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Microsoft and SAP unveil new PDK for SAP enterprise portal

The recently expanded relationship between Microsoft and SAP bore fruit last week in the form of a new portal development kit (PDK). The PDK for Microsoft .NET is designed to make it easier for programmers using the Visual Studio .NET IDE to develop, test, and deploy applications that run within the SAP Enterprise Portal.

Available at no cost as an add-in for VS.NET 2003, the PDK is designed to allow SAP customers to build content for the portal component of SAP's Java-based NetWeaver integration platform, using languages such as Visual C# and Visual Basic.NET. It will also give .NET developers access to NetWeaver portal services.

Microsoft and SAP have a long-standing relationship, which the two companies expanded last May at the SAPPHIRE conference with the announcement of a joint-development and patent-sharing agreement. The PDK for .NET is the first significant deliverable to come out of that expanded relationship.

"The two companies hold a similar vision for the future of business applications," Microsoft's senior product manager, Tim O'Brien, told eADT via e-mail. "We saw an opportunity to expand our existing partnership and work together to redefine enterprise applications in a Web services world..."

More than 40,000 SAP installations currently run on Windows-based systems, O'Brien said, which accounts for about two-thirds of all new SAP installations. "Within SAP’s customer base, there is a tremendous wealth of Microsoft-centric developer skills," he said, "and our interoperability efforts will put those skills to work… The PDK for .NET provides our mutual customers with the ability to choose which development platform they wish to use to develop solutions running in SAP Enterprise Portal. The PDK is testament to the commitment between Microsoft and SAP of delivering upon our promises of improved interoperability."

The PDK will be distributed by SAP, which made a significant service-oriented architecture (SOA) play with the announcement of its Enterprise Services Architecture, which revolves around NetWeaver and enables enterprises to service-enable their IT architectures.

The PDK was the first of a series of jointly developed tools and technologies planned for release by the two companies in the next several months, O'Brien said. Last year, the company promised several releases: including a new version of SAP NetWeaver that will provide native support for advanced Web services protocols, enabling reliable interoperability with core .NET technologies, such as the Microsoft BizTalk Server; a sample app from SAP allowing developers to implement smart clients to access SAP system capabilities from Microsoft Office System applications and Visual Studio 2005; and repository managers from Microsoft that integrate SAP NetWeaver Knowledge Management, Windows SharePoint Services, and Microsoft Exchange Server.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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