SAP Automation GUI Interfaces (BC-FES-AIT) 

SAP GUI Interfaces

The R/3 application server sends and receives data to and from its SAPGUI when displaying R/3 application screens to an end user. The SAPGUI process interacts with one or more Front processes, one for each user session.

The following diagram shows the standard SAPGUI and its Front processes.

Using the GUI interfaces to R/3, an external program can access the data that is communicated between the R/3 application server and its SAPGUI as a method of getting data from or into R/3.

As the following diagram illustrates, the GUI interfaces allow an external program to access R/3 screen data by communicating with the R/3 application server and the SAPGUI.

By using the GUI interfaces an external program can replace the standard SAPGUI with another user interface, which can be either graphical or non-graphical (for example, it can be voice driven).

Programming using the GUI interfaces also allows an external program to monitor or record an end user interaction with SAPGUI screens.

Using the GUI interfaces method requires no knowledge of ABAP programming. It also eliminates the need to learn the business and transaction logic behind an existing R/3 application for which the external program is providing an alternative user interface.

However, since R/3 transaction screens may change between R/3 versions, using this method of integration with R/3 is the most vulnerable to changes.

SAP Automation GUI Interfaces

SAP Automation is a suite of products that allow external programs to integrate with R/3.

SAP Automation GUI Interfaces is a set of products that uses the SAP GUI interface (also called GUI channel).

These products allow desktop and PC programmers to:

The alternative GUI you develop may better fit your users or it may better satisfy the application requirements in your company.

You can integrate non-GUI interfaces, such as interactive voice response (IVR) telephone systems, multimedia kiosks, or World Wide Web pages, into external programs that access R/3.

For example, the Human resources (HR) component of R/3 is geared towards the HR department personnel entering data through the standard SAPGUI set of transactions and screens. You may use the SAP Automation GUI interfaces to create an application that allows any employee to enter their personal data over the Web or even through the regular phone system, instead.

The advantage of using the SAP Automation GUI Interfaces as a way to provide alternative interface to R/3 applications, over programming using RFC or business object BAPIs, for example, is that you preserve the business rules and application logic built into the various R/3 screens and transactions. With SAP Automation GUI Interfaces you are replacing only the interface to the R/3 application; you are not building the R/3 application from start to finish. You are therefore leveraging on the research and development effort put forth by the SAP development team into designing business process, and into integrating the application with the rest of the enterprise software. For example, when programming an alternative personal data entry as in the above example, you provide a different way for an employee to change his or her address. You do not have to then program the functions that propagate the change of address into the payroll system. You leave this functionality to the R/3 HR component.

Use the SAP Automation GUI interfaces if you need a quick way to provide new interfaces to integrate with an existing R/3 application. However, if you need to develop a new application and integrate it to an R/3 system, the better alternative is a combination of programming in ABAP and using SAP Automation RFC interfaces.

Client applications can use the SAP Automation GUI interfaces alongside the standard SAPGUI, recording, for example the user's data entry at the SAPGUI screens.

Using the SAP Automation GUI Interfaces a client application can then play back the user actions on R/3 screens.

Recording an end-user interaction can be used for testing or for user interface design, for example.

SAP Automation GUI can therefore be viewed as a first enabling step to moving R/3 interface development to the presentation server, leaving the business logic at the ABAP application level.

Examples of Application

Partner companies have developed several new application interfaces with SAP Automation GUI. Here are some examples:

Within SAP, we have used SAP Automation GUI to develop self-service Human Resources applications.


Though SAP Automation GUI software began shipping with R/3 Desktop Integration in Release 3.0C, the software works with Release 2.1 and later of the R/3 application servers. Starting with 3.1H, the SAP Automation GUI software also works with R/2 systems.