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Choosing adapters for an SAP SOA landscape

When should we choose SOAP, RFC and HTTP adapters? What are the advantages of these three adapters in inbound and outbound?

When should we choose SOAP, RFC and HTTP adapters? Also, what are the major advantages of these three adapters in inbound and outbound?
All three adapters are designed for different communication protocols. You should first have a good understanding of the OSI-7-layer model (see Whatis.com for that).

SOAP, XMLRPC, REST, JSON, EDIFACT, ANSI.X12, IDOC or XMLRPC are data transport formats, i.e. they have been designed...

to pack data into a formal wrapper in order to send them over the networks.

HTTP, FTP, SMTP (email) and X400 are lower-level transport protocols that are designed to send data streams over a network.

RFC is a bit tricky, since it is primarily a data format like SOAP, but since it is proprietary to SAP, it uses the underlying CPIC transport format to exchange data.

The adapter to choose depends on the nature of the communication. If you want a peer-to-peer communication with SAP, you will continue to use RFC. But, if you have a non-SAP system, you may want to use SOAP or XMLRPC over HTTP instead, since most other computers understand HTTP and XMLRPC or SOAP, but not RFC. Therefore, in most cases, you have no choice, since the non-SAP systems dictate what protocol to use. RFC is slightly faster than the rest, but this does not play an important role nowadays.

If you want to have a future-safe SOA landscape, then you should communicate via HTTP and XMLRPC, REST or SOAP.

This was last published in July 2008

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