SAP AG is a multinational software development and consulting corporation, which provides enterprise software applications and support to businesses of all sizes globally. Headquartered in Walldorf, Germany, with regional offices around the world, SAP is (as of 2009) the largest software enterprise in Europe and the fourth largest software enterprise in the world. The company’s best known product is its SAP Enterprise Resource Planning (SAP ERP) software.
SAP was founded in 1972 as Systemanalyse und Programmentwicklung (”Systems Applications and Products for Data Processing”) by five former IBM engineers in Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg (Dietmar Hopp, Hans-Werner Hector, Hasso Plattner, Klaus E. Tschira, and Claus Wellenreuther).
The acronym was later changed to stand for Systeme, Anwendungen und Produkte in der Datenverarbeitung (”Systems, Applications and Products in Data Processing”).
Henning Kagermann became the sole CEO of SAP in 2003. In February 2007, his contract was extended until 2009. After continuous disputes over the responsibility of the development organization, Shai Agassi, a member of the executive board who had been named as a potential successor to Kagermann, left the organization.
In April 2008, along with the announcement of Leo Apotheker as co-CEO, the SAP supervisory board also appointed to the SAP Executive Board, three new members, effective 1 July 2008: Corporate Officers Erwin Gunst, Bill McDermott and Jim Hagemann Snabe. With the retirement of Henning in May 2009, Leo has taken over as the sole CEO.
SAP NetWeaver is SAP’s integrated technology platform and is the technical foundation for all SAP applications since the SAP Business Suite.
SAP NetWeaver is marketed as a service-oriented application and integration platform. SAP NetWeaver provides the development and runtime environment for SAP applications and can be used for custom development and integration with other applications and systems. SAP NetWeaver is built using open standards and industry de facto standards and can be extended with, and interoperate with, technologies such as Microsoft .NET, Sun Java EE, and IBM WebSphere.
SAP NetWeaver is part of SAP’s plan to transition to a more open, service-oriented architecture and to deliver the technical foundation of its applications on a single, integrated platform and common release cycle.
ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming, originally Allgemeiner Berichts-Aufbereitungs-Prozessor, German for “general report creation processor” is a very high level programming language created by the German software company SAP. It is currently positioned, alongside the more recently introduced Java, as the language for programming SAP’s Web Application Server, part of its NetWeaver platform for building business applications. Its syntax is somewhat similar to COBOL.
ABAP is one of the many application-specific fourth-generation languages (4GLs) first developed in the 1980s. It was originally the report language for SAP R/2, a platform that enabled large corporations to build mainframe business applications for materials management and financial and management accounting.
ABAP used to be an abbreviation of Allgemeiner Berichtsaufbereitungsprozessor, the German meaning of “generic report preparation processor”, but was later renamed to Advanced Business Application Programming. ABAP was one of the first languages to include the concept of Logical Databases (LDBs), which provides a high level of abstraction from the basic database level.
ABAP remains the language for creating programs for the client-server R/3 system, which SAP first released in 1992. As computer hardware evolved through the 1990s, more and more of SAP’s applications and systems were written in ABAP. By 2001, all but the most basic functions were written in ABAP. In 1999, SAP released an object-oriented extension to ABAP called ABAP Objects, along with R/3 release 4.6.
Where does the ABAP program run?
All ABAP programs reside inside the SAP database. They are not stored in separate external files like Java or C++ programs. In the database all ABAP code exists in two forms: source code, which can be viewed and edited with the ABAP Workbench tools, and generated code, a binary representation somewhat comparable with Java bytecode. ABAP programs execute under the control of the runtime system, which is part of the SAP kernel. The runtime system is responsible for processing ABAP statements, controlling the flow logic of screens and responding to events (such as a user clicking on a screen button). A key component of the ABAP runtime system is the Database Interface, which turns database-independent ABAP statements (”Open SQL”) into statements understood by the underlying DBMS (”Native SQL”). The database interface handles all the communication with the relational database on behalf of ABAP programs; it also contains extra features such as buffering of frequently accessed data in the local memory of the application server.