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ALE (Application Linking Enabling) &
IDOC (Intermediate Document)
Contents What is an Idoc ? Idoc structure Extending Idoc vs New/Custom Idoc Idoc Archiving Procedure What is an ALE ? ALE vs EDI ALE Components ALE Process (Outbound/Inbound) Idoc and Workflow Integration Appendix
It is not a process
It is a data container used to exchange information between any two processes(SAP to SAP or SAP to non-SAP) that can understand the syntax and semantics of the data
In the SAP system, these are stored in database tables
Every IDoc has an unique number
Independent of the sending and receiving systems
IDocs are based on EDI standards, ANSI ASC X12 and EDIFACT, but are closer to the EDIFACT standards
Independent of the direction of data exchange
Can be viewed in a text editor and do not contain any binary data
IDoc Definition Components Basic IDoc type This defines the structure and format of the business document that is to be exchanged between two systems. Generally called IDoc type.
A basic IDoc type has the following characteristics. •
Name. A basic IDoc type can be assigned up to a thirty−character name. Custom IDoc types always start with „Z‟. The last two characters are the version number. After a basic IDoc type is released and you move to a newer version of the SAP system, any changes to the structure of the basic IDoc type will create a new basic IDoc type. In general, the version number is incremented by one. Ex: Z1STUREC.
List of permitted segments. These segments make up the IDoc structure.
Ex: Z1STUSG •
Hierarchy of segments. The hierarchy of segments specifies the physical sequence and any parent−child relationship in the segments. A parent−child relationship signifies that the child segment cannot exist without the parent. 4
IDoc Definition Components Basic IDoc type contd.
Mandatory versus optional segment. When used in an IDoc type, each segment has an attribute that defines whether the segment is optional or mandatory.
Minimum/maximum range for each segment. When used in an IDoc type, each segment has an attribute that defines the minimum and the maximum number of times a data record corresponding to a segment can exist in an IDoc.
Basic IDoc type Z1STUREC
IDoc Definition Components Segments This defines the format and structure of a data record. These are reusable components i.e. can be used in more than one IDoc type. Segment components •
Segment type : This is version−independent name of the segment. SAP−provided segment types begin with E1, whereas custom−defined segment types begin with Z1.
IDoc Definition Components Segments contd.
Segment definition : This can be more than 1000 bytes. SAP segment definitions start with E2, whereas customer segment definitions start with Z2. The name of a segment definition is 30 characters long and is automatically assigned by the system from the name of the segment type. The last three characters represent the version of the segment.
Segment documentation : This represents the data dictionary documentation for each field in the segment definition. Segment documentation of SAP−provided segments begins with E3, whereas the segment documentation of customer−defined segment types begins with Z3. There is only one segment documentation per segment.
Data Fields A data field represents a single data item that is used in a segment. All data field values must be alphanumeric values. The valid data