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Trying to find a way to familiarize myself with the structure and content of the database that sits behind a SAP PLM system

I am trying to find a way to familiarize myself with the structure and content of the database that sits behind a SAP PLM system via the SAP GUI (no direct access to the database) without the risk of inadvertently changing anything.

I currently have permissions that allow me to run the SE16 transaction (data browser) but all of the data export functionality has been disabled. I have seen mention of transaction code SE12 (ABAP Dictionary Display) on various forums, which sounded promising but I was refused permissions to access it by the person who has to sign off all requests for accounts or changes to permissions on the project.

Should I persist with trying to get access to the SE12 transaction?

Are there other transactions I should be considering trying to get access to in addition to or instead of SE12?

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    author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Posted on Aug 26, 2015 at 07:59 AM

    Hi Patrick,

    Firstly, no-one ever accesses the SAP database via anything other than the GUI. Think about the broad spectrum of referential integrity and consider that lots of this is managed by application code that sits above the database itself, rather than database level constraints, and you realise that interacting directly with the database underneath an SAP system is asking for trouble. SE11 and SE16 are the two transactions you will need to achieve this in the GUI. As Arden suggests, getting access to these in the DEV system in your landscape should be easy. If your authorisations manager is saying no, ask them to justify why.

    Being blunt, I'd question the value of this endeavour. SAP is, in very, very simple terms, a massive relational database with lots of application code hanging it all together. Over the years, I've encountered a number of people trying to map or model the underlying SAP database schema and typically, they are barely scratching the surface before they realise the futility of the task! When I say massive, I mean really massive. Think 10's of thousands of tables, if not more. Even a single module in SAP, such as PLM, could be made up of hundreds or more database objects. And that's before we get to all of the other data dictionary objects such as views, structures, lock objects, domains, etc. etc...

    Having said all this, I really don't think you are approaching SAP in the right manner and will quickly burn a lot of time getting nowhere. Maybe it would help us to help you more if you briefly explain why you want to understand the whole data model?



    p.s. This isn't really an ABAP question and would normally be rejected or moved to another space, however for the moment, until we understand what you are really trying to do, I'll leave it here.

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    • Former Member Former Member

      Seconding everything Gareth wrote, you might get some insights from the respective space Product Lifecycle Management (SAP PLM). There are many similar "newbie" questions, answered ones, there about which tables are used and the relationships between them. To avoid making this into a "do this rather than that", you should know that all document related data in SAP PLM is actually stored in SAP DMS, see the SAP Document Management space for details on that. SAP PLM relies heavily on the Case Management API and a fair warning, it is complex to map with traditional data mapping because the underlying tables are never accessed without context and the table contents are usually XML encoded. Most of SAP PLM specific functionality exists in the Web UI (FPM, WDA) applications, Service Provider Infrastructure and assistance/utility classes.

  • author's profile photo Former Member
    Former Member
    Posted on Aug 26, 2015 at 04:53 AM

    Hi Patrick

    Try getting access via the Development System.

    You can also use SE11 to view a Structure, but keep in mind there is no data stored in a Structure. Effectively they are "Populated" programmatically at run time for the given process...without the data actually being stored there..

    Hope this helps.



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