Interfacing with SAP in Java
Thomas G. Schuessler
Java is the language of choice for developing cross-platform Web applications. What is the best way to access SAP from a Web server?
This tip describes a new Java connector product from SAP that can be used in Web and other applications.
SAP has just released the first version of its new Java product, the "SAP Java Connector" (JCo). JCo is free for SAP customers and can be downloaded from http://service.sap.com/connectors.
This product is for you if the following conditions apply:
- You use Java;
- You want to build client and/or server components to be integrated with SAP.
For example, you could use the connector to build a Web interface to allow customers to enter sales orders directly.
JCo is the best choice for building SAP-enabled Java applications because of the following features:
- High-performance JNI-based RFC middleware;
- Supports R/3 3.1H and higher (and other mySAP.com components that have BAPIs or RFMs);
- Supports inbound (Java calls BAPI or RFM) and outbound (ABAP calls Java server) calls;
- Supports synchronous and transactional RFC (important for IDocs);
- Supports client pooling (good for Web/app servers);
- Multi-platform (first release: Windows 32 only, Unix in early 2001);
- Complete and correct code-page handling (multi-byte languages);
- Easy to install and deploy.
Javadoc, tutorials and sample programs are included in the download. SAP's CA926 training class has been updated to teach programming with JCo. You should contact the individual SAP country organizations for registration information. Classes are (at least) scheduled in Germany and the United States.
One word of caution: There are all sorts of bugs in JDK 1.3. I recommend that you do not use JDK 1.3 with JCo (or any other product for that matter) until Sun has released JDK 1.3.1, and we have verified that the problems have been fixed.
By the way: ARAsoft has just released the JCo version of its ARAsoft Java BAPI ObjectFactory, which encapsulates many difficult and cumbersome BAPI programming tasks. If you are interested in a trial version, please contact me at email@example.com.
Thomas G. Schuessler, a panelist for searchSAP's upcoming "Ask the Expert" feature, is the founder of ARAsoft, a company offering products, consulting, custom development, and training to a worldwide base of customers. The company specializes in integration between SAP and non-SAP components and applications. ARAsoft offers various products for BAPI-enabled programs on the Windows and Java platforms. These products facilitate the development of desktop and Internet applications that communicate with SAP.
Thomas is the author of SAP's CA925 "Developing BAPI-enabled Web Applications with Visual Basic" and CA926 "Developing BAPI-enabled Web Applications with Java" classes, which he teaches in Germany and in English-speaking countries. Thomas is a regularly featured speaker at SAP TechEd and SAPPHIRE conferences. Prior to founding ARAsoft in 1993, he worked at SAP AG and SAP America for seven years. Thomas can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at email@example.com.
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