Key Technologies in SAP Portal Component Development
The portal components for the SAP EP are enterprise applications built on the J2EE platform. SAP's Portal Component API includes a custom framework called DynPage, which supports J2EE application development for the EP. DynPage provides a collection of interfaces and abstract classes to structure the application architecture of portal components that require dynamic page processing. Essentially an implementation of the Service to Worker pattern, the DynPage framework organizes the Controller and Dispatcher classes and subsequently manages their interaction with JavaBeans and JavaServer Pages (see Figure 2
The Portal Component API also contains a number of portal platform services that enhance SAP portal components with additional functionality, such as user personalization and access to remote data sources.
The iView Runtime for Java
SAP portal components are deployed as enterprise archives to the iView Runtime for Java (IRJ), the EP's Java runtime environment. You can develop and build a portal component archive (PAR) file with any commercial IDE you can even use Apache Ant, the open source build tool. For the Eclipse Platform, SAP provides a custom plug-in that supports portal component development projects with wizards and templates based on the DynPage framework. The Eclipse plug-in also enables the hot deployment of portal archives directly to the IRJ.
(An add-on for Borland's JBuilder is also available and offers similar support, but SAP plans to discontinue its development with the next release of the EP.)
Portal Development Kit
SAP also offers the Portal Development Kit (PDK) as an offline deployment environment. The PDK, which runs as a Web application in an Apache Tomcat servlet container, is built on top of the same IRJ infrastructure as the SAP EP. (Future versions of the PDK will run inside SAP's J2EE server.) Since it also renders iViews with the look and feel of the EP, you can employ the PDK to develop and test portal components locally. In conjunction with the Eclipse Platform and the SAP plug-in, the PDK provides everything you need to begin working with portal components.
The PDK and Eclipse are both available for download, free of cost under their respective licensing agreements. You can get Eclipse at www.eclipse.org. The PDK, as well as its installation guide and the plug-in for Eclipse, is available at the SAP iViewStudio, where you can register to receive download access.
Your iViewStudio ID also allows you to participate in the PDK developers' forum and gives you access to a series of technical white papers. Within the installed PDK environment, the Documentation and Examples links from the top-level navigation bar provide a rich source of documentation, tutorials, and example components.