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How to Find a BAPI

by Thomas G. Schuessler | SAPinsider

October 1, 2002

by Thomas G. Schuessler, founder of ARAsoft SAPinsider - 2002 (Volume 3), October (Issue 4)
 

Normally, the answer to the question "How do I find a BAPI?" is quite easy. When you are interested in finding BAPIs for a given object type (like CompanyCode) or a given appli-cation area, you use the SAP Interface Repository at http://ifr.sap.com or the SAP BAPI Explorer (SAPGUI transaction code "BAPI").

But sometimes the question arises in a different context. Suppose somebody mentions an RFC-enabled Function Module (RFM), e.g. "BAPI_COMPANYCODE_GETDETAIL", and you want to find the Business Object Repository (BOR) object type to which this function belongs and its method (BAPI) name. For RFM "BAPI_COMPANYCODE_GETDETAIL", the answer would be object type name CompanyCode and method name GetDetail. Not difficult to guess, you might say, since most RFMs implementing BAPIs follow a naming convention that makes sense. In some cases, though, the object type is not easily derived from the name of the RFM.

Why would you ever be interested in this information anyway? Don't we just call the RFM itself at runtime? Here are some reasons:

  • Knowing the object type to which a BAPI belongs allows you to easily find other BAPIs for the same object type, even if their RFM names are totally different from the one you started with.
  • A BAPI can be obsolete, but you cannot find that out on the level of the RFM; you have to look it up in the SAP BAPI Explorer, and for that you need to know the object type. If a BAPI is obsolete, you usually want to use its new incarnation (SalesOrder.CreateFromDat1 instead of SalesOrder.CreateFromData), which can be easily found in the BAPI Explorer.
  • A BOR object type may be delegated to one of its sub-types. The subtype may overwrite a method (BAPI) of its supertype. This implies that you should not call the RFM that implements the supertype's BAPI, but the RFM that implements the same BAPI for the subtype.
  • The table parameters of an RFM are passed by reference. In the BOR, on the other hand, the developer of a BAPI can specify whether a table parameter is "import" (sent to SAP) or "export" (returned from SAP) or both. This information can speed up your understanding of the BAPI's interface.
  • BOR object types may have general documentation in addition to the documentation available for each individual BAPI. Needless to say, reading all available documentation is always a good idea when dealing with SAP.
  • In the BOR, you can find out whether an IDoc Message Type has been generated for a BAPI. This would allow you to invoke the BAPI asynchronously through ALE if you so desire.

Using the BOR Metadata Access Functions

Fortunately, SAP provides a suitable function to help us find the BOR information based on an RFM name. The name of this function is "SWO_QUERY_API_METHODS" and it retrieves all BAPIs. Table parameter "API_METHODS" contains the complete list.

Before calling the function, set the "WITH_OBJECT_NAMES" parameter to "X". If you worry about performance, consider setting parameter "WITH_TEXTS" to a space character, which speeds up the function execution considerably (the default for this parameter is "X", which means that descriptive texts are retrieved in addition to what we are interested in).

In order to find the required information, you look at the "FUNCTION" column of table "API_METHODS" and check for the RFM name that you are interested in. If you cannot find it, then this RFM is not a BAPI. Otherwise, column "OBJECTNAME" contains the object type name ("CompanyCode" in our example) and column "METHODNAME" the method name ("GetDetail").

You can call "SWO_QUERY_API_METHODS" in the SAP Function Builder (transaction code "SE37") and scan the table manually or (in more recent releases) use the Edit/Find function available on the menu of the Function Builder (when displaying the table contents).

Since "SWO_QUERY_API_METHODS" is RFC-enabled itself (i.e., an RFM), you can also write a utility method (in Java, for example) that invokes the function from outside of SAP and returns the desired information. Listing 1 shows some of the client code that I have used to find the object type and method names for RFM "BAPI_COMPANYCODE_ GETDETAIL", whether the object type is delegated, and whether this BAPI is obsolete in the SAP system.

I hope that I have convinced you that the additional BAPI metadata available for an RFM more than pays for the five minutes required to do the look-up.

		  
ObjectFactory bof = new ObjectFactory(mConnector);
BOMethod bom = bof.getBapiForRfmName("BAPI_COMPANYCODE_GETDETAIL");
if (bom == null)
    System.out.println("This RFM does not exist or is not a BAPI.");
else
    System.out.println(bot.getObjectName() + "." +
                       bom.getName() + "\t" + 
                       bot.isDelegated() + "\t" +
                       bom.isObsolete());
Listing 1 Finding the BAPI for RFM "BAPI_COMPANYCODE_GETDETAIL"

Thomas G. Schuessler is the founder of ARAsoft (www.arasoft.de), a company offering products, consulting, custom development, and training to a worldwide base of customers. The company specializes in integration between SAP and non-SAP components and applications. ARAsoft offers various products for BAPI-enabled programs on the Windows and Java platforms. These products facilitate the development of desktop and Internet applications that communicate with R/3. Thomas is the author of SAP's BIT525 "Developing BAPI-enabled Web Applications with Visual Basic" and BIT526 "Developing BAPI-enabled Web Applications with Java" classes, which he teaches in Germany and in English-speaking countries. Thomas is a regularly featured speaker at SAP TechEd and SAPPHIRE conferences. Prior to founding ARAsoft in 1993, he worked with SAP AG and SAP America for seven years. Thomas can be contacted at thomas.schuessler@sap.com or at tgs@arasoft.de.

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