ABAP Objects is a new concept in R/3 Release 4.0. The term has two meanings. On the one hand, it stands for the entire ABAP runtime environment. On the other hand, it represents the object-oriented extension of the ABAP language.
The Runtime Environment
The new name ABAP Objects for the entire ABAP runtime environment is an indication of the way in which SAP has, for some time, been moving towards object orientation, and of its commitment to pursuing this line further. The ABAP Workbench allows you to create R/3 Repository objects such as programs, authorization objects, lock objects, Customizing objects, and so on. Using function modules, you can encapsulate functions in separate programs with a defined interface. The Business Object Repository (BOR) allows you to create SAP Business Objects for internal and external use (DCOM/CORBA). Until now, object-oriented techniques have been used exclusively in system design, and have not been supported by the ABAP language.
The Object-Oriented Language Extension
ABAP Objects is a complete set of object-oriented statements that has been introduced into the ABAP language. This object-oriented extension of ABAP builds on the existing language, and is fully compatible with it. You can use ABAP Objects in existing programs, and can also use "conventional" ABAP in new ABAP Objects programs.
ABAP Objects supports object-oriented programming. Object orientation (OO), also know as the object-oriented paradigm, is a programming model that unites data and functions in objects. The rest of the ABAP language is primarily intended for structured programming, where data is stored in a structured form in database tables and function-oriented programs access and work with it.
The object-oriented enhancement of ABAP is based on the models of Java and C++. It is compatible with external object interfaces such as DCOM and CORBA. The implementation of object-oriented elements in the kernel of the ABAP language has considerably increased response times when you work with ABAP Objects. SAP Business Objects and GUI objects - already object-oriented themselves - will also profit from being incorporated in ABAP Objects.