Connectors SAP BASIS

This section includes a description of the main SAP connectors that can be used to communicate and integrate SAP systems with other SAP or non-SAP systems. Besides the options explained next, and in the context of the SAP NetWeaver integration platform, there is a new and advanced process integration tool, known as XI. For more information, refer to the corresponding section in Chapter.

SAP Business Connector

The SAP Business Connector, also known as SAP BC, allows for a high degree of automation and extends the business process to the Internet using nonproprietary standards. SAP BC is bidirectional, which means that we can invoke SAP objects, such as function modules, BAPIs, or IDOCS from external systems, and conversely we can use it from a SAP process to call a remote system's functions. These calls can be both synchronous and asynchronous.

SAP Marketplace Connector

SAP Marketplace Connector is a connectivity tool that allows the connection between SAP back-end systems with a SAP Marketplace, using standard Internet protocols. It can use IDOCs or xCBL as data format and HTTP (HTTPS/SSL) as communication protocol. This connector is being used less frequently because the SAP Marketplaces are being migrated or changed to others based on SAP Enterprise Portals (SAP EP).

SAP Java Connector

SAP Java Connector, known commonly as JCO, is a set of classes (Java packets) that allow us to connect Java applications with SAP systems. The API provided is simple to manage, with a high degree of flexibility and performance. The JCO is bidirectional like in the other types of connectors; that is, you can make calls from Java to ABAP programs, as well as from ABAP to Java.

SAP .Net Connector

SAP .Net Connector offers application developers accustomed to the Microsoft .NET framework architecture the possibility of invoking BAPIs and functional modules from any .NET programming language, such as C#, VB .NET and others. With this connector there is also the possibility of accessing or calling .NET Components from SAP systems.

SAP DCOM Connector

DCOM connector is a SAP development with support from Microsoft that enables the Windows COM world to access any BAPI or RFC-module in a SAP system. DCOM means Distributed COM, and it means you can also access objects remotely defined in another server. Since release 3.0 of the SAP Basis (R/3), ABAP can access COM objects from SAP. In this way ABAP has implemented instructions like CREATE OBJECT, SET/ GET PROPERTY, and CALL METHOD and the programmer can access Windows objects and invoke the methods with this. These instructions are executed through the SAP GUI; this means that the ABAP sends a RFC to the SAP GUI and the SAP GUI executes the COM method. The biggest problem with this method is that it needs a user interface to be executed; for example, it will not work in a batch program.

Since release 4.6D of the SAP Basis (before the SAP Web Application Server) the DCOM suite has a bidirectional interface and you can access COM objects from ABAP through a new component called COM4ABAP (COM for ABAP) that allows you to invoke COM objects without SAP GUI. In the last section of this chapter bidirectional DCOM will be presented. There are different ways to access a BAPI from the external SAP world. In the lower level you could use all the RFC available platforms, like RFC-API in DLL, C library in all the SAP-supported platforms including Windows, different UNIX and Linux, OS400 and OS/390, C++ library, or JAVA-RFC. In this level you can call directly the Function module that implements the BAPI.

But SAP supports also object-oriented programming and has implemented ActiveX controls, JAVA-BAPI, and also CORBA support in order to call BAPIs. You can use the ActiveX controls in VB or ASP or in any Windows object-oriented programming language. The ActiveX controls are also called SAP Automation, and it is a simple approach to start programming BAPIs from VB, for example. SAP Automation is included in the Desktop Development Kit option from SAP GUI installation and is also available for download from

If your preferred programming language is Java, you have also available a Java-BAPI (with the SAP GUI installation) and there are CORBA implementations for BAPI programming, such as Visual-Edge.In the Windows world you should choose between ActiveX and DCOM and .Net connector programming. ActiveX is a simple starting point, but if you need hundreds of connections to SAP, DCOM connector allows you the Microsoft Transaction Server, which defines pools of connections instead of a connection for a single user like the SAP Automation controls.

DCOM connector allows you to access the SAP objects like local objects in your programming environment. All the facilities in object-oriented programming languages like the Intellisense editor in VB, where you can see objects, select one and see the methods, and select one and see the properties, are available with the DCOM connector. With the optional use of Microsoft Transaction Server (MTS), DCOM connector enables you to define use the dispatching and queue possibilities of MTS.

The first thing that should be clear for you is that DCOM connector is a development environment, from which you can decide which SAP objects you want to use, and creates C code and compiles it for your developer later use. In the case of MTS DCOM connector creates MTS classes for you.

RFC Library

The RFC library offers yet another and one of the oldest interfaces to connect with SAP systems. This is the integration component that has been typically more used in SAP installations. The interface allows for performing calls to any RFC function available in a SAP system from an external system. We can also create a program that acts as an RFC server, which can be invoked from any SAP system or even from external applications. Many of the SAP connectors frequently use this library as the underlying platform for communication with the SAP systems.

SOAP Processor

The SOAP processor is an integral component in the SAP Web Application Server and provides all the required mechanisms in order to use the SOAP protocol to synchronize the accesses and the calls to RFC function modules that complies with the SOAP 1.1 standards. A Web Service browser can be used for the searching and generation of WSDL 1.1 descriptors. The SAP Web Application Server also provides a SOAP client API that represents the function modules that can be called synchronously using SOAP 1.1.

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