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Well I´ve just come across an interesting little tidbit. If you are a SAP Developer or a Web Developer and now need to go in both directions then have I got a nice little thing for you.

I´ve been doing online development since the BBS days and now I´ve found myself in the world of SAP, I have to admit I was a bit hesitant before. SAP was not exactly what I´d call an easy to pick up software package. In fact after about a year I consider myself mediocore with the BC module and a bit better with the SSM 3.1 module. However, I have to say at least in my humble opinion I´ve done quite well with the whole BSP and Java RFC development.

Using JCo it was pretty easy to beign to port my Java application into SAP or retrieve data from SAP. Then I came across the BSP. Well that just opened up a million new windows and I was able to then migrate 90% of my Java applications into SAP as BSP (Business Server Pages).

BSP´s are great it´s a combination of ABAP/BAPI code with HTML/JavaScript/CSS and DHTML. I was right at home. That is until recently.

I´ve found that since everything is the world of the Web Developer is highly dynamic and by no means static for any long period of time, I´ve come to realize I need to watch the trends just like in the stock market to see what is up and what is down. As well as the inclinations of those above me on the pecking order.

So what is up and what is down? Well for one Java is pretty stable for once, it´s not up and it´s not down. Companies are still plugging along and developing with it. Thanks to Oracle things are looking good for Java. Both have been releasing new tools to aid developers as well as push their technologies further along.

However, with the economy the way it is companies need to save money. OK, yes Java is free and most tools like Eclipse and the new ones from SUN and Oracle are as well. So what´s my point? Well let´s take a look at some common system setups.

IBM WebSphere (Custom JDK)
Apache WebServer

Apache Tomcat
Apache WebServer
SUN JDK

All in all not too bad, except for WebSphere it´s a nice high cost, so is BEA Logic, Tomcat however is free. What are some draw backs? Sometimes (OK, most times) you come across the problem that one of these doesn´t function properly with other or the fact that Websphere requires it´s own JDK from IBM. So many things to consider when deploying your landscape. You´ve also got to consider your platform and the qwerks surrounding that.

Now let´s take a look at this setup.

Apache WebServer
PHP

Simple huh? Not really, you have the problem that some of the PHP programs on one version of PHP do not work on the other, fixable – just drag your developer out of his hole and make him handle the problem. Oh and your cost involved here is time, time to develop and time to setup. The platform for the most part is not a big issue since both run rather well on a MS or Linux OS.

What are some other problems? Need to restart? Try a quick restart with one of the above and you could find yourself facing a few minutes of downtime. Restart PHP? Ok so send the restart command to Apache and you´re set. I´ve never had to do more.

So where does all this blabbering lead us? What was my original point with SAP and what does it have to do with PHP? Well in my opinion PHP is getting stronger and stronger, more and more companies are starting to back it as a enterprise solution for development. The cost is low and it´s easily integrated into several databases and now thanks to couple of guys on SourceForge is also able to connect to SAP.

That´s right you heard me right it can connect to SAP. I know I´ve tried it! So take a look over here.

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8 Comments

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  1. Vivek K
    Craig,
    With WebDynpro being promoted by SAP in a big way  for web based applications, can you please tell me how and where exactly PHP had an edge over the WebDynpro and in what scenarios we should go for PHP development. Also I can create and deploy J2EE project on my NetWeaver J2EE instance without going for other Application servers like Web Sphere, Apache TomCat server. What are the ideal scenarios to consider the web development in PHP.

    Thanks!
    Surya.

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    1. Community User
      Wow a blast from the past, this blog is a oldie ­čÖé Still holds quite good today and I would say “What are the ideal scenarios to consider the web development in PHP.” is the scenario where you have more developers with PHP knowledge than of other programming languages, you need to utilize your strengths and NetWeaver is flexible enough to allow you to do that.
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      1. Vivek K
        Craig,
          Thanks for your reply. These days I am little confused which UI approach I have to take as SAP offers a lot with Netweaver platform like WebDynpro, Adobe Interactive forms, Flex, Visual Composer and now PHP. I see all the above are tightly integrated with the NetWeaver platform except PHP. How well I could leverage the Netweaver platform by choosing the PHP platform. Please let me know your thoughts.

        Thanks!
        Surya.

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        1. Ignacio Hernández
          Hi Surya
          to fulfill your requeriments you should (in this order):
          1) Use standard functionality.
          2) Make a composite app without coding (Visual Composer in Composition Environment).
          3) Develop an app with some coding (Web Dynpro in Composition Environment).
          4) Develop an app with full coding in the language of your preference (.net, java, php, ruby, flex…) and using the appropiate connector.
          Regards,
          Ignacio.
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        2. Community User
          All of these technologies are there and in place (and many more) for a simple reason, NetWeaver is a platform and enables each organization to play to it’s strengths so in terms of leverage it’s not about which technology but rather about which technology you are strong in, when you give some thought to the concept behind Enterprise SOA it levels the playing field regardless of development language or technology you want to use – it’s no longer about factor A but more about which areas do I already have extensive knowledge in. PHP for example is one area that if you have extensive knowledge already then explore that as a possible solution, but only if it fits your landscape and environment. NetWeaver doesn’t require you to relearn or completely redesign your existing landscape.

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