SAP R/3 is probably one of most complex software systems ever. The current relase R/3 4.7 Enterprise Edtion consists of about 100 million lines of code whereas the last relase 4.6C consists "only" of about 70 million lines of code. Which means a growth in code and complexity of at least 30%. Flying to the moon with Apollo 14 only required 1 million lines of code. So, developing a integrated business software solution takes 100 times more code then flying to the moon.
Managing such a complex system is a real chalange for everybody dealing with R/3. For users as well as for developers and administrators.
In computer science, a technology called "Software Visualization" tries to manage systems of that complexity. In general, software systems doing Software Visualization could be found in modern CASE tools where e. g. you are not just able to create UML diagrams but also able to load C++ or JAVA source codes and create the class diagrams. Analytical systems for R/3 class systems and languages like ABAP are not known. There are a few tools handling COBOL which comes very close to ABAP but there is no software analysis system for ABAP.
Magellan Explorer is a system to do Software Analysis and Visualization for ABAP. Implemented in ABAP itself partly and connected to a visualization software Magellan Explorer could be completly integrated into R/3.
Development stated about 3 years ago. Design and implementation of the system took not that long but was always done during vacation and as a final thesis. Result of this thesis was a first working prototype. This prototype was extended and refurbished in the last few month so the results of the project could be published.
Developing Magellan Explorer as well as working with Magellan Explorer is more like research then developing. But we found out that this is not a fault of the system but something we called the R/3 phenomena. Its an integrated system and so everything might be connected.
Magellan Explorer is a approach to deal with such a complexity and the phenomena of Integration.
||SAP R/3 4.6C
||SAP R/3 4.7 Enterprise Edition
|Lines of Code
Lines of Code in sevela software projects during the last 40 years.
Click to enlarge