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In this article I’d like to show you how you can use BRFPlus (Business Rules Framework Plus) instead of using value mapping tables and customizing Z-tables for integration flows.

As of EhP1 for PI 7.0 and EhP1 for 7.10 there is a new component available – BRFPlus which is an ABAP based rule engine (similar to BRM – java based rule engine) which allows us to create rule tables for mapping programs. 
As I’m going to show just a summarized description on how to create rules in BRFPlus (as they are already widely described) please have a look at this page for more details: 

*Business Rules Framework plus Tutorial Center*

The example I want to describe shows a simple rule (done via decision table expression) which is supposed map the result value on the basis of one input value.

In order to open BRFPlus on PI we need to run transaction FDT_WORKBENCH and our system must fill the prerequisites shown in the prerequisites section at the end of this article. Now you probably wonder why should we use that instead of normal value mapping tables and “Z customizing tables”. Let me show you a few reasons:

1) by using BRFPlus you can map many input values into one or more output values – Value Mapping tables can only map one input to one output

*2) by using BRFPlus you can populate the values in the table without accessing any SAP front-end application like Integration Directory – which you’d have to use to fill in the Value Mapping tables of SAPgui to fill in Z customizing tables as BRFPlus uses your internet browser only <br /><br />3)* by using BRFPlus you can easily test your new values without testing them form the application by the use of simulation mode

4) BRFPlus’s rules can also be maintained in ECC and you can call them in any mapping via SOAP adapter (please have a look at prerequisites section)

5) BRFPlus is easily accessible as you can have it with any PI system which has EhP1 installed (7.01 and 7.11) – if you’d like to use the java rule engine (BRM) you need to have CE 7.2 installed which a separate application server and not yet available

PREREQUISITES

BRFPlus can run on any NW system with EhP1 so in case of PI this can be:

– PI 7.0 with EhP1 – PI 7.01
– PI 7.1 with EhP1 – PI 7.11
– ECC EhP4 which comes together with EhP1 for NW

REMEMBER

BRFPlus available in EhP1 do not offer a possibility to send a table with values and receive a table with results. If you call it from ABAP mapping then you can easily do it one by one but if you call the rules via web services (for each line) this may effect the performance considerably. That’s why I’d recommend to make sure we call the BRFPlus only once per each mapping and not as many lines as lines in the message, etc. As of EhP2 for NetWeaver we should be able to use a loop step in order to send and receive tables with BRFPlus.
 

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4 Comments

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  1. Avishek Gorai
    Hi Michal,

    Excellent blog, and may be the way forward in PI to move a lot of value mapping, lookups or fixed value mapping tables to a Rule Based Engine. To add to your recommendations I think we can also maintain the rules in a central BRF (may be ECC) and use then in mappings through RFC lookups. This is possible by calling the RFC which is generated when generating a Web Service out of this rule, or directly from an ABAP mapping (instead of using a complex code).
    Haven’t tested it though, but I think it should be possible.

    Regards,
    Avishek.

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