Throughout the year, SAP Press releases a variety of books and e-bites focused on specific solutions and parts of the SAP ecosystem. These are great resources authored by solution and industry experts. ASUG had the opportunity to chat with the authors of the four best-selling 2021 releases from SAP Press. Here are some quick insights into the scope and focus of those releases.

Materials Management with SAP S/4HANA—Jawad Akhtar

Materials Management with SAP S/4HANA

ASUG: Can you give us an overview of your book?

Jawad: The book is a deep dive into the materials management component of SAP S/4HANA, including its sub-components, such as purchasing and inventory management. The focus of the book is to connect the four main pillars of any SAP S/4HANA implementation: customizing, master data, business processes, and reporting.

ASUG: How has your background prepared you to write this book?

Jawad: I started out my SAP consulting and client-side career with a focus on materials management before branching out to other SAP components. Hence, an almost two decades of SAP career with multiple large and complex SAP projects has enabled me to share my knowledge and experience with the SAP logistics community.

ASUG: What do you hope readers get out of your book?

Jawad: The book intends to be a one-stop reference guide on almost all topics that are directly or indirectly related to materials management in SAP S/4HANA. The fact that the book covers several ancillary topics, as well as next-generation user interface, SAP Fiori, and various SAP Fiori apps will not just help SAP consultants, but also SAP business users get the information they need to set up, run, and even integrate SAP Materials Management with other SAP logistics components.

Configuring Sales in SAP S/4HANA—Chris van Helfteren

Configuring Sales in SAP S/4HANA

ASUG: Can you give us an overview of your book?

Chris: My book describes the functionality and related configuration of SAP S/4HANA system features typically assigned to the order-to-cash workstream, commonly known as sales, distribution, and logistics execution modules. The book was written to be used as reference and training material for those that want to understand this portion of the systems from both functional and technical perspectives. It includes functionality that have been around for a while as well as the latest SAP S/4HANA functionality.

ASUG: How has your background prepared you to write this book?

Chris: I have been working with order-to-cash systems for the past 30 years. The book contains observations of how I’ve seen companies use these systems features over the years. This makes the book useful not only to learn how to use and configure the system, but also how to make critical design decisions.

ASUG: What do you hope readers get out of your book?

Chris: This is intended to help readers that want to become OTC consultants, people that work as an SAP S/4HANA systems users of any level, project and program managers, and recruiting partners and other systems resources. After reading the book, they would be equipped to not only take care of their own tasks more efficiently but also to communicate and achieve their teams’ goals quicker and more efficiently.

Clean ABAP—Rodrigo Jordão, Michel Martin, Kai Westerholz, Klaus Haeuptle, and Anagha Ravinarayan

Clean ABAP

ASUG: Can you give us an overview of your book?

Rodrigo: Clean ABAP is an opinionated take on developing ABAP code that is easy to read, understand, test, and maintain. It enables a development team to be agile in how it develops and responds to new and changing requirements and to scale in a fast-paced, cloud-first development environment.

Michel: The Clean ABAP book is a collection of best practices and their rationales in order to spread not only the “how” to do certain things, but also the “why?” Understanding the implications—even for small topics that are often deemed as “minor” but that truly have deep and long-term impacts—helps to get more people on board. We all know we need to learn from our own mistakes. However, as time is limited, we should also learn from the mistakes of others instead of figuring everything out on our own over and over.

Kai: Clean code is not new, but with the book, we wanted to bring a shared understanding on how clean code looks for ABAP. At the same time, we did not want to print just a list of rules and say that if you follow all of them, you get Clean ABAP. We want to add the crucial part: how to apply these concepts as a team. This might lead to a different set of rules for your team, because in your setup, maybe it is not ideal to start with the complete set as it can be overwhelming. When reading through the book, it should be clear that each additional rule that can be applied brings a benefit and maybe not all rules make sense in your environment. The goal is to make your code readable, maintainable, and testable, and the given rules support this, but in the end, there might be a new or adapted version of them that’s best for you.

Klaus: We also had the goal of having a shared understanding among the ABAP development community of what clean code is for ABAP, and how to learn and practice it as a team.

Anagha: Clean ABAP is a collection of what the ABAP community thinks the best practices of developing in ABAP should be. These best practices have been compiled and explained in detail in our book. It is a continuously evolving guide, bettering itself as more ABAP programmers work and find more readable, understandable, and testable coding practices.

ASUG: How has your background prepared you to write this book?

Rodrigo: For more than 20 years, I have been an advocate for all the pieces that are now part of clean ABAP. I’ve seen the difference they make in the wild, from maintainable and readable code, to automated testing, refactoring, and clarity of thinking in designing and implementing a software project.

Michel: While I spent most of my years doing architecture or development, I’ve played complementary roles (trainer, scrum and lean mentor, project manager), which gave me additional perspectives on the impact of code quality, which in turn affects the entire team or organization. I’ve always had a strong focus on quality, and this book was a chance to voice the reasons of such and such best practices. Some people only need to learn the rules, some people need to understand the rationale behind those rules, and the more perspectives we have, the more people we can reach and convince.

Kai: As a developer, I am working a lot with legacy code that was not written cleanly, and with that, I see how inefficient this work can be. For a few years now, I was not only concentrated on writing “clean ABAP” in the new objects I am creating, but also, I apply the concepts every time I am touching the legacy codebase. With the experience in combining the new and the legacy, and working with the team in a way that everyone can understand the code, I wrote this down in the book and I hope others can now leverage it.

Klaus: Clean code and similar practices were already part of my studies in application architecture and part of my work when I started at SAP. Later, parallel to my job as developer, I did a lot of trainings and coaching of many teams on agile software engineering practices, including test-driven development (TDD) and clean code. Besides, I drove many improvements via community activities, which helped to get the community around clean ABAP started. This helped to develop a shared understanding of what clean code is for ABAP.

Anagha: In my career as a developer, I’ve encountered many kinds of code. Anything from messy, unreadable, immutable code, to mediocre code, to clean and pristine, well-documented, self-explanatory, nearly bug-proof code. And I’m sure many developers can relate to this. This made me realize how the time and efforts of a fellow developer can be best preserved and put to better use, if everyone tried to write cleaner code.

ASUG: What do you hope readers get out of your book?

Rodrigo: Developers should come away with a bevy of tools and ideas that will improve their work, make them more agile, and help them deliver faster and better code!

Michel: I am sure there are a lot of developers out there that have felt the same pain as us, for instance, having to work with bad or ugly code. Every developer I met expressed negative emotions about working with bad code. However, this tends to stagnate as people feel hopeless: “Why should I change if no one else will follow?” When we collectively decide it’s enough, we can all together produce better code and improve legacy code, using the campsite rule, where we all leave it cleaner than we found it. With this, I hope that one day, there will be an entire generation of developers who could say they never saw bad or ugly code. Even if it is a high goal, we should remember the quote “shoot for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Kai: I think most of our readers are confronted with at least some legacy code that is not written in a clean manner. I hope that our readers learn how they can write new code cleaner, and also that legacy code can be improved iteratively by applying the concepts each time code is touched. In the beginning, the task can feel overwhelming, but our readers should know that not all our points need to be used at once. Pick the ones that fit best, and grow and learn by using them more and more and encouraging your colleagues as well. In the end, get your whole team on board!

Klaus: We want readers to learn how to write clean code for ABAP as a team, with a focus on readable, maintainable, and testable code.

Anagha: I hope our readers put what they read into practice and develop a habit of writing clean ABAP code. And that they’ll spread the word so that their entire team can write clean code.

SAP S/4HANA Architecture—Thomas Saueressig, Tobias Stein, Jochen Boeder, and Wolfram Kleis

SAP S/4HANA Architecture

ASUG: Can you give us an overview of your book?

Authors: The book describes the architecture of SAP S/4HANA in three parts. The first part of the book introduces the architecture challenges of modern ERP software and describes the technical foundation of SAP S/4HANA.

It gives an overview of topics such as the virtual data model, the ABAP RESTful application programming model, analytics, extensibility, integration, and machine learning. The second part is about the business-level architecture of the core applications of SAP S/4HANA, for example, finance, sales, procurement, and logistics and manufacturing. This part explains the building blocks of the different applications and how they communicate and interact. The main functions, business objects, and data flows are explained and visualized with architecture diagrams.

The third part of the book focuses on SAP S/4HANA Cloud. It describes the specific architecture concepts designed to achieve the expected cloud qualities and outlines several aspects of operating SAP S/4HANA Cloud. This includes, for example, scoping and configuration, simplified identity and access management, printing from the cloud, multi-tenancy, cloud security, and compliance.

ASUG: How has your background prepared you to write this book?

Authors: The chapters of the book were written by more than 60 experts from the SAP S/4HANA development organization, including managers, architects, developers, and product owners.

The editors Thomas, Tobias, Jochen, and Wolfram have deep experience in SAP S/4HANA, SAP ERP, and SAP technology as executives or software architects.

ASUG: What do you hope readers get out of your book?

Authors: The goal of the book is to give you a solid conceptual understanding of SAP S/4HANA architecture, including its main components with their functions, data, and interactions.

You get a holistic technical overview of the SAP S/4HANA technology from different angles, including architecture principles, technical foundation, applications, and cloud operations.

With this conceptual understanding, you can make better technical decisions, and you get a great starting point for further learning and exploring the different components.

Learn more about other SAP Press books here. 

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