Change Management can be simple

In the old-time, you had the SAP R3 ABAP system. There it was a pretty good tool to do change management. There was a limited number of objects that you could change and they could all be managed by one way of handling transports. In the new world, it is a lot more complicated.

Now the landscape is completely different. You have many different services that you need to find a way to manage. And if you start using SAP cloud solutions many of them have their own way of handling transports.

I have created a video to show, how I see the concept in some more details.

You have two options for Change Management: A generic approach or a specialized approach for your most important systems.

Generic Change management

No matter what you need to develop change, everything is handled in the same way. Then all developers know how to do change management for everything. It will speed up making it possible for other developers to handle the tooling.

The downside is that you will need to make a process that can encompass all systems. You will, therefore, get to little information or spend to much time creating the documents that you need for your project.

You may also miss an important part, and that is the ability to like changes both ways

Tool specific change management

If you have a lot of development or highly critical tools. It does make sense to have a better way to handle it.

When we are working on our Java application for the Figaf tool. We use Jira to create tickets in, Developers will then use this ticket number for all commits to a given ticket. Changes to our unit tests are also linked with the ticket. That is allowing us to trace all changes back to a ticket. That is a hyper-specialized tool to make change management for just one case. It can then be bundled with Jenkins to make build and test automation.

This type of specialization of your change management saves you time for your development. Because developers don’t need to note all the different places they are making modifications. It is handled automatically by the tool and captured as a part of the change.

Sure it will cost you more to buy or create an environment. It will cost both money, time and effort to get it working. Hopefully, this investment will be returned with better documentation, easier change management and faster delivery of code.

If you are using SAP Integrations products like SAP PI/PO, CPI or API mgt then we have a tool that will allow you to optimize your delivery process. Check the tools at there are even free versions that allow you to get started.

With our approach we will handle all the tool-specific requirements in our application and then let your original system containing all organizational data.

If you want to see how our tool works to make DevOps possible check this video

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.

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.

Virtual SAP CPI landscapes

Some SAP CPI customers do not have a full 3 tier system landscape for their SAP CPI. But you may want to experience having all the systems connected and be able to test the flow. You can do it manually, with using the copy functionality, but it requires a lot of governance to keep the QA updated.

We did originally create the virtual landscape just to test, how our transport system worked because we did only have one CPI system. Now we have improved the functionality because it enables customers to take advance of our transport and leverage using one CPI system. We did earlier change Sender system to match with having a prefix with the system name.

We have now improved the functionality so the system is added to the Process Direct adapter. Here we are adding the prefix in the URL to both sender and receiver channels. You will thereby have the option to run it in a “QA environment”.

You can see a demonstration of how this works in the video.

Updated: If you import a package it will be auto deployed.

The transportation system also provide option to create Iflow documentation, and you can test the impact of a change. You can also make modification of Externalize Parameters across the landscape, so you can specify that the target URL on QA is this. Then IRT will handle the configuration once it deploys.

Try it out the Figaf IRT tool as an onpremish or use our cloud for it.