example: NetWeaver inbox with Axel Angeli

Have a quick question? We have a quick answer! 'Guest Name' joins us for this installment of SearchSAP.com's guest expert inbox.

John -- Auburndale, MA:
NetWeaver in a nutshell -- how would you describe it?

Axel Angeli:
In a nutshell, NetWeaver is the common brand name for all the SAP products that follow the SAP R/3 ERP software. NetWeaver delivers two completely independent (and incompatible) development frameworks. The SAP ABAP engine and the SAP WebDynpro J2EE engine.

John -- Needham, MA:
What is the future of NetWeaver?

Axel Angeli:
NetWeaver is SAP's next generation of software where it definitely goes the road of the Service Oriented Enterprise. Currently, most Netweaver products apart from the R/3 line are still somehow immature but they are rapidly improving.

John -- Waltham, MA:
How do IDoc vs. BDC vs. BAPI compare from a performance perspective?

Axel Angeli:
IDocs are a universal transport format to exchange data between SAP and external systems. When you process an IDoc, the data is unpacked from the IDoc by stripping the IDoc wrapper, like you take the gifts out of an envelope. Then the data is processed in a conservative way either via BDC, BAPI or some home-made coding.

John -- Dedham, MA:
Do I need to write my own handler for inbound processing of a quotes IDoc?

Axel Angeli:
Generally, if there is no processing routine in the standard, you can write your own handler. The whole IDoc system is designed to be extended. All you need to do is write a function module that does the booking (maybe through a simple call transaction) and introduce it into the IDoc customizing.

John -- Cambridge, MA:
How do I go about converting IDocs to XML?

Axel Angeli:
ANSI X.12 850 is a purchase order, and ANSI X.12 855 is the corresponding acknowledgement. Both are usually described in SAP as on ORDERS01 (ORDES02, ORDERS03) IDoc type.

John -- Newton, MA:
Can XI be used in BW to load Excel flat files?

Axel Angeli:
Yes, it could. But it is not designed to do this. The easiest way to load a flat file is to use the GUI_UPLOAD function or the MULTIPART MIME feature of the BSP (HTMLB:file). XI should be used if and only if all data exchange traffic is routed through the middleware.

John --Watertown, MA:
How does the data actually move from SAP to the IDoc?

Axel Angeli:
The link between the message and IDoc is defined via the process code in the partner profile WE20. Whenever the NAST message is processed it will make a call to ALE_PROCESSING in program RSNASTED or EDI_PROCESSING in program RSNASTED, which does the job for you and eventually will call the function module that fills the data hive.

John -- Winchester, MA:
How can I learn more about BAPIs and IDocs?

Axel Angeli:
Everything is documented in transactions BAPI and WE60 or on the web under ifr.sap.com. If you want to know how it works, have a look at "SAP R3 Guide to EDI and Interfaces" or check out logosworld.com.

John -- Brookline, MA:
How can I learn about RFC libraries for Windows?

Axel Angeli:
There are libraries provided by SAP, such as the .NET connector, used as the interface layer. For older applications there was the DCOM connector. The libraries are provided with the SAPGUI in the RFCSDK directory (librfc32.dll, wdtlog.ocx, wdtfunc.ocx (wd*.ocx).

John -- Lexington, MA:
Can you provide a guide for transferring sales orders from one system to another via ALE?

Axel Angeli:
There are mainly two ways to transfer sales orders via RFC to another R/3 system: Calling the BAPI_SALESORDER_CREATEFROMDAT2 via RFC in the destination system and preparing an IDoc and sending the IDoc to the destination.

John -- Chelsea, MA:
We're being pushed towards SAP XI -- why?

Axel Angeli:
If you already have a middleware, there is no explicit reason to use XI instead.

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