Forms in Internet Applications

Use

You can display the forms that you use for your business process in the SAP System in the Web browser. Together with other mySAP.com technologies, this enables you to implement Internet applications whose processes include forms from the system.

Instead of exchanging forms with business process partners by ordinary mail, one of the partners, say a vendor, sends an e-mail to the customer that contains a link to a form. The customer can use the fields on the form to confirm the order and provide the vendor with additional information. When the customer submits the form, the data entered is passed to the vendor's application and evaluated there.

The screenshot below shows a Web sample form that allows the user to cancel flights:

From a technical point of view, a Web form is an HTML form with the same layout as a Smart Form in the SAP System. The use of Web forms provides the following benefits:

  • You can easily use your existing forms for form printing in the Internet.
  • The Web form in the Internet application has the same layout as the printed form. Users who are familiar with the printed form recognize the layout (input fields are in the same places) and can easily fill in the form.

Integration

To use forms as Web forms, SAP Smart Forms transforms XSF output to HTML. An XSLT program on the server performs this transformation by converting the XML tags of the XSF output into HTML tags. This XSLT program is executed on the server by an XSLT processor. The transformation result is called an interactive Web form or simply a Web form.

To format the Web form (fonts, spacing, and so on), Smart Forms uses the Smart Styles in the form to generate styles for a CSS style sheet. The CSS output is embedded in the HTML output.

There are several ways of including the HTML output in your business process. SAP recommends that you use the Web Application Server to integrate Web forms with BSP applications.

You can also use IACs (ITS technology) to integrate Web forms.

Prerequisites

Before you can use a Web form in Internet applications, you have to have developed a form using SAP Smart Forms. Find out whether there are already forms in your area that you can use as Web forms. The development of forms and the integration of a Web form into an Internet application are separate tasks in that they can be executed by two different people.

For information about classical form development, see Introduction.

Features

In the form description, you can use the SFSY-XSF system field to hide any output that is only relevant in the Web (for example, pushbuttons that you would not print). To do so, use this field in the condition section of the output node to query whether XSF output was activated. If it was, the field is set.

Smart Forms converts graphics and styles that you use in a Web form into a format for the Web browser before display. These graphics and styles are written to a cache, which users can access independently, upon first access in the SAP system. This enables graphics to be displayed considerably quicker.

To send a Web form as an e-mail, you can let the HTML output be returned as an internal table and pass it to the Business Communication Services (BCS) (see example report SF_XSF_DEMO_MAIL).

You can print a Web form from the browser, but the quality of the print-out is considerably better if you send your form to the browser as a PDF output (input elements are not possible in this case). See also: BSP application SF_WEBFORM_04.

Activities

  1. To use a Web form, that is, to display and evaluate it, you have to integrate it in an Internet application using Web technologies (see: Integration in BSP Applications).
  2. To create an Internet application out of Web forms, it is not sufficient to simply display them. Flag the existing fields on the form as input elements or extend the form with new input elements for Web use (see: Input Elements).
  3. Evaluate the data entered in your Web form (this depends on the Internet technologies that you are using - for BSPs, see: Evaluating Form Input).