A New Approach to Integrate WebDynpro Java Applications into NetWeaver Portal (Part I)
In this blog, I would like to introduce to you the new Application Integrator-based WebDynpro Java iView which integrates remote WebDynpro Java portal pages into a central portal. Before diving into the details about the iView, I would recommend you have a read of Aviad Rivlin’s blog of Best Practice for Integrating SAP Applications into the SAP NetWeaver Portal to get a big picture of all major use cases of application integration in NetWeaver Portal.
This blog is the first part of my blog series on this topic.
A recap of WebDynpro Java (WDJ) integration techniques in portal
In the past, we had two major WDJ-portal integration techniques:
1. Tightly-coupled local integration
This technique is used to integrate locally-deployed WDJ applications into the portal, which takes advantage of WDJ interaction with local portal runtime, thereby offering advanced integration features such as Split View, etc. Many business suite applications such as ESS/MSS heavily use this type of integration technique. For details about how WDJ applications can interace with a local portal runtime, refer to Integrate Web Dynpro into your SAP NetWeaver Portal to create dynamic, flexible applications.
On the other hand, obviously, the drawback of this technique is its deployment limitations becuase the WDJ applications have to reside on the same AS Java engine as the portal.
2. Loosely-coupled remote integration
This technique is based on the widely-used Application Integrator iView in the portal. In essence, it is a URL redirection mechanism enhanced by rich parameter passing/handling during the redirection. This option offers great deployment flexibility, i.e. the WDJ applications and the portal can reside on different AS Java engines, but it lacks of the advanced “interaction” between the WDJ application and the portal runtime.
Do we need a third integration approach?
Over the years, people (customers and SAP) have developed a lot of WDJ applications that interacts with local portal runtime, such as ESS/MSS. Furthermore, many of such WDJ applications are deployed onto seperate portal systems other than the central portal, due to various reasons such as maintenance/performance considerations. It is often a natural requirement to integrate those remotely-deployed WDJ applications (together with their corresponding tightly-coupled iViews) into the central portal.
Traditionally, we had to rely on Federated Portal Network (FPN) features such as Remote Role Assignment (RRA) or Remote Delta Link (RDL) to do this. However we need a simpler approach to avoid implementing and administering an FPN setup, especially when we just want to integrate a few remote WDJ applications.
With the new advanced Application Integrator introduced by EP 7.01 SPS6 (and EP 7.02 SPS2), you do not have to setup FPN in order to integrate remote WDJ iViews (tightly-coupled) any more. The trick is, the entire remote WDJ portal page is integrated to the central portal with an innovated Application Integrator mechanism.
In my demo setup, I have two portals:
– Central Portal: http://centralportal.sap.corp:50000/irj
– Remote Portal: http://remoteportal.sap.corp:1080/irj
On the remote portal, I created a small Webdynpro Java application called Useful Web Sites; additionally, I created a tightly-coupled Webdynpro Java iView to integrate the WebDynpro application. After that, I added the iView to a WebDynpro portal page. The following is a screenshot of the WDJ application inside the remote portal:
Let’s see it in action now.
First of all, I have setup unidirectional Single Sign-On (SSO) from the central portal to the remote portal. Unlike the FPN setup, here we don’t need bidirectional SSO.
Secondly, I created a system object in the central portal to represent the remote portal. Then I add a system alias for the remote portal as “RemotePortal”. Note that we need to add “End User” permission to the central portal users for this system object. In this demo I added the End User permission to all Authenticated Users for simplicity reasons.
Now let’s create the iView on the central portal. In the iView wizard, choose Web Dynpro Java Application.
In the next step, select “Remote” as Application location, and pick the remote portal’s alias that we created. Select “Advanced” as application type.
In the next step, the central portal will retrieve the remote portal’s PCD structure to the wizard, and you can choose the remote WebDynpro Java page desired. Here I will select the Useful Web Sites WDJ page. Note that you can’t choose a remote WDJ iView – you have to select a remote WDJ page.
Then I will add the above-created iView to a role called Useful Info as a delta link. Note: do NOT assign the iView to a portal page, as “page in page” setup will cause bad user interface.
As you may have guessed, the next step is to assign this portal role to a user. Here I will assign it to my user ID dongpan.
Are we done yet? Not really. As the end user (dongpan) will launch the remote WDJ page, he needs to have End User permission for that page in the remote portal.
A common misunderstanding is that the above step can be replaced by assigning to the user a role that contains the page (in the remote portal). As this page is a standalone page, not a page that was copied(or delta linked) to the role, assigning the role to the user (in the remote portal) would not help.
Now we have finished the configuration. Let’s logon to the central portal as dongpan, and here is what he will see:-).
Conclusion & Outlook
In this blog we have successfully setup and configured the advanced application integrator iView to integrate a remote Web Dynpro Java page (tightly-coupled), without the need to setup a Federated Portal Network. This feature offers great flexibility when deploying WebDynpro Java applications in your landscape.
In my next blog, I will discuss a common issue that you may encounter when making use of this iView: how do we deal with internal links in the remote WDJ pages?