Microsoft, SAP Advance Their Mutual Offerings, As Promised

In January, the strategic partners released their first deliverable, an add-in for Visual Studio, called the SAP Enterprise Portal Development Kit (PDK) for Microsoft .Net. The PDK, available on SAP's NetWeaver Developer Network site, will allow customers to deploy portal components on SAP's Java-based NetWeaver platform using any language supported by Visual Studio, said Tim O'Brien, senior product manager at Microsoft. It will also give Microsoft-centric .Net developers access to NetWeaver's portal services, such as user management and single sign-on services.

With this PDK, developers can pull components out of Visual Studio and integrate them into SAP, Microsoft said. It will work with current Visual Studio as well as Visual Studio 2005, expected to ship this summer.

One SAP partner this is a "substantial" announcement. "With SAP and NetWeaver allowing us to use HTML, XML, Java and now a stronger interface with .Net using Visual Studio, we can create, expand and change SAP on the fly," said Christopher Carter, CEO of CCI, Milwaukee.

Microsoft, Redmond, Wash., and SAP, Walldorf, Germany, also plan to deliver interoperability between Microsoft advanced Web service standards, BizTalk and smart clients. Microsoft last quarter released an updated SAP .Net Connector 2.0.

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Microsoft partners said improved interoperability will be a significant gain for partners struggling to integrate various systems in the field.

"By allowing integration and information flowing freely between SAP and SharePoint, it allows for big productivity gains when dealing with corporate info," said Glen Gulyas, president of GigaMedia Access, Herndon, Va. "It shouldn't be any surprise with the Oracle-PeopleSoft deal. [Microsoft and SAP are] moving closer and closer together."