Version Management in the ABAP Dictionary in Software

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Version Management in the ABAP Dictionary
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In the SAP R/3 development environment in general, as well as in the dictionary, new objects are defined and created as they are needed. The new objects are created under particular circumstances and development necessities, but, as time goes by, circumstances and needs can vary and changes are needed. When these situations occur, you can decide to delete those objects and recreate them in case the original would be too different or too difficult to adapt, or you can modify the existing ones. Modifying dictionary objects generates new object versions. These modifications should not be confused with adding, deleting, or updating table entries, but are dictionary object definitions, such as the number and type of table fields, secondary tables for aggregate objects, different or new fields for matchcode IDs, and so forth. When dictionary objects are associated with a development class other than the local, temporary one ($TMP), as objects are modified, the R/3 system keeps all the versions for the object as they are being defined and saved. These functions are handled by the dictionary version management utilities. With these utilities, developers compare old versions with the current one and can even reactivate an older version. For example, assume that a table structure has been modified and then the table has been activated. After activation the table becomes active in the runtime, and a program which was using that table suddenly stops working correctly. Using version management utilities, you can quickly recover the previous version which was working correctly, until you find a solution for the situation.
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The Versions Catalog An additional advantage of version management is that it keeps a historical record of the objects and developments. Version management allows for modifying existing objects without activating them in the runtime: only one object version can be active, and the version management system creates a temporary version when modifying objects, which does not affect the actual system operation. The SAP R/3 version management system distinguishes three types of versions: Versions in the dictionary from the point of view of the object status Temporary versions generated during the development process Historical versions, which are being kept as objects, are being modified, and the corresponding corrections released You can access these versions and manage them from the functions available under the Version management menu. From the point of view of the object status, in the ABAP dictionary, objects can have the following versions (status): New, for objects which are created from scratch and have not yet been activated Revised, indicates that an object has been modified after being previously activated Active, for the objects which have been activated and which are fully operational in the runtime system. Partially active, when objects could not have been fully activated, normally because errors occurred in dependent objects An additional status is also possible in the case of matchcode IDs: the deactivated status. This status means that the deactivated matchcode ID will not be used in the search within the matchcode object. This status is manually set by the users when the ID doesn't seem to be used, but they don't want to delete it. These object versions are shown in the status field on the objects maintenance or display screens.
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The Versions Catalog
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The versions catalog is the name assigned by SAP to the functions available under the Utilities Version management menu, which is available from any of the object display or maintenance screens. Figure 8 28 shows an example of the versions screen.
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The Versions Catalog Figure 8 28: The version catalog screen. The version catalog displays all the existing versions for a particular object, including temporary and historical versions, if there are any other than the active or revised one. As you can see by looking at the application toolbar as shown in Fig. 8 28, when in the version catalog, users can display, compare, and retrieve any of the object versions. From this menu, old versions can even be reactivated, although this can generate some activation problems if dependent objects have also been modified or no longer exist. Figure 8 29 shows a simple example of versions comparison. In this case, no changes appear in the general attributes for the table; however, there was a new field in the new version which could be seen if the screen was scrolled down. The figure shows the Full display comparison.
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Figure 8 29: Full display versions comparison. But you can more conveniently display the changes between the objects by selecting Delta Display from the application toolbar. Finally there is also a Parallel Display option in which both object versions are displayed next to each other. The version catalog can even compare versions in other R/3 systems by clicking on the REMOTE compare push button on the application toolbar or by selecting Versions REMOTE compare from the menu. The system requires you to enter the name of the remote R/3 system which must be connected and accessible from your local system. To retrieve an old version as an active version, you have to access the particular object in maintenance mode. Then, access the version catalog selecting Utilities Version management. Select the version you want to set back as an active version by clicking the check box to the left, and then click on the Retrieve push button on the application toolbar. The system displays a dialog box that displays a message indicating that the version retrieved will be set as a new revised version. If you click on the Yes button to confirm the operation, the object still needs to be activated before becoming the actual active version. If you retrieve an old version, and right away call the version catalog again, you will now see this new version as a modified one.
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