The newer releases starting with release 4.7 (R/3 Enterprise) have also support for HTTP that allows communication via SOAP, XMLRPC, REST or similar XML based communication; JSON and other lightweight protocols will do fine as well, but are not intrinsically supported.
Developer licenses can be obtained by SAP as part of the regular SAP license. So your company will most likely have the licenses already. For your personal use you can have Minisap system, look in www.sap.com/shop for the Mini Web Application Server (Webdynpro 6.40 or 6.20).
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