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Overview

Lately a number of blogs on the topic of SAP and Google Wave integration has surfaced. This particular blog will look at how you can embed waves within SAP NetWeaver Portal and examples of  business scenarios for why you want to do this.

However, in order to keep track of all the SAP related Google Wave initiatives, I’ve also started a new section in the wiki for this topic  https://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/EmTech/Google+Wave .

Embedding waves

The simplest integration with Google Wave is to show waves inside SAP solutions. SAP NetWeaver Portal is one of the primary user interfaces for SAP solutions and it is therefore clear that it should have this capability (although the same integration may be implemented in other SAP user interfaces).

How to embed waves in SAP NetWeaver Portal

After discussions with Daniel Graversen (@dgraversen), I’ve created a simple portal component which allows embedding of waves inside SAP NetWeaver Portal through an iView. It is a straightforward implementation of the Embed API published by Google.

The source code, the portal component and a portal transport package are all available from the site http://code.google.com/p/sap-wave/ .

Note that a prerequisite for using it is that you have access to Google Wave and are logged on in the current browser session.

The simplest way to set it up is:

  1. Download the component from the featured downloads of http://code.google.com/p/sap-wave/
  2. Unzip the file
  3. Read the readme.txt (hence the name readme)
  4. Import the .epa file as you would any normal portal transport
  5. Assign the role indicated in the readme.txt
  6. Access the menu item SAP Google Wave and you should see something similar to the screenshot below

 Screenshot of embedded wave

If you want to change the wave you embed in the example iView, you will have first find the relevant wave id. This can currently be done through the debug->Get Current Wave id menu in Google Wave. Once you have the id, open the example iView in content administrator and change the property WaveId.

Scenarios for using Wave embedding in SAP NetWeaver Portal

Ok, now we know how to embed a wave inside SAP NetWeaver Portal, but why would we really want to do that?

Goole Wave is still a very young technology and there is no correct answer on where it can and should be used. However, we can allready now see several scenarios where it can create business value for the users and below I’ve tried to grouped them inside three types of scenarios.

Stand-alone wave embedding

The simplest scenario is to display a single wave alone on a SAP NetWeaver Portal page. This can for example be used for:

  1. An open feedback page for the entire portal
  2. A particular subject-matter information page
    (in my experience, waves behave similar to wikis in such scenarios)

 

The advantages of this approach versus using Google wave directly is that we can incorporate waves in the portal information architecture and we could style the waves to fit the look and feel of the portal (functionality not implemented yet in portal component, but is trivial to add).

The setup of the stand-alone embedding requires that:

  1. A Wave is created in Google Wave
  2. An iView is created with a reference to the Wave in point 1.
  3. The iView is placed within the information architecture within the SAP NetWeaver Portal (through a role)

As you can see this is quite cumbersome as the number of waves to be integrated grows. However, it is very likely that Google will in the future provide an Java API for creating new waves and this can then be integrated in the portal component in order to simplify the process.

Embedding waves related to information from SAP applications

The real power comes when we can display waves based on information from SAP applications. This can for example be used for:

  1. Discussion of an item in a portfolio in xRPM (Resource Portfolio Management)
  2. Collaboration on a development plan between an employee and the person’s leader linked to from Manager or Employee Self-Servic
  3. Experiences with a particular customer from a CRM backend system

This will require a large volume of waves to be created, and for these scenarios to be viable we should have a Java API for generating waves at run-time. We will also need to extend the Portal component so that it is more dynamic, for example that it listens to certain EPCM client-side events from SAP applications and allows URL parameters  directly to the portal component (instead of through iView properties). These extra functionalities can be added to the portal component in the future.

Embedding waves that provide services to users

The most powerful embedding is when the wave not only provides information to the user, but provides the user with a service. 

One example I have been looking at is the reporting and resolution of support tickets (incident in ITIL terms). This could be exposed through the SAP NetWeaver Portal, and when the user access it, a wave is created. This wave is automatically populated with a custom-made wave robot which give the user an introduction on how to report the support ticket. Whilst the user types the description, the robot analyses the text inputed by the user and attempts to find relevant known errors or fact sheet from SAP and other systems. A gadget may also be added to the wave automatically in order to allow the ticket to be categorized correctly. This meta-data information can then be used to add a human service desk employee with the required competence as a participant to the wave in order to solve it.

Imagine SAP support using such a system where robots know all SAP documentation and notes, and where selected SCN users also can contribute to solve the problems through a single wave.
We’re not there yet, but the potential for the future is huge.

 

PS I never introduced Wave robots and Gadgets in this blog, see  https://wiki.sdn.sap.com/wiki/display/EmTech/Google+Wave and http://code.google.com/intl/nb-NO/apis/wave/guide.html for more information

Summary

In this blog we’ve looked at how you can embed waves inside SAP NetWeaver Portal through the code provide at http://code.google.com/p/sap-wave/. We’ve also explored some of the possible uses for embedding waves and it will be very interesting to see actual solution companies will be implementing.

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9 Comments

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  1. Daniel Graversen
    Hi Dagfinn,
    Nice to see the plugin in action and the possible usecases is also great.
    Looks like the Embed api or a wave search API is required to make full use of waves in portals. It would be interesting if Wave had a rest service for this search.
    Alternative a robot could send data to SAP portal like DJ Adams example with rest, so the portal could find the correct waves.

    /Daniel

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    1. Dagfinn Parnas
      Hi Daniel,

      Agree, that we need more detailed access to Google Wave in order to have the really interesting scenarios. If Google implements such APIs (which I believe they will), we’re pretty sure they are released as Java APIs and therefore can be easily integrated in SAP NetWeaver Portal (SAP Java AS).

      Heck, if needed we may also port an open-source XMPP server to the SAP Java AS together with an open-source wave server implementation, and thereby have full control inside the firewall and in-depth access to waves.

      Cheers
      Dagfinn

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  2. Thorsten Franz
    Hi Dagfinn,
    I can’t wait to get Google Wave sandbox access to try this out. In the meantime, I’ve managed to deploy your archives to my CE 7.1.1 and written down how to do it. I tried to add the information to the Google Wave wiki page but there is an error so I can’t save my changes. Maybe you can add it – here it is:
    You can also deploy this solution to CE 7.1 and CE 7.1.1. Deploying the EPA archive will result in one error. Locate the PAR file, go to System Administration > Support > Support Desk > Portal Runtime > PAR Migration Tool. Upload the PAR archive, click “Migrate”, and download the resulting EAR archive. In NetWeaver Development Studio, use the “Deployment” perspective to deploy the EAR archive. ALternatively, use System Administration > Support Desk > Portal Runtime > Administration Console to deploy the PAR archive directly.
    Cheers,
    Thorsten
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    1. Dagfinn Parnas
      Hi Thorsten,

      Thanks for experimenting with the CE system. This enables us some new scenarios related to Business Process Modelling. Perhaps we can also adapt waves (through gadgets) so that they have a clear input and output, and therefore are suitable for defining a process flow in CE?

      PS had problems with wiki myself yesterday, but it appears ok. So please add your additions to the page

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      1. Thorsten Franz
        Hi Dagfinn,
        I hope it works under CE 7.1 – not having a Google Wave account yet, I wasn’t able to try it out yet. But who dares wins: The wiki is working normally again, so I added the instructions to the page. 😉
        Cheers,
        Thorsten
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  3. Adam Szigeti
    Hi Dagfinn,

    I am always excited to read SDN blogs about integration with other (3rd party) great services. And I believe that the ultimate platform for both business and personal applications is the Web. Regarding personal apps, I prefer Google, in terms of mailing, rss management, calendar, docs, and hopefully soon Waves, too. Regarding business apps, I mean the SAP Netweaver Portal. I believe the point of integration should be somewhere around Business Workplace. As a user of SAP, I would like a portal that handles all the – let’s say – PIM functions integrated, along with business logic and collaboration features of SAP. It would be nice to have mails (or waves) and calendar entries generated by business logic (eg a workflow) or other users in the same place I manage my mail (or waves), calendar and rss. No matter what OS I am currently running – Windows in the office, Linux at home, or some mobile OS on the go. Have a new mail? Maybe it is a Purchase Order to approve. Click on it to get to that very PO displayed in the Portal, and do what you what You want with it…

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    1. Dagfinn Parnas
      Yes it works in NW 7.0.

      It is a very generic HTML and Javascript-based API implemented as a portal component. Therefore it should be compatible with almost any SAP NetWeaver Portal version.

      Regards
      Dagfinn

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