SAP Glossary: SAP Terms Explained (Short and Sweet)

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Table of Contents

This is an SAP glossary.

You’ll learn the meaning of terms like:

  • SAP CDS views
  • SAP HANA
  • SAP CRM Web Client UI

If you want a simple explanation of SAP abbreviations and terminologies, you’ve come to the right place.

Let’s get started!

An SAP Glossary—SAP Terminology and Abbreviations

B

BAdI

BAdIs (Business Ad-Ins) are like SAP user exits and SAP customer exits: they’re places where customers can implement their own  logic.

The official SAP definition of a BAdI is:

An entity provided by SAP to allow the standard behavior of a specific application, such as Financials, to be enhanced without modifying the standard solution.

BAdIs are just object-oriented versions of SAP user and customer exits. Instead of putting logic in a standard SAP program or function module, you create a class that implements predefined methods from an interface. The SAP standard fires those methods at predefined points.

You can learn more about BAdIs here.

BAPI

BAPIs (Business Application Programming Interfaces) are APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). So they make SAP systems accessible to other SAP systems and third-party applications.

For example, there is an SAP ECC application server and an SAP CRM application server in your SAP system landscape. Now, you want to call a function in your SAP CRM from SAP ECC. How do you access SAP CRM? Correct: through a BAdI.

You can learn more about BAPIs here.

BOR

The BOR (Business Object Repository) is a centrally managed database of SAP object types and their associated BAPIs.

Each object is categorized by component hierarchy, which allows for categorical organization and ease of use.

Besides storing all relevant information, the BOR also helps maintain interface stability and records all new release updates and enhancements, upon the creation of a new BAPI (Business Application Programming Interface).

You can access the BOR repository with the t-code SW04 (Business Object Repository)

Business Process

The steps that an organization takes both internally and externally to execute all defined activities seamlessly and efficiently. It affects everything from business development to marketing to order processing.

C

CDS Views

SAP CDS views are part of the new SAP S/4HANA programming model. CDS views provide predefined SQL queries to one or more database tables—kinda like SAP ABAP dictionary views. However, it has a lot more features.

There’s two kinds of CDS views:

  • SAP ABAP CDS views
  • SAP HANA CDS views

ABAP CDS views can be used in SAP R/3 and SAP ECC systems without a SAP HANA database if the ABAP stack is updated to version 7.40 SP05. And of course in an SAP S/4HANA. ABAP CDS views are part of the ABAP data dictionary of the application server.

SAP HANA CDS views work only with a HANA database. HANA CDS views reside in the SAP HANA XSA (HANA Extended Application Services Advanced Model) in the database layer.

The purpose of SAP’s new programming model and SAP CDS is to reduce business logic in the application server—to move business logic from the application server to the database and from the database to the client.

CDS views transfer logic to both the client and the database layer.

If you make the same request without bundling SQL statements into an ABAP CDS view, there is no performance difference between the SAP R/3 or SAP ECC system standard ABAP stack and an ABAP CDS view—the raw performance is the same. The ABAP stack and the ABAP CDS view both use SQL underneath.

However, using CDS views in a SAP R/3 or SAP ECC system gives the following advantages:

  • Using S/4HANA technology
  • Easily generate full-fledged OData services
  • More effective authorization checks
  • Easily using SAPUI5 smart controls and SAP Fiori Elements
  • Performance advantage when SQL statements are bundled

You can learn more about SAP CDS views here.

Cloud Foundry

SAP Cloud Foundry is a PaaS (Platform as a Service) open source project. The SCP (SAP Cloud Platform) uses Cloud Foundry technology to manage multi-cloud applications in one cockpit.

Cluster Table

Cluster tables are database tables (transparent tables) defined in the SAP ABAP Dictionary.

The cluster table’s database instance is assigned to multiple cluster tables in the ABAP Dictionary—or multiple cluster tables are assigned to a table cluster in the database.

Cluster table key junctions are the cluster table primary key. The other cluster table columns are compressed and stored in one column VARDATA. Cluster tables can only be accessed through Open SQL, and only without Joins.

A table cluster has a few cluster tables, each with a lot of data. A table pool has a lot of tables with small data.

A table cluster will hold internal control information like screen sequences, parameters, temp data, and continuous texts like documents. Data on commercial relevance should be stored in transparent tables.

CRM

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is the practice of building positive relationships with customers and clients in order to facilitate future business growth and lasting relationships.

D

Dynpro

Dynpro is a repository object and is always a part of an ABAP program. It’s made up of two parts: the screen with the elements and the flow logic. Dynpro fields are bound to screen elements.

The flow logic contains processing blocks for events triggered prior to a screen being displayed, and afterwards after the user performs an action on the displayed screen. Screen Painter tool is used to edit dynpros. Dynpros are the building blocks of user dialogs in an ABAP Application Server.

SAP considers the classic dynpros obsolete for application programs. New developments should be done using SAPUI5 or Web Dynpro.

E

ERP

Enterprise resource planning is the process of creating a single efficient system, where all the core competencies of an organization work together to plan and deliver the products with smooth and reliable results.

F

Fiori

SAP Fiori is a design guideline for SAPUI5, iOS, and Android apps. But not just for those, but also for other SAP applications like SAP Sales Cloud and SAP Service Cloud.

SAP Fiori determines the look and feel of an application. SAP Fiori provides guidelines for how applications’ user interfaces should look like.

SAP describes SAP Fiori this way:

SAP Fiori is the design language that brings great user experiences to enterprise applications. Based on user roles and business processes, SAP Fiori simplifies doing business. SAP Fiori is a paradigm shift away from monolithic ERP solutions towards light-weight apps tailored to the users’ tasks. To accelerate the transformation of the world’s digital economy, SAP is applying this design language to leading technology platforms.

SAP Fiori is based on five principles:

5 SAP Fiori Key Principles
  • Role-based: The user only sees what they need to know.
  • Adaptive: Achieves seamless user experience on all devices (mobile, tablet, and desk).
  • Coherent: Same look and feel across different apps.
  • Simple: Focuses on delivering a simple, intuitive user experience—1-1-3 (one user, one use case, and three screens).
  • Delightful: It’s beautiful and makes the user feel good.

Fiori Launchpad

The SAP Fiori Launchpad is a container for SAP Fiori applications. It is the entry point for SAP Fiori applications on mobile, tablet, and desktop.

Each SAP Fiori application is represented by a tile in an SAP Fiori Launchpad. An application starts when the user clicks on its tile. Like the user interface of a mobile phone.

sap_fiori_launchpad_home_page_screenshot
[SAP]

Fiori Standard Apps

SAP Fiori standard apps are ready to use SAPUI5 applications. They’re based on the SAP Fiori design guidelines. They’re customizable and extensible.

SAP Fiori Apps Reference Library contains already 12,500+ Fiori standard applications, and the number is constantly growing.

sap_fiori_apps_reference_library_screenshot
[SAP]

G

Gateway

SAP Gateway ties the front-end and back-end together. It uses the OData protocol as the glue between the two layers.

For example, an SAP Gateway makes a connection between an SAPUI5 application and an application server like SAP S/4HANA or SAP ECC.

The SAP Gateway itself is a back-end system. Either as a standalone gateway server or integrated into an application server like SAP ECC or SAP S/4HANA. Central hub refers to a standalone gateway server, while embedded deployment refers to an integrated gateway.

H

HANA XS

SAP HANA XS (HANA Extended Application Services) is an application server. An application server that resides in the SAP HANA database. SAP HANA XS supports the development of lightweight SAP HANA applications.

Because of that, it’s possible to create applications without an additional application server: just HANA with integrated HANA XS and a front-end technology such as SAPUI5.

However, HANA XS, or now called HANA XSC is deprecated and is being replaced by HANA XSA (HANA Extended Application Services Advanced Model).

O

OData

Open Data Protocol opens up SAP’s data silos. It’s the glue between the front-end and the back-end, like an SAPUI5 application and the application server.

OData is a way of sending data between the client-side and the back-end.

N

NetWeaver

The SAP NetWeaver is the technical foundation and solution stack for SAP applications such as SAP R/3, SAP ECC, and SAP S/4HANA.

TopTier Software developed SAP NetWeaver as a portal technology.

SAP acquired TopTier Software in 2001 and launched SAP NetWeaver soon afterward in 2003.

The SAP NetWeaver is a heading term for:

  • SAP NetWeaver Application Server
  • SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence
  • SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment
  • SAP NetWeaver Enterprise Portal
  • SAP NetWeaver Identity Management
  • SAP NetWeaver Master Data Management
  • SAP NetWeaver Mobile
  • SAP NetWeaver Process Integration

The SAP NetWeaver Application Server is the runtime environment for SAP’s on-premise applications such as:

  • SAP R/3
  • SAP CRM 7.0
  • SAP ECC
  • SAP S/4HANA

The SAP NetWeaver allows custom development and integration with other applications and systems.

The SAP NetWeaver is built with

  • ABAP
  • C
  • C++
  • Java

SAP NetWeaver can be extended with technologies like:

  • IBM WebSphere
  • Oracle Java
  • Microsoft .NET

You can learn more about SAP NetWeaver here.

P

PLM

PLM is the use of a suite of tools to ensure a product gets to the public from conception through its final stage.

The PLM process integrates data management with other necessary applications. A range of functions from the following applications are available:

  • Life-cycle data management
  • Program and project management
  • Life cycle collaboration
  • Environment
  • Health and safety

Pool Table

A pool table is a database table (transparent table) defined in the ABAP Dictionary. The pool table’s database instance is assigned to multiple cluster tables in the ABAP Dictionary—or multiple pool tables are assigned to a table pool in the database.

The key field of a pool table consists of two fields:

  • TABNAME
  • VARKEY

TABNAME is the pool table name, and VARKEY is the pool table key fields. The other pool table columns are stored in compressed form in a column called VARDATA. Pool tables can only be accessed with Open SQL and no joins.

A table cluster consists of many cluster tables with a lot of data. A table pool is a collection of small pool tables.

A table pool is used for internal control information such as screen sequences, program parameters, temporary data, and documentation. Data on commercial relevance should be stored in transparent tables.

Transparent Table

An SAP transparent table is a physical table in a database. Transparent means that it’s just physical data and not a structure or an ABAP dictionary view.

The database table VBAK is an example of a transparent table.

S

SAPUI5

SAPUI5 is a framework for building responsive web apps. The framework consists of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. SAPUI5 separates front-end development from back-end development with a Model-View-Controller architecture.

SAPUI5 Model View Controller Architecture.

SAPUI5 and SAP Fiori make up the user interface for SAP S/4HANA—SAPUI5 is the technology and SAP Fiori is the design guideline.

OPENUI5 is the open-source SAPUI5 version. It’s free to use under the Apache 2.0 license. OPENUI5 is the same as SAPUI5 with the exception of some libraries. For instance, charts and smart controls.

OData annotations automatically configure smart controls. OData services can be auto-generated through SAP CDS views that are part of SAP’s new programming model.

SCM

A supply chain is the process of transforming raw materials, concepts or inventory into a finished product.

The flow from the first stage of order to the final stage must be seamless and well-executed in order to build client trust and gain a competitive advantage.

T

Transaction

Transactions are dialogs that guide the user through input screens (dynpros) in the SAP GUI. If the transaction finishes successfully, it commits the changes; otherwise, it rolls back the changes.

Each transaction has a keyword. It’s called Transaction Code (T-Code). Since the introduction of t-codes, users are able to start transactions by entering the code in the command field in the GUI which is a lot faster than browsing through the menu tree.

You can learn more about SAP transactions here.

Web Client UI (Web UI)

The SAP Web Client UI is a browser-based standardized user interface that SAP initially developed for their CRM on-premise but is now used by other SAP products such as SAP Solution Manager.

The SAP Web Client UI includes a variety of user interface elements that enable the user to display, search for, and update information.

The WebClient UI is role-based, meaning that its possible to display different content from different applications to the user, such as Sales, Service, or Marketing, or differentiation within an application like a sales rep or manager.

End users can customize the WebClient UI for their personal preferences through the settings within the WebClient UI itself.

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