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Dialog Programming  Locate the document in its SAP Library structure

This is a classical programming method that is based on dynpros and dialog transactions.

Classic Application Programming

Separating the application layer from the presentation layer means that when you run an ABAP application program requiring user interaction, control of the program is continually passed backwards and forwards between these layers. While a screen is ready for input, the corresponding SAP GUI of the presentation layer is active. During this time, the application layer is not active for the application program. Therefore, the ABAP application servers are free for other tasks. Once the user has entered data on the screen, program control passes back to the application layer. Now, the presentation layer is inactive. The SAP GUI is still visible to the user during this time, and it is still displaying the screen, but it cannot accept user input. The SAP GUI does not become active again until the application program has called a new screen and sent it to the presentation server.

Consequently, if you use this method, you need to divide dialog programs into single dialog steps, with each of these steps comprising the programming logic between two successive screens.

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Dispatching Dialog Steps

The number of users logged onto an ABAP application server is often many times greater than the number of available work processes. Furthermore, it is not restricted by the SAP NW AS ABAP architecture. Furthermore, each user can run several applications at once. The dispatcher has the important task of distributing all dialog steps among the work processes on the ABAP application server.

The following example shows how this might happen:

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       1.      The dispatcher receives the request to execute a dialog step from user 1 and directs it to work process 1, which happens to be free. The work process addresses the context of the application program (in shared memory) and executes the dialog step. It then becomes free again.

       2.      The dispatcher receives the request to execute a dialog step from user 2 and directs it to work process 1, which is now free again. The work process executes the dialog step as in step 1.

       3.      While work process 1 is still working, the dispatcher receives a further request from user 1 and directs it to work process 2, which is free.

       4.      After work processes 1 and 2 have finished processing their dialog steps, the dispatcher receives another request from user 1 and directs it to work process 1, which is free again.

       5.      While work process 1 is still working, the dispatcher receives a further request from user 2 and directs it to work process 2, which is free.

From this example, we can see that:

        A dialog step from a program is assigned to a single work process for execution.

        The individual dialog steps of a program can be executed on different work processes, and the program context must be addressed for each new work process.

        A work process can execute dialog steps of different programs from different users.

The example does not show that the dispatcher tries to distribute the requests to the work processes such that the same work process is used as often as possible for the successive dialog steps in an application. This is useful, since it saves the program context having to be addressed each time a dialog step is executed.

Dispatching and the Programming Model

As already mentioned (see Database Connection section), a work process can only make database changes within a single database logical unit of work (LUW). The contents of the database must be consistent at its beginning and end. The end of such an inseparable sequence of database operations is defined by a commit command to the database system (database commit). During a database LUW, that is, between two database commits, the database system itself ensures consistency within the database. In other words, it takes over tasks such as locking database entries while they are being edited, or restoring the old data (rollback) if a step terminates in an error.

A typical SAP application program extends over several screens and the corresponding dialog steps. The user requests database changes on the individual screens that should lead to the database being consistent once the screens have all been processed. However, the individual dialog steps run on different work processes, and a single work process can process dialog steps from other applications. It is clear that two or more independent applications whose dialog steps happen to be processed on the same work process cannot be allowed to work with the same database LUW.

Consequently, a work process must open a separate database LUW for each dialog step. The work process sends a commit command (database commit) to the database at the end of each dialog step in which it makes database changes. These commit commands are called implicit database commits, since they are not explicitly written into the application program.

These implicit database commits mean that a database LUW can be kept open for a maximum of one dialog step. This leads to a considerable reduction in database load, serialization, and deadlocks, and enables a large number of users to use the same system.

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However, the question now arises of how this method (1 dialog step = 1 database LUW) can be reconciled with the demand to make commits and rollbacks dependent on the logical flow of the application program instead of the technical distribution of dialog steps. Database update requests that depend on one another form logical units in the program that extend over more than one dialog step. The database changes associated with these logical units must be executed together and must also be able to be undone together.

The SAP programming model contains a series of bundling techniques that allow you to group database updates together in logical units. The section of an ABAP application program that bundles a set of logically-associated database operations is called an SAP LUW. Unlike a database LUW, a SAP LUW includes all of the dialog steps in a logical unit, including the database update.




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