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How to connect SAP to retrieve data

How can you set up a test system to work on connecting SAP to retrieve data? Expert Austin Sincock offers some suggestions.

I want to learn about SAP NetWeaver, specifically how to connect to SAP to retrieve data. Does SAP have a test system available via the Web where I can make test JCO calls? Are there any mock objects that I can invoke to test the ability to receive data from SAP?
While SAP does not have a test system available to those of use who do not work directly for the company, you can set up your own free SAP application server, at home. Go to sap.com/shop and click the link for the SAP Knowledge Shop. There you will be able to order both Linux and Windows versions of the SAP application server. With this installed, you will be able to connect to SAP via JCO, build custom tables and RFC and leverage some cross-application components, like business partners, for test development.

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