SAP NetWeaver is the technology platform on which all applications run, from SAP Business Suite, SAP ERP, and SAP Customer Relationship Management through custom developments. As middleware, SAP NetWeaver ensures that the SAP software runs smoothly and enables developers to build their own applications. The platform comprises SAP NetWeaver Portal, SAP NetWeaver Mobile, SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment (SAP NetWeaver CE), and SAP NetWeaver Process Integration (SAP NetWeaver PI). For more information about SAP NetWeaver, you can also check out our article Integrating Third-Party Software into SAP.
Over the past few months, rumors that SAP plans to sideline SAP NetWeaver have been circulating, creating considerable uncertainty among customers about the future of SAP’s technology platform. But at TechEd 2010 in Berlin, CTO Vishal Sikka dispelled all doubts and presented SAP NetWeaver 7.3.
The new version is set to become available at the start of 2011 and provides a whole range of revised functions. For example, release 7.3 supports Java EE 5 as well as Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) for Java. The Java Message Service (JMS) is also new as a publish-and-subscribe function. Furthermore, SAP NetWeaver 7.3 supports WS Policy 1.2, SOAP 1.2, WS Trust 1.3, Java SE 6, JSR 168/286, WSRP 1.0, and SAML 1.0/2.0.
Evaluating data in real time
SAP NetWeaver 7.3 is well equipped for in-memory computing. The SAP High-Performance Analytic Appliance (SAP HANA) software enables rapid access to applications and supports different application areas such as analyses, performance, and management. Because the server runs parallel to the database, the data required becomes available even faster.
A particularly practical feature is that up to 40% more users can access the new version of SAP NetWeaver. Release 7.3 supports SAP Business Suite upgrades in the live system. This means that enhancement packages can be imported easily and with minimum downtime.
With the new version, SAP promises a number of improvements for employees working in the field of application development, particularly – but not exclusively – mobile applications. Microsoft Excel files can be integrated with the new version, too. Further collaboration functions are also available in the form of enterprise workspaces and Duet Enterprise software. This enables more people to work on one project at the same time.
And for operators of online shops: SAP NetWeaver PI can connect with PayPal X payment automation platform.
Read on: SAP NetWeaver 7.3 – What’s New
Enhanced Functions in Version 7.3
Developers who program their own applications based on SAP NetWeaver can enjoy enhanced functions with the new release of the technology platform. This especially applies to SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment (SAP NetWeaver CE), Web Dynpro, and SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer.
SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment: Developers who previously used Web Dynpro for Java or SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer can now use SAP NetWeaver CE, as well. Those who already developed applications using SAP NetWeaver CE can now do so using their own portal box.
SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer: SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer enables developers to create user interfaces. In the new version, a wizard generates the conversion report. With SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer, applications with a simple user interface or Web services can be built. The tool makes applications easier to program. Furthermore, SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer helps developers create user interfaces for service applications. What’s special about this is that services can be reproduced and simulated for test purposes. The preview button is new, as is the editor to which RTF documents can be uploaded.
HTML 5 is the upcoming Web standard, which adds a whole range of new functions to Internet pages. In the future, the SAP NetWeaver technology platform will also support HTML 5 and on-demand services
How It’s Done: Upgrade to Version 7.3
Customers who deploy SAP NetWeaver 7.0 will need to upgrade their server to version 7.3. SAP promises that most custom developments will run smoothly after the upgrade. However, there are exceptions for Web Dynpro, Java, and Composite Application Framework (CAF). Fortunately, there are tools for such cases – like the design-time migration procedure. For all other homegrown developments that are based on Visual Composer (VC), Guided Procedures (GP), or J2EE, an upgrade is only required if there are plans to develop these homegrown developments further in the future.
Server upgrade: SAPJup is the tool for upgrading to SAP NetWeaver 7.3. In addition, there’s a Java upgrade tool to upgrade the Java application server to the new version. What’s more, a separate DVD called the Upgrade Master DVD is supplied. The system type is recognized automatically, regardless of whether it is ABAP or Java. SAPJup extracts all the key upgrade tools and gathers information such as passwords and add-ons. The tool also checks the operating system and the database, so that the target release can be imported. The processes are preconfigured in a shadow system. The installation and the upgrade of the individual server components are also performed in the shadow system. During this time, the production system remains live. As a result, the upgrade can be performed without delays or downtime.
Migration controller: The migration controller migrates changes from the original release to the shadow system. It enables custom-developed applications to run on the target release.
Migrating Web Dynpro to version 7.3: A wizard helps users with the migration. For customers who are already using version 7.0, a migration is not absolutely necessary. With SAP NetWeaver CE 7.1, the source code is compatible with the Web Dynpro Java applications, but it is not binary. This means that the old source code needs to be overwritten. By contrast, the applications in SAP NetWeaver CE 7.1 are binary, which means that they update themselves automatically during the migration.
SAP Composite Application Framework (SAP CAF) from SAP NetWeaver 7.0x to 7.3: When the SAP Composite Application Framework tool is updated, the data records are also transferred from SAP NetWeaver 7.0 using the migration wizard. The rest has to be migrated manually. During the migration, a browser window opens from which the administrator can select and synchronize the data records. The data records are automatically connected to business objects.
SAP NetWeaver Visual Composer (SAP NetWeaver VC): User interfaces that were developed in SAP NetWeaver 7.0 do not have to be migrated, because they are updated automatically. A migration is required only for all those interfaces where development is not yet completed.
Guided Procedures (GP): GP objects can be upgraded using the standard upgrade process (SAPJup). After this, the processes are available in the updated SAP NetWeaver 7.3 server. The GP processes continue to run automatically after the server upgrade.
J2EE/Java EE 5: The standard upgrade procedure automatically transfers all J2EE applications, so a manual migration is not necessary.