Skip to Content
Have you ever had trouble understanding SAP’s new technologies? Understanding what it means for you and your customers? Did you have the same feeling when you started working with BW?
Admit it, you felt as much an SAP-rookie as I and all other BW experts did, when they were voluntarily forced to stumble over BW the first time 😉

With this knowledge about SAP BW you have an immense advantage in understanding a new SAP technology, as the concepts are thrillingly comparable. And what’s the new technology called? CAF or – in order to get rid of another three letter acronym (TLA) – the Composite Application Framework.

What’s BW?

Yes, I know that you know what BW is and how it works, but we need to extract the important parts for our comparison, therefore I’ll make a very special definition:

BW is a system and framework, which allows you to build analytical applications, model-driven and based on metadata. It unifies the view on data from a variety of backend systems. The BW technology provides the tools and framework, and the Business Content covers the business scenarios and analytical applications. Structured data is preaggregated, transformed and enriched with other structured and unstructured data, and can be real-time. Data can reside in the BW-persistency and/or in remote systems. Most of the coding for dataload, transformation, storage and navigation is generated.

What’s CAF?

Let’s talk xApps now:

CAF is a framework, which allows you to build transactional business applications (=xApps), model-driven and based on metadata. It unifies and abstracts the view on data from a variety of backend systems. The CAF technology provides the tools and framework, the xApps cover the business scenarios and transactional applications. Data can be transformed, enriched with other structured or even unstructured data, and is real-time. Data can reside in the CAF-persistency and/or in remote systems. Most of the coding for transformation, storage and navigation is generated.

Doesn’t that sound very similar to BW?

Comparison Chart

Better take a look at this table with the terms and concepts that you know and you’ll see the terms in the new CAF-world:

SAP Business Information Warehouse SAP Composite Application Framework
InfoObject, ODS, InfoCube,… Business Object
Updaterules, transferrules, Queries,… Services
Web Templates UI patterns (WebDynpro)
Drilldown, process chains, collaboration,… Guided Procedures
InfoObject-, InfoCube-, ODS-maintenance Business Object Modeler
Formula Wizard, ABAP Editor Service Modeler (Java)

Conclusion

Like the SAP BW was a significant revolution and paradigm-shift for the data warehouse-world, and how analytical applications were built and by whom (business process owners with no coding experience could suddenly develop large parts of the analytical application themselves), the CAF is the analog technology for the application world. If you understood BW, you already understand 80% of CAF.
8,000 BW installations show the proof of this concept for the analytical world — CAF takes it now to the transactional world.

Getting started

Get started now and read my Weblogs about CAF:
What is the Composite Application Framework?
CAF II – Which Tools Does SAP Provide?
CAF III – Business Object Modeler à la carte
CAF IV – User Interface Patterns on a plate
CAF V – Services or How to Shake a Martini

To report this post you need to login first.

2 Comments

You must be Logged on to comment or reply to a post.

    1. Mario Herger Post author
      Let me rephrase, split, rearrange, slice, dice and bring your words into a new order. Partly you are right: BW itself is a technology, the BW Content is a big composite application.
      But with CAF you are not able to build BW Content. Why? Because BW is the analytical world which requires different modeling (remember the star-schemes?). CAF’s approach is to build composite applications for the transactional world (here come the entity relationship diagrams).
      (0) 

Leave a Reply