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Update (July 2013):

SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.4 marks the new go-to-release and is now generally available! In addition to the capabilities of Portal 7.3, customers can now benefit from optimizations for the SAP HANA platform. Business Suite content has been released for NetWeaver 7.4 hubs (note 1874939). Read the overview blog , the Portal 7.4 overview presentation and check detailed upgrade information via http://help.sap.com/nw74 and http://service.sap.com/sltoolset.

 

Check out the latest portal roadmap on SAP Service Marketplace https://service.sap.com/roadmaps (updated after TechEd)

 

Read the following blogs for further details on portal innovations:

 

- - - - - - - - - Original Blog Post - - - - - - - - -

 

Finally it’s there – more intuitive and powerful than ever before! SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.3 marks our brand new go-to release and serves as the basis for further upcoming product enhancements. After an exciting ramp-up phase, SAP NetWeaver 7.3 has been made generally available on May 30, 2011. If you plan to start a portal project soon, you should read this blog about the lessons learned from the ramp-up to get valuable tips and tricks.

 

What are the key drivers for upgrading to SAP NetWeaver 7.3 Portal?

  • SAP NetWeaver 7.3 is a proven, well adopted go-to-release (incl. maintenance support timelines)
  • Functional improvements and enhanced tools for administrators, developers & end users
    • Mobile enablement and consumption of the portal, enterprise workspaces, enterprise feeds and Universal Worklist items via mobile devices
    • Improved content management (Web Page Composer, Portal Content/Site Management by OpenText)
    • Intuitive collaboration in Enterprise Workspaces (e.g. mobile experience, people explorer, feeds, personalization, AppGallery)
    • Enhanced and streamlined administration environment (content integration and system administration tools for improved operations)
  • Improved usability and branding capabilities with flexible Ajax framework (incl. mobile)
  • Integration with SAPUI5 and SAP NetWeaver Gateway
  • Basis for further upcoming innovations (e.g. mobile, social collaboration)
  • Better performance, more scalable, robust, secure application server based on Java EE 5
  • Better interoperability with non-SAP environments

 

What are the key takeaways from the ramp-up?

  • Very smooth ramp-up with active participants and relatively small number of reported issues
  • Quality and stability of this mature and enterprise-ready portal release have been rated pretty positive by participants
  • Upgrade projects and in particular the migration of custom applications require special attention and preparation
  • New Business Packages are available for release “Business Suite 7” and “Business Suite 7 Innovations 2010”
  • Enterprise Workspaces on top of Portal 7.3 are available with Enterprise Workspaces 1.1 SP1

Business Packages for Portal

Let’s have a look at the various topics in detail:

 

1. SAP’s smoothest portal ramp-up ever!

During the six month evaluation period, the back office team supported more than 50 active customer projects with product information, how-to guides and recommendations. In addition partners started to evaluate the product and made their add-on solutions available on the new release. All in all it was a very successful and smooth ramp-up phase with a lot of positive customer feedback on product quality and stability. The first customers went already live and use their portal productively; many further projects will follow with scheduled go-live date in second half of 2011. Do you plan to follow them?

 

2. Preparing your Portal 7.3 project

There have been huge improvements in the java platform and its tools. With SAP NetWeaver 7.3 we consolidated the former products SAP NetWeaver and Composition Environment into one unified major release. As a consequence customer can enjoy the best of both worlds and get more flexibility with new usage types. Please prepare carefully before you start with the project – especially customers coming from Portal 7.0. The new architecture and available business scenarios are documented in the Master Guide and the central SAP notes 1407532, 1407472, 1531306.

 

3. Checking the Platform Availability

In order to take full advantage of modern server platforms SAP NetWeaver 7.3 runs on 64 bit platforms only. Details about supported operating system / database combinations are maintained in the central Platform Availability Matrix (http://service.sap.com/PAM). Please note that some outdated operating system releases have been removed from the list (e.g. Win 2003). On the client side SAP is supports newer browser versions such as Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4.0 and Safari 4. Check the Browser Support for SAP section on SDN for further details.

 

4. Planning your portal landscape

Various ramp-up customers took already the chance to consolidate their system landscape based on the latest release. SAP offers you recommendations for designing your landscape via Landscape Governance Board. You can find the latest portal landscape recommendations for building corporate, application or BI portals on SDN. In addition the enhanced the Application Integrator (AI) tool supports administrators with an better integration of remote content (New iView > from Remote Source) from e.g. ABAP or Java systems. Thus various scenarios can now be implemented without the need for setting up a dedicated Federated Portal Network. Please check Content Sharing Between SAP NetWeaver Portals (presentation, note 1551944) and the blogSAP NetWeaver Portal – Application Integration and Federated Portal Network, when should I use each solution? for details about when to use which integration approach.

 

Make yourself also familiar with the Performance Best Practices Guide for SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.3 (incl. SAP Note 1496565) and material about the SAP QuickSizer tool (via http://service.sap.com/sizing -> Sizing Guidelines -> Solutions & Platform -> SAP NetWeaver -> Sizing SAP NetWeaver Portal)

 

In addition you may evaluate the latest innovations in the area of Accelerated Application Delivery, Change Recording and Near Zero Downtime for Maintenance.

 

5. Installing your portal system

SAP supports you with software logistic tools for managing your landscape: installation via Software Provisioning Manager; upgrade and maintenance via SUM (Software Update Manager). You can find an overview about the various tools on SAP Service Marketplace (http://service.sap.com/alm-tools and http://service.sap.com/SLToolset) and SDN Upgrade and Update Management. Check out the Portal Installation blog by Kumar Prashant as an example.

 

Before you start with the project you should prepare your Solution Manager. The use of EHP1 for SAP Solution Manager 7.0 (SP 23 or higher) is now mandatory for running your upgrade. You should verify and correct the landscape data with Landscape Verification 1.0 SP1 or higher for SAP Solution Manager. For more information and demo see Landscape Verification @ ALM on SDN. The Maintenance Optimizer creates the stack.xml file and downloads the required files. We recommend that you directly apply the latest Support Package Stack to automatically get the latest improvements based on ramp-up feedback.

 

Customers have two options: installing a clean, new system or upgrading their existing system to SAP NetWeaver 7.3. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages in terms of implementation comfort, resulting system footprint and efforts for potential manual adjustments and configurations.

  • New installation: During the ramp-up customers used this option to quickly build up a new system and gain the benefits of a clean fresh installation. This allows you to install the system with the leanest possible footprint. In addition you can get rid of old legacy content such as test applications or workarounds (that would be kept during an upgrade). This pure installation procedures are pretty straight forward. For details check the Installation Guides.
    Note: We recommend to install your portal system as single-stack. For detailed information, check the dual-stack split area on SCN.
  • Upgrade: If you are planning an upgrade of your current portal landscape (incl. portal content and migration of custom applications) you should be aware of the dependencies to other components such as Development Environment or backend release when using Business Packages. SAP offers an Java switch upgrade via SAPJup. During the upgrade procedure various migration controllers also automatically transform standard portal content into the new structure (e.g. Portal Applications, Documents, Web Page Composer, etc.) SAP strongly recommends carefully reading the Java upgrade guide and relevant SAP notes (1528990, 1530174, 1403832, 1390477).
    Before upgrading to SAP NetWeaver 7.3 or higher, SAP recommends to split any optional dual-stack systems. For more information, see the dual-stack split page on SCN.
    You may also check the options for removing un-necessary usage types during upgrade via "Deployment Optimization Option" (SAP Note 1759081).
  • Note on Support Packages: In general there is no minimal Support Pack Level required in the source system. It's NOT recommended for updates/upgrades to implement the latest SP Stack in the source release without proper alignment of your upgrade schedule based on equivalent Support Package level matrix. You find details on http://service.sap.com/sp-stacks and SAP Note 1528990.
    Add-ons: During the upgrade you will also be requested to point to the 7.3 versions of add-ons such as Business Packages and Enterprise Workspaces. (SAP note 1532805)
  • Manual content transport: Due to restrictions in the export mechanism of SAP NetWeaver 7.0, you cannot simply export, transport and import content and related properties or configurations into a fresh new system (e.g. some KM services). Check the transport information in documentation for KM 7.0 and KM 7.3 for details on supported scenarios. SAP recommends running a thorough upgrade assessment with your consulting partner in order to make a profound decision.
  • Application Migration: Please note that you propably need to adjust your custom applications as described in section 9.

 

6. What’s new in the Java server?

SAP offers now a unified, highly scalable Java application server based on Java EE5 resulting in improved server performance and scalability. Check the recent article from SAP Insider for details. The portal benefits from these improvements and the latest standards offered by the platform such as EJB 3.0, JSP 2.1, SAML 1.1/2.0, JSR 168/286. Customers started to consolidate their landscape as various SAP NetWeaver components are now finally available on joint 7.3 code line including CE and BPM scenarios – enabling real business process portals.

 

One of the major improvements is the consolidation of various administration tools (such as Visual Administrator and various portal support tools) into SAP NetWeaver Administrator. The new system overview dashboard is a great tool to monitor your portal and start investigations if needed (also possible via search or favorites). You can find more details about improvements in the release notes for AS Java Server. For landscape-wide central administration you keep on using of course your SAP Solution Manager.

 

Our UI technology Web Dynpro Java has also been significantly enhanced since SAP NetWeaver 7.0. Those of you who work with Composition Environment might already benefit from various improvements, if not please check the release notes for Web Dynpro Java to learn more about a more convenient development environment, various new UI controls, Flash Island, Drag&Drop support and lot’s of cool features. The Web Dynpro for Java Gallery for SAP NetWeaver CE 7.20 offers various nice examples.

 

7. Specific highlights from the new portal capabilities

With the latest SAP NetWeaver 7.3 release SAP offers a reliable and mature portal portfolio with various innovations and functional enhancements for end users, administrators and developers.

SAP NetWeaver Portal Portfolio.png

Portal highlights of SAP NetWeaver 7.3 include:

  • Mobile enablement: The mobile enablement of SAP NetWeaver Portal is an extension of the existing portal offering allowing customers to easily consuming portal content and services via mobile devices for online, browser-based scenarios. SAP offers out of the box framework pages for smartphones and tablets. Learn more the portal mobile enablement. (Check SAP note for details: 1705067 - Known issues for Portal on Device - 7.30 and 7.31)
  • Web Page Composer (WPC): WPC is now an integral part of the portal – no separate add-on component any longer. The functional enhancements were perceived as major improvements for managing and mashing up portal pages. SAP offers various Web Content Management for creating custom forms layouts or adding third party editor. A migration tool supports customers running WPC 7.0 already (see SAP note 1371703).
  • Enhanced administration environment: the streamlined administration environment eases various tasks via intuitive wizards and tools – especially the improved AppIntegrator for easy integration of Business Suite content. Change recording, transport capabilities via CTS+ and supportability have also been improved significantly. Various configuration and troubleshooting tasks have been incorporated directly into SAP NetWeaver Administrator (replacing Visual Admin). And KM also provides new reports for monitoring what’s going on and cleaning up your system.
    Please note that the double click for PCD is no longer working (due to Web Dynpro Java implementation > please make sure your browser zoom mode is set to 100%; otherwise you may experience slow PCD performance).
  • Ajax Framework / Customization: The new Ajax Framework Page (AFP) comes with the new “SAP Signature Design” and offers lot of services for increasing the people productivity via use of navigation, favorites, powerful (quick) search and tabsets (i.e. grouping of navigation entry points). The portal offers a flexible configuration tool for major AFP settings. SAP does not recommend adjusting the out-of-the-box AFP beyond these configuration options. For pixel-perfect UI customizations according to your companies' design guidelines SAP recommends to leverage the powerful set of APIs. Check the collaborative AFP Wiki for further details, examples and how-to guides.
  • Wikis and Forums: Finally SAP provides predefined roles for the wikis to enable smart collaborative writing in teams. There is no additional license required. You just need to download the add-on solution “Portal Add-on SAP NW 7.3” from Service Marketplace and install it on your portal server. The forums are also part of the release and offer some new features such as rating. For further details see release notes for portal and collaboration.
  • Enterprise Workspaces 1.1: The latest version of our personal productivity and collaboration solution for portal users offers an easy content consumption and “shopping cart” approach. Starting with SP1 of Enterprise Workspaces 1.1 customers can run this add-on solution on top of Portal 7.3.
  • Powerful Web Services and APIs: The portal provides a set of APIs and Web Services (JavaDocs, Developer Guide) to extend the product with your own custom solutions and enable interoperability scenarios.

 

Check out the add-on "SAP Portal Content / Site Management by OpenText" if you are interested in professional solution for managing your documents and sites in intranet and extranet scenarios via http://scn.sap.com/community/netweaver-portal/knowledge-and-content-management

 

In addition we recommend to review the entire SAP NetWeaver 7.3 release notes as they contain further enhancements from related areas such as Application Server Java, Development Tools, Business Process Management, Search, etc.

Upcoming SPS are listed in the Support Package Schedule.

 

8. Running Business Packages for SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.3

SAP provides Business Packages for the backend releases Business Suite 7 (e.g. ECC 6.0 EhP4, SRM 7.0, etc.) and Business Suite 7 Innovations 2010 (e.g. ECC 6.0 EhP5; SRM 7.0 EhP1, etc.) on SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.3. Customers running an older SAP ERP release (e.g. ECC 6.0 EhP3 or below) may manually integrate their ABAP transactions via AppIntegrator or need to upgrade their backend to the supported release level. Especially Java-based business packages had to be adjusted to the new runtime environment (Java EE5) of the portal server.


If you are running an upgrade from SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Portal with installed Business Packages, the upgrade tool will ask you for the successor versions. In Solution Manager you can then choose the relevant Packages. As an alternative you may keep the Business Packages on the separate Portal 7.0 and integrate the remote content into the central Portal 7.3.


Upgrade!

You may select only relevant business packages for the upgrade via Maintenance Optimizer in SAP Solution Manager. For details on release dependencies please check SAP Note 1946131 and the upgrade information in https://service.sap.com/mopz > Special Cases in Installation and Upgrade (PDF) > 4.3 Add Installation of SAP ERP Portal Content on Top of Existing NW Portal

 

Important note: As of SAP Business Suite 7 Innovations 2013 (e.g. ERP 6.0 EhP7) only SAP NetWeaver 7.3 and newer releases are supported as integration hubs (see note 1388258).

 

Further information is maintained in the following notes and source:

  • Integrating Business Packages
  • SAP Note 1946131 "NW Java Upgrade includes unwanted Business Packages for ERP 6.0"
  • SAP Note 1388258 "Version Interoperability within the SAP Business Suite"
  • SAP Note 1951805 "Adjusted Version Interoperability for Business Suite 7i2013"
  • SAP Note 1468349 "SAP Business Suite 7 for SAP NetWeaver 7.3 hub systems"
  • SAP Note 1615463 "SAP Business Suite 7i 2010 for SAP NetWeaver 7.3 Hub-Systems"
  • SAP Note 1698276 "SAP Business Suite for SAP NetWeaver 7.31 hub systems"
  • SAP Note 1621361 "SAP ERP 6.0 EHP 6: Collective Note for Predefined Roles"
  • SAP Note 1592495 "Enhancement package 6 for SAP ERP: Info for portal content"
  • SAP Note 1532805 "Add-On Compatibility of SAP NetWeaver 7.3".
  • SAP Note 1685257 "Upload of SAP delivered NWBC Roles to SAP Netweaver Portal"


9. Migrating your custom applications

Due to the new Java basis you probably need to adjust your custom applications. SAP Help contains a comprehensive documentation for migrating your Java, Portal and Web Dynpro applications. Read also the in-depth SDN article on "Migrating Web Dynpro Application Projects from SAP NetWeaver 7.0 to Higher Version" and the guide How To Migrate Custom Portal Applications to SAP NetWeaver 7.3.

 

Please note that portal applications have a slightly different directory structure now. They include additional files and are packaged in WAR format, which are ZIP files with a .war extension. WAR (Web Application Archive) is the standard format for packaging web components for Java EE servers. The portal provides a migration tool for converting PARs into such WARs.

 

In addition we streamlined the existing portal APIs, released few new services and cleaned up deprecated APIs. Thus we recommend to check the latest available JavaDocs and notes for portal (note 1503649) or KM (note 1372388).

 

Browser Support

SAP is constantly testing latest browser versions for our solutions.

Review the blog http://scn.sap.com/blogs/browsup and SAP note 1853087 "Conditional support for browser usage on Mobile Devices" for regular updates on supported browsers.

 

Working with SAP UI5 / HTML5 Standards Mode

SAP Portal offers a new SAPUI5 iView template to integate SAP UI5 based applications into the portal.

Customer who are leveraging SAP's UI libraries (UI Development Toolkit for HTML5 Developer Center) should also review the following notes for further information:

  • 1708020 - Support of UI5 based on ABAP applications in the portal
  • 1895989 - UI5 iView stylesheet rendering issues
  • 1885476 - DSM support for UI5 application
  • 1854758 - Standard Mode support for WebDynpro Java applications
  • 1894272 - Standard Mode Support for Portal Embedded Applications
  • 1911889 - Standard Mode support for WebDynpro Java applications running under portal UFP
  • 1900896 - Central Note for SAPs Quirks and Standards Document Modes
  • 1713259 - PRT support for HTML5 doctype
  • 1737445 - Internet Explorer standards mode rendering for EP
  • 1728946 - Central Browser Note for NetWeaver
  • 1747308 - Installation Guide UI development toolkit for HTML5 (SAPUI5)


Integration of SAP Fiori applications in to Mobile Portal (blog post by Sibylle Brehm).

You may also check the community blog by Jens Drogi on HowTo run SAPUI5 on Portal - Portal Runtime Integration (Quirks & Co.)

 

Working with Portal Themes

Customers can adjust the visual appearance of the portal and integrated applications (e.g. colors, fonts, padding, images) via the classic "Portal Theme Editor" and the new UI Theme Designer.

 

The theme infrastructure of SAP NetWeaver 7.0 is based on "Unified Rendering" (UR) used for UI technologies such as Web Dynpro ABAP/ JAVA, Business Warehouse Java, HTMLB and JSP. SAP NetWeaver 7.3 leverages a new set of controls based on "Unified Rendering Lightspeed" technology for improved performance and usability of controls (e.g. supporting gradients, background colors, transparency, dimensions, etc.).

 

Customers who created a custom theme via the portal theme editor may experience visual differences when switching to the new rendering technology UR Lightspeed due to additional properties / meta data and dimensions of various new controls.

 

The previews in the theme editor are still rendered with UR Classic controls. UR LightSpeed specific previews are not yet available. In most cases the previews are still accurate as most parameters are the same between UR Classic and UR LightSpeed controls. In rare case the UR LightSpeed controls use different parameters compared to the same UR classic control. In such cases it might happen the parameter is not yet part of the theme editor. So it is important to check the application itself after adjusting the theme.

 

Related links / notes:

  • Documentation on Theming and Branding in the Portal
  • SAP Note 1890375 "Known Issues of UI Theme Designer for SAP NetWeaver Portal"
  • SAP Note 970850   "Portal stylesheets in Web Dynpro ABAP"
  • SAP Note 1000889 "CSS Style Sheet Integration of Web Dynpro and the Portal"
  • SAP Note 1033496 "Different stylesheet versions - EP and Web Dynpro ABAP"
  • SAP Note 1107662 "Web Dynpro ABAP: Unified rendering light speed (7.01, 7.11)"
  • SAP Note 1306235 "Upgrade of custom themes might lead to visual design"
  • SAP Note 1446099 "Web Dynpro application not displayed in customer theme"
  • SAP Note 1676986 "Customizing of Lightspeed Controls in Portal"
  • SAP Note 1681286 "Visual design "SAP_CORBU" theme for Web applications"

 

10. The most important notes and links you should know

The following section contains the main links and notes you should learn by heart:

 

The following notes are available on http://service.sap.com/notes

 

Installation and Upgrade

  • 1407532 - Release Restrictions for SAP NetWeaver 7.3
  • 1407472 - Release Restrictions for SAP NetWeaver 7.3 - Portal
  • 1531306 - Central Note for NetWeaver 7.30 EP / EPC
  • 1528990 - SP Equivalence for update/upgrade to SAP NW 7.30
  • 0954820 - Compatibility of SLD in the system landscape
  • 1530174 - Upgrade to SAP NetWeaver EP/EPC 7.3
  • 1403832 - Central Note: Upgrade Systems on SAP NetWeaver 7.3
  • 1390477 - Additional info for upgrade to SAP NetWeaver 7.3
  • 1371703 - WPC for SAP NetWeaver 7.3 - Upgrade Information (Migration Guide)
  • 1372388 - Upgrade of applications using KMC to SAP NetWeaver 7.3
  • 1295662 - Federated Portal Network - Interoperability between 2 portals
  • 1049553 - SAP Forums - Installation, Upgrade and System Copy
  • 1372623 - SAP Wikis - Installation
  • 1166135 - Central Note for Ajax Framework Page with SAP NW
  • 1705067 - Known issues for Portal on Device - 7.30 and 7.31
  • 1645590 - Java/Server SPs dependencies (and SupportDeskTool) - for BW Scenarios
  • 1655335 - Use Cases for Splitting Dual-Stack Systems
  • 1769205 - Central SAP Note - Dual Stack Split Tool 2.0 SP3
  • 1759081 - Deployment Optimization Option

 

Add-ons and Business Content

  • 1685257 - Upload of SAP delivered NWBC Roles to SAP Netweaver Portal
  • 1468349 - SAP Business Suite 7 for SAP NetWeaver 7.3 hub systems
  • 1615463 - SAP Business Suite 7i 2010 für SAP NetWeaver 7.3 Hub-Systeme
  • 1532805 - Add-On Compatibility of SAP NetWeaver 7.3
  • 1388258 - Version interoperability between SAP Business Suite and SAP NetWeaver
  • 1448100 - Enhancement package 5 for SAP ERP: Info for portal content
  • 1007341 - SAP ERP 2004/2005 - supported ESS/MSS system landscapes
  • 1004528 - SAP Self Services: Business packages and components
  • 1481766 - HRSP Information of SAP enhancement package 5
  • 1450179 - ESS Based on Web Dynpro ABAP Available as of EHP5
  • 1509139 - ESS EHP5 solution Based on Web Dynpro JAVA Available

 

For Developer

  • 1496565 - Zooming in Internet Explorer and others is not supported
  • 1295662 - Interoperability between 2 portals in FPN
  • 1086644 - Checking database consistency for the PCD (7.0)
  • 1473054 - Checking database consistency for the PCD for CE 7.1 & above
  • 1503649 - SAP NetWeaver Portal 7.30 DCs and References
  • 1504295 - PRT SOAP APIs are no longer public
  • 1504296 - SAP Netweaver Portal 7.30 - Removed APIs
  • 1554013 - API Changes in Search service and Favorites service

 

With this information you should now be equipped for a smooth portal upgrade project.

I am looking forward to receiving your feedback.

 

Regards,
Thomas

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