Speed up your SAP CPI development process

Thursday, I hosted the webinar “How to speed up SAP CPI development”. It is an important topic because developers need to find a way to learn how to create what they can do to improve the speed of the integration service.

I have been talking about the topic easier but this time we have added an important component. That is Figaf IRT now can make your development process much simpler. So now we really can speed up the development and also change management.

There are two areas where the application allows users to create faster integration.

  • Development in your favorite IDE, this is where we have improved a lot lately.
  • Change management, this is where you document changes and transport individual iflows.

You can see the presentation here.

Development process

When you are working with SAP CPI you will often end up having to edit an XSLT or a Groovy script. It is normally not really easy to do in the build-in editor. Sure there may be simple changes where you can do it, but if you want to make any complicated logic you need to create

We have been adding functions to make it a lot easier over the last few months. The biggest impact has been our Git integration.

We have also added a method to share scripts and other resources between iflows. The challenge with sharing of scripts between flows is to keep it synchronized and ensure a change does not break other iflows.

Git integration

The Git integration allows you to take your SAP CPI iflow and just expose it to all content to a Git repository. We have also added configuration files templates so you just can use them. With this, you get plugins that will allow users to deploy scripts from their IDE.

We have also added a unit testing component that allows users to test with real payloads. This speeds up the processing about ensure that you have the correct to start your groovy script. From your IDE you also have the option to test how the created iflows works.

Change management

We have build a solution that allows users to make it possible to document what they have done. I believe that all changes in an Integration environment must be because of business reasons like Service Request, Ticket or what is called in your method.

We have made it simple to link Service Request and the changes that happen. This speed up the development process.

It is also possible to transport individual iflows across your landscape. You can even use the virtual environment on your CPI system. This means that you are able to develop and test on the same tenant, so you can save an instance. Figaf also allows you to manage configuration a lot easier across your environment.

Testing is also a part of your release. You can run tests really simple on all your iflow. This makes it possible to see if your changes have a negative impact on your process. It is also possible to test with mock services, so you can test integrations even if they require you to have access to third-party apps, that do not support calling with the same data multiple times. Then it will enable you to test your flows, scripts are working the same way also after an upgrade.

Try IRT self

You can try out all the functions with Git or change management with our free community edition. If you enjoy it you can upgrade to any of our solutions that allow a lot more integration development options.

Download IRT now or run it in our cloud

Figaf IRT 2.10 Making SAP CPI development faster Git

It has been a long time since our last release. We did have a summer vacation and had a big new function to release. 

I have been teasing that we have Git integration for SAP CPI and also added it for SAP API mgt

Why Git:

The thing that I like with our Git integration is that it allows users to access all sources from your project in just one simple repository. It will speed up the development because you will get easier access to all groovy script and XSLT, so you can reuse it. We have tried using Github, SAP Git from Cloud Platform and also Bitbucket, other will probably also work. Just be sure it is a private repository.

It gives you an opportunity to work in your favorite IDE like Eclipse or IntelliJ to edit the code. They have a much better code completion that allows you to write the code faster. 

It is our first Git release, so we are looking for feedback about how the workflow should be and if there are any ways we can improve it. 

Gradle Plugins:

From an SAP developer perspective, we are not really used to be able to use plugins in our IDE. SAP has released the Netweaver Developer Studio for PI that and the old Eclipse Plugin for CPI development. Here you had some function you could use, but it would only work in that IDE. The better way to deliver integration tools is to deliver Gradle plugins. Normal Java developers have a lot of Gradle plugins they can use to bundle application or run them in a specific way. So it would make sense to add some code to Gradle plugins that allow you to upload, deploy and test your iflows directly from your IDE. That way you don’t need to do leave your IDE to validate if your code is running correctly. We have created 3 plugins are all open source. One to CPI, one to API Mgt and one to handle testing with Figaf IRT. The plugins can be found in the Gradle plugins directory or on our Github page.

Simple workflow

One of the big challenges with starting your own infrastructure is that you need to configure all your plugin. That is the pain we are removing. You don’t need to be a Git expert or know a lot of Java configuration all configurations are delivered templates that you can just reuse. It makes your developers much more productive. 

Other improvements:

We have made some more improvements in the application and fixed some bugs. Among them are once you use the Figaf IRT to transport individual iflows that it use the unofficial Update metadata API. This allows you to keep the version history of your changes and do rollbacks. It is not ideal but we will use it until SAP support the option to update an iflow with the official API. 

What is next:

The next big challenge that we would like to tackle makes it easier for the user to create test data and assertations for CPI development. Half a year ago we created an option to create a Groovy script to set up a message with test data. The approach did make it easier but you had to make some manual changes. That is what we are trying to change. We want to make it possible to generate scripts both input and expected output, so you can run the test case a lot easier. This will speed up your development even more. 

Try it out now and see how it works

There is a free version of Figaf IRT that you can use. It will enable you to expose your CPI system using Git. You can run Figaf IRT on your Laptop and it takes 10 minutes to get started.

We hope to find a way to license the feature while making it easy to try. But for now, there is only a restriction on the number of agents/CPI systems you can connect with.

Making Seeburger Migration faster

3 years ago I saw the challenges of migration Seebuerger Message Mappings on SAP PI to use B2B Add-on. It was a different structure that people needed to use and it would cause a lot so problems to get it working.

I got an idea for a project to make the process automated. I found a developer that could create a Proof of Concept for it and it did work. We could take a Seeburger Message Mapping on our SAP PO system and update the mapping to use B2B Add-on. It was not a really pretty operation in the beginning and it did strike as a PoC. SMT was working and customers could try it. We have been able to convince some customers to use it have they have used it convert 300+ mappings using the tool. They have just started using the tool, so they have 1000 more planned.

You can see a video of the tool here to see what it can do.

What is new

Now it was time to a version 2.0. We had learned quite a lot about the tool worked and what customers problems were with it. We have made improvements to the following areas

  1. Licensing. Before users needed to get us to sign licenses request before they could convert the tool. It was not a really easy process that caused a lot of manual wor on our and the customer’s side. So now we just give users a license they can use when they start the application. Then it will count each license. Customers can then see the licenses they have used in a document
  2. Test driven approach: The original application was developed as a PoC that was then extended with bug fixes. It meant that we did not have a good way of testing how a change would impact, so it was a lot of manual testing to try to figure out how it can be improved. We had taken some examples that we got bug reports from and created test cases based on it. After it, we could rewrite our code to be simpler and every time validate that we did not cause more problems. So we could rewrite the code so it was easier to add rules and functions.
  3. VDA: 28 days ago one of our customers was trying to convert a VDA mapping. It failed because our algorithms did not know how to convert the mappings. It is now possible to convert VDA. We have also got a request for Tradacom, and it will not take that long to implement, with the current architecture
  4. UI: We had just created a simple application that could help convert mappings. It was not optimal and difficult to use. We now went for a UI5 approach just like with our Figaf IRT tool. It is not possible to search for mappings and schemas, so the conversion process should be a lot faster.

You can see how the UI has changed to be a lot easier to use.

Old UI
New UI using OpenUI5

I want to try

If you have Seeburger Mappings and want to convert them fast then try the Seebuger Migration tool. The first 10 conversion is on us.

SAP CPI and GIT integration

If you want to leverage the SAP CPI capabilities and improve the speed of delivery you need a better way than use the Web front end of SAP CPI. Many users will create a GIT repository to add files to so users will get access to all files for the project and can use their favorite IDE for it. It does require a lot of effort to keep everything synchronized.

We have started to improve the functionality for users to be able to use SAP CPI from their own IDE. For this, we have created a few new features.

  • From Figaf IRT we have added an option to synchronize all your integration flows to a Git repository. You can use Github or SAP’s Git service, so all your team can get access to the same source.
  • We have created a Gradle plugin that allows you do download, upload and deploy integration flows from your IDE. This is a free plugin you can use even if you are not using Figaf IRT.
  • We have created a Gradle plugin that enables you to run a test case for one or more iflows as a part of a change.

Our design principle has been to make it as easy for developers to get to use Git and deliver as much preconfigured. You can add more plugins if you want to.

This is an initial version of the Git integration, and we will probably see some changes and ways to improve it over time. We have some more things that we could add like test scripts to run local testing and we need some improvements with commits. It will depend on customers inputs.

You can signup to try out the Figaf IRT tool now on your own CPI system and then once the new feature is added you will be able to run it.

Test EDIFACT/X12 on SAP PI/PO

Yesterday I had a demostration with a client of the Seeburger Migration tool, that was doing a migration of their EDIFACT/X12 from Message mappings from Seeburger to B2B Add-on on the format. I wanted to show how it was possible to make it possible to test that the mappings were correctly migrated and converted.

I do think that this also could be useful for other SAP PI/PO customers, that are either considering a migration project or just want better control of what is happening to their EDI messages.

It is crucial to test all your EDI documents because of the volume of the business going that way. Some of the customers I have worked the EDI part was 20-50% of their turnover, so it is the part that is too big to fail. It is pretty difficult to test it normally because you need to have a good understanding of what can change in your mappings. Both when it comes to upgrades and also when it comes to changes done by developers.

As you can see of the video it is pretty simple to setup a test case based on data from your productive system. Because it is where you have the most reliable amount of data and variance. It is just to complex to test everything based manual test case creation, that is why we believe it should be automated.

We will set up both EDI document in both directions so you can see validation of EDI document and also that it works with the EDISeperator. We only show EDIFACT but X12 and EANCOM works the same way.

We do not currently have an integration with dual stack systems. We did implement it in the old release of IRT, so it will be possible to update it to the current version. We currently do no have access to a dual stack system, so if this is something you want. We hope you will help working with us to make it possible.

How about change management

So Figaf IRT is a lot more than just a testing application. We started doing testing of SAP PI/PO but have since expanded the service to handle the full change management. Just link the CTS transport with the Business request and you are able to do document all changes. And also test the changes that you make. It reuses all your EDI test cases for the process.

Try IRT

You can try out Figaf IRT tool. It just takes 15 minutes to set up on your laptop to see how easy it is and what it can do for your SAP PI/PO and CPI development. The solution can scale to run for your full enterprise.