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With Java development experience, should I go into SAP XI?

Are you a Java/J2EE developer interested in SAP? This expert tip lists the most relevant SAP modules and technologies for you.

I have been a Java/J2EE developer for over seven years. People have suggested that I learn enterprise portal (EP), but I want to learn something that's strong in the market. What is a good SAP module for me to learn? How about (business intelligence) BI or XI? I know XI is used to interface with either Java/ABAP adapters. Is XI doing well in the market? How about the future of these technologies -- BI/XI/EP? Which of these will be hot in the future?
Over the past five years, SAP has been moving towards a more integrated view of Java and Enterprise Java within the SAP landscape. What started out as standalone, connector-based tools such as Java Connector (JCO) have become more tightly integrated within the SAP application server itself.

With NetWeaver 7.1 and JCO 3.0, SAP has completely integrated Java connectivity within the SAP Web Application Server. As such, knowledge of standalone JCO clients has become less valuable. However, there remains a great deal of work within specific SAP technology stacks. If you are more interested in Web applications and user-facing development, check out WebDynpro for Java or simply the NetWeaver Portal development toolkit provided with NetWeaver Developer Studio.

If you are interested in middleware connectivity, connecting SAP to non-SAP systems, or more broadly the enterprise service bus (service-oriented architecture (SOA)), then focus on SAP XI. XI provides XML-based communication between disparate systems, with JCO as the underlying Java communications connector.

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