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SAP software eases up

German business applications titan SAP officially unveils the Internet-friendly version of its R/3 3.1 software.

German business applications titan SAP officially unveiled the Internet-friendly version of its R/3 3.1 software today at a development conference in Los Angeles.

The package, debuted to SAP customers and software developers this week, adds a suite of 25 Java-enabled applications to the company's client-server computing architecture.

"Today is the crystallization of all the strategic announcements we've made to date," SAP representative Chris Burton said. "The whole R/3 product line is now Java-enabled."

The new version includes SAP's Internet Transaction Server, software that manages transactions between the SAP software and the Web, and has an HTML generator to allow users to build custom Web pages.

Also included are more than 100 "Business Application Program Interfaces," SAP's twist on the standard API. The company developed the BAPIs to customize and add new R/3 applications and has signed up about 100 independent software developers committed to making new tools for the software platform, Burton said.

The software is being tested by a limited number of companies and will be widely available worldwide in the first quarter of next year. The company is still working out the pricing, but Burton said it could be "as low as $100 per seat per named user."

Last month, the company unveiled top human resources tools that offer employees self-service to personal data. The tools, now available only in the United States, ship separately from the R/3 3.1 package.