SAP and Microsoft announced the availability of a new portal development kit, delivering on a promise made last year to integrate their Web services-based technology platforms.

The kit, with the unwieldy name Portal Development Kit for Microsoft.Net within SAP NetWeaver, aims to help programmers use Microsoft's Visual Studio.Net 2003 development tools to build portal applications on SAP's NetWeaver middleware, application server and integration platform.

In May, the two companies announced a cooperation agreement aimed at reducing friction for customers who have to work with both .Net and NetWeaver but don't want to work with bridges. Customers of both companies demanded tighter integration.

Almost two-thirds of all new SAP installations are deployed on Microsoft's Windows operating systems, with more than 40,000 SAP installations currently running on these systems - more than all other platforms combined, according to SAP.

The portal development kit is available for free as an add-on to Visual Studio.Net 2003. It can be downloaded from the SAP Developer Network.

With the portal builder, SAP hopes to reach out to the large base of programmers skilled at using Microsoft's tools to create portal applications to run on the NetWeaver infrastructure.

The portal development kit is one of several planned technical services within the SAP-Microsoft collaboration. Other services announced last year include:

  • The next version of SAP NetWeaver will provide native support for advanced Web services protocols, enabling reliable interoperability with core .Net technologies including Microsoft BizTalk Server.
  • SAP will deliver sample applications for developers to implement smart clients to access SAP system capabilities from Microsoft Office System applications and Visual Studio 2005.
  • By early 2005, Microsoft will provide repository managers that integrate between SAP NetWeaver Knowledge Management, Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Exchange Server.