Tables, views and types (data elements, structures and table types) have runtime objects that contain the information about the object that is relevant for ABAP programs or screens. The runtime object (nametab) is generated the first time an object is activated and subsequently adjusted to the most recent version of the object each time it is activated thereafter. The runtime objects are buffered so that ABAP programs and screens can access the information relevant to them quickly.
Time stamps are used to ensure that ABAP programs and screens always access the most up-to-date information. When an object is activated in the ABAP Dictionary, the time stamp of the runtime object and the time stamp of all programs and screens that use this object are adjusted. However, the time stamp of dependent programs and screens is only adjusted if there was a change relevant for programs or screens during activation.
The next time the program or screen is called, the time stamps can be compared to determine whether the program or screen can be executed directly or must be regenerated. This avoids unnecessary generating, and several consecutive changes to an object can be made in a single generating step.
In the maintenance screen of a table, view or type (data element, structure, table type), you can display the corresponding runtime object with Utilities → Runtime object → Display. Choose for explanations about the displayed information.