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Why this blog?

After working with the Seeburger Generic EDI adapter for years, I was really keen on exploring the EDI capabilities of SAP’s new B2B add-on. I wrote this blog to share my thoughts and experiences with the community.

Scope and context

The content of this document is based on experience with several scenarios I created on a SAP PO 7.31 (AEX) system using both UTILMD and UTILTS message structures.

I started using the B2B add-on beginning of February 2013 and had these scenarios in mind:

  • Processing incoming EDI messages
  • Create EDI messages, based on data coming from an SAP ECC backend system
  • Generate CONTRL messages
  • Use the Number Range Object to meet message requirements

It all began with downloading and installing the PI B2B ADDON 1.0…

The journey to success

Before going into details, let me first highlight a brand new tool: the B2B Integration Cockpit.

B2BIC.jpg

It has been introduced as a new central console that contains relevant links to all B2B components and it is a central application that allows you to monitor and access the B2B add-on from a SAP NetWeaver Process Integration or Process Orchestration platform.

With the installation files, SAP ships content, which must be loaded into the edifact tables within the EDI content manager. There my first problem popped up…

The shipped content is not 100% compliant with the message structures we use in Belgium. Therefore I needed to modify them.

Doing this was really not easy and made me longing for the Seeburger Workbench, where editing message structures is a piece of cake.

Once the message structures were ready, I loaded them into the ESR, using the B2B integration cockpit for generating the XSD files.

After a lot of try-outs and encountering many problems, I had to upgrade to support pack 1, due to several bugs in the EDI part. You can find release notes in OSS note 1785396.

After experimenting with splitting EDI messages and trying to process them, I again had to apply 2 OSS notes (1833693 and 1848340) to solve problems with the EDISeparator adapter. 

B2BIC.jpg

This brand new adapter is used to split, convert and process EDI messages, together with the new adapter module EdifactConverterModule.

Please be careful with the module name. It’s case sensitive and in some SAP reference materials, the Edifact part is stated in capitals.

My conclusion

In the beginning, I encountered a lot of problems and bugs and was not able to generate CONTRL messages.

Now, SAP fixed a lot of bugs and the B2B Integration Cockpit is very nice to use, except for editing message structures.

The EDISeparator adapter integrates smoothly and is very straight-forward.

My guess is that, in the longer term, SAP’s B2B add-on could be dreaded competition for the Seeburger Generic EDI adapter.

Next steps


In the near future, I will explore the functional monitoring as stated in OSS note 1815991 and will try to improve my scenarios and the system (via for example OSS note 1832269).

Questions or remarks?


If you have a (technical) question concerning the installation, configuration or usage of the B2B add-on, feel free to send me an e-mail or post your thought or question.

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14 Comments

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  1. Prashantha Halmuttur Lakshminarayana

    Hello Dimitri,

     

    Nice post. It provides a valuable feedback.

     

    It would be interesting to know if you have done the message type editing based on B2B Add-on SP0 or SP1. With SP1, the Add-on has been enriched with many features, and some specifically for EDI content management, such as EDI message editing and creation of new message types from the scratch, ability to create functional acknowledgements (997 for ANSI X12 and CONTRL for EDIFACT) and monitoring them in a correlated view. Many of the customers as well as technical users were very positive about this in their feedback.

     

    I would also like to know the message types that were not conforming to your usage scenario. Was this because you were using a specialization of EDIFACT standard?

     

    Overall, pretty good post and would love to see more of them from you in future

     

    Thanks,

    Prashantha

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    1. Dimitri Sannen Post author

      Hi Prashantha,

       

      The message editing part was done both on SP0 and SP1, but I didn’t really experience improvement. Also, I compared this with the Seeburger workbench and there it’s much easier to edit message structures.

       

      I must say that SP1 is much much better than SP0. A lot of progress was made to improve and add functionality.

       

      In my demo scenarios I used the UTILMD, UTILTS and CONTRL message types as we use them within the Belgian utilities market. The content shipped by SAP slightly deviates, but that was also the case with Seeburger. For me, that is not a problem. Just a small inconvenience.

       

      All the messages meet the EDI standards, but the structure is put into a Belgian standard, the UMIG.

       

      Kind regards,

      Dimitri

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      1. Bhagyesh Hede

        Dear Dimitri,

              Have you use the new message editor for the EDIFACT messages that was released with the SP1 of the B2B Addon ?

              http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-40983

        I have a brief introductino to the same above. So i am quite surprised that you mention that SP1 did not have a better experience from SP0.

         

        I am sure the new feature would delight you if you have performed the message editing in SP0.

         

        Best Regards,

        Bhagyesh

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        1. Dimitri Sannen Post author

          Hi Bhagyesh ,

           

          Maybe you should try the Seeburger workbench to edit message structures. It is much easier and quicker. Also, it provides the message structure and you do not need to go through separate screens or message sections to change/add fields or characteristics.

           

          My blog is my personal experience and compared with the Seeburger EDI adapter, but the B2B addon remains a beautiful product to work with.

           

          Kind regards,

          Dimitri

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          1. Piyush Gakhar

            Hello Dimitri,

             

            Thanks for your feedback. Good to see that you have explored so much

             

            I was wondering if you have gone through the complete procedure of message editing.  Recently we have enhanced the functionaility that you can change/edit/add/delete fields, segments, composites etc. on one single screen. You don’t have to toggle between screens. You can use seperate screens to do mass maintenance (eg. bulk editing of only fields, only composites or only segments etc.) i.e. bulk activities. Depending on the usecase you have, we have provided both the options. You need proper authorization to do these modifications and store it with different versions. Also, all these tasks and activities are online. The moment you do the changes, it gets reflected in your scenario immediately after entring the description in Control Key Scenario Mapping UI.

             

            Regards,

            Piyush

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            1. Dimitri Sannen Post author

              Hi Piyush,

               

              We are currently upgrading our SAP PO system, but once available again, I will certainly take a look again and try to edit messages in a more efficient way.

               

              Kind regards,

              Dimitri

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          2. Prateek Raj Srivastava

            Hi Dimitri,

             

            You mentioned ‘Seeburger Workbench’ at so many places for editing the message structures. Did you mean Seeburger BIC MD? What option do you use in Seeburger Workbench to ‘edit’ the structure, a screenshot will help.

             

            Thanks,

            Prateek Raj Srivastava

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            1. Dimitri Sannen Post author

              Dear Prateek,

               

              Seeburger ships this BIC Mapping Designer as part of the ISO you can download. For me personally, this is the easiest and quickest way to edit messages.

               

              My apologies for the confusion.

               

              Kind regards

              Dimitri

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    1. Dimitri Sannen Post author

      Hi,

       

      In the meantime (10/2013), SAP launched SP02 and SP03 is planned in the near future.

       

      Within this new SP, a lot of new features and improvements are shipped. So, yes, quite a lot has been improved

       

      I will try to summarize as soon as possible and write a blog on it.

       

      Last week, I attended SAP TechEd Amsterdam and have seen a lot of interesting things, but it takes a while to cover them all and find the interesting parts to publish here.

       

      Just keep an eye on this community…

       

      – UPDATE 20.11.2013 –

       

      Have a look at http://scn.sap.com/community/b2b-integration/blog/2013/11/20/b2b-add-on-sp2-enhancements-and-new-features

       

      More will follow soon…

       

      Kind regards,

      Dimitri

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      1. Suman Mishra

        Hi Dimitri, thanks for the quick response. But the link doesn’t answers my question. I wanted to know the output/input EDI xml from Seeburger are similar to B2BADDON inout/output or it has its own schema. And very different than Seeburger

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        1. Stefan Hilpp

          Hi Suman,

           

          the XSDs that are used in B2B AddOn and the XSDs that are provided and used by Seeburger are different and not compatible.

           

          In the Blog

          The new B2B Add-On for SAP NetWeaver Process Integration

          from Katrin Ahsen

          You can also find the statement:

          “no, the XSDs of SEEBURGER B2B adapters and SAP B2B add-on are not compatible. The most obvious difference are the namespaces. The same applies to Message Mappings. Even though some parts of mappings for SEEBURGER B2B adapters or SAP B2B add-on might be identical on field level there are some functional differences (e.g. user defined functions) between both solutions”

           

          Hope this answers your question.

           

          Kind Regards

          Stefan

          (0) 

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