Process Integration within Eclipse
One of the attributes of a Comprehensive Integration Solution is to have a single IDE for development and modelling. The Swing based Enterprise Services Repository and the Integration Directory that we have been so used to on a day today basis apparently doesn’t help the case. Hence like many other vendors in the EAI/SOA space, we find SAP also refining its strategy around the development and modelling tools.
With PI 7.31 and above, we find that the gap is being bridged in this aspect with ESR and ID now being ported into the Netweaver Developer Studio. This now provides the developer a foundation of a single IDE to manage all their development needs. In this blog, I will try to provide a quick overview on several of these attributes and features available to us for Process Integration from within Eclipse.
Note: The version of SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio I am using is – SAP Enhancement Package 1 for SAP NetWeaver Developer Studio 7.3 (SP04 PAT0004) and SAP PI is PI 7.31 SP03
How to configure NWDS for accessing SAP Process Integration
1. Configuring ESR
In the main menu, goto Windows -> Preferences -> Webservices -> Enterprise Service Browser and maintain the server info;
2. Configuring Integration Directory
In the main menu, goto Windows -> Preferences -> PI Tools Configuration -> Connections
How to connect to Process Integration from NWDS
In NWDS, go to Menu, Windows -> Open Perspective -> Others and open the Enterprise Services Repository Perspective.
You can then use the connect to ESR button to access ESR.
Once connected, you will find your ESR within Eclipse;
Similarly for the runtime component access, you can use the Process Integration Runtime perspective.
Another perspective is the Process Integration Designer. It is in this where you have the ability to design Integration Flows^.
^ Note: This is only possible for Single stack Java only installations (AEX) and not for dual stack installations.
There is blog by Michal Krawczyk titled PI/XI: Eclipse based integration flows – how to configure them with PI 7.31 which you can refer for Integration Flows.
My current access is for a PI 7.31 dual stack installation and below are some of my personal views on the Eclipse based tooling capability now available to us;
1. It is indeed a significant step from SAP to consolidate all developments onto a single IDE. This provides a single view and access for all components unlike in the past where we had to switch from one Swing client to another.
2. The integration with Eclipse is still in its earlier stages and many of the features are incomplete. A good example is the case of function libraries and UDFs.
I was unable to create a function library from within NWDS. When I created a function library and a subsequent UDF in ESR, in NWDS I found that the function library does show up but none of the UDFs were visible. This I believe is a big drawback since access to UDFs would have solved the age long pain for the developer of having to do the syntax check and formatting outside of PI.
3. Integration Process is not visible in NWDS. This could be probably because the focus from SAP is to move away from the BPEL based ccBPM to BPMN based NW BPM capability.
4. I was unable to create any SWCV, Namespace or folders from within NWDS
5. Even though creation and editing of Data types is possible, it is still not very flexible. Ex. It is not possible to drag and drop, rearrange nodes or fields.
6. You will not be able to import IDocs or RFCs into NWDS directly.
7. In case of Imported Archives, I was expecting the ability to directly create Java mapping programs within NWDS under the imported archive node. But apparently, it only allows us to create an imported archive by importing existing jar/zip files existing on the local file system.
8. Mapping editor apparently never opened in NWDS.
Well, the above are some of the initial observations from my end. Personally I strongly believe that SAP has made a significant step in terms of porting ESR and ID into NWDS but is still a long way away from encouraging users from using NWDS as a single IDE for all of their development. For that vision to be completed, we might still need wait and watch what are the further enhancements and investments they will make in this particular area.
So rather than being carried away being a hard core SAP fan, in this particular case, I remain a skeptic at least for now!
PS: What has been your experience with this new capability? Do let me know by posting your comments below.
12-Dec-2012: Mapping editor is accessible from SP04