Background processing offers a way to have the R/3 System take care of some kinds of work for you. In background processing, the R/3 System automatically runs any report or program that you can start interactively. (Formally, ABAP reports of type 1 (online program) or external programs.)
You tell the R/3 System what you would like to have it do by scheduling a background job in the background processing system. A background job specifies the ABAP report or external program that should be started, together with start-time and printing specifications.
When your start-time specification is satisfied, then the background processing system starts your job and runs the program(s) that you specify. You can later check that your job was carried out successfully and display a log that traces the execution of the job.
Let’s say that you need to run report a report which displays a list of customers who have overdue bills.
You could start the report yourself from the ABAP editor. If you did so, the report would run interactively, in a session at your PC or workstation.
Instead of starting the report interactively, you could have the report run by the background processing system. To do so, you need to create a background job which tells the background processing system what you would like it to do.
The background processing system runs your "late bills" report according to your instructions. The report generates the same output for you that it would have done if you ran it interactively. Depending upon your instructions, the list generated by the report is either printed out directly or is waiting for you in the R/3 output controller.
You can also check in the background processing system that the report ran correctly.
When you start a report interactively, the session in which you are active is blocked for further input for as long as the report runs.
In background processing, the report is started in the background, by the R/3 System itself. Running the report therefore has no influence on your interactive work with the R/3 System.
You can schedule a report or external program to run at any time that the R/3 System itself is active. You can also make use of such comfortable features as automatic periodic repetition of your job.
To prevent performance-robbing misuse of interactive sessions for long-running reports, the R/3 System has a built-in time limit on interactive sessions. If a single ABAP report runs continuously for more than five minutes in an interactive session, then the R/3 System terminates the report automatically.
Long-running ABAP reports can be run much more efficiently by the background processing system. Often, such reports are automatically scheduled for execution in the background processing system. In this case, you don’t need to schedule them for background processing yourself.