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Developer’s Intro to Integrations and Extensions with the SAP Business Technology Platform

As a follow up to SAP announcing the SAP Business Technology Platform, or SAP BTP, I wanted to focus on one part of the infographic below, the SAP Integration Suite and the SAP Extension Suite.  Well, that’s kind of two parts. We will call it two sides of the same coin.

If we break the Business Technology Platform into it’s four main categories then we can see that Integrations and Extensions are there to enable the developer to do just what the name says, integrate and extend.

 

As a Developer Advocate I am somewhat an educator, a teacher.  I am also constantly learning and re-learning.  For this blog post I put on some music from one of my favorite bands, Foo Fighters.  Listening to Time Like These I am struck by the lyrics:

“It’s times like these you learn to live again

It’s times like these you give and give again

It’s times like these you learn to love again

It’s times like these time and time again”

What really snapped things into place was how a lot of developers, but especially those who need to keep the value of SAP data front and center, have to learn a lot time and time again.  SAP changes and evolves.  Not just our product names!  We also evolve the codebase we use, the companies we partner with/acquire, and the way you as a developers can extend and integrate that SAP data to your users.

 

When I think of an integration I think of how there are differences in the way an app may need to run and use not just SAP data, but data from another source.  Maybe an internal source to SAP like S/4 HANA or SAP Concur, or maybe an external source. 

With the diagram below we can see that the Integrations in SAP Business Technology Platform have a single source of the truth as a pathway they can all share.  There are lots of details behind the scenes architecturally that make this possible but one of the main takeaways from this is that SAP has the foundation for multiple system integrations available for you as a developer in one place.

 

Moving on to extensions.  I like to think of an application adding some business logic.  We take something like a finance app and then we add some logic to have that app utilize more functionality that it could have done on its own. This is different than an API adding functions since the app itself needs to open a connection to something else, another app, and the end user benefits from a combined set of tools.

If we look at the screenshot below of the SAP Discovery Center we see several ways to extend with SAP in the Extension Suite filtered by Development. 

 

One extension may use code from Cloud Foundry or Kyma, but another may extend with Identity Authentication.  Simply put, some developers may not need to know micro-service architecture or runtimes for their app to do what it needs to do, but others may not enjoy coding security and authentication into the app even though it’s required for deployment approval to their users.  Using SAP Extension Suite a finance app can utilize other extended features like: micro-services and authentication, but to run the app, it may not be a requirement to extend to one or both, and that’s ok depending on the situation.  The fictitions app can run stand alone, but coding in other extensions on your own over an over again will start to present lots of opportunity for issues and wasted time.

In preparation for more blog post on this subject I would like to ask that you go these three sites in the SAP Community:

SAP Community Integration Suite and Extension Suite

SAP Community Integration Suite

SAP Community Building Extensions with the SAP BTP

Take some notes, ask some questions here and we will be happy to provide guidance and feedback to you.

 

Time to learn live and give and love again…

Josh

5 Comments
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  • Good introduction, Josh. Lifelong learning indeed!

    For the readers interested in the SAP Certified Development Consultant certifications for either (or both!) suites, recently posted shared some personal insights about how to pass the exam.

    • https://blogs.sap.com/2020/12/21/get-certified-c_cpi_13/
    • https://blogs.sap.com/2020/12/20/get-certified-c_cpe_12/

    Success!

  • Hi Josh!

    As you asked, I went to the linked websites and please be aware that the link labeled "SAP Community Extension Suite" arrives at the web page titled "SAP Integration Suite and SAP Extension Suite". The second link does arrive at the webpage with title "SAP Integration Suite" but now I'm confused which one is which? Are there two Integration Suites?

    Exploring further, I click on the link "SAP Integration Suite and SAP Extension Suite Web Site" and find... SAP Cloud Platform.

    Before all the renaming games, I had 0 confusion of what SAP Cloud Platform was. (I mean it's a platform and it's in the Cloud, obviously, duh.) But now I don't even know what's what anymore, to be honest.

    Time to learn again, indeed, but I wish I could spend this time learning something that is actually new and different and brings value to my customers instead of SAP product name de jour.

    Thank you.

    /
    • Jelena,

      I get the frustration around re-naming, as you can probably tell from the theme of this blog post. I’m sure you’re not alone. Our Community team is working hard to update the content and links as quickly as possible, but it all takes time. To answer your question, though, there is only one SAP Integration Suite. You can check out the Help portal for details. And to clarify a bit more on extension suite I added a link to a page dedicated on building extensions on BTP and re-named my first link above to reference both Integrations and Extensions. To answer the broader question about BTP – what it is, and what it does – I can offer watching Juergen’s video. It provides a good intro. Thanks for the feedback you provided. We need to hear from our Community members to make the Community better, and we appreciate that you took time to comment! - Josh

      • Juergen's video is TechEd keynote, I watched it live already, thanks.That did not explain at all what the heck SAP BTP is.(I don't know, maybe it was more clear for those who work at SAP. It certainly wasn't for me.)

        My first impression was actually that SAP BTP is kind of like a larger platform name that would "sit" atop SCP. But later, the news came about "sunsetting" SCP and "rebranding" it as SAP BTP. But there is also, apparently, "SAP Integration Suite and SAP Extension Suite" (is there a shorter name?) which is... also SCP?

        I've already commented with some thoughts on the whole renaming hullabaloo on Juergen's blog (see here) and I hope maybe some day SAP will start considering the points I raised.

        But I just want to add here that the root cause of all the frustration is not just the renaming. It's the fact that SAP seems to be unable to give us something straight and it's been like that for a long time. Even Help article you linked literally has the title "What Is "SAP Integration Suite" but then does not provide a simple, straight-forward answer. It describes at length what SAP IS does but never says what it is. If you are capable of reading the text in that article and then answering what SAP IS is then it's an awesome skill to have. 🙂 Perhaps could be a subject to one of your podcasts or videos.

        Edit: just found the old vs new "mapping" document and in it, Integration Suite and Extension Suite are two different things. So, "SAP Extension Suite and SAP Integration Suite" is akin to "Department of Media, Culture and also Sports" in the brilliant W1A TV series. Except not as funny.

        /
        🙂
  • Good intro on SAP BTP. In future a SAP developer must know both integration and development to become competent in the SAP world.