attributes, types, events, etc

You remember having written a method some years ago which you need now. You know it had the word MALMEQUER somewhere in its name. But what now? How will you find it? You could use transaction SE24 to look at every class you worked on since then. But that would probably keep you busy for ages. Don’t do that. Try using transaction SE84 instead:

Yet another way to see a method's parameters

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Let’s say you want to call a method for which you don’t know the parameters. What do you do? You used to have to use the “pattern” button. Or open the class in a new window to look at the method’s parameters. But then the ABAP Editor evolved and we got auto-complete which made everything much more easy. But there is yet another way.

Incremental search

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When I want to search for a word in an ABAP program I usually press CTRL-F to use the normal search feature of the ABAP editor. I enter the word I want to find and then press “NEXT” to look for it. But there is another way. And it’s not better nor worse. Just different: the incremental search.

Pass internal tables by value is good

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When a method returns a value as a RETURNING parameter this is always done by value and not by reference. Several of my methods return internal tables, some of them quite large. It always worried me the idea that, since it’s being passed by value, ABAP would be returning a copy of the internal table, impacting both performance and the program’s used memory. Fortunately, I recently learned that this is not​ a problem.


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When you try to insert a record with a key which already exists in the table the program dumps. This, in some cases, is not desirable because, even if you don’t care, it forces you to check if the keys already exist before trying to insert then. But ABAP has a solution for these situations: INSERT dbtab FROM TABLE itab [ACCEPTING DUPLICATE KEYS]. Don’t worry because this will not violate the first law of thermodynamics: the duplicate records are not inserted.

Export and import the ABAP Workbench settings

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Sometimes a thing is right under your nose and your still don’t see it. At my current client I daily work with a lot of different systems. When I make a change in a setting of one system, either because I’m lazy or because I forget, I end up not applying it to all the others. But there is a simple way to copy all the ABAP Workbench settings at once from one system to the other.

Use the Split Screen Editor in the version comparison

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By default, the ABAP version comparison tool is horrible. It displays both versions in a single column and, even though the differences are highlighted, it’s awfully confusing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Press the “settings” button at the top and you’ll find that there are 3 different display modes (besides some other nice options): one-column, two-columns and, surprise, the Split Screen Editor. This is probably the option you’ll want to choose since it’s the most powerful.

Spot the differences with SE39

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Earlier today I was doing a QC review to a new program named ZSDFAKSPE with almost 1000 lines and no comment whatsoever. An obvious clone of a standard program called SDFAKSPE. So I decided to use the Spli-screen editor, found in transaction SE39. Having entered both programs I could then compare them side-by-side.

Source-code based class development

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Being used to develop in Java and C++, the way transaction SE24 forces you to navigate between each of its parts and the fact that every method has its own include was very confusing to me when I first started using it. Why does SAP always have to make things so complicated? I eventually got used to it. At some point in time SE24 introduced the option “source-code based” which shows the class and all its methods in a single text.

Jump to your last change

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Imagine that you’re editing one of those ancient programs with thousands of lines (yes because today you know that it’s wrong not to modularize (it’s a sin really) your methods (yes because today you always use methods) don’t have more than 200 lines). So there you are, editing a line somewhere in the middle on all that code when (because you’re not getting younger) the name of a variable you need completely vanishes from your memory. You have no alternative but to press HOME to go to the top of the program where all the variables are declared (yes because whoever made this program didn’t modularize yet but was a very tidy person). And then you forget the line number of the change you were making. And there you go PAGE DOWNing your way through all that code trying to find your line again. It’s either that or…

I call you and you call me

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You you call a function via RFC you need to provide the RFC DESTINATION for the remote system: CALL FUNCTION ‘ZSNEEZED’ DESTINATION ’sistema_longe_daqui’. What if, for some reason, the function running in the remote system needs to call a function in the original system? How would you do it?

Undo in debugger layout

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Although a substantial part of an ABAP programmer time is spent debugging code, most programmers I know don’t invest much in getting to know the ABAP debugger. Maybe because they spent too many years working with its previous version which was truly archaic and worthless. But the new one can do much more than you usually ask of it. And Abapinho intends to teach you how. Today I’ll teach you just a simple key.