ABAP stands for Advanced Business Application Programming.  It is a programming language developed by SAP.  SAP is a German company that develops ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning System) systems.  These systems are used by companies to track all information related to the business integrating finance, sales, and materials data.  ABAP/4 is the programming language used for the thousand tiny embedded programs called transactions that make up the application.  The /4 means it is a fourth generation language.

SAP is very flexible, it can be used for specific business functions rather than the whole enterprise and can be modified for the companies specific needs.  Every SAP installation has its own specific configuration and set of functions.  The cost of customizing is that when upgraded every customization must be identified in the ABAP code and changes made.  This means upgrades are very costly.  Customization should be avoided for easier upgrades in the SAP software.

A work process connects with the database and has an ABAP language interpreter and processor.