Document Relationship Browser (DRB)

Use

You can use the Document Relationship Browser (DRB) to display linked objects or documents.

This usually involves documents that were created for a common business transaction or that relate to the same process. The DRB groups the documents cross-application.

In SAP R/3 Enterprise Core 4.70, typical documents for Accounting and Logistics have been included plus documents for the workflow and IDocs. The DRB covers all documents so that access to archived documents is also possible.

For additional information about DRB documentation, see SAP Note 492938.

Integration

The DRB and Data Archiving

All of the object types (documents) have been included in the DRB so that all DRB functions are available for archived data. End users can use the DRB to find out whether data is in the database or in the archive.

DRB and Distributed Systems (ALE)

With the DRB you can even follow process chains or business transactions that are distributed across several systems. This applies both to the determination of linked documents and displaying them.

Prerequisites

There are no additional prerequisites necessary to use the DRB if no archived data is involved.

To read from the archive you usually have to make settings in the Archive Information System (AS). In the application components, the Archive Information System is in most cases the basis for accessing the archive. The usual prerequisite is that an archive information structure for a particular field catalog has to be active and filled. The name of the field catalog and which fields in the archive information structure have to be included depends on the object type. You will usually find this involves field catalogs delivered by SAP (name assignment: SAP_<FIELDCATALOGNAME>).

Information on the prerequisites for correctly displaying the individual object types (including archive access) can be found in the application-specific documentation for the DRB. You can find additional information under The DRB in the Application Components and also in SAP Note 492938.

Features

The DRB functions include:

·        The determination of objects linked to each other

·        The display of objects linked to each other

·        The display of a particular object.

The access functions for the DRB are a part of the applications (such as the line item display for cost accounting) that call up the DRB. Some of these functions have been grouped together in the role SAP_DRB. This role is delivered with SAP R/3 Enterprise Core 4.70. It is not a part of SAP NetWeaver.

The DRB functions described require information from each of the relevant applications. They have been implemented so that system calls up the corresponding functions in the application. The core of the DRB acts merely as a dispatcher most of the time.

Determining the Links

Starting with an initial object that the user determines in an appropriate function in the application, the DRB first ascertains those objects linked directly with this object. The meaning of ‘linked directly’ is laid down in the relevant application.

In Accounting, the original document for a business transaction together with all other accounting documents relating to the business transaction are regarded as being directly linked. The DRB then determines all directly linked objects for each of these initial objects, and so on. In doing so, objects that have already been determined are ignored. If the system is to continue to determine any further linked objects this has to be triggered by the user.

The core of the DRB does not itself access archived data when determining linked objects. This is undertaken by the application functions called up by the DRB. In these functions the system searches for archived linked documents mostly via the Archive Information System (AS).

If a function of an application determines a linked document from a different logical system, the DRB automatically continues to determine linked objects in that system. This ensures ALE integration automatically.

The display of objects linked to each other

The overview of objects linked with each other concentrates on the objects and not the links. The relationships are neither evaluated nor assessed for importance. The DRB does not make explicit whether any one document precedes or follows another document, only that a link exists between the documents. Links are not displayed when they lead to objects that are already in the display.

On rare occasions, you may find that object A recognizes the link to object B. However, object B does not recognize any such link. Whether the link is displayed or not depends on the initial object.

The display can vary depending on the initial object selected and the order in which you navigate through the link tree. The quantity of objects displayed in the link tree remains constant.

In addition to the formatted keys for the objects that are linked to each other, you can also display in the overview which logical system the particular object comes from, and whether the object is in the database or has already been archived.

Displaying an Object.

By double-clicking on the key of an object the user can display the corresponding object on the screen. This display has been implemented application-dependent, which results in significant variations in how the individual object types are displayed. In the same way as for determining the linked objects, the link to archived data has also been implemented application-dependent, whereas the integration of distributed system landscapes runs automatically.

Activities

Having called up the initial screen using the object you have specified (for example, via a sales order) the system displays which objects are linked to this object (in the case of a sales order this could be a purchase order, customer quotation and customer billing document). In the first step only those objects are displayed which are directly linked to the initial object. If other objects are linked with this object this is shown on the screen by an appropriate symbol. If you click on this symbol the display extends to additional linked objects.  You can display the object by double-clicking on an object key (for example, the document number).

Example

An accounting document and a Controlling document are created based on a material document. The DRB is started via the document display for financial accounting (transaction FB03). The Document Relationship Browser displays the link in the link tree: