What's All the Excitement Over XML in BW?

  • by Ned Falk, Senior Education Consultant, SAP
  • November 1, 2004
Does your head spin when you encounter terms like HTML, XML, and XML/A? This XML overview will get you through the alphabet soup and provide a solid foundation for future learning on this increasingly popular markup language. It also highlights how XML facilitates various features and functions in BW.
Key Concept
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a flexible markup language that forms the basis of many languages used widely for data transfer over the Internet. It is generically a highly used tool set that is intertwined in all areas of BW. XML supports metadata and enables improved Java scripting in BW templates and is used in other areas throughout BW.

Since its introduction in the 1990s, XML — or Extensible Markup Language — has become one of the most prominent languages on the Internet. Like Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), XML is based on the original Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), which uses embedded tags and attributes to structure an electronic document. Unlike HTML, which is restricted to a list of tags that can be identified and read by HTML-compliant browsers, XML is much more flexible and capable of working with an almost infinite number of tags.

Because the XML tag set is almost unlimited, tags are defined for specific purposes that go well beyond text formatting. With HTML tags like and, definitions must be more rigid so Web browsers like Internet Explorer will know how to properly set up tagged text and display it to the end user. For XML-based languages, agreements are made between interested parties as to how an XML processor should interpret tags in XML-based documents and decode the data on the page. For example, a group of cooks who share recipes using XML may agree that information contained in the tag set is a component of a recipe.

You and your BW team need to understand the capabilities of XML because of the expanding role it plays in BW and across the SAP landscape. SAP has identified XML as an important vehicle for moving information and uses it to accomplish various data exchange tasks within BW and elsewhere in SAP’s product offerings. The NetWeaver platform has tightly integrated XML with its native support for many Web services and its XML-enabled Exchange Infrastructure (XI).

Ned Falk

Ned Falk is a senior education consultant at SAP. In prior positions, he implemented many ERP solutions, including SAP R/3. While at SAP, he initially focused on logistics. Now he focuses on SAP HANA, SAP BW (formerly SAP NetWeaver BW), SAP CRM, and the integration of SAP BW and SAP BusinessObjects tools. You can meet him in person when he teaches SAP HANA, SAP BW, or SAP CRM classes from the Atlanta SAP office, or in a virtual training class over the web. If you need an SAP education plan for SAP HANA, SAP BW, BusinessObjects, or SAP CRM, you may contact Ned via email.

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