General Introduction to BAPIs (CA-BFA)

Purpose

BAPIs (Business Application Programming Interfaces) are the standard SAP interfaces. They play an important role in the technical integration and in the exchange of business data between SAP components, and between SAP and non-SAP components. BAPIs enable you to integrate these components and are therefore an important part of developing integration scenarios where multiple components are connected to each other, either on a local network or on the Internet.

BAPIs allow integration at the business level, not the technical level. This provides for greater stability of the linkage and independence from the underlying communication technology.

Integration

BAPIs can be used for the following types of integration:

  • Connecting SAP Systems to the Internet using the SAP Business Connector or Internet Application Components (IACs)

The standard SAP interfaces and all BAPIs are published centrally in the XML-based Interface Repository (IFR). They are stored as XML schema, which means that they are directly available for use in integration scenarios where multiple components communicate with one another using the Internet. You can access the Interface Repository in the Internet using the following address: http://ifr.sap.com.

  • Creating true component software, by enabling standardized communication between SAP components. The aim is to encapsulate the functions of the SAP system in independent business components that are integrated through a common interface (the BAPIs).
  • Connections to third-party software and legacy systems
  • Implementing distributed scenarios with asynchronous connections using Application Link Enabling (ALE)
  • Using PC programs as frontends to SAP Systems. These can be developed with Visual Basic (Microsoft), for example, or with Visual Age for Java (IBM)

Workflow applications that extend beyond system boundaries

Workflow applications that communicate with one another using the Internet

  • Customers’ and partners’ own developments

The diagram below shows how BAPI interfaces enable different types of applications to be linked with the SAP system.

Object-oriented technologies have become standard for communication between different software products. For this reason SAP has introduced business object types that structure the data and processes according to business criteria. Business object types are used to break the SAP system down into smaller, disjunctive units, improving its structure and reducing its complexity.

BAPIs are defined as methods for the business object types. As a result, both the object-oriented structures in SAP Systems and the opportunity for object-oriented access are offered. These object-oriented interfaces allow other components to directly access the application layer of an SAP system without having to know the specific implementation details.

The introduction of business object types and their BAPIs enable object orientation to be used in central information processing in companies. For example, you can reuse existing functions and data, achieve trouble-free technical interoperability, and implement non-SAP components.

The resulting architecture is illustrated in the graphic below. The main parts are:

  • Business components
    SAP business components provide autonomous business functions and consist of business objects. For example, the business object types Employee and Applicant are assigned to business component Human Resources. Business processes are either implemented within a business component or across several components (distributed business processes).
  • Business object types
    The object-oriented structure of the SAP system is based on business object types. A single business object type represents one business entity. It encompasses the functions and the data of this entity.
  • BAPIs
    The Business Application Programming Interfaces allow object-oriented access to the SAP system through methods for the business object types. Together with the business object types, BAPIs define and document the interface standard at the business level.
  • Application Link Enabling (ALE)
    The ALE integration service enables the technical integration of business processes that are carried out in different SAP and non-SAP systems.
    It involves distributing business object types across the systems using the ALE distribution model.
  • Integration scenarios
    The design of all relevant situations in the Business Framework is based on concrete scenarios. Integration scenarios describe how components, business object types, and BAPIs interact, and integrate the systems by synchronizing business processes at a semantic level.

For more information, see:

Objectives for Implementing BAPIs

Universal Usability of BAPIs

Business Object Types

The Business Object Repository