A Brief History of Web Dynpro: The Driving Forces

(First article of the series: Web Dynpro) I first encountered the term Web Dynpro in the book - ABAP Objects, co-authored by Horst Keller and Sascha Kruger, (I believe it dated back to year 2000) – that SAP is developing the new UI technology called Web Dynpro which sounded far distant. Probably that time around SAP started the project.
All development in SAP R/3 embedded business logic within SAP screens, which posed serious limitation to its use by external systems. SAP needed to separate business logic from presentation (UI) logic so as to make the applications independent of any client-software.
It was also important to make SAP applications available to its users in easy ways… not just on machines installed with SAP GUI.
And there was one client-software which was omnipresent on all systems. Guess what? – The internet browser. But the problem was there were no established standards at that time e.g what scripts worked on one browser (like Netscape) didn't work on the other (say Internet Explorer). The web technology was developing fast but it was not clear what shape will it take.
SAP was into providing reliable software solutions to its customers which included many of Fortune 500 companies. The web technology of those days was not suitable to build serious applications like SAP was building.
As the web technology advanced and standards and protocols evolved, the time was ripe for its use in business applications. The world saw web taking prominence in all spheres.
Leveraging the advanced web technologies, SAP launched the SAP Netweaver platform in year 2003 and it was branded as SAP Netweaver 2004 after the year of its general availability which was 2004. SAP Netweaver was an open standard and web-enabled platform. And web-enablement meant introduction and support for various script languages, Java and other technologies.
SAP Netweaver 2004 came with Web Dynpro for Java as one of its technical components. It attracted the Java pool of talent into SAP for the first time. It also aroused a sense of uncertainty in the minds of SAP developers which saw this move as a breach of their territory.
Some time later, SAP launched the human resources applications - Employee Self-Service(ESS) and Manager Self-Service(MSS), which were developed using Web Dynpro for Java.
The next version - SAP Netweaver 2004s - made the SAP developer community happy by introducing Web Dynpro for ABAP. ABAP is the programming language of SAP used for developing business applications on SAP platform.
So we have two flavors of the technology: ABAP (WDA), and Java (WDJ).
The next version SAP Netweaver 7 enhances the capabilities of Web Dynpro of ABAP further. SAP has announced in 2009 that all new WD development in SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), SRM(Supplier Relationship Management) and PLM(Product Lifecycle Management) will be made using Web Dynpro for ABAP.

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