Sapphire: A new breed of SAP applications

SAP has launched a suite of products, Web services middleware and a cross-platform user interface under the MySAP Technology...

SAP has launched a suite of products, Web services middleware and a cross-platform user interface under the MySAP Technology umbrella as it fleshes out its strategy for business process integration

Along with a host of product announcements at the Sapphire annual conference in Orlando, SAP unveiled new technology called Web Dynpro, designed to bridge the gap between its ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming) environment, J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition) and Microsoft .net.

Hasso Plattner, co-chairman and chief executive officer of SAP, described the Web Dynpro as a "technology cornerstone and Web services foundation" for the company.

Web Dynpro
The Web Dynpro technology is designed to create professional and easy-to-use interfaces for SAP applications. It comprises two parts: a design time and a run-time environment. The company positions the design-time environment as a tool to help developers model and create user interfaces that can run on any supported platform or via a Web browser. SAP claims the Web Dynpro technology will bridge the gap between J2EE (Java 2 Enterprise Edition), ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming), and Microsoft .net.

Cross applications
SAP also announced the first shipment of its Web Application Server, which will include the Web Dynpro module for J2EE and ABAP. The server runs web services using a new technology from SAP called cross applications (xApps).

The xApps technology provides a component-based, collaborative environment designed to connect both SAP and non-SAP applications

Plattner said, "With the xApps, we want to start a new generation of applications sitting on top of other applications." The aim is to build on business processes and information within existing IT systems rather than creating a new application from scratch to serve a new business function.

SAP Exchange
During Sapphire, Plattner also presented the company's new exchange technology, which he said should be the underpinning for business process integration. The SAP Exchange Infrastructure, based on the newest release of the SAP Web application Server, uses XML messaging for process integration to connect any component from any vendor or any technology.

A primary capability of the SAP Exchange Infrastructure is a repository of information required to create and modify collaboration across a heterogonous application and system portfolio.

Business One
Business One is another product announced at Sapphire. Designed for small and medium-sized businesses with up to 250 users, Business One is designed to provide accounting, logistics, sales force automation, and business reporting functions.

Plattner said that by integrating information from SAP Business One with, businesses can achieve greater control and information flow with subsidiaries.

"This is software that can be installed in remote locations. It rolls up all the information to the net higher regional or headquarters," Plattner added.

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