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Christoph von Basum, SAP

SAP [1] is the world's leading manufacturer of business software. Its products range from complex enterprise resource planning systems ("R/3") all the way to the latest Customer Relationship Management applications, mobile sales and service, or business to business procurement via the Internet. All products are comprised in the workplace.

A couple of SAP's software engineers use J for the development of prototypes. Any software development begins with an analysis of the underlying business process and the problems found worth to tackle with software are specified and designed. Prototypes can be of invaluable help for getting a better feeling of what the final product is able to do and what it will look like.

One of those prototypes is JIP, the J IDoc Printing Engine. Even the intrusion of the Internet into virtually all aspects of everyday life does not free companies printing labels from time to time. The idea behind JIP is simple: SAP takes care of providing all the data required for printing and a 3rd party program will take of proper formatting. JIP's tasks is in the conversion of the data from the SAP system for the 3rd party program. SAP provides data via IDocs, intermediate documents. IDocs transfer data for business transactions.

JIP comes in two versions: The "interactive" version maps the content of IDocs to the layout specifications required by the 3rd party program formats. The user defines conditions for selecting a specific layout, he defines group change segments, and the like. J has been used here to design the interface.