We want to introduce you to the topic of SAPlink, and for that purpose we are creating a dedicated article series. This is the first part of the series, which should give you an insight into what SAPlink is.
What exactly is SAPlink?
SAPlink is a project by ABAP developers that is supposed to make our lives easier. It is a program that probably every ABAP developer has used in some form or another. SAPlinnk is about sharing your own ABAP development objects with other developers as easily as possible. For that, SAPlink provides features to extract your own development objects from a SAP system as a Nugget. This Nugget is a single file that you can share with someone.
With SAPlink, the Nugget can be imported back into an SAP system. And as the basic version for now can only handle code, there is also a plugin system with which various different development objects are supported through plugins. That sounds easy – and it is.
Where can I get and use SAPlink?
So far, so good, but how do I start? SAPlink can be acquired on the project homepage of Assembla. Which is also where you can find the first bit of information about how to use it. We will discuss in the next article how that works in detail. I will only tell this much: SAPlink itself is also provided as a Nugget. Which means that you need an installer, and the most recent Daily Nugget of SAPlink, and you can get started. For the curious among you, there is also the “Berater Wiki” (There seems to be a German page only, sorry guys).
Once installed you have an ABAP program at your disposal that you can simply call upon and use through the SAP GUI. As this is an open source project, you can also expand upon it yourself, and provide these expansions to others. As we have fallen in love with this tool ourselves, we will support it in the future as well.
How active is the Community?
The SAPlink community itself is not all that tangible. For one, there are the SAPlink developers who you can be founnd on Assembla, but also on other forums and on the SCN. Here you can also find people who develop additional plugins. Most of them are also listed on the Assembly homepage. In the past 2 or 3 years, SAPlink has been under continuous development. If you take a thorough look around Assembla, you will notice that time and time again you will find descriptions of erros or enhancements that are also worked on. The most recent release at the time of this article is from March 2015. And the great thing is: It is and remains open source, and everyone is invited to help. In the end we can say: The development of SAPlink is an ongoing process. But if you look at the distribution of nuggets produced with SAPlink, you won’t find many of them in the big SAP community network.
With Trechanji we want to change that, which is why we offer a market place specifically for your code treasures. If you want to know more about it, you can register for the newsletter, so that you don’t miss any news on Trechanji, and so that you can be among the first treasure hunters starting your own business:
What are the alternatives to SAPlink?
SAPlink is surely not the only possibility for exporting and importing development objects from and into an SAP system. From the top of our heads, the easiest method is: The export / import button in the ABAP editor. Here, however, you can only export or import the coding that is open in the editor window at that moment. And you can not export any further objects like DDIC objects or table contents.
We have used various ABAP reports, and written some ourselves, to export ABAP code. If you look around in the SAP Community Network, you can quite quickly find some pages with information, and sample codes, for such download reports (for example, here, here, or here). Depending on the version these reports can only download the programs, however, and reusing them requires some work.
The transport system also provides an opportunity used by e.g. companies to install add ons. Here you can copy transports as files on operating systems, level and import them into other systems. That provides the great advantage that you get all objects that can be transported. The disadvantage for everyday developers: You have to get your hands on the transport files first. There is a small introduction into the transport management system (TMS), the YouTube video of UWINPro Inc.
Do you have experience with SAPlink or similar tools?
As sharing development objects is the core business of Trechanji, it is important to us that it works well for you as developers. It is interesting for us to know whether or not you have made experiences with SAPlink or similar tools. What problems did you encounter? What actually worked? What functionality do you think is missing? Are there other alternatives to export developments, and share them with other developers? We are looking forward to your thoughts, either directly as comment under this article, or as an Email.