Making Sense of ABAP-Based Interface Technologies in the Modern IT Landscape

  • by James Wood, Founder and Principal Consultant, Bowdark Consulting
  • June 5, 2012
Survey modern ABAP-based interface technologies supported by SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP (AS ABAP). Look at the pros and cons of each technology and identify typical usage scenarios. Develop a decision table that can be used to determine when and where to apply specific interface technologies.
Key Concept

In the past several years, the SAP integration landscape has changed a great deal. As a result, many developers are having a difficult time determining when and where to apply a particular interface technology. This problem is compounded by the fact that there are a lot of myths out there regarding what technologies are nearing obsolescence.

In the not-so-distant past, SAP systems were fairly isolated from the outside world. In those days, if you wanted to get data into or out of an SAP system, you basically had one of two options: You could import or export a file, or you could implement a point-to-point interface using SAP’s proprietary Remote Function Call (RFC) protocol. However, since the advent of SAP NetWeaver technology in the early 2000s, there have been significant advances in the interfacing capabilities of SAP systems. While this increase in supported interface technologies is a good problem to have, the changes have come at such a rapid pace that many ABAP developers have had a difficult time determining when and where to apply specific interface technologies.

This article attempts to provide some clarity in this arena by surveying the various ABAP-based interface technologies that are supported in modern SAP NetWeaver Application Server ABAP (AS ABAP) systems. Along the way, I’ll identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of each technology, illustrating specific integration scenarios for which the use of a particular interface technology makes sense. The end goal is to derive a decision matrix that ABAP developers can use as a guide for selecting the right interface technology to suit a particular integration scenario. 

James Wood

James Wood is the founder and principal consultant of Bowdark Consulting, Inc., an SAP NetWeaver consulting and training organization. With more than 10 years of experience as a software engineer, James specializes in custom development in the areas of ABAP Objects, Java/J2EE, SAP NetWeaver Process Integration, and SAP NetWeaver Portal. Before starting Bowdark Consulting, Inc. in 2006, James was an SAP NetWeaver consultant for SAP America, Inc., and IBM Corporation, where he was involved in multiple SAP implementations. He holds a master’s degree in software engineering from Texas Tech University. He is also the author of Object-Oriented Programming with ABAP Objects (SAP PRESS, 2009), ABAP Cookbook (SAP PRESS, 2010), and SAP NetWeaver Process Integration: A Developer’s Guide (Bowdark Press, 2011). James is also a contributor to Advancing Your ABAP Skills, an anthology that holds a collection of articles recently published in SAP Professional Journal and BI Expert.

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