The appropriate related SAP development entities domains, structures, table types, and transparent tables, external and internal interfaces, user interfaces, and so on have been adapted accordingly. Nevertheless there might be constellations where a customer needs to be aware about. In the following chapters, the different aspects of the material number field length extension are described. Additional remark: The next version of SAP Simple Finance, on-premise edition which will be based on Enhancement Package 8 will as well be based on an 18 characters long material number.
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The appropriate related SAP development entities domains, structures, table types, and transparent tables, external and internal interfaces, user interfaces, and so on have been adapted accordingly. Nevertheless there might be constellations where a customer needs to be aware about.
In the following chapters, the different aspects of the material number field length extension are described. Additional remark: The next version of SAP Simple Finance, on-premise edition which will be based on Enhancement Package 8 will as well be based on an 18 characters long material number.
Especially, it must be made sure that the material number will not be truncated to its former length of 18 characters as this would result in data loss. In an SAP system, this consistent behaviour is usually ensured by the fact that all data elements used to type relevant fields are derived from the same domain, the domain defining the technical length of the derived fields. Whenever coding uses these fields, the coding is automatically adapted when the domain changes.
For the material number itself we identified the domains that are used to define material number fields. All these domains have been extended to 40 characters. Besides these direct usages of the material, it may be that a specific material is also used in other fields. An example may be characteristic values: A material may well be used as characteristic value. For all such fields for which a material — besides other possible values — is a valid content, it has been checked that these fields are long enough to hold the extended material number.
These fields or the underlying domains have been extended as well. Extending further — dependent — fields of course means that the usages of the fields have been investigated as well. At several places, the material number is used as reference, template, or for other reasons but another shorter value, for example, a GUID, could be used as well.
In these and other similar cases, it may be the better choice to switch to another value. Using this other value has been done at all places where this was appropriate. Overall, the complete data flow in the system has been analysed to identify all places at which a material number was moved to a field that was not long enough for a 40 character material number. All these conflicts have been handled in one of the ways described above.
Such an analysis also needs to be done in customer or partner coding. The described changes have also been applied to parameters of all interfaces that are usually called only within one system, that is, local function modules, class methods, BAdIs etc.
In the types and structures used as parameters in these local calls, the material number has simply been extended to 40 characters. The same is true for other extended fields as well.
This was usually also done for unreleased remote enabled function modules as the main use case for such function modules is an internal decoupling within one system. For interfaces that are usually called remotely, a different way has been chosen.
For more information, see the specific chapter below. This has been done in all tables and all fields within the tables in which a material number can be stored. Although the maximum length of the database field used to store the material number is now 40 characters, the way how the material number content is stored in the database field has not been changed compared to SAP Business Suite. This holds especially true for pure numeric material numbers. With standard Customizing leading zeroes are not significant, lexicographic flag not set , pure numeric material numbers are still restricted to 18 characters and will be filled up on the database only up to 18 characters by leading zeroes.
Overall, the chosen way of storing material number content avoids data conversions in the database. Note that data conversion will be needed when a material number is stored in a field that has a concatenated content, and the material number is part of that concatenated content: Concatenation in the code uses the complete technical length of the field which now is 40 characters and is also reflected in the database content.
This will be explained in detail later in this Simplification Item. That means that the external interfaces used for integration have to be compatible to old versions of the interface. This is especially relevant for the commonly used integration techniques BAPI, RFC, and IDoc as these techniques rely on a fixed length and order of fields in the transmitted data. Simply extending the material number field or other extended fields in these interfaces would therefore technically break the version compatibility.
We have decided to provide a technical-version compatibility for released external interfaces in the way that is commonly used and proposed for BAPI interfaces: The already existing field keeps its original length and a new field has been added at the end of the structure or as new parameter that allows transmitting material numbers with 40 characters. Besides this, it must be ensured that no material number or other extended field can be maintained in the system with a content length greater than the old length of the field.
Only after this decision it is possible to allow more than 18 characters for the material number. A complete list of relevant function modules, IDocs, and structures that have been extended in this way can be found in the piece lists in the simplification database. The system prevents that data is created that cannot be sent via the old interface, that is the usage of the extended fields is restricted to the old length. Communication partners can still rely on the old known behaviour of the interfaces.
The long version of the extended field in the interfaces is filled and interpreted, too. For example, the 18 character material number is also communicated via the 40 character field. This means that the communication partners can already adapt their interfaces for using the long field although only short material numbers are allowed.
When extended material number functionality is switched on, the system no longer guarantees that all fields are filled in a way that they can be transmitted via the old fields. The shorter version of an extended field is obsolete in communication interfaces.
Only the extended field is relevant in communication interfaces. That means: o Only the extended version of the field is sent. This is implemented to prevent that communication partners send truncated values. Concatenated keys containing extended fields are sent and evaluated in the new format Communication partner have to adjust to the new fields and data formats. If a released external API is called internally, that is locally within one system, it is always ensured that the call can be done with new extended field length, no compatibility is required.
Therefore — and to be safe when extended material number functionality is activated — all internal calls of external interfaces must only use the newly added extended fields. Then only the new extended field shall be used in all internal coding, too. To use a material number with 40 characters, the customer needs to activate this functionality. The following settings are required for that: 1.
Activation of the Extended Material Number Functionality The activation is realized as client-dependent customizing table. Here the settings need to be adapted to allow a field length of more than 18 characters.
SAPìnfo numero 76 (Nov. 2000)
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ALE/EDI/IDoc Intro Page
This answer has been deleted. This answer has been undeleted. This allows the data to go through the SAP checks before posting occurs o In the case of transaction scenarios the relevant data is passed to the respective transactions in order to load the required application document. This IDoc is sent to the ALE layer where the following processing steps are applied: Outbound processing Receiver determination An IDoc is similar to a normal letter in that it has a sender and a receiver. If the receiver has not been explicitly identified by the application, then the ALE layer uses the customer distribution model to help determine the receivers for the message. The ALE layer can find out from the model whether any distributed systems should receive the message and, if so, then how many.