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SAP’s Enterprise Service Oriented Architecture (ESOA) is a reality today as SAP has already released over 300 Enterprise Services with the mySAP 2005 Business Suite. The industry momentum is gaining rapidly around ESOA. But why should a company move to an ESOA and what are specific advantages that a company can immediately realize? My goal in the post is to highlight some of the advantages of an ESOA by showing how a BPX and/or developer can quickly implement new and innovative business processes by composing new enterprise applications using ESOA model driven development tools. Because of the standardized service interfaces (WSDL), global datatypes (XMLSchema) and protocols (SOAP/HTTP) which are an integral part of an ESOA, model driven development tools can be used to quickly model and generate the application framework and user interfaces which ultimately consume SAP Enterprise Services. There are many different ways to consume SAP Enterprise Services, especially given the breadth of SAP’s development toolsets and of course all of the open source offerings. In this post, I will demonstrate how a BPX and developer can use SAP’s latest innovative model driven development (MDD) tools to quickly model and generate a rich application to consume a SAP Enterprise Service. In a recent survey by IDC, the majority of large enterprises said that they would like to pilot ESOA before embarking on the journey to implement it. The pilot will prove the business, IT, and ultimately shareholder benefits. In light of this, I would like to describe how you can quickly compose a rich application that is built on top of an Enterprise Service Oriented Architecture. For this case study prototype, we will use the SAP Visual Composer and the SAP Composite Application Framework (CAF) to consume the “Read Purchase Order” Enterprise Service which is delivered with the “mySAP ERP 2005 Enterprise Services Package ECC-SE 600 Add On SP2”. The Visual Composer will be used to model the user interface and CAF will be used as the Service Composition layer. In using CAF, we will compose a new web service which will add additional business logic to the existing Enterprise Service. The full step by step example of How to consume SAP Enterprise Services using Visual Composer and CAF is contained in the following Document: How To Consume SAP Enterprise Services using Visual Composer and the Composite Application Framework Once you have read through and perhaps implemented this quick case study which uses Visual Composer and CAF to consume an Enterprise Service, I think the benefits of implementing an “open standards” based Enterprise Service Oriented Architecture (ESOA) will become much clearer. The most visible immediate benefits that are realized in this example is the drastically decreased development time which is enabled by the well defined and implemented SAP Enterprise Services and the model driven development (MDD) tools (CAF and VC). An enormous amount of efficiency can be realized when the BPX can model the business process using MDD tools and then generate the majority of the composite application. This reduces the amount of knowledge transfer required between the BPX and the programmer. Finally, the BPX can own the implementation of the business process, not just the specification. SAP’s MDD tools, including CAF and Visual Composer also produce a highly flexible and maintainable product when used in the context of an ESOA. Since business process changes can be implemented directly by the BPX with modeling tools rather than having a programmer implement them with low-level code changes, the programmer error risk is virtually eliminated. The end result is quicker time to market, lower TCO, and the ability to focus on creating innovative business processes. The great news for IT is that implementing an ESOA will help adapt IT-supported business models and processes to new market requirements quickly and flexibly. An ESOA will be the catalyst in optimizing business processes and making them more flexible, support the implementation of new applications and services, and allow innovative business models to be introduced.
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  1. Andre Truong
    Good post Austin. SAP needs to keep pounding the market with the vision and the delivery of that vision via all the Enterprises Services and Netweaver as composition or business process platform. Market adoption is slow as witnessed by the slow adoption of the composition technologies (only 1600+ messages in the forum Developing Composites with CAF or 3700+ messages in the VC forum compared to 300,000+ messages in Abap for example). The reality is that SAP is several years (maybe 5 years) ahead of Oracle when it comes down to delivering an Enterprise Class Platform to build next-generation business applications. Fusion is today besides a marketing powerful marketing concept a middleware for web application development. Not a composition or a business process platform. Business or functional analysts can embrace Netweaver and software enable business requirements without having to depend so much on IT. That is not possible with Oracle Fusion. It’s still very much a technical platform.

    Once the business people will realize that there’s life for them in Netweaver beyond their well-know cusotmizing environment in R/3 or mySAP ERP, Netweaver should enjoy the same success as the ABAP platform did for the very same reasons. Netweaver is to innovative business processes what ABAP is to core transactional processes. And we know who has successfully demonstrated leadership here.

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    1. Austin Chynne Post author
      Hi Andre,  Thanks for the excellent comments.

      You certainly do have a strong grasp on ESOA!

      Its seems as if Oracle does not have an ESOA story yet except in marketing terms and even here it does not address new business process innovation fueled by Composite Applications in the context of an ESOA. 

      I recently gave an ESOA presentation to a group of IT directors in Silicon Valley and several of which represented Oracle shops.  During this presentation I reviewed SAP’s ESOA including our released and production ready Enterprise Services, Enterprise Service Repository, ES Workplace, ES Community, and SAP’s Discovery server.  It was apparent that the IT directors from the Oracle shops were not aware of any detailed ESOA initiative from Oracle that was remotely comparable to SAP’s ESOA vision, strategy, and current execution. 

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      1. Natty Gur
        I just want to add another ESOA initiative that SAP provides. We have enterprise architecture framework that tailored to help enterprises with SOA and trained enterprise architects to help our customers with this framework.
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  2. João Almeida
    Hi,

    Thanks for the article.

    I’d like to know if SAP publishes a matrix of all the Webservices deployed vs product version (ERP2005, CRM5, …).

    Equally important is a roadmap of what’s in store for the future, the delivery method (support stacks, new versions, …) and the timeframe.

    By doing that SAP will guide organizations in what to develop in-house or what to wait for, eliminating the re-invention of the wheel.

    Best regards,
    Joao

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      1. João Almeida
        Hi Austin,

        Thank you for your prompt reply.

        Do you think you can convince SAP to publish a roadmap of future services/processes to be made available? With or without a timeframe, as it’s better to know that a process is being implemented than not knowing and to start a duplicate effort.

        The link you sent me is excellent and, IMHO, should be more publicized, in accordance with the effort SAP is doing to evangelize its clients.

        I would even suggest that a series of blogs be created per proccess area to support and guide the adoption of ESOA.

        TIA,
        Joao

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  3. Venkat Raman
    Thanks for an excellent weblog !
    Most of the examples in SDN using Web services are pretty basic (with the hard coded userid and pwd) – if the web service requires authentication how do we pass the decrypted credentials to the web service – outside the Portal ?
    Thanks
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    1. Austin Chynne Post author
      Hi Venkat,

      Yes, you definately don’t want to be hard coding any uid/pwds. 

      The security credentials for a web service can be configured. 

      Please see page 22 of the how to guide for the CAF configuration.  This shows the configuration of the CAF External Service which represents the “Read Purchase Order” Enterprise Service.  Here you can choose basic authentication or sso ticket.

      See page 27 for a description of how to configure the security credentials for the Logical Destination which is used by Visual Composer to lookup and consume the Composite Purchase Order web service that is deployed to the J2EE Engine.

      You will notice that there is no card coding of any uid/pwd in this example.

      Thanks,

      Austin.

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  4. Marcio Monteiro
    Thanks for this excellent “How to”!

    I would like to known more about the ESR, How I can use Enterprise Services from “Enterprise Services Workplace” and load it in the ESR. Could you help me?

    Thanks

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  5. Anonymous
    Hi,
    On page 16 of the ‘How-to’ guide it says to enter the following lines of code:

    retValue = this.getPurchaseOrderService().readByCustomKeys(purchaseOrderId);
    float price = Float.parseFloat(retValue.getPrice());
    retValue.setApprovalRequired( price >= 100 );

    The last line is incorrect as the API of setApprovalRequiered receives an int a parameter and not a boolean.
    Should it be:
    retValue.setApprovalRequired(price >= 100? 1 : 0);
    Thanks,
    Or

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    1. Austin Chynne Post author
      Hello, there is a typo in the how to document.  On page 6, the datatype for “approvalRequired” must be set to “com.sap.caf.base.boolean”, not “com.sap.caf.core.boolean”.  This will change the method signature to accept a boolean.

      I originally had it set to ..core.boolean, but during testing a class cast runtime exception was thrown.  Once I switched it to ..base.boolean, the class cast exception went away.

      Best Regards,

      Austin.

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  6. Puru Govind
    Hi Austin,
    This How-to is an awesome masterpiece. But anyways, I have been reading that ESA increases the flexibility.
    I am still wondering how it increases flexibility. I mean, I am still unable to relate flexibilty with business objects, services, ESI etc etc. I am sure you can help me.
    Best Regards
    Puru
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  7. Ravindra Babu TVN
    Hi Austin,
    I am facing some issues in the CE7.1 version regrading the same how do guide example like Item complex type doen’t allow me to chnage cardinality, Connecting the CE7.1 to ES workplace enethough WS destinations are configured properly etc. Can you pls post a blog with chnages respect to CE7.1 if possible.
    Regards
    Ravindra
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