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How do you Document your SAP CPI Iflows

Documentation of integration has always been a strange thing. It has been pretty difficult to make sure we documented the details correctly and had enough information with. Normally you will just get some document designed to document some other thing and then try to adapt it to your integration. That will never give a good result. You may be compliant but just a waste of time if the documentation is not useful.

For SAP PI/PO we have for ages been using a Word template for the documentation of each interface. We support that with the Figaf IRT tool, so you can generate it fast. You can see an example of the SAP PI documentation here. The inspiration was to avoid having the documentation that was never updated and always had the initial version.

SAP Best practive

I did find an example of a SAP CPI template in the best practice guide. I did not like if for a few assumptions:

  • It was focusing on the wrong things that were a bit to detailed and too generic. Like a file conversion, or mapping it just has empty tabs that users need to fill in.
  • It could not be automated every well, which ment it did require a lot of user governance to host the information
  • It was juggling 3 different adapters and not showing the required details

I wanted to improve the process and make it even easier to capture the most important part of a CPI Iflow. It ended up with the following information:

  • Overview of the iFlow header information like name and description
  • History of changes logged with business requirements
  • Connection sender and receiver together with information
  • Test cases you have created for the tool
  • Flow description which is a table representation of the iflow. It will give some overview of how the different steps are connected
  • Configuration parameters configured in the full landscape, so you got some information on what is being used and the relavant resources.
  • Resources and the lat change data for them.

You can download an example of the document here for the SF to AD iflow.

There are ways to improve the document with more information. If you have anything that you think will provide value and make it easier to understand the documentation. Do let us know.

Automated documentation does have some limits like being able to update it different places, and add the extra information that makes sense.

You can try it own on your own iflows and see how it performs in your landscape.

Run Figaf IRT in your own Cloud

We have added the Figaf Cloud. as a way to allow users to run our tool to manage the SAP CPI and API management. It is a great way to scale and deploy your application.

We have it hosted in Google Cloud Platform in a Kubernetes cluster. It i pretty easy to do in GCP and it allow scaling of the application pretty easy. It did take some time to understand how to build the app and secure the application.

For customers, it is a really good way to get started using Figaf IRT because they don’t even need to install anything. And all their partners can get access to the network and run applications. So a customer can run all the application to perform DevOps on the SAP CPI and API management systems. The DevOps include

  • Monitoring and alerting
  • Change Tracking or Versioning, so you can link business requirement with a change
  • Documentation
  • Testing
  • Transport of CPI/API flows

With all the focus on data protection, it may prove to be difficult to control all your data that exists in the Figaf IRT solution. You want to have control of where it is located.

We have an ompremish installation of the Figaf IRT tool and it contains the same features as the cloud, though there can be a bit of delay with it because of the release cycles of the applications. One problem that we often hear is so where should we install the IRT application. It can sometime be deficult to find a database and a Virtual server where the Java application can run.

Cloud

For some customers it is much easier to go buy/start a server in the cloud from GCP, AWS or Azure. You can have a direct connection from the cloud enviorment to your on-premish system and thereby get access. The integration department can then get the server self and run it there.

Our installation is pretty simple you can basicly just start the application with the click of a button. It does require a bit more effort if you want to run it with specific databases and setup SSL. It take 30 minutes to install IRT if you have installed the database. The good thing about the cloud enviorments is they all have the PostgreSQL server that we use as a managed. It will then eliminate some of the Normal DB operations that you are doing and just handle it with a few click in the web configuration.

It will also be possible to provide upgrades fairly simple. We have made a docker image that you can use.

We have added a Docker image to DockerHub, so you can run IRT pretty simple to get started with using it. You will need to make a few configurations to get it running. We have a guide on running it on Azure with the hosted database.

The container for running IRT on a Docker image in one of the places starts at 200 USD a month, depending on how you want to scale and have it to perform.

Try it

You can also try Figaf IRT out on your own laptop fast.

Figaf IRT now supports API management

Over the last couple of weeks, we have been making transports easier for SAP CPI. Now the turn has come to SAP API management. As I understand from APIGEE the normal way is to have a build server that allows you to transport and test scripts. It does require some time and skill in setting up such a server. From the last roadmap session SAP was planing to relase some CTS+ integration in Q3 if I recall correct.

We are using the same approach to document changes of APIProxies. So you can see which Proxy part has been updated, or which script was changed. This makes it a lot easier to document what is going on and why something was changed. You will therefore know what is changed in each release.

We also allows users to make transports based on the business requirements. It is therefore easier to document changes made to the proxy, and link all changes to a business reason.

You can try it out your self at Figaf IRTCloud and see how it performs in your landscape.

With Figaf IRT you have one enviorment that allow you to document all your SAP Integrations in just one application.

We are going to add other functions to monitor your API management, so you can get some more detailed alerts about what is going on in your landscape.

IRT Transporting – Improve your SAP CPI life

In this blog, I will cower how IRT Cloud will improve the way you work with transporting.

Before we get started, we need to find a clear definition of what “DevOps” are. According to wikipedia it goes like this:

DevOps is a set of software development practices that aim to shorten the systems development life cycle while delivering features, fixes and updates frequently in close alignment with business objectives

Understand what is changed

Track what object is being changed
– Is it a part of the BPMN model
– Is it scripts or mappings
– Is it configuration which is changed

Register changes with business reason

Make a service request in the IRT tool, that allow you to link the changes to the reason.

User can assign changes in iFlows to it:

Test the changes

With the build in testing tool you are able to test the modification you make does not not affect anything unexpected.

You can document what test you have run and the result of them.

iFlow configuration in the landscape

Configure an iflow once and then let IRT handle configuration in the landscape once importing the change:

Transport individual

Be able to import changes into target system. Figaf will import the object into the target system. Then configuration will be applied:

Check out the demo

So, I if want to check out how this work, please take a look at the demo video below:

So, I you ready to try Figaf IRT/Cloud to see, what IRT/Cloud can do for you? I offer a 30 days free trial at https://figaf.com/IRTCloud.

Doing SAP CPI Transports with IRT

Once I started to make my first SAP CPI transports I did not like that you needed to transport the full package. I wanted just to transport a single Iflow and log what was changed with it, then I knew what was being changed. But it was a rather difficult process to make sure you did correctly. So I thought we could optimize the process to make it easier to apply transports for single iflows.

So we have created a flow for developers where they will make the normal changes.

  1. Save it as a version in the development CPI system after normal development
  2. Syncronize the IRT with the CPI system (by clicking the button or wait for the scheduled synchronization job)
  3. Create a ticket and assign the object version to the ticket. A ticket can correspond to a Service Request or Incident. It is possible to update the version if you have multiple attempts to fix the problems
  4. From the ticket, you then create transport with one of the Iflow on the systems
  5. IRT can then import that QA/production system. It will delete the existing iflow and upload the new version.

I have recorded a demonstration video you can see how it works

The following are we working on before it will be released.

  • Fix some of the few bugs we have seen in our test environment
  • Have a way to get the configuration in a global table, so once you import an iflow on QA it will apply the configured configuration from IRT
  • Investigate if we can upload the new iflow without removing the old version.

There may also be other ways we can integrate this both with our testing application part and make a flow that better fits with a DevOps focus of development.

We expect this functionality to be released within the next few weeks both in our cloud application as well as the on-prem deployment of IRT.

Want to try it on your own system

Try out IRT

Try IRT Cloud