This post is part of the Exodus series created after the announced closure of the SAP Cloud Platform trial service, in the NEO environment:
But why look for an alternative to Business Application Studio (BAS) when it is the option recommended by SAP?
Although I still have options to explore within BAS, the truth is that it is a very good environment. Efficient, modern, open, free … What more could you ask for?
Well, all that glitters is not gold. The main reason for looking for an alternative is not the development environment itself, but the general conditions of the Cloud Foundry environment from SAP Cloud Platform.
To begin with, the account is deactivated every 30 days and you can extend it up to 90 days. From there, although you can create it again, you have to reconfigure everything each time.
Hey, you can live with it. Simply have the code in git repositories and re-clone them once a month. Basic account setup to use BAS is only 5 minutes. But I do not like it and it doesn’t give me any confidence.
Then the Business Application Studio service already has other restrictions that you could also live with but that I don’t like at all. You can only have two Workspaces and only one active at a time. Also if there is no activity in 4 hours the Workspace will stop.
Wow… how generous…
Visual Studio Code
For me this is the alternative: Visual Studio Code.
Como probablemente sepas, el servicio BAS está basado en Visual Studio Code (VS Code). As you probably know, the BAS service is based on Visual Studio Code (VS Code). Maybe I am not being very precise but the Business Application Studio is basically a virtual machine in the cloud with vitaminized Visual Studio Code and below Node, Git and the rest of the basic utilities necessary to function as an independent server.
Visual Studio Code is Microsoft’s development environment. Maybe this is not a very cool brand nowadays but do not fool yourself. Microsoft is not the stale company of the 90s that devoured its competitors with a checkbook or with laws. Today this company is approaching Open Source and is betting heavily on developers. But what makes Visual Studio Code the best development environment on the market is not just the amount of money Microsoft is putting in there. What really makes the difference is the ecosystem that has been created around it..
It is clear, right? For me the decision is obvious if I have to choose between a restricted VS Code in the cloud and a local VS Code where I command.
Advantages? Being a local program where you have full control over the software and the environment. Speed is also an advantage. On any decent computer the performance is considerably better than the cloud service. Although things are getting better, the platform’s cockpit and many of its services have never stood out for their speed or stability. You also get out of the way the SAP Cloud Connector.
It might seem like an inconvenience to have to install and configure everything yourself, but the reality is that the BAS service is almost empty. You also have to configure it.
The main disadvantage is that SAP is not officially supporting any local IDEs, so you will have to handle it on your own. You will find some notes in the SAP help and some articles, but there is much less information. I really mean much less information.
On the other hand, you don’t have to worry too much. Everything that is done in BAS adapts quickly to VS Code. You have to consider that all the manuals, tutorials, etc. are not going to help you. You’re going to have to try a little harder. But I think it may be worth it. It is the price to pay for the power that the dark side gives you.
Visual Studio Code by professional profiles
Regarding the choice of VS Code. We are going to review the options for each professional profile within SAP.
If you are a Fiori/SAPUI5 developer everything said above does it’s ok, we remain with VS Code.
Let’s look at it from the point of view of an ABAPper. It is foreseen that, in the future, ABAP can be done in BAS but it is not known when or how much it can be done. I doubt they can win the battle against Eclipse any time soon.
On the other hand, there is already a decent integration of Abap with VS Code so here the local wins out. However, it is a limited integration.
If you are a front end user and you want to check things from the back end then VS Code is great. You have access to all SAP File Systems and you can consult and modify all objects.
But you are an ABAP or really Full-Stack developer, this integration falls short. Eclipse has so many more options that you can’t give up. You will have to live with VS Code + Eclipse.
With the reverse analysis, if you’re an Abap consultant, you may only want to consulate the SAPUI5 part or do minor maintenance. So you can just live with Eclipse and have the SAPUI5 repositories replicated right there. You don’t need another editor. But remember that Eclipse is no longer a valid development environment for SAPUI5. It is officially discontinued and lacks all the benefits of Fiori Elements including the guided developments of the Fiori Tools.
What if you are a HANA developer? Here the scenario is even more uncertain, it will depend on where you are doing your HANA applications. If you are on HANA Platform (local or cloud) you will have to continue for the moment with the SAP Web IDE Full-Stack, the administration from Eclipse… and be attentive to see what happens. If you are using the Cloud Foundry HANA service there you can choose between BAS and VS Code. Crazy.
As a full-stack developer the best option I see is to move to Visual Studio Code. Although of course the rest of the environments cannot be neglected.
In the next posts we will see how to configure your work environment and then we will see how to bring a project from SAP WebIDE Full-Stack to Visual Studio Code end-to-end. How to migrate, adapt, test and deploy it to an on-premise system.
I’ve sweated blood but it’s under control.