SAP R/3 up to 4.6C: The Basis Software SAP BASIS

Up to SAP R/3 release 4.6C, that is, right before R/3 Enterprise, the R/3 Basis software is the set of programs and tools that interfaces with the computer operating system, the underlying database, the communication protocols, and the presentation interfaces. This software enables the R/3 applications (FI, CO, SD, etc.) to have the same functionality and work exactly the same way no matter what operating system or database the system is installed on. The R/3 basis software is an independent layer that guarantees the integration of all application modules.

When referring to the basis software in this sense, it was generally known as the R/3 common kernel or even the R/3 middleware. Kernel and middleware have become generic computing terms that are widely used: kernel usually refers to the core or nucleus of a system; middleware means a set of programs that allows an independent interface between an upper layer and a lower layer (it stands in the middle). Often these terms are also referred to as the R/3 basis system or simply R/3 basis, both of which have a broader meaning. Besides the interfaces with the other system elements such as the operating system, database, network, and user interface, the tools and components of R/3 Basis provide the following:

  • The environment for the applications that are built based on the ABAP development workbench and the ABAP repository, which includes the ABAP data dictionary (centralized logical repository with all the business and system data). This environment is closely linked to the transport system and transport organizer to facilitate the modification and enhancement of the system and the integration of new developments across SAP systems within, a SAP system group.
  • System administration and monitoring tools, including a common printing system and a complex and comprehensive set of management transactions within the CCMS (computer center management system), which is used to monitor, tune, and control the SAP R/3 systems.
  • Architectural software client/server design, which permits system growth both vertically and horizontally and allows the distribution of available resources.
  • Authorization and profile management tools, which take care of user management and internal access control to system and business objects.
  • Database monitoring and administration utilities.
  • Support for Internet protocols and server-side scripting in ABAP and JavaScript, enabling easy building of online stores and portals using Business Server Pages (BSPs).

These SAP R/3 basis topics are covered in greater detail in the following chapters. The following sections in this chapter discuss the central interfaces and the client/server architecture, which is still the technological foundation for the SAP Web Application Server. The SAP R/3 middleware uses common APIs (application program interfaces) and has the function of interfacing with the underlying operating system, the database, the communication protocols, and the graphical user interfaces (GUIs). The features of the SAP R/3 basis system that enable these types of interfaces are as follows:

• The client/server architecture and configuration
• The use of relational database management systems
• Graphical user interface design for presentation

The Web AS system is based on standards: ANSI-C and C for the programming of the runtime environment, Open SQL for embedded SQL calls inside ABAP for interfacing with the database, communication standards such as TCP/IP, and standard graphical interfaces such as Microsoft Windows.

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