My favourite SAP Cloud Integration feature: Iflow simulation
Welcome to this blog post series where we interview SAP Cloud Integration practitioners, developers, architects and enthusiasts about what their favourite feature of the platform is. To see all the posts in the series so far, click here.
Let’s get started!
Could you introduce yourself briefly, please?
Sure, happy to! My name is Morten Wittrock and I’m a principal architect in the area of SAP integration at KMD in Denmark. I’m also a member of the SAP Mentors program and I help organise the SAP Inside Track Copenhagen event. Additionally, I run the CPILint open source project for SAP Cloud Integration.
Thank you! On to the central question of this blog post series: What’s your favourite SAP Cloud Integration feature?
I didn’t have to think about the answer for long: it’s iflow simulation 🙂
Why that particular feature?
Cast your mind back to the time before simulation was introduced. When you were building a new iflow or updating an existing one, the only way to test your work was to deploy the iflow and then run it. Maybe you’d wire it up to an HTTPS endpoint specifically for testing purposes, to make it easier for yourself to push a message to the iflow.
This really hampered the natural flow of development, because you were forced to wait for the iflow to deploy and then start, before learning whether whatever you just did worked or not. The feedback loop was simply too long.
Then the iflow simulation feature arrived in April of 2020 (here’s the announcement blog post by Kamlesh Zanje). With simulation, you indicate a section of your iflow that you want to run, set up the payload, properties and headers as needed, and then run the simulation directly in the iflow editor. No deployment required and no waiting around for the iflow to start.
With simulation, the feedback loop becomes significantly shorter. This makes integration developers more productive and the development process a whole lot more enjoyable. And that’s why it’s my favourite feature!
How do you see this feature evolving going forward?
Now, this is where things get really interesting! At this point, you might be asking: Wouldn’t it be cool if I could store my simulations and use them to unit test my mappings, scripts, etc.? To which I reply: Yes, that would be very cool indeed, and that’s exactly what’s on the roadmap! If you haven’t seen it already, go check out this roadmap item right now: Integration flow test with persistence of the test case and API support.
This is a massive upgrade to the simulation feature. When it arrives, we will be able to persist simulations as test cases, and run them either in the browser or via a new API. In other words, out of the box support for unit tests in SAP Cloud Integration. At the time of writing, however, this is planned for 2024, so we’ll have to be patient for a while yet. But when it does arrive, it’s a game changer for developers in my opinion.
Thanks for taking part in this! Who would you like to see answer these questions next?
I’d like to pass the baton to Daniel Graversen, who’s a fellow SAP Mentor and former colleague of mine. Over to you, Daniel!
The simulation feature would be great indeed... if it would work and not hang forever every other time I try to use it. Oh wait, maybe SAP has improved it since I tried it the last time! That's one of the nice advantages of a cloud application. It is always good in surprising us with new features and fixes. Let me go and give it another try!