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SAP looks to hook developers

Expanding upon efforts to attract developers, SAP adds to its trademark interfaces that connect its R/3 system with other software applications.

Expanding upon efforts to encourage customers and independent developers to write to its R/3 system, German business software firm SAP today added to its trademark interfaces, known as BAPIs, which connect R/3 with other software applications.

BAPIs, SAP's twist on APIs (application programming interfaces), are standard and reusable object-oriented interfaces that let programmers using a variety of languages such as Visual Basic and Java to write and deploy new application components for R/3. SAP is in the middle of Java-enabling the BAPIs in what amounts to the crux of its efforts to make the comprehensive client-server software Internet-ready. The R/3 system is used by many of the world's largest corporations.

With today's move, SAP has increased to 150 the number of BAPI specs published to its Web site. The company said the newest additions allow developers to modify and deploy components at the business process-logic layer, a step beyond the first BAPIs introduced last year, which merely provided interfaces to the applications layer. The new BAPIs combine the stability of standard software with a quick method of customizing software to each customer's business process requirements, the company said.

Separately, SAP representatives announced that the company has made its business repository of the R/3 reference model available to Unified Modeling Language-complaint repositories, including the Microsoft repository. The move is part of the efforts attract Visual Basic developers to the platform.