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SAPJava APIJavaData Integrationadapters 8 Jul 2008 3:43 PM
SAP JCO Connector XAware support - Project requirements and design overview by jpmanson
I think that SAP connection support is something that XAware must have. While it is possible to connect to SAP through calls to SAP XI Web services using the SOAP connector, it is important to include the possibility of connecting with SAP JCO, which would connect directly to business objects, without passing through so many layers.

XAware is Data Integration Middleware provided under the Open Software Foundation approved GNU General Public License Version 2 GPLv2. People all over the world are using XAware technology for various projects and purposes. The main reasons for the popularity are:
  1. Benefits of Open Source software.
  2. XAware has an open architecture and Application Programming Interface (API)
  3. Solutions can be implemented in a short period of time
  4. Reusable integration solutions for message standards
Meanwhile the XAware Company has established a Sandbox environment for Community Members to start their development projects but moreover to enable knowledge transfer and share prebuilt transformation routines and connectors / adaptors.

The guidelines and procedures for contributing code to the core software are under development. These will include coding guidelines and standards, test and certification guidelines, contributor agreement required for developers wishing to contribute code to the project, acceptance criteria and procedures for the adoption into the core project.

The goal is to develop a new connector that will become available for the whole community. The preliminary functional requirements and technical design are described hereafter. You are welcome to join us in the development of the SAP Connector functionality or to comment on the preliminary requirements and design approach.

The benefits of Open Source software are:
  • Lower software licensing costs
  • Avoidance of proprietary lock-in
  • Compliance with accepted industry standards
  • High innovation speed
  • Freedom to study how the programs works and adapt it to your needs
  • Freedom to run the program

SAP BAPIs and Other RFMs
ABAP Function Modules can only be called from an external client if they are marked as RFC-enabled. R/3 contains several thousands of such RFC-enabled Function Modules (RFMs). Amongst them are the BAPIs. BAPIs are RFMs that follow additional rules and are defined as object type methods in SAP's Business Object Repository (BOR). (Use transaction codes BAPI and SE37 to investigate the metadata of the BAPIs and other RFMs in SAP. If you do not have access to an SAP system, or you want to look up interfaces in a different release, use the SAP Interface Repository)
The basis for all communication between SAP and external components (as well as for most communication between SAP components) is the Remote Function Call (RFC) protocol. BAPIs and RFMs can be called using SAP Java Connector (SAP JCO), which is a middleware component that enables the development of SAP-compatible components and applications in Java. SAP JCO supports communication with the SAP Server in both directions: inbound calls (Java calls ABAP) and outbound calls (ABAP calls Java).

JCO Overview
JCO is a high-performance, JNI-based middleware for SAP's Remote Function Call (RFC) protocol. JCO allows you to build both client and server applications. JCO works with any SAP system starting with 3.1H. JCO is available for Windows 32, Linux, and other platforms.
JCO's ability to use connection pooling makes it an ideal choice for web server applications that are clients of an SAP system, but you can also develop desktop applications.

User requirements
These lines describe the functionality to be provided and/or developed for SAP connection support in XAware.
  1. XAware must support the setup of a SAP connection, providing logon information. This information will be saved as a BizDriver.
  2. The user will be able to browse SAP business object repository, and then select any of the RFC-enabled function (BAPIs and RFMs).
  3. Once selected a function, XAware must support the retrieving of the function structure detail (input and output parameters, tables, data types, etc.).
  4. The wizard should allow to map the BizComponent input parameters with SAP function parameters.
  5. Like with other BizComponents, the wizard should allow the mapping of SAP function result with a defined output XML.
  6. SAP JCO Connector should be built under (commercial) open source conditions, meaning that it is reusable for all customers and users in the community
  7. The Project, project documentation and other artifacts should be made available through the XAware community site and forum.

Well, I hope you join to the project. The Wiki and the Forum has been created to start working with this project.
Comments are welcome.

Juan Pablo Manson

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