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Getting Started with SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory

What’s in it for me?

First of all: SAP CP XF (SAP Cloud Platform Extension Factory) does not enable you to create something new. But hold on – don’t leave! It will still be of tremendous value for you when it comes to developing extensions for your SAP solutions.

This is because the XF simplifies:

  1. Keeping an eye on all your connected SAP solutions by providing a central registry
  2. Establishing trust (in a standardized way) between your SAP solutions and SAP Cloud Platform
  3. Consuming APIs and Events from your SAP solution

Okay let’s start by tackling those points one by one.

1. Central registry

The Extension Factory is an integral part of SAP Cloud Platform and is not commercialized as a separate product. You can see the XF when you logon to your SAP Cloud Platform account. On global account level it is represented in the navigation menu by the term “Systems“:

In the list you will see all SAP solutions which were connected to your SAP CP account in a standardized and secured way.

2. Simplifies establishing trust between your SAP solutions and SAP CP

Customers expect SAP’s products to integrate well with each other. In the past connecting a SAP system with SAP CP was sometimes associated with quite some effort. If you don’t believe me make sure to check out the following blog posts:

Currently the XF works with S/4HANA Cloud and SAP SuccessFactors. However further SAP solutions are planned. The XF is attracting growing attention lately and we can be sure that it get’s another big boost when it starts supporting On-premises systems – which in fact is already planned.

With the XF establishing trust is now as simple as:

SAP Cloud Platform account

  1. Open your Global Account on SAP Cloud Platform
  2. Choose Systems from the menu
  3. Press the Register System button
    • System Name: <any name describing your SAP system>.
    • Type: <type of your SAP solution>
  4. Copy the generated token to your clipboard, as you will need it in the next step.
  5. Press the Close button

 

S/4HANA Cloud account

  1. Open the URL of your SAP S/4HANA Cloud in the browser and log in
  2. Search for the tile Maintain SAP Cloud Platform Extensions
  3. Press the New button
  4. Paste the Integration Token, provide a description and save
  5. After a short time and a refresh you should see the status Registered for your SAP S/4HANA Cloud system in your Global Account on SAP Cloud Platform

Fore more details please see also the official documentation.

All good, all good but I am a developer. Anything in for me?

No worries wo got you covered. Just read on.

3. Simplifies consuming APIs and Events

Another goal of the XF is also to make the development of extensions on SAP Cloud Platform easier, by enabling developers to focus on their business domain. The XF allows us to easily run event-driven extensions and leveraging the APIs of several SAP solutions.

For events you can for example connect SAP LoB solutions to an event bus, bind an application to it, consume and react on those events. For more details make sure to check out the blog post from Rui Nogueira.

In case of leveraging APIs you usually:

  1. Setup trust between SAP LoB solutoin and SAP CP (admin task above)
  2. Add the “SAP S/4HANA Cloud Extensibility Service” to your subaccount
  3. Create an instance of the service (also check official documentation)
    • Choose “api-access” as service plan and for system name the name displayed in the central registy:
    • Provide a json configuration depending on your need. Key parameter here is “scenarioId” which allows us to access the API which we want to consume. To find out the value needed you can go to the API Business Hub, search for the API you want to use, click on “Details” and find the scenario ID under “Communication Scenario”:

    • Assign an application.In case your application does not exist yet, you can bind the application later.
    • Enter any instance name and click on “Finish”.
  4. You can now start developing your application and consume the destination as usual. Nothing XF specific from here. To consume the API we recommend to use the CAP programming model and the Cloud SDK. A tutorial can be found here.

As result of step 3 the following elements were created:

  • In your SAP LoB solution: A new communication arrangement (name was taken from your JSON configuration provided) and a technical user were created and configured automatically.
  • In SAP CP: A destination with all connection parameters including technical user for basic authentication were created and configured automatically.

 

Extending SAP C/4HANA Products

Extending C/4HANA products follows a different approach than above. However both extensibility scenarions are included under the umbrella XF which can be quite confusing. When it comes to C/4HANA you have to follow a “Bring Your Own License” (BYOL) approach with the “Kyma” runtime. Fore more details you can check the official documentation and Thomas Hertz´s blog post.

 

Summary

As we could see in the information and articles above we usually need to perform the following steps when we want to connect to SAP solutions with SAP CP:

  1. Create a Communication User in S/4HANA
  2. Create a Communication System in S/4HANA
  3. Create a Communication Arrangement in S/4HANA
  4. Create a Destination in SAP Cloud Platform

Thanks to the XF those steps are now all automated.

Furthermore when makig use of the Cloud Application Programming model and the Cloud SDK we can easily develop extensions when we want to consume SAP LoB APIs or events.

Again, the XF dosn’t enable you to create something new. It’s a concept combining various components and technologies available on SAP CP in order to optimaize the administration and development of extension scenarios for your SAP LoB solutions with SAP CP. Thus improving the life of admins and developers tremendously.

 

Further link recommendations

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