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Classic Objects in ABAP Dictionary

The classic objects in ABAP Dictionary are created and edited using the tool of the same name in ABAP Workbench. ABAP Dictionary is accessed centrally using the transaction SE11, but the tool for a particular dictionary object can also be opened using forward navigation.

The most important classic objects in ABAP Dictionary are:

ABAP Dictionary can handle the following standalone data types:
  • Data elements

    Elementary data types or reference types with semantic properties (such as documentation or descriptions). The type attributes of a data element are defined either directly or using a domain.

    A domain describes the attributes of data elements, such as the actual data type or the value range. A domain can be used by any number of data elements, but a data element does not itself need to use a domain. In other repository objects, most specifically ABAP programs, it is not possible to make a direct reference to a domain.
  • Structures

    Complex types that can comprise any other number of data types.
  • Table types

    Complex types that describe internal tables in ABAP. These should not be confused with database tables that describe tables in the database.
The data types in ABAP Dictionary are used in ABAP as reference objects for interface parameters and data objects which can be referenced in common by all repository objects.
A table (not to be confused with table type) is an object in ABAP Dictionary that designates a database table. As far as its data type is concerned, a database table is a flat structure for which further technical attributes of the database table can be defined alongside the type attributes. The physical database table is created when a table is activated on the database. An ABAP program handles a database table both as a structure and and as a database table. This means that the table can be used as a template for structured data objects and also accessed using Open SQL.
A view is a grouping of columns in one or more database tables in accordance with an application-specific view. When multiple tables are joined, a view usually implements a join with statically defined join conditions. The columns of a view make a flat structure that can be used as a data type. In Open SQL, a view can usually be used as a database table. An exception to this are the special maintenance views and help views.
A lock object is used as a basis for SAP locks. Lock objects specify database tables associated using foreign key relationships and to which a shared lock applies. When a lock object is created, two lock function modules are generated automatically for use in ABAP programs.
A search help uses a combination of structure components, data elements, and check tables plus assigned data to find values without the user needing to enter the exact value in question.

Like ABAP programs, dictionary objects must be activated before they can be used. Once activated, new or modified definitions are available directly for all other repository objects. If an existing dictionary object is changed, the repository objects that use it work with the previous active version until the modified dictionary object is activated. A dictionary object can only be deleted once all objects that use it have been removed.

When existing dictionary objects used by other objects are activated, most of the dependencies in question are respected. The used objects can be activated only if the dependent objects can be activated. When an object in ABAP Dictionary is activated, a runtime object is usually created and an activation log that can be consulted if errors occur. The runtime object can be displayed and checked in ABAP Dictionary by choosing Utilities → Runtime Object.

This documentation describes the classic type definitions in ABAP Dictionary and how they interact with the ABAP programming language. More information about lock objects and search helps and about the tools used to edit objects in ABAP Dictionary can be found in the documentation ABAP Dictionary in SAP Help Portal

Other versions: 7.31 | 7.40 | 7.54


  • If existing dictionary objects used to define database tables are changed, it may be necessary to convert these tables. This can be a very lengthy process for tables with a large number of rows. Furthermore, foreign keys in the converted tables can become inconsistent. A where-used list should be created before dictionary objects such as data elements or domains are changed.

  • GUI technologies such as classic dynpros or Web Dynpro are closely integrated with ABAP Dictionary. This has special relevance for input checks and for field helps and input helps on input fields. If the data type of an input field is declared using a type from ABAP Dictionary, the documentation of the data elements is used implicitly as the F1 help. Fixed values from domains, check tables (foreign keys), and search helps can all be used for the F4 help. The valid input values can be fixed using the value range of a domain. Any changes to existing dictionary objects that are used directly or indirectly on UIs can, in the worst cases, modify the behavior of the UIs to the extent that they become unusable.


Data Types

Database Tables