Technical webinar about Figaf’s IRT test tool for SAP PI/PO

During this week I have held a couple of Webinars about our test tool IRT and since it is the end of the year, I thought it was time to geek out. Therefore, I created the webinar just to show how cool I think the solution is. But I didn’t want to exclude those of you who didn’t attend the webinars so I have decided to share a version of the webinar to everyone interested. If you did attend the webinar and just want a second look you are more than welcome.  

In the video I will be sharing some of the cool features that we have been working on this year, to make testing SAP PI/PO much easier to do.

Some of the features that we have added is an easy way to test

  • Sync/async – Async/Sync bridges
  • Test with big XML messages
  • Configuration Wizard
  • JSON and Binary comparison
  • Clone recording requests to request more of the same message
  • System mapping between systems and interfaces between systems
  • Change Tracking Tool added to system
  • Improvements for templates for test cases

I hope you will enjoy the video it is packed with content about how Figaf Integration Regression Tool enables you to test your SAP PI/PO interfaces faster. The video is rather long so get a cup of coffee while watching or see it over a couple of times.

Remember that you can request a 30 day free trial at https://figaf.com/tools/integration-regression-tool/   

Marketing vs. Real life – Five minute photobook

Surely, I can click on a webshop and purchase a photo book in just 5 minutes but then I also need to select pictures and maybe even add some text to the pictures. This is not a 5 minutes task that’s for sure. Depending how much effort you want to put into this it can take several hours, at the moment I have spent 5 hours on my photo calendar.

So why am I raising this topic? Well, I must come clean and admit that I’m kinda doing the same thing – and it bugs me.

At Figaf we have our testing tool IRT and I can set up a test in our own system in just around 5 minutes maybe even shorter. But this is not a real-life scenario when you apply our test tool it will take you a lot longer than 5 minutes.

It can be challenging not to go down the road where you make advertises that states you can make complex testing in just 5 minutes. I have tried to be more realistic and made a backpack where it says “test your full SAP PI/PRO system in days, not months”.

I do believe that this a valid assumption and at Figaf we want to be on the same side and make sure the testing is set-up correctly. But I’m also aware that in some cases it will take longer it could be some weeks and not days.

So how do you see this marketing vs. real life?

Is it okay to say, “set-up a test in 5-minutes” because I can actually show you it can be done or is that a no-go in your opinion?

SAP Teched takeaways for non developers

SAP Teched is not only for geeks, and the impact is not only for those either. I normally only make a presentation for people that already know alot about SAP Integration platform. Integration is an important topic in the future where customers will be using cloud products and mixing them with their existing systems.

I do recommend watching the video below where I’m covering all the things.

The first part is about SAP Strategy for their integration products. It is crucial to understand when working on your own strategy. They use the ISA-M method to learn from what you are doing to what platforms you should be working with in the future.

API is a big topic that is important to how we are opening our landscapes. They are like BAPI where the B is removed. So it is a common language that all developers can understand and use. You can see all the API SAP has created at http://api.sap.com

The integration product PI/PO that most people are using is not the one SAP has most focus on. The biggest focus is on SAP Cloud Platform Integration (Cloud Integration, CPI or what was HCI) the biggest benefit is that you can get pre delivered content if you want to integration with SAP Cloud Products like Ariba or SuccesFactor. Or for E-Invoicing scenarios for some locations.

SAP Leonardo is also a big topic. For Integration there are 3 important topics

  • IoT(Internet of Things) is about connecting billions of devices, manage and analyze data from them. This is one of the things that SAP is focusing on, they have a platform that allow users to handle all the devices.
  • Machine Learning is about finding algorithms for handling complex tasks and automate them. It could be finding what is on a image or how to book a payment. SAP has some pretrained models that can perform some tasks. Customers can take the models and train them on their own data so they match their requirements.
  • Blockchain is also one of the hyped technologies. SAP has a server you can run and connect with your partners. Then blockchain allow you to have one shared truth of what is happening and everybody agrees on it.

You can watch the slides below

https://www.slideshare.net/DanielGraversen/sap-integration-for-non-developers-teched-2017 

IRT 1.4 Testing big messages in SAP PI/PO

You asked for it. Or our customers asked for it so now we have created it. IRT, our tool to make SAP PI/PO testing easy, has now been upgraded.

I created the following video

We had a customer that requested that we could process 400Mb messages and verify that they worked. We found that the messages about 10Mb were stuck, so we had to find a way around it. The JMS queue we are using, the build into SAP PI/PO has some limits for external clients. So we try to ZIP the payload, and if that is not enough, we save the message in the database on the agent. We can then fetch the message with a web service call later.
The comparison algorithms were using a lot of memory, so we had to refactor them to be able to compare bigger files. For comparing two 1Mb Text documents, it was using 100Mb, so that did not scale. Now the comparison algorithm has been updated to support messages of 200Mb depending on the hardware. Let’s see if the bigger also works with the memory consumption. If the compare fails it will only be on your development system, so no real problem.
We still have one improvement on the UI to show the big files, but it will come in one of the next releases. For now, you can see it in the Excel reports.

The other improvement was about creating unique numbers in each message. Here we are leveraging the option to use the number range module from the B2B Add-on because it enables good flexibility.

Learn more on how you can test your SAP PI/PO better https://figaf.com/irt

How does Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) relate to the current world-view in SAP integration?

Service Oriented Architecture has undergone some interesting changes over time. It all began with CORBA, or remote procedure calls, and mainframes. Then came SAP, where you could call RFC remotely and build applications.

Later there was a trend toward object-oriented architecture and building applications based on classes. Where the focus was on objects and what to do about them.

Next came service-oriented architecture (SOA), and SAP’s contribution – Enterprise Services–where creating a sales order required certain components and a partner with certain other elements, and it all became a bit of a monster. SAP heavily promoted Enterprise Services, and any developer that needed to create an interface had to support the unwieldy SAP interface. This was challenging for providers to fulfill and for consultants to work with, because it required a lot of special development.

Later, OData emerged that brought a different kind of discovery protocol that allowed application to self discover content. It is different way of creating services and you would not see a common definition of what an order should look like.

Going full circle, lately we are seeing server-less architecture, like Amazon Lambda, for example. Server-less architecture allows developers to build functions that consume varying services, and in turn, applications can be built to leverage those functions. The smart thing, from a deployment perspective, is that you can create these functions to have all the resources you need, allowing you to scale your application in a different way.

Those developers who have been working in the field for a long time, realize these are all basically the same thing with different approaches and packaging, allowing companies to offer some cool features and be competitive.

From an SAP perspective, service oriented architecture is less desirable. Few developers today are using it for these sorts of purposes. Only a few companies are moving all their functionality to the SAP approach, such as Enterprise Services, which does have some more features than an IDOC.

But from a support perspective, it may still be relevant to use SOA. If you’re using IDOC already and are thrilled with it, continue doing that. But if you are going to build new interfaces, consider whether an Enterprise Service might be worth implementing. In SAP S/4, all interfaces are sent with the OData. All interviews are on the table, so that when data is exposed, it’s easy to read from your ECC system or S4 because it’s all OData on HANA services. OData is a protocol where the command is to expose data as web client data, rather than sending a service order and doing back end interactions. One problem with this approach is that it requires a technical function guide to drive it.

In general, people are habit driven, and we don’t want to invest a lot of time in figuring out how new things work. It’s the same with developers who don’t want to spend a lot of time figuring out how to do something in a new way, unless they perceive a clear advantage. I think this human nature is partly why we don’t see more people using Enterprise Services. Perhaps another factor is that Enterprise Services was originally released in small function blocks, which was an obstacle for developers who were reluctant to implement something that only affected a small subset of the business function they were working with.

As a developer there will always be new things and paradigms to consider. People will always say the have tried it, but now it is in a new context with new systems and concepts. So we will have to live with this change.