You may have heard of the SAP Extension Suite, which is powered entirely by SAP’s Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP). But what is it all about? How can you as a developer or business benefit from the SAP Extension Suite? And more importantly, HOW and WHERE should you start? Well, this depends on the capabilities of your team and your overall SAP-system landscape. Let me first explain the key benefits, and then I will give you an overview of what you should focus on first.
SAP also launched its brand-new learning platform at this year’s SAPPHIRE event, which is accessible at learning.sap.com. Currently, the platform offers one course about the SAP BTP Extension Suite, which I have contributed to the development of. I highly recommend signing up for this free course, as I will explain in more detail in this blog post.
Why is the Extension Suite important?
Your company most likely uses an SAP S/4HANA system to manage all its business processes. Until a few years ago, the trend was clearly to have an own SAP S/4HANA or SAP R/3 on-premise system, running on-premise or even with a specific vendor. As cloud-based systems and services gain more and more popularity, it is now more common to implement an SAP S/4HANA Cloud system to manage all business processes.
In the past, developers could create large ABAP programs (extensions) directly on their or a customer’s on-premise system. In a public cloud system, it is now not directly possible to create such extensions directly on the cloud system, as the system itself is more or less a shared system. Customer extensions within the system itself, so-called in-app extensions, only fulfill individual requirements to a certain extent. If a company needs a more extensive extension of its SAP S/4 HANA Cloud system, it can opt for a side-by-side extension. Side-by-side extensions are developed with the SAP Extension Suite on the SAP Business Technology Platform (SAP BTP) and offer more flexibility compared to in-app extensions.
Where to start?
You can create extensions on the SAP Extension Suite using different technologies and programming languages. This is possible because various options and runtime environments are available on the SAP BTP:
– ABAP environment
– Cloud Foundry runtime
– Kyma runtime
Before choosing a runtime environment, it is important to familiarize yourself with the knowledge level of your development department. If developers are moving from the on-premise era to the cloud, they may only have ABAP knowledge. So, the decision to have an extension written in ABAP that will finally run on the ABAP environment in the cloud is pretty obvious.
On the other hand, if your development team consists mainly of developers with Node.js skills, then it is most likely to develop an extension using SAP’s Node.js-based Cloud Application Programming Model (CAP). The deployment then takes place on the SAP BTP, Cloud Foundry environment.
Creating your first extension
After getting an overview of the different offerings, it is now time to take the next step: Creating your first extension. In this blog, I only cover the side-by-side extension-scenario, with the Cloud Application Programming Model (CAP).
Luckily, there is a tailor-made course on learning.sap.com covering a full end-to-end extension development process from its development in the SAP Business Application Studio to a fully automated deployment with a CI/CD pipeline integration.
Having been involved in the development of this course, I can highly recommend this one as it teaches you all the important things you need to know to get up to speed quickly! You can sign up for this free learning journey here.
After this course, you will be able to create a CAP-based extension application from scratch. You will be able to enrich the application with a user interface with SAP Fiori Elements, custom code, external services, and security features. Furthermore, you will also gain the ability to deploy your application manually and automatically through a continuous integration and deployment pipeline.
Finally, you will have a more profound understanding of the key features and tools of the SAP Extension Suite and will be able to use them in future extension projects on the SAP Business Technology Platform.
Your SAP BTP or SAP Extension Suite journey might have already been started, and you were looking for good tutorials and guidance to speed up your learning journey and to enhance your skillset.
I hope that this post helped you as a beginner or as an already experienced developer who is willing to shift towards new topics like cloud development.
You are welcome to share your thoughts on this topic, or to add any other helpful tips and links in the comments!