Can you tell us what in your opinion will be the main working area for Java developers inside the SAP environment? Will Java development be restricted to the webside only, or is changing client windows, or interfacing between SAP and other systems a possibility too?
SAP is in the process of adopting the full J2EE platform as an infrastructure play for SAP. While the obvious applications of this technology are the server side tools which allow developers to easily create Web applications (Java Server Pages, Servlets, etc.), J2EE can be used in a much wider scope.
Technologies like Enterprise JavaBeans (EJB) can be used to build transactional components that tie SAP and non-SAP systems together. An example would be building a link between table data contained within an external Oracle database with transactional data maintained by SAP. EJBs can be used to create two phase commits within the Oracle database so that any changes effected with SAP can be immediately replicated within the Oracle database. If a transaction within R/3 is not successful, those changes can be rolled back from the Oracle database so that the data between systems remains in sync.
Web services are also becoming more and more popular for transparent inter-system communications. A Web service is simply a published function that can be accessed through XML sent over HTTP (the Web server protocol). Look at standard Web service specifications such as SOAP (www.microsoft.com) to better understand how such a transaction could be published.
Ultimately, J2EE can be used to build a scalable, reliable infrastructure that allows communication between both internal and external (business partners, customers, etc.) SAP and non-SAP systems.
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