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. Runtime objects are subsequently adjusted to the most recent version of the objects each time these objects are activated thereafter. The runtime objects are buffered so that ABAP programs and screens can quickly access the information relevant to them.
Time stamps are used to ensure that ABAP programs and screens 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.
The time stamp of dependent programs and screens is adjusted only if there was a change relevant to 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. The figure below explains this process in detail.
To display the corresponding runtime object, go to the maintenance screen of the appropriate dictionary object (table, view or type, data element, structure, table type) and then choose Utilities → Runtime object → Display. Choose with the quick info text Information for explanations about the information that is displayed.