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An important point of difference in conversion programs is for example the format of the data to be read: the conversion program reads: READ DATASET .. IN BINARY MODE or IN TEXT MODE; a major difference in the sequential file structure: Files that are created in a BINARY MODE have a fixed record length, TEXT MODE files have a record boundary that is physically an ENTER, so one line per record.

When creating new conversion books you better choose TEXT MODE because:

  • like most existing (standard) conversion books
  • easy to modify when adjusting test data manually (the records show up as lines in the word processor)
  • less sensitive to conversion problems (as we have experienced).

When interfacing keep in mind that conversion books use data delivered in character format. TEXT MODE will pose no problems. As soon as the data that is offered to the ABAP contains non-character formats (numeric values, hexadecimal values, etc.), READ might interpret a badly chosen number as ENTER. This means that a single record would be treated as two (or more ?) records, because there are several record boundaries (ENTERs). Use IN BINARY MODE for interfaces that contain non-character data.

BTW: OPEN DATASET works on a Unix environment, but it works just as well on Windows NT servers. Remarkably little difference in the back-end where you may expect a lot of difference...