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SAP Web Application Server 6.20 Offers Plenty of New Features for Administrators and Developers Alike

by Martin Huvar | SAPinsider

April 1, 2002

by Martin Huvar, SAP AG SAPinsider - 2002 (Volume 3), April (Issue 2)
 

 

As you look ahead to the changes “under the hood” of SAP systems — the introduction of the exchange and portals infrastructures, the focus on Internet standards and interoperability, and the emphasis on message-based integration, among others — one of the key building blocks of mySAP Technology is the SAP Web Application Server.

As an environment for application components that provide Web services based on open standards, the SAP Web Application Server acts as both an application server and a web development and deployment platform, and is the basis for almost every mySAP.com solution. Now, with the new capabilities in Release 6.20, the advantages of SAP’s proven infrastructure — reliability, scalability, software logistics and change management, platform independence, and business knowledge — are brought to the J2EE world.

This article highlights some of the features available with the newest release of the SAP Web Application Server — and the benefits that it offers for both development and system management alike.

Coupling the Java and ABAP Personalities Simplifies Administration and Management

With the SAP Web Application Server 6.20, a J2EE standards-based application engine will be shipped and supported by SAP as a runtime environment for the Java-based components of mySAP.com.

As an integral part of the SAP Web Application Server 6.20, the J2EE Engine will deliver a proven e-business environment with native Java support for easy deployment, straightforward installation and administration, and full life-cycle support for Java-based e-business components (see Figure 1).

Figure 1 An Overview of the SAP Web Application Server 6.20

While this approach clearly benefits your developers — with a single infrastructure that leverages the advantages of both development environments — it also offers support and system administration advantages that your IT team will appreciate, from installation to monitoring and security.

Management and Support for Both “Personalities” on a Single Machine

By having both the ABAP and Java personalities housed in a single infrastructure, the Web Application Server minimizes administration and maintenance. The homogeneous infrastructure for the J2EE and ABAP environments in the SAP Web Application Server 6.20 guarantees centralized and unified installation, configuration, monitoring, security, and load balancing for both programming environments.

Common Installation and Configuration

As of Release 6.20, the installation of the SAP J2EE engine and the ABAP stack are integrated in one procedure. Thus it easily allows you to set up an environment that runs both Java- and ABAP-based applications. Tools such as the proven configuration tool SAPInst will manage all necessary configuration steps during installation — whether ABAP or Java — and help you avoid potential traps and pitfalls, setting the stage for a stable and solid system, right from the start.

System Maintenance and Change Management

SAP’s Software Delivery Manager (SDM) is a new tool that handles the delivery of software packages to customers, including bundling, maintenance at customer site, modification support, and distribution methods. This significantly reduces the complexity of maintaining the system landscape during operation, no matter which technology is affected.

Integrated User Management and Security

By using a JAAS-compliant1 login module, the built-in J2EE Engine is able to authenticate the user against SAP User Management. Basic authentication, certificates, and single sign-on are supported by both the Java and the ABAP personalities in the same way. This simplifies the user-management process and helps to reduce maintenance and administration costs.

New Central Monitoring Features

The SAP Web Application Server 6.20 includes new central monitoring capabilities that provide a comprehensive view of all application servers in the environment (see Figure 2). Regardless of which type of application server is monitored, a drilldown to the local monitoring tools is possible. A common starting point, which provides a view of the state of all the monitored components, helps administrators to quickly react to various types of alerts, and thus maintain stable and reliable operations.

Figure 2 Monitoring Capabilities in the SAP Web Application Server 6.20

Central Dispatching and Caching of Requests

The core Internet Communication Manager (ICM) shown in Figure 1 provides a generic framework for handling requests. Modules for HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, and FastCGI are currently available. All requests are transparently dispatched to the Java or ABAP personality.

ICM’s caching technologies complement the proven database caching concepts of the SAP Web Application Server. ICM includes sophisticated HTTP request caching that significantly enhances the performance and scalability of Web applications through static, dynamic, and active-content caching.

Clustering and Load Balancing

The Java personality is fully integrated into the proven SAP load-balancing architecture, which means that the SAP Message Server is able to redirect all requests to the best-running machine, whether the request is processed by the Java or the ABAP runtime. On the machine level, the J2EE Engine can be configured to scale over processes controlled by the J2EE dispatcher (which is tightly coupled with the ABAP dispatcher) to achieve the best performance and a high level of robustness.

An Even More Powerful Development Environment for Creating Web Services

The integration of the ABAP and Java personalities allows companies to extend their solutions according to their available development skills and needs. You may find that a data-driven business solution demands the strength of ABAP, or that a business process involving several business partners over various systems requires the openness of Java. Perhaps your development team is heavily weighted toward ABAP programmers who are experts at working with SAP tools, or you have a number of Java developers who need a quick in-road to your SAP systems. In either case, this integrated development environment can support either — and both — to give you optimal flexibility.

The Web Application Server supports native Internet technology, such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Extensible Markup Language (XML), and it includes the benefits derived from SAP’s proven and scalable data, system, and software management capabilities. Inside the SAP Web Application Server, seamless communication between the Java and ABAP environments can be achieved by integrating the technology of the SAP Java Connector (JCo) with several optimizations to ensure high performance and stable communication.2 This enables, for example, a bi-directional coupling between the presentation logic, written in Java, and the business logic, written in ABAP.

Thus the SAP Web Application Server 6.20 provides a scalable and reliable Web application infrastructure that delivers high-performing Web services, ensures an e-business solution is always online, and supports Web access via a Web browser and a range of mobile devices.

Web and Internet Enabling

The SAP Web Application Server supports Java Server Pages (JSPs) and Java Servlets, allowing dynamic content generation in a portable, cross-platform manner. The latest specifications of Java Servlets 2.3 and Java Server Pages 1.2, which are already the major parts of the J2EE 1.3 specification, are implemented in Release 6.20.

In addition, the Business Server Pages (BSP) model — the proven programming model introduced with SAP Web Application Server 6.10 — is also available.3 In Release 6.20, this model is now enhanced by BSP Extensions, which allow you to modularize and encapsulate source code segments on dynamic BSP application pages and, in turn, improve reusability.

For developers already familiar with ABAP editing and development tools, the BSP model is integrated with the standardized ABAP Workbench infrastructure and methods to simplify the development process.

By supporting these two models, the SAP Web Application Server allows you to create and deploy highly dynamic Web services and applications, with functions fully integrated into an easy-to-use, robust, and productive development environment.

XML Support

The SAP Web Application Server’s comprehensive XML capabilities provide support for Web services. An XML parser and XSLT processor were integrated in the previously released Web Application Server, and enhanced versions of these XML tools are now available. XML is integrated right into the development environment of the SAP Web Application Server 6.20, so developers can easily work with XML for collaborative application development.

For the ABAP personality, the XSLT Engine adds new transformation capabilities and improves the performance of processing transformations. The Java personality is enhanced with XML schema support and validation, support of XSLT 1.1 extensions and SOAP standards, and an implementation of the Java API for XML messaging.

Thus, throughout the SAP Web Application Server a common and state-of-the-art XML infrastructure helps develop and deploy Web services as well as support integration with XML-based messaging environments.

J2EE Compliance

By passing the Java2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) Compatibility Test Suite for J2EE 1.2 from Sun Microsystems, the SAP Web Application Server has proven to be a J2EE technology-based and compliant application server. This ensures compatibility, platform independence, and interoperability with J2EE-compliant applications.

Enterprise Java Beans (EJB)

Based on the standardized Enterprise Java Beans (EJB) programming model, the Java stack supports the development of forward-looking, easy-to-maintain Java applications, which helps improve development speed and reduce costs. System-level business logic and services are hosted in the EJB layer. The Java personality of SAP Web Application Server supports the EJB 1.1 specification as part of J2EE 1.2, as well as the message-driven beans specified in EJB 2.0.

Connectivity, Transaction Management, and Interface Management

The Java platform enabled by the SAP Web Application Server includes a number of standardized APIs to ensure connectivity to other systems. These APIs help developers to solve problems like accessing relational databases, connecting to enterprise information systems, and dealing with name and directory services.4 Other supported APIs simplify the implementation of a transaction management system and help to coordinate transactions across diverse enterprise information systems.5 In addition, the Remote Method Invocation (RMI) concept is supported to enable developers to build distributed applications in the Java programming language.

But That’s Not All...

We’ve covered only some of the highlights of the new tools and features in the SAP Web Application Server 6.20. For more information about the SAP Web Application Server, visit mySAP Technology at www.sap.com/technology or the SAP Service Marketplace at http://service.sap.com/technology.


1 The Java Authentication and Authorization Service (JAAS) is a set of packages that enable services to authenticate users and enforce access controls. It implements a Java version of the standard Pluggable Authentication Module (PAM) framework, and supports user-based authorization.

2 For more information on JCo, visit the SAP Insider Article Archives.

3 For more on the introduction of Business Server Pages SAP Web Application Server 6.10, see “From ‘SAP Basis’ to ‘SAP Web Application Server’ — It’s Much More Than Just a Name Change!” by Franz-Josef Fritz in the July-September 2001 of SAP Insider, and in the Article Archives.

4 JDBC accesses relational data from Java. Java Naming and Directory Interface (JNDI) supports the accessing of information access in enterprise name and directory services. J2EE Connectors Architecture is used for connecting the J2EE platform to diverse enterprise information systems.

5 Java Transaction API (JTA) manages and coordinates transactions across diverse enterprise information systems. Java Transaction Service (JTS) specifies the implementation of a transaction manager that supports JTA and implements the Java mapping of the Object Management Group Object Transaction Service 1.1 specification.


Martin Huvar joined SAP about nine years ago. After some years of development and consulting in different technology areas, he worked as Product Manager for the SAP Business Connector. Since 2000 he has been Product Manager in mySAP Technology Product Management, mainly responsible for XML Technology and integration of the ABAP and Java personalities.

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