Friday, June 26, 2009

Connection to SAP using Visual Studio 2005 & 2008

SAP has not developed a connector API for Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008 yet. I think the reason of not developing a connector API depends on some marketing strategies and the feasibility that can be developed web service that comes with the SAP 6.0, so the technology that can be developed web service in SAP will replace the connector API.

But, there is an important reality that some Visual Studio .NET 2003 projects which were developed before are connecting to SAP with SAP .NET Connector API. There is a ‘technology problem’ that has to be considered by developers if they want to migrate these projects to Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio 2008. Respect to this technology problem, SAP firstly suggest to their customers for examining SAP Application Server version whether higher than or equal to 6.0 or not and if higher than or equal to 6.0, developing a web service in SAP Application Server and solving the required connection via this web service. Of course, this is only one solution in all of solutions to this technology problem.

But, what happen if our SAP Application Server version is lower than 6.0 or we don’t want to connect SAP with web service respect to our analyzing decisions although our application server version is higher than or equal to 6.0? SAP has already a solution to this question, too. In fact, this is not an original solution, it is possible that every software specialist can find this solution after thought a while.

In fact, we are now mentioning a solution using SAP .NET Connector in Visual Studio 2005 or in Visual Studio 2008. So, how can do this operation? We have to use Visual Studio .NET 2003 to implement this solution although we are developing our applications with Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio 2008. Because, 2.0 version is the last version of SAP .NET Connector is produced for Visual Studio .NET 2003. The meaning of this that, SAP .NET Connector 2.0 is an add on API for only Visual Studio .NET 2003.

Alright, what is the solution method?

The solution method is so simple. We need to create a class library project using Visual Studio .NET 2003. With this project, we will define the desired SAP Application Server(s) and create connection to these servers. Then, we will choose the required functions/bapis of SAP Application servers. Finally, we will have a dll that belongs to this application, so this dll will be a reference for Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio 2008 project. I will explain in detailed this solution method of SAP Connection methods with practises in my next essays.

We have mentioned a problem of this solution method. What happen if we don’t have Visual Studio .NET 2003? Unfortunately, you can not use this solution method. The mean of this that there is a must that SAP says; ‘If you will use this solution method, you have to use Visual Studio .NET 2003′.

There are some third party programs that can connect to SAP Application Servers with Visual Studio 2005 or Visual Studio 2008. But, there is reality for enterprise firms; ‘If we are using SAP for ERP sulution, and if I need to connect to SAP via other systems, I should take care the suggestions of SAP priorly’. The mean of this that ‘if we need connector, we should use SAP connector’. I think this is the true approach. Because, if there is a problem based on third party program while our project is in live usage, you have to give a solution to this problem, and your customers will see you as person addressed who is responsible for this problem. So, now the technology problem has to have good analyzing in deep that you did not do before.

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