The “use simple types” approach (discarded!)

After a while of experience following this approach, considering also your comments here I discarded this approach for me. I leave the original text as it is in order to archive the discussion. 

As I promised in my last post, today I come back writing about my experiences with the “use simple types” approach I mentioned there.

The approach

  • Avoid references to DDIC types (i.e. structures, data elements, table types) as long as is it is not necessary. A necessity for a DDIC type reference could be:
    • A field shows up on the screen (conversion exits and labels are needed)
    • You are calling a function module and have to match the types used here
  • Use simple, base types for attributes, locals and parameters such as:
    • string
    • integer
    • date
    • time
    • float
    • abap_bool
    • string_table (in fact, this is a DDIC type, but it is very basic and very useful when working on arrays)
  • Use range of strings in case of the need of selection ranges. Put a type definition for this in some central class of your code base. DB selections will work fine with this
  • Use clear, descriptive names for the variables in order to not create confusion about their semantics


When I first thought of this, I was afraid, I missed something and the approach could bring more harms than blessings. So I decided to “try it out” for a while.

After having created a number of applications following the approach, I must say that it comes in very handy. I’d like to share some snippets:

    methods pbo.

    methods set_conf_number
      importing in type string.

    methods set_work_station
      importing in type string.

    methods set_test_purpose
      importing in type string.

    methods set_remarks
      importing in type string.

    methods exit_command
      importing in type string.

    methods user_command
      importing in type string.

This is part of the declaration of a front end class that communicates with a function group that carries a dynpro. Imagine how easy it was to create those declarations using copy and paste!

The dynpro logic calls those methods on each event that happens on it:

module conf_number_input input.
  g_controller->set_conf_number( conv #( zst_pp39_qcheck_strip_screen-conf_number ) ).

module work_station_input input.
  g_controller->set_work_station( conv #( zst_pp39_qcheck_strip_screen-work_station ) ).

module test_purpose_input input.
  g_controller->set_test_purpose( conv #( zst_pp39_qcheck_strip_screen-test_purpose ) ).

module remarks_input input.
  g_controller->set_remarks( conv #( zst_pp39_qcheck_strip_screen-remark ) ).

module exit_0001 input.
  g_controller->exit_command( conv #( user_command ) ).

module user_command_0001 input.
  g_controller->user_command( conv #( user_command ) ).

Since I am on the front end representation layer here, all my data is typed by referring DDIC. So I have to do a conversion when passing them to my simple-typed class.

  private section.
    constants function_preview type string value '1'.
    constants function_print type string value '2'.
    constants info_structure_name type string value `ZST_PP39_CONFIRM_INFO`.
    constants work_station_parameter type memoryid value 'ZPP24_WSTAT'.
    constants confirm_number_parameter type memoryid value 'RCK'.
    constants info_value_width type i value 12.
    constants info_description_width type i value 30.

constants (and data) declarations are dominated by simple types. However, some ABAP statements (as for instance get parameter id) require non-string parameters so I had to make some exceptions to my rule.

* <SIGNATURE>---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
* +-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
* | [<-()] RESULT                         TYPE        ZST_PP39_QCHECK_STRIP_PRINT
* +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------</SIGNATURE>
  method fill_print_data.
    result =
      value #(
        order_id             = |{ order_operation-order_id alpha = out }|
        material_number      = zcl_ca03_conversions=>matn1_output( order_operation-material_number )
        work_center_id       = work_center_id
        work_center_text     = work_center_text
        material_description = material_description
        test_purpose_text    = test_purpose_text
        remark               = remark ).

This is a mapping method for a communication structure that is used in a smart form. Since the smart form is called via function module, I had to create a DDIC structure for the data that is to be printed. However, the fields of the structures are all simple strings (see below).

Note the conversions I do for the first two fields. For printing, I need the external representation. Here, one could say that using a DDIC field in the communication structure would have done the job of conversion (and I would agree – maybe I will change this).

class ZCL_PP39_QCHECK_STRIP_TYPES definition
  final abstract
  create public .

public section.
    begin of ty_order_operation,
      conf_number type string,
      order_id type string,
      activity type string,
      material_number type string,
      work_center_id type string,
    end of ty_order_operation.

This is a class where I declare complex types for use within the application. As you see, the components are all strings.

    select single
      afvc~rueck as conf_number,
      afvc~vornr as activity,
      afvc~arbid as work_center_id,
      afpo~aufnr as order_id,
      afpo~matnr as material_number
      from afvc join afko on afko~aufpl = afvc~aufpl
                join afpo on afpo~aufnr = afko~aufnr
      where afvc~rueck = @in
      into corresponding fields of @result.

Here we have a select that fills the structure declared above. Obviously the import parameter in is a string. Using into corresponding fields does the job of converting everything to strings.

    data confirm_info type zst_pp39_confirm_info.

This is a structure I use for screen output. Of course, every field in this structure has its DDIC type.


Coding in this way seems more lightweight to me. I like the easy way I can create new parts in my coding doubling a row or region and then changing the essential, while the type references are often identical (referring to a string).

To me, the code remains readable and clean. To understand the purpose of coding logic, normally it is sufficient to understand if I am dealing with a text, a flag or a number. The rest of the semantic comes with clear names.


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