Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Display Text Longer Than 60 Characters in Web Queries

All InfoObjects have a length limit of 60 characters. However, users often want access to longer text. Discover a workaround to display text of more than 60 characters in Web queries.

Key Concept

A Business Server Page (BSP) application is a complete functional application similar to a classic SAP R/3 transaction. Rather than viewing these applications using SAPGUI, users view them in a Web browser. HTTP or HTTPS access the application across the network, which means that you can use standard products such as firewalls and proxy servers.

BW users often turn to BW-based Web queries to display document-level details. For example, vendors often access BW reports through the Web and need to view long text stored on purchase orders or delivery documents. However, length limitations on BW InfoObjects restrict how much data users can display in BW Web queries. You can display text greater than 60 characters in BW Web queries by enhancing the context menu of Web queries and using a Business Server Page (BSP) application in the back end.

SAP Web Application Server includes BSP, a page-based programming model with server-side scripting as well as server page technology for developing, designing, and implementing Web applications. Server-side scripting enables direct access to all elements in the application server (such as function modules, database tables, ABAP Objects, and remote function modules).

To display text greater than 60 characters in BW reports, you must enhance the context (right-click) menu on BW Web queries by modifying the Web template to call the BSP application. In turn, the BSP application calls a remote function module in R/3 to retrieve the text and present it in a pop-up window. You must set up a separate BSP application for each field (such as delivery number) for which you want to display the enhanced context menu. Then, all users see the new option in their context menu.

Using this technique, you can avoid loading long text in multiple BW InfoObjects because you retrieve the data directly from R/3. Therefore, you avoid any loading problems (such as taking text into multiple InfoObjects and problems in dealing with valid character sets) due to permitted character checks. In addition, BW only retrieves necessary data for display. Users who do not have access to R/3 (e.g., external vendors) can see necessary information in BW Web queries through SAP NetWeaver Portal. We developed the application on BW 3.5, R/3 4.6, and SAP Enterprise Portal 6.0. It still worked after upgrading to SAP NetWeaver 2004s and mySAP ERP Central Component (ECC) 6.0. We expect our technique would work for any version of R/3 4.6 and up, BW 3.0B (and above), and Enterprise Portal 6.0 (and above).

Let’s examine a business scenario and walk through a step-by-step method to display long text in BW Web queries.

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