SAP Generic Output Format
The generic spool format SAP Generic Output Format (SAPGOF) is always used when data needs to be prepared for printing in an SAP application. SAPGOF provides two types of data: SAPscript documents in fully formatted OTF (Output Text Format) and unformatted Advanced Business Application Programming (ABAP) lists (SAP ALV/List). While the convenient OTF describes the complete document, including the number of columns/lines and positions of the individual elements, SAP ALV/List is very general, i.e. the appearance of the page needs to be defined.
The main difference between the two formats is that SAPscript documents are device-specific, i.e., the text layout (lines and page breaks) corresponds to printerspecific font metric data in the data stream. SAPscript documents can therefore be sent only to those devices that have a font metric identical to the layout. OTF serves as a basis for device drivers in SAP applications, i.e. programs that are responsible for output to a predefined end device.
The ABAP list data, on the other hand, is device-independent, which means that no device-specific layout is provided when the list is sent. Lists use only font types with a fixed character width. The organization of the text into lines is determined by the ABAP report, which generates the lists.
Compart’s MFFGOF filter is a program that accepts spool data in GOF format – either as an OTF or a ABAP list – and converts it into all common printing formats, such as AFP, PDF, IPDS, etc. It is part of all products in the DocBridge series, so that companies that use Compart solutions do not require any external software to prepare SAP data for printing. The entire process is supported by a single source – through the application and the corresponding output filters. Compart has therefore tapped into a market segment with a high potential sales volume: SAP is the most widely used standard in the fields of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
A major advantage of the Compart filter is that it supports Unicode and barcode, meaning that documents with these features can easily be printed on any computer without installing an extra module. To clarify: Common printers used by major manufacturers are usually not barcode- and Unicode-compatible. To print such documents, printers need to be equipped with a special hardware module – which quickly becomes a significant cost factor in large companies with lots of printers. By using Compart’s MFFGOF filter, however, these additional expenses can be avoided.
Compart’s MFF filters (mixed format filter) are the basis of the MFF architecture for DocBridge products. Some MFF filters read files in different formats (input filters) while others are used to write files in the respective output format (output filters). In many cases, a format is supported for both input and output.
The strength of the Compart MFF architecture is its ability to quickly and effectively convert documents in various formats into others, or integrate them into a document using a specific format. For example, documents in AFP, SAPGOF or PCL can be converted to PDF and can also be merged into a single PDF document.
When converting one format into another, Compart uses the shared object format, the so-called presentation area (PA), which is able to represent the visual data and metadata of all supported formats. An MFF input filter converts an input file into the PA format in main memory and an MFF output filter then converts the PA format saved in main memory into an output file.
SAPGOF Conversion Directions
A complete overview of all supported input and output formats is provided in the Compart Matrix. Compart software solutions enables highly complex, single pass operations with flexibility and reliability for high availability, high volume environments.