The Classical SAP GUI interface

In the early 90s, with the advent of personal computers, a major technological shift happened like the kind of we are seeing currently - from PCs/Laptop to hand-held devices.

Coming from the main-frame era into the new world of personal computers, SAP developed the UI technology to make use of local PC resources. It launched its highly popular and successful SAP R/3 product which had SAP GUI software for the user interface.

In the following images, you can see the SAP Logon Pad icon on the user desktop :

and the classical SAP Easy access screen :

If you look down in the SAP Easy Access tree, you can see the different functional modules Materials Management, Sales & Distribution, Accounting, Human Resources, etc.

Users can access the different business functionalities from this tree and save the most used ones to their favorites (see the Favorites folder on the top of the tree). Note however that not all the menu will be available to every user. Depending upon their area of work, they are authorized to perform certain tasks. They won't be able to access other areas.

Opening the tools menu displays the following:

The first circled item is ABAP Editor, a tool used by SAP programmers to write code in ABAP language, SAP proprietary programming language.

The second circled item is Execute Project or commonly called Customization Guide. Functional consultants use this tool to configure an SAP system to customer's requirements.

The code which you see along with them - SE38, SPRO, etc is called the Transaction Code (shortnamed as TCode). You can either double click on the item in the tree to open that function (called transaction) or you can type this tcode into the input field in the top-left corner of screen and press enter. For example, entering SE80 into the input field opens the ABAP development workbench:

Now you have a brief idea about the Look and Feel of SAP GUI and how it works. The users can use the Transaction Code (TCode) to perform their tasks.

The end users, functional and technical consultants all share the same GUI experience, though they work in different areas and have different levels of authorizations depending on what they are responsible for.

Back in late 1990s and early 2000s, SAP GUI was the only user interface for SAP system (SAP R/3 at that time). It later developed Web GUI for HTML which allowed users to work through web browsers but within limitations. Now SAP has Netweaver Business client on the SAP Netweaver platform.  And the applications developed in Webdynpro for ABAP or Java don't need SAP GUI and work with browsers.

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