ACF: Active Component Framework

SAP uses the ACF (Active Component Framework) in some solutions to provide extra functionality between the desktop and the SAP system.

This framework is known to be troublesome. If possible avoid the usage. If you cannot avoid it, use this blog for know fixes.

Questions that will be answered are:

  • Why avoid the use of the ACF framework?
  • Which use cases can already avoid ACF framework?
  • What are know issues of the ACF framework?
  • What are trouble shooting OSS notes for the ACF framework?

Why to avoid the ACF framework?

The ACF framework relies on a separate installation file on the desktop of the end user. In the default scenario, this file is present on the SAP server and will be pushed to the end user when needed. But most of the desktop software settings on the users desktop will block this file for security reasons. This will force you to distribute these files via the desktop team. After a support pack or upgrade, the ACF file gets renewed and again you have to take care. The ACF framework also depends on the JAVA versions installed on the desktop and the browser.

The ACF framework is known to be delivering nasty issues which are hard to tackle and solve. Any software change on the desktop can lead to issues with the ACF framework.

Avoid the use if possible.

Actions to move away from ACF usage

If you use ACF in the contect of PLMWUI, follow these instructions in OSS note 2879616 – Steps to configure ACF Replacement functionality in PLM WebUI to have the same functionality without ACF.

For the ABAP upload/download use case of ACF, follow the instructions in OSS note 2438690 – Moving to a Plugin-Free Web and ACF file Upload/Download/Execute component.

ACF version and distribution

You can determine you current ACF version by following the instructions in OSS note 1481194 – Determination of ACF version.

Installation and download instructions of the ACF files are described in OSS note 766191 – Installation of Active Component Framework. Prerequisites for running ACF are listed in OSS note 1150277 – Prerequisites for using ACF.

Automatic download or installation considerations are described in OSS note 1488874 – ACF – automatic download or installation.

If you update your browser, or use Citrix, read this OSS note 1766401 – ACF: Switch to new operating system or Internet Explorer.

Patch history of ACF is listed in OSS note 1878583 – ACF: File upload/download/execute patch history.

ACF troubleshooting

For ACF troubleshooting, check the following OSS notes:

Activate SAP GUI for HTML via integrated SAP ITS

For users that do not use the SAP GUI regularly, you can use the SAP GUI for HTML as an alternative. The end users will then access the SAP system via the GUI shown in the web browser. This way the end user does not need to install the fat client on his laptop or desktop.

Questions that will be answered in this blog are:

  • How to activate the SAP GUI for HTML?
  • How to change the theming?
  • How to monitor the ITS behind the SAP GUI for HTML?

Activation of SAP GUI for HTML via integrated ITS

In transaction SICF activate the SAP GUI for HTML node /sap/bc/gui/sap/its/webgui:

Look and feel of the SAP GUI for HTML

OSS note 1508958 – Look and Feel in the WEBGUI explains the different themes for SAP GUI for HTML. OSS note 2540597 – Supported Themes for SAPGUI for HTML explains the support of different theme versions per netweaver version. Note 1656975 – How to set the theme for SAPGUI for HTML? explains how to set the theme.

Monitoring the SAP GUI for HTML via ITS tools

The SAP GUI for HTML is using SAP ITS (internet transaction services) to render the HTML pages. Transaction SITSPMON is the monitoring transaction for ITS:

Known issues

If you get a popup stating Transaction SMEN is locked and you are redirected to the logoff page, please check OSS note 2874027 – Transaction SMEN is locked in direct webgui.

SAP GUI Scripting

Diverse tools use SAP GUI scripting: test tools to perform regression testing, load testing, solution manager CBTA, etc. Also robotizing tools often use GUI scripting.

Questions that will be answered in this blog are:

  • How to enable GUI scripting in the SAP system?
  • How to make sure only the allowed users run GUI scripting?
  • How can I record an SAP GUI script and execute a playback of the recorded script?

Server side enabling GUI scripting

First you need to allow GUI scripting on the server side. This can be done by setting system parameter sapgui/user_scripting to the value TRUE. This is done in transaction RZ11.

Client side enabling GUI scripting

In your SAP gui, goto the options. In the Accessibility & Scripting part, enable the scripting.

At the top part you can see the installation status of scripting tools from SAP itself.

Securing scripting

If you want to securely control which user is allowed to use and execute scripting, you have to set the system parameter sapgui/user_scripting to TRUE. Now any user who is having the authorization object S_SCR is allowed to perform scripting. User who lack the authorization object will cannot run the script.

More information can be found in OSS note 983990 – SAP GUI Scripting security: Enable Scripting per system user.

Recording and playing an SAP GUI script

You can record a script by going to the button Customize Layout and selecting the option Script Recording and Playback..:

Now the GUI scripting record and playback tool opens:

By pressing record, you can start recording a script. When you are done stop it and save it. You can playback a script with the play button.

Sample applications can be found in OSS note 1441550 – SAP GUI scripting: Sample applications.

More background information

More information can be found in OSS note 2296251 – How can SAP GUI Scripting be enabled?.

SAP GUI patching

This blog will zoom in on SAP GUI patching.

Questions that will be addressed are:

  1. Where can I find the latest SAP GUI patch availability status?
  2. Where can I find the planning for SAP GUI patches?
  3. What should be my SAP GUI patch and upgrade policy?

SAP GUI latest patch availability overview and future planned patches

One of the best places to check the latest available is on the SAP blog: SAP GUI latest patch. This site also contains the planning for the next upcoming patch.

Current SAP GUI support overview

The SAP GUI support dates are published by SAP in OSS note 147519.

Corresponding NWBC backend OSS notes

When patching the NWBC front end, or when using NWBC html client, you should also check for server side corrections. The list of most recent note(s) to be applied is kept in OSS note 1353538 – NWBC -Patch Collection- SERVER SIDE (ABAP)+NWBC for HTML. To retrieve your current NWBC backend server patch version follow the instructions in OSS note 1864151 – How to determine the version and Patch Level of NWBC Runtime Environment.

SAP GUI patching policy

SAP GUI and its patches tend to have very short support timelines. An SAP GUI version nowadays is only supported up to max 2 years after release. Reason behind this: the SAP GUI builds on top of windows component which have very short support cycle.

If your company policy is to always have support IT software, you will have to plan and execute an SAP GUI upgrade almost yearly to stay within full SAP support. Put it on your yearly budget and execution calendar as a recurring item.

If you don’t want to go into this yearly effort of testing, packaging and deploying the SAP GUI to your end users, you can opt for this, as long as you are aware of the consequences. Just make sure of the following two main items:

  1. Inform your IT management and service managers that you run the GUI without support, and they approve it.
  2. Check with your windows team that they will still have the libraries in windows desktop/laptop that the SAP GUI needs.