In 2019 SAP introduced the concept of a central SAP Fiori Launchpad (cFLP) as a possible solution for accessing your on-prem and cloud applications from single point of entry. This blog tries to provide an introduction to the technology behind this concept – SAP Cloud Platform, Portal service on Cloud Foundry (CF) environment. The focus is on getting started with the service and appropriate sources that help you to get onboarded as easy as possible.
Cloud Portal on CF
Since the Portal service we are talking about runs on CF environment of SAP Cloud Platform let us start with this one. SAP introduced Cloud Foundry environment for SAP Cloud Platform in 2018. This technological stack allows SAP Cloud Platform to take advantage of the Multi-Cloud strategy of SAP and move their development to the IaaS providers of their choice (see Regions and Service Portfolio). In 2019 SAP launched various services on the Cloud Foundry environment – including the Portal service.
Now let’s take a look at the main concepts of the Cloud Portal in Cloud Foundry. These are:
- Advanced application integration and content federation which allows Portal service to integrate and consume applications and business content in a standardized, uniform way. It doesn’t matter whether these are SAP business applications, custom developed, or third–party apps;
- A new Launchpad module, allowing developers to expose and register their custom developed applications to the central launchpad;
- New admin tools – Site Editor, for general administration and site creation. For those who already used Portal service on Neo are already familiar with SAP Fiori Configuration Cockpit and Site Designer. The Site Editor and Content Manager replace both tools and enrich these with improved user experience and further capabilities.
Of course there will be additional features in Portal service on Cloud Foundry. One of the biggest and interesting ones is the fact that your standard SAPUI5/SAP Fiori apps do not have to be deployed to Cloud in order to access them via the Cloud Portal.
Using iFrame technology Cloud Portal allows you to integrate applications for example from your SAP Fiori Frontend Service (Gateway) on-prem and consume them directly from the cloud. Currently you are able to integrate your applications manually (meaning you configure all required parameters, app by app). In the future advanced content consumption will allow convenient integration of mass-content and apps from SAP backend systems.
Starting with Cloud Foundry
First thing working with the new Portal service would be to understand Cloud Foundry including it’s domain model (subaccount structure and relationships) and development options. In the figure below you can find a diagram on how Cloud Foundry environment within SAP Cloud Platform looks like.
Your global account can be divided into various subaccounts which represent one specific region and organisation. Subaccounts allow to subscribe to applications and services, e.g. the Portal Service. Additionally, each Subaccount allows an implementation of one or more spaces, which is where application development, deployment, and maintenance take place.
A good start understanding SAP Cloud Platform environment is the following documentation area: Basic Platform Concepts – Environments.
Working with Cloud Portal
Now, working with Cloud Portal, you need few material on “how to start with it?”. Let me show you some of these. First – let’s start with Portal service overview:
Those familiar with Neo environment see that the changes in the overall Portal service architecture are minimal. Most important is the fact that Portal service is running on subaccount level whilst your applications are deployed on space level and integrated into the main portal via Launchpad module. The connectivity to the source system is done via Connectivity service in combination with Cloud Connector. Your applications consume services from the connectivity service via Destinations.
To start working with Cloud Portal Service you need to conduct some initial setup. This tutorial is a good start: SAP Cloud Platform Portal Service – Initial Setup. You may also explore the service using the free trial environment: Platform Service on Trial Account of SAP Cloud Platform CF.
Now you can start developing and administrating your Portal. How? The basic workflow on end-to-end development of a launchpad module in your application is described in 5 steps:
- Create a Multitarget Application and Add Modules (yes, we are working with MTA);
- Add a SAP Fiori Launchpad Module;
- Configure Launchpad Content;
- Build and Deploy Your Project;
- Access Launchpad Runtime.
All these steps are described in the tutorial here: Cloud Service – Basic Development Flow.
Now having your application and an appropriate launchpad module you would need to develop a portal site. How to do this is described in here: A Typical Workflow of Building a Site. And please do not forget the topic security – you can find information on what to do in this area here: Security Documentation for Portal Service.
With these few basic steps you should be able to build you first launchpad / portal site on Cloud Foundry.
As you can see, the new Cloud Portal on Cloud Foundry gives you new possibilities on how to run your launchpad in the cloud. With the new tools and features you get new developer experience and new workflow to create beautiful Fiori Launchpad site as a single point of entry for all your users. For more information on SAP Cloud Platform Portal on Cloud Foundry please refer to this beautiful blog by Iris Sasson: Deliver SAP Fiori User Experience on SAP Cloud Platform on the Cloud Foundry.