Posts

Always use PI/PRO for exposing web services

I recently had a long walk at the park trying to get my young son to sleep in his stroller. While I walked, I was thinking about a question I had this week from a potential client, and wondering about SAP integration, and whether or not we need PI/PRO, or if we might be able to use ECC for webshops instead.

The potential clients were doing web service, or a portal, and they wanted to know if they could connect with an ECC backend. I told them that’s fine; the conventional wisdom in PI communities has been that we want to make sure everything is governed through the PI, so we’ve used SOS services. This has been the mantra since I started with PI/XI, it’s been the standard approach.

Recently, however, I see that this standard has loosened up a little, and developers are exposing things in different ways. The first thing that comes to mind is Gateway, which is almost the same thing as using the PI, but enables you to access the ECC data directly using the OData and other similar operations. So Gateway is probably one of the more capable technologies.

We’ve also got solutions like API management, which usually goes through Gateway, or in some instances through PI/PRO. This is a bit of a change, which makes me think again about what the benefits are of using a PI. Obviously, you’ve got the element of governance — you know who’s calling the server – and you’ve got a way of exposing all kinds of different services to the outside world. In this case, the developers just need to worry about web services, and not about RFCs, proxies, or whatever you are calling on the back end. Other benefits include security and scalability, which allow you ensure that that the web service/front end, would not bog down the ECC system with too many requests all at one time. The PI allows you to configure that in different ways. Those are some of the good capabilities of the PI.

On the other hand, the PI is adding some latency to the web service calls, and the development process takes a little bit longer because it is more complicated to call through different layers.

So, ultimately, I guess people need to figure out what a project’s integration strategy is, and whether they have a PI or an HCI, and especially how they all fit in together. For example, if you want an HCI and are calling the ECC back-end, things can become a little complicated! With that in mind, in a lot of instances, it may even be possible to call ECC directly, and let the web guys worry about that part. Sure, as a PI developer, I would prefer to get this extra work, but if it’s not adding a lot of value for my client and it’s just me logging hours, I don’t know if I can justify using it.

What are your thoughts? Please share your input, so I can share with my clients.

How the Seeburger Migration Tool Works

 

I can understand that there is a bit of confusion about how our Seeburger Migration Tool works for converting from Seebuger BIC to the B2B Add-on.

I hope this post will make things clearer.

The big problem is that Seeburger’s XML representation of the EDIFACT/XML formats is different from the ones that form the SAP B2B Add-on. The root node is different, and there is a difference in how Groups and some fields names are made. It is therefore a bit of a challenge to move from one format to the other. Below you can see what the SOT tool does.

I have tried to illustrate the process in the following diagram:
How SOT functions

SOT is a small, self-contained web application that runs locally on your own PC. Once installed, you are able to configure which PI system it should use.

The process is the following:

  1. The user selects a Message Mapping from a drop-down list and which External Definition to use for the mapping.
  2. User Presses Fetch and Update.
    1. This will download the Metadata from the mapping.
    2. Find the Seeburger XSD contained in the mapping.
    3. Compare the existing Seeburger format with the B2B Add-on format. It will then know that it needs to convert from /LIST/S_UNB/S_UNH/G_SSG25/S_LIN/D_1082 to /INVOIC96A/M_INVOIC/G_SG25/S_LIN/D_1082. It is using an algorithm for the comparison, so nothing special is required for the different message types and versions.
    4. Go through the mapping metadata and convert all occurrences of the first Xpath to the second.
    5. Alert if there is a difference in the structure that is not accounted for, or if there are other errors.
  3. The user can then select Update. This will upload the new message data to the server, and the mapping will use the new definition.
  4. You will have to open the mapping and save it to make sure it compiles the mapping files.

You will still be able to use the same original mapping; it will just work on the B2B format.

The functions that you use will still be in the mapping, since we are only changing the use of XSD.

If you want to see more, I suggest that you check out the tool page for SOT.

 

Announcing Short-Term Consulting and Easy Booking Services!

I wish to announce an innovative addition to my services, which is short-term booking. This new service will allow you to book me for one or two-hour sessions, during which I will help you solve any issues.

 

The idea came to me quite recently. I was trying to book a hotel room, but I couldn’t figure out which hotels had available rooms (not unless I inquired by phone or e-mail, wasting time I didn’t have). That was the moment when it hit me: my customers cannot book me really easily, either. While I cannot change tourism practices, I can make a positive change in my own business, therefore I am determined to make it easier for customers to book me for a number of small projects.

 

The improvement to the service is pretty simple. In order to book me, you just need to follow the link provided via e-mail and select the desired package. After clicking on your preferred option (‘1 hour’, ‘2 hours’ or ‘24/7, 2 hours’), you will be able to see my calendar and choose the right time for our appointment. After selecting the time of the appointment from the available working hours listed on my calendar, you will have to pay for the services using your credit card. As soon as the payment is processed, you will receive an invitation to an online meeting. The meeting will take place at the time you selected. You will be able to share your desktop via GoToMeeting and I will help you solve the issue at hand.

The first 30 minutes of our collaboration are crucial: if you feel that I haven’t provided enough value for your money within the first 30 minutes – if you are able to objectively state that you haven’t got any closer to the right solution – you are entitled to request a refund. Bear in mind that if I am unable to deliver the help you need, your payment will be reimbursed.

 

The service can be used for problem solving, mapping, feedback or design-related issues. That being said, if you want someone to help you figure out how to do a specific integration, then this is the right service for you.

With the introduction of the new booking function comes a special offer too: I am offering a 50% discount on standard services. The offer lasts until the end of April.

http://figaf.com/products/sap-pipo-assistance/

I am also offering a 24/7 support service – you call me, and I start solving your problem within 2 hours. If I am unable to make it, you can ask for a reimbursement or a rescheduled appointment.


You can read more about my services and their comparison on this website.

Free as the Bird presentation on freelancing at Danish Computer world Expo

freelance presentation imageI was happy to be included as a speaker at Computer World Expo 2013. Computer World Expo is the biggest computer event in Denmark this year. It was really nice to be invited to talk about being a freelancer.

It is not often that I get to talk about the role as a freelancer. But once I tried to drill more in to the content it was much more interesting and I found that I had a lot to say. Way too much to say in the time allocated.

I had to focus my presentation on one area around the motivation for becoming a freelancer. It was quite interesting to find the best ideas to put into the presentational. I think I did a good job on telling some of the good and bad things around being a freelancer in the IT world. I could tell it based on just SAP or even more precise around SAP Process Integration. But it would not fit with the audience.

 

After the talk I meet with 3 other SAP consultants, so even it was not specific a SAP conference there was some SAP consultants to talk with. There was also Microsoft developers and project managers how found the presentation interesting and I got to talk with around the topic.

 

The key topics were covered in an article in Computer World around how to get started as a freelancer.

 

Since the limited time it was not all the do’s and don’ts I could spend time on. So I focus the presentation on motivation on why being a freelancer is great. I therefore created a check list with all the things that you must know. I would highly recommend you to go thru this list if you are considering being a freelancer.

 

You can find the free guide on how to a freelancer at http://figaf.com/products/freelancers.html

I was happy to be included as a speaker at Computer World Expo 2013. Computer World Expo is the biggest computer event in Denmark this year. It was really nice to be invited to talk about being a freelancer.

 

It is not often that I get to talk about the role as a freelancer. But once I tried to drill more in to the content it was much more interesting and I found that I had a lot to say. Way too much to say in the time allocated.

 

I had to focus my presentation on one area around the motivation for becoming a freelancer. It was quite interesting to find the best ideas to put into the presentational. I think I did a good job on telling some of the good and bad things around being a freelancer in the IT world. I could tell it based on just SAP or even more precise around SAP Process Integration. But it would not fit with the audience.

 

After the talk I meet with 3 other SAP consultants, so even it was not specific a SAP conference there was some SAP consultants to talk with. There was also Microsoft developers and project managers how found the presentation interesting and I got to talk with around the topic.

 

The key topics were covered in an article in Computer World around how to get started as a freelancer.

 

Since the limited time it was not all the do’s and don’ts I could spend time on. So I focus the presentation on motivation on why being a freelancer is great. I therefore created a check list with all the things that you must know. I would highly recommend you to go thru this list if you are considering being a freelancer.

 

You can find the free guide on how to a freelancer at http://figaf.com/products/freelancers.html

foto: Alexander Haslund IDG

SAP network in Denmark

I have said yes to be facilitating the Danish IT organisations SAP network group. I really look forward to out first meeting, and meeting all the members. I hope that I can share some insights to how I see SAP and the mentor program.

I have always been really interested in having networking and use it in a way to improve my and my networks value. So it does make a lot of sense to have a networking group, where you can get information on how other people are using SAP.

I had not heard about the group before I was contacted and ask to facilitate the group. So it does give a few problems on how to plan the first meeting. Had should I put on the agenda, that everybody will find interesting.

The big theme in SAP is of cause Mobility. So I thought that might be a good theme, because it is something that everybody needs to learn about. Myself included. I have never had the opportunity to work on any SAP mobile projects. So it may be a really good topic to learn a little more about.

I have been fortunate to have fellow John Moy to give a presentation over Skype. Over travel budget does not allow for a global travel. I have seen he last blog around the different solutions that SAP is providing for the mobile platform. I hope to get somebody else also to give a presentation on another aspect of mobility, so we can get more debate and viewpoints.

The other speaker we have is a good friend and networking expert Carina Heckscher, how will help os become better at networking. I do look forward to hear her presentation and the exercises she has promised. They will come in handy for the next couple of meetings.

If you are in Denmark you and you want to be a part of the network check out the site http://dit.dk/Netvaerk/SAP_professionel.aspx. The first meeting this year is the 8 of march.