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How do you extend your intelligent ERP in the Cloud? From the business user’s need of performing personal settings for their very own view of the SAP S/4HANA Cloud user interface to the enhancement with custom built apps, SAP S/4HANA Extensibility has it all. Built into SAP Fiori, the award-winning UI for SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP already offers the possibility to perform personal settings – make your UI look like yours. For expert users in SAP S/4HANA Cloud there is also the possibility to perform configuration settings to roll out changes that affect the entire company.

This is all commodity. The real stuff comes with the true SAP S/4HANA Extensibility. The SAP S/4HANA Extensibility concept supports your business needs via easy-to-use extensibility apps in S/4HANA Cloud (in-app extensibility) or a seamless integration to applications built on SAP Cloud Platform to extend your business without impacting the digital core (side-by-side extensibility). You can find more information on the in-app extensibility by reading some blog posts, checking out a comprehensive tutorial here and learning about some cool new features here.

With the SAP Cloud Platform, you can extend your business, without impacting the digital core, by building de-coupled extension applications running side-by-side with S/4HANA Cloud.

Figure 1: SAP S/4HANA on the left-hand side, with the new in-app extension concept. Connected to custom extension applications, running on the SAP Cloud Platform. * Classic extensions are only available in SAP S/4HANA (on-premises).

Customers using the side-by-side extensibility approach can use the SAP Cloud Platform to build completely new applications based on the SAP Fiori user experience or they can integrate with other cloud applications and services. They can also build new applications and business logic that natively runs on the SAP Cloud Platform.

  • The integration to SAP S/4HANA Cloud is loosely coupled with open APIs, hence the extension application can evolve faster in shorter iterations cycles.
  • On the other hand, even though SAP updates the SAP S/4HANA Cloud quarterly, the changes won’t affect your side-by-side extension, so they don’t need to be adapted.
  • The SAP Cloud Platform provides a highly productive development tools such as the S/4HANA Cloud Extension SDK and web services to reduce the total costs of development.

How to get started?

With the ‘side-by-side extension guide’ we offer a sample application that connects to an SAP S/4HANA Cloud system. In a detailed step-by-step approach the document explains how to create a first application on the SAP Cloud Platform and integrate it with your SAP S/4HANA system. It showcases the combined usage of SAP S/4HANA in-app extensions and their usage from within the side-by-side applications.

The scenario illustrates a simple web-shop use-case where an external user can browse through products and post sales orders. Additional, data is stored within a custom business object, next to the standard objects within the SAP S/4HANA Cloud system.

Figure 2: Scenario illustrates a simple web-shop use-case

You can try out the scenario yourself, the only pre-requisite is access to an SAP S/4HANA Cloud system. Just follow the below steps.

Step 1: Download

Download the application from SAP’s GitHub repository and get the guide from the SAP Best Practice Explorer.

Figure 3: Sample web application

Step 2: Configure your S/4HANA Cloud system

The sample scenario uses in-app extension in combination with a side-by-side application. For example, in the S/4HANA Cloud system, a ‘Custom Business Object’ is created, which is then used from within the side-by-side application. The detailed steps are described in the guide (see above download):

Figure 4: Sample web application

Communication Arrangements are created to enable external usage of an S/4HANA API:

Figure 5: Sample web application- standard OData API endpoints

As you can see in the screenshot above, SAP S/4HANA Cloud offers standard OData API endpoints. At this point you can also play around with the APIs with your favorite tool like Postman or SOAPUI.

Step 3: Adapt the sample application

The sample application comes with full source code so you can easily play around with additional properties, change API requests or adapt the HTML/CSS based UI:

Figure 6: Sample web application

Step 4: Connect it to your SAP S/4HANA Cloud system

To connect to your SAP S/4HANA Cloud system, adjust the connection parameters according to your system:

# Base URL of the S/4HANA Cloud System

s4cld.api_host=https://myXXXXXX-api.s4hana.ondemand.com

# API User (to be maintained in the Communication System in S/4HANA Cloud)

s4cld.api_user=extorderapp_api_user

# API Password

s4cld.api_pass=QGRlcl9tYXRoaWFz

# OData service of the Custom Business Object, created in S/4HANA Cloud to store one-time order data

s4cld.onetimecustomerrecord_servicepath=/sap/opu/odata/sap/YY1_CUSTOMERRECORD_CDS

s4cld.onetimecustomerrecord_resource=YY1_CUSTOMERRECORD

Step 5: Deploy to SAP Cloud Platform

  1. Package the application via “mvn package” (explained in detail in the guide)
  2. Login to your SAP Cloud Platform cockpit (trial available at https://cloudplatform.sap.com).
  3. Goto “Java Applications”.
  4. Select the freshly built extorderapp-0.0.1.war
  5. And start the application.

The cockpit will allow you to monitor and manage the application. By clicking on the URL link you will reach the front end of the newly deployed app.

Figure 7: Sample web application- SAP Cloud Platform Cockpit

The sample application comes with two simple screens. On the start screen, the visitor can browse through all the products. Those are read live from the S/4HANA Cloud system via the Product Master API .

Figure 8: Sample web application- Product Master API

When clicking a product, some details are shown and the user can post a standard sales order back to the S/4HANA system. This is when the Sales Order API is triggered. Additionally, address data is stored in a Custom Business Object and within S/4HANA.

Figure 9: Sample web application- Sales order API

That’s it!

This sample app shows how easy it is to get started with your custom side-by-side extension application. It shows how to find and work with SAP S/4HANA’s OData APIs and how to leverage in-app extensions like Custom Business Objects from within a side-by-side application.

Stay tuned and follow our GitHub repository for the upcoming updates! With the next version, we will cover an internal use case targeted to an S/4HANA business user to show identity management, single sign-on, UI integration in S/4HANA Cloud, we’ll introduce the SAP S/4HANA Cloud SDK for easier data integration and include a Fiori user experience.

And more…

Join the upcoming openSAP course on SAP S/4HANA extensibility. The course includes an overview of the SAP S/4HANA UX, simple extensions, advanced extensions, embedded analytics, and includes optional hands-on exercises. The course starts on October 25, 2017. Enrollment is now open!

Also visit the SAP S/4HANA Cloud SDK for more tutorials around Java development and interaction with S/4HANA system and continue reading if you want to learn how to migrate to SAP S/4HANA!

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