Highlights from the Figaf Blog 2018

So, here, at the beginning of 2019, I think it will be appropriate to take a look back on what happened on the blog on Figaf.com during 2018.

Last year, we published 35 posts on the blog. Some blogs post were about new releases on some of Figafs´s tools, some were about new insights or how I did see the future and some were about how you can use SAP PI/PO to optimize your workflow. To be honest, I had great fun making all the videos, slideshows and blog posts.  Still, after working with SAP in more than 15 years, I find it very interesting to develop new functions on the different tools, Figaf offers, so that users, in the end, will have a better experience working with  SAP PI/PO.

So, in this blog post, I will take a trip down memory lane and show you the three blog post from 2018, that I appreciate most. Not necessarily, because it was exactly these blogs which had most readers or got most shares or likes on the social media, but because they are still worth reading today in the very early stage of 2019.

Why our testing is different than most test systems for SAP PI

This first post, “Why our testing is different than most test systems for SAP PI“, was published March 24, 2018. This blog is still very interesting, because of two reasons. Firstly, testing is, and will always be, a very important part of working with SAP PI. Secondly, the blog follows up on a podcast with Mark Oshifeso, who is a customer of Figaf IRT.

It is always very interesting for me when customers take time to explain, which challenges they see when they are working with SAP PI. And maybe it will also be valuable for you to read.

SAP PI/PO support, why not learn from the errors

The second post, “SAP PI/PO support, why not learn from the errors“, was published on September 28, 2018. I think it is still worth a read because it is very important to learn from errors and bad created scenarios when you work with SAP/PO.

As you can read in the blog, there are two kinds  of errors in an SAP PI/PO context:

  1. Errors that repeat and solvable by actions like restart the message, refresh of the cache or send mail to the business user in charge.
  2. Errors that occur because a coding error that will be fixed and never occur again (hopefully.

In the blog, you will find a video, where I talked about how you can optimize your SAP PI/PO Support.

Optimize your SAP PI/CPI development

The last blog post I would like you to take a look at is called “Optimize your SAP PI/CPI development“, and was published November 21, 2018. SAP is always in progress, and it is important to set aside time to develop so that your scenarios and solutions always are up to date. In other words, I think it will be valuable for you to take a look at the blog.

In the blog post I talk about a process built on the following steps:

  • Scoping
  • Development
  • Testing
  • Document
  • Transport
  • Validation
  • Go live
  • Support

In the blog, I also talk about a webinar, I held, about how the Figaf tool allows you to optimize and automize the different steps in the process, so you don´t have to have all the manual paper tasks to fill in. You will get much greater visibility into what is developed of your SAP PI/CPI landscape.

I hope you liked the content, I have chosen for this blog post. If so, you might also like to see Highlights from the integration podcast 2018.

If you have questions to the three blogs or other topics regarding Figaf.com, do not hesitate to contact me.

IRT SAP CPI Monitoring

In my opinion, many companies are using too much time on their support process, while working with SAP Cloud Integration (CPI/HCI). They do not have the big overview, that can help them to create and optimize the best scenarios for their workflow.  This is one of the reasons why I have created the Figaf IRT SAP CPI Monitoring. With this tool, you will be able to manage your support process in a much more efficient way. IRT SAP CPI monitoring with automation will help you to automize many of your tasks. The automation both means that the work is always done correctly and that you can use your time on something else.

I wrote about how you can monitor and search for messages earlier, and it gained some interest so it is something the SAP CPI users are interested in check out the post How to search for messages in SAP CPI, here you can see how to make it easier to monitor your iflows so they contain information that tracks them correctly.

Normally it is a slow job working with support and many things you have to take care of manually. And you have to do it in many different places. This means, that it is very difficult to remember to check all the different places, where you have to make changes, and more important: It is not easy to be sure, that all the changes are made correctly.  And that is way, IRT CPI Monitoring will be a valuable tool to many companies. You can then have just one way to monitor and support both SAP PI/PO and SAP CPI, so  you can set up rules for the processing.

Besides the normal rules we have, it would be possible to retrigger some scenarios with the tool if they are using SOAP or HTTP, but that is something that we need to develop together with a customer.

In this video, I will tell you more about IRT SAP CPI Monitoring with automation:

I offer to solutions to help you with your automation:

  • A cloud solution. If you want more information about this, please contact me. It is still in beta but has the same code line.
  • An on-premise installed version of the Figaf Integration Regression Tool can help you make better documentation to ensure you know what is changed and that you can test the correct interfaces. You can try it for free. Please take a look at figaf.com/irt

 

 

Generate Test data for your Groovy scripts in CPI

I wanted to develop some Groovy scripts but it is a little cumbersome to do it in CPI because you need to deploy, activate the script and the look at the trace. This takes quite a bit of time. I found Eng Swee Yeoh blog (How) do you test your Groovy Scripts. Here he shows how you can create a script to run your Groovy Scripts as on CPI, so you can do it in Eclipse or IntelliJ.

I just hate the manual job about setting up the correct content for a test case. So because we had the content needed in Figaf IRT we could automate the process.

We have added an implementation of the SAP CPI Camel Message class so users could create it. We have included it into the script, so you only need the public Camel Core. The implementation may not be fully complete but it is a lot faster than downloading all the required jar files as is described in Yeoh’s blog .

To view a demo of how this works check the following video

 

Download the libraries required:

If you use Eclipse you can create a Groovy Project, then add the above jars.  Then add the current groovy script and the generated to the project. You will need to change the location of the CPI grovy script so it matches. Once you save the payload in an Expression use the command ${bodyAs(String)}, then you will get access to the payload.

 

If you have ideas for improvement please share. 

Known limitations: For some headers/properties that are saved in org.apache.camel.converter.stream.InputStreamCache IRT cannot access the payload. You need to convert the payload to String before adding it as an attribute if it is binary.

Download the IRT application and try it out with your system. It is free for 10 Interfaces.

How to make a moderen EDI landscape with SAP S/4 HANA

I had a great talk with an old colleague this Friday. The topic was how to build a new EDI platform.  They did not have any EDI yet on the SAP platform since they used an old platform for it. So they had to start over with SAP as the backend.

I have been doing EDIFACT and X12 implement since I started with SAP XI using the Seeburger tool and lately seen on how to use the B2B Add-on from SAP to handle the EDI part on SAP PO. The tool has a difference in structure and how they work, but they work the same way. The can take some XML and convert it to the EDIFACT/X12 files and the other way. SAPs platform has been focused on how to make it native in SAP PI/PO, where SeeBurger was a new way of the building the platform.

I have created a video that shows some of my questions concerns on the topic of creating EDI with S/4 Hana.

I was starting to talk about the different IDOCs and which EDIFACT documents they referred to. Then we got a talk about they were doing a new S/4 HANA on-premise implementation. S/4 HANA cloud,  which is the premier SAP product, is where all development is going on. There is only a few whitelisted IDOC’s for some scearnios like syncronize data with your existing SAP ERP system and some warehouse. The EDI IDOCs is supposedly not available, so you cannot use them.

Since all development in on S/4 Cloud and the on-premise version will get the updates after a few months/years, there is not going to be any development going on the EDI Idocs. There has probably not been developed much on them over the last 10-15 years. SAP would like to move their customers to the cloud version to make it faster for them, and customers cannot live with out their flexibility. So we will have to see where it will end.

An option was to use the Enterprise Services (E-SOA) that also worked on the process. I have hear about a few organization using it, but it requires a strong leadership and some skills to go use them. Since Enterprise Services is a dead topic now, i guess it does not make sense to focus on it. It seems as it has been inpsiring the new SOAP APIs from SAP so it is not in vain, and you probalby have an easier option to migrate them.

API is a big focus area for SAP for some reasons.

  • In S/4 Cloud you cannot develop so you have to use APIs to extract and use data
  • It is easier to explain APIs to non SAP developers, because they have a common form of documenting
  • You can expose them online and secure them

All the APIs SAP has created is on api.sap.com, which is SAPs API portal.  On the portal, you can find all SAP apis on the different systems and you can easy try them out there. I did find an SOAP service for sending Purchase Orders from S4, but is currently not able to find it. One of the document you can find is the Scope Item 2EJ, which is covering the purchasing process on how to configure it and steps involved in configuration. So it is fairly easy to get started with.

So it is possible to use the APIs to expose the purchase process for EDI.

EDI from the new APIs

So it is possible to create an EDI solution based on the new APIs. Then what does it require.

A good place to start would be to use the Integration Content Advisor, which is SAP way to make the B2B Mapping faster based on Machine Learning. I have not seen or use the tool yet, but it the idea is pretty cool. It could speed up the mapping of data with the EDI formats. It requires you have the Enterprise Edition of SAP Cloud Platform Integration. You can though run the flow on your local PI. The alternative approve is to use the normal EDI Mapping on SAP PI/PO and use the B2B Add-on in connection with the Trading Partner Management (TPM).  If the Content Advisor works it is probably the fasts way to deal with things.

It still brings up the question about is the new APIs strong enough to be able to handle the processing. And how will the errors be resolved since they cannot be handled in BD87.  S/4 will come with AIF (SAP Application Interface Framework) for some scenarios, which is a tool that enable different kinds of error handling and mapping. It may be suited to some of the normal EDI error that you will see like customer try to send an invalid material number or delivery data. It will require some training to enable users to use it. AIF is more powerful soluction then BD87 since it allow you to add rules and validations.

My recommendation would be to give the new interfaces an attempt to get the process working on it. It would give freedom to upgrade to S4 Cloud and just have one interface for the integration process. I would also imagine that the new interfaces is easier to extent or you can make lookups to get information that is missing.

Have you tried the new S4 way of integration and does it work?

Update to testing on SAP Cloud Platform Integration (CPI)

We just released IRT 2.3. That had two big additions. One was our ability to monitor your full SAP PI/PO/CPI development process. In this post, I’ll share the other which is much better support for cloud integration.

In 2.2 we add the first option to run cloud integration tests. We were able to use the new trace functionality for cloud integration to get messages at all stages. This made our test easy to perform without any changes to the setup.

In this, we have added some more functionality

  • We can run regression test for both HTTP and now SOAP adapter. This means that it will use your existing iflow to process the test message in.
  • If you use other adapters or scheduled tasks IRT is able to create a new flow that looks like the original one, except it starts with an HTTP adapter. IRT can record the message from the existing flow.

We have an oss note with SAP that the latest release meant we were getting some problem when setting an iflow into Trace mode.

You can watch the demo video here.

It is pretty simple to setup. Just signup at http://figaf.com/irt then login with the password you will get. Here you can also find the manual. Download the jar file, start it. In the configuration enter your host url, Suser and password, then you can synchronize the list of iflows and start setting up test cases.