Source Code Documentation: A Comparison of Javadoc and ABAP Doc

  • by Lukas M. Dietzsch, CEO, Blackvard Management Consulting, LLC
  • July 9, 2015
Proper and adequate source code documentation is essential for the effective maintenance of SAP software. Lukas Dietzsch describes the Javadoc and ABAP Doc documentation approaches. See a comparison of both source code documentation strategies, as well as the current functionality in SAP NetWeaver 7.40 and ABAP Doc’s automated documentation.

Learning Objectives

Reading this article you will learn:

  • The importance of adequate source code documentation
  • The main similarities and differences between Javadoc and ABAP Doc
  • How to automatically generate documents with Javadoc
  • How to automatically generate documents with ABAP Doc
  • The current functionality as of SAP NetWeaver 7.40 and ABAP Doc
Key Concept

Javadoc is an early Java language documentation generator used for generating Application Programming Interface (API) documentation in HTML format, using Java source code. Java is user friendly and uses various file editors that assist in creating a Javadoc source and allow for Javadoc information to be used as internal references for programmers. Javadoc HTML can also be auto-generated using common integrated development environment systems. ABAP Doc was created to improve the documentation features of the ABAP programming language. ABAP Doc is also user friendly and can be used to automatically create developer documentation using HTML statements and formatting options for ABAP source code development objects. ABAP Doc includes a set of unique keywords and can be used to write documentation directly within source code.

The source-code documentation of any software program is critical for its later maintenance and coding extensions, especially when it comes to documentation in SAP projects. Numerous tools are available to programmers for storing documentation, ranging from simple word processors to more sophisticated databases. Over time and after numerous program modifications, the documentation can sometimes become outdated and eventually rendered useless, resulting in some programmers wisely using the source code to safely store important information.

If this is the case, then why is proper SAP documentation so important? Picture this scenario—your SAP system went live a few months ago. You have completed the detailed and up-to-date source-code information for the SAP ABAP program. The first days and weeks after the go-live you focused on stabilization, meaning some hot fixes and bug fixes were required. Now some enhancements or modifications must be implemented in your source codes. However, currently the system is up and running and is stable.

This week a newer version of SAP is released (e.g., a Support Package or an entire platform upgrade) and your organization is scheduled to upgrade accordingly. Suddenly, you are not the only person required to access the important and up-to-date information. Coworkers, managers, system integrators, and even clients now require documentation to help assist them in customizing and modifying SAP applications and coding so that they can implement an installation and upgrade.

Lukas M. Dietzsch

Lukas M. Dietzsch is CEO at Blackvard Management Consulting, LLC. He holds an international master’s degree in information technology and is an experienced IT solution architect and project lead. He started software development with Java in 2001 and focused on SAP software development and architecture in 2007. He is SAP certified in various technologies and was involved in numerous global SAP rollouts with various SAP modules such as Logistics, ERP, SRM, MM, and FS-CM. Lukas has a proven expertise in adapting to requirements and processes in different industries and on various software platforms. Due to his knowledge and experience, Lukas frequently works as an SAP coach and trainer. You can follow him on Twitter #dietzslu.

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