Working with Business Objects in SAP

By Swetabh Shukla, Infosys

Business Object type contains methods, attributes and events which give a component based view of any Business Process. 

For example we have a Purchase Order business process. This process includes various small functionalities. It will have process of changing Purchase orders based upon requirements, functionality to retrieve the details of purchase order etc. Each of these functionalities is encapsulated inside a method. The method can call the function modules present in R3 system or can have there own code to execute some functionality. So if we consider Purchase Order as a Business Object then it will be identified by key field Purchase Order number. Each purchase order business object based upon key field purchase order number is different. It’s so because each purchase order is different and will contain different details. 

So the methods contain business functionality. Attributes are just like properties of the Business object.  For example for any purchase order Purchasing Group, Purchasing Organization etc are attributes. 

Technically we can say that business object types are just like any template. At runtime we instantiate or create runtime objects for any BO (Business Object) type based upon the key fields we pass. Two runtime Business objects of same BO type are different from each other based upon the key fields we pass. So the key field is the differentiating factor for two or more runtime business objects of same BO type. 

To Browse for BO open tcode SWO2 (Path -> Tools ->ABAP Workbench->Overview->Business Object Browser). 


You can expand the nodes and can check various business objects in BOR. You can double click on the BO node and it will take you to BO display (SWO1).   

1           Working with Business Object in our programs 

For creating a Business Object and its attributes there are many already existing tutorials.  So in this tutorial we will not discuss creation of BO and its attributes.

1.1          To create instance of a BO

To create an instance of BO we need to have the key fields of that BO. Key fields will be used to uniquely identify the BO. We can use the FM 'SWO_CREATE' to create an instance of BO in any report program. 

    i_objtype TYPE swo_objtyp,
    i_objkey TYPE swo_typeid,
    object TYPE swo_objhnd.
i_objtype = <Business Object>
i_objkey = <BO key>
    objtype = i_objtype
    objkey  = i_objkey
    object  = object.

The variable ‘object’ will hold runtime instance of the object type.

 The other way is to use the macros defined in include <cntn01> 

INCLUDE <cntn01>.
    i_objtype TYPE swo_objtyp,
    i_objkey TYPE swo_typeid,
    object TYPE swc_object.
*Create instance of Object type
swc_create_object object  i_objtype i_objkey.

 Internally the macro calls the FM SWO_CREATE. So you can either go for direct FM call or the macro call.

1.2          Container 

Basically the term Container is used with reference to Business Objects and Workflows. The Container actually holds import and export parameters associated with any method of Business Object at runtime. When ever we are calling any method of Business Object we need to populate container for import parameters and after the method gets executed it returns the values (export parameters) in Container. 

Business Object container is technically of type SWCONT structure. 


Here ‘ELEMENT’ will be name of the variable/internal table which container holds and ‘VALUE’ will have corresponding value. For multi line variable or internal tables, the container will hold multiple values with same element name. 

1.2.1          Lets take an example to check what Container is 

For example let’s create a Business Object ‘ZSWE1’ with only one method ‘READ’. We will discuss the creation of BO in very brief. 

Key field will be Purchase Order number (EKKO_EBELN) for BO. 

Method READ will take Purchase Order number as input and will give all the Purchase Line items in it in an internal table. 

Step 1 : Create BO ZSWE1 for test purpose. You can give it any name. 


Step 2 : Now create a method READ


Save the method. Now we will create the parameters of the method. 

Import Parameters



Export Parameter


EKKO-EBELP (multi line)

 PurchasingDocument will be a import parameter of type EKKO_EBELN.

ITEM will be a export parameter of type EKKO_EBELP and will be a multi line variable(internal table ) 


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