Exploring Side-By-Side Extensibility

Objectives
After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Explain the interaction between side-by-side extensions and SAP S/4HANA Cloud with standard SAP APIs

Introducing Side-By-Side Extensibility

Side-by-side extensions are software application running externally to the core application (SAP S/4HANA Cloud) and interacting with it using SAP standard APIs.

Side-by-side extensions provide a freedom of expression and do not suffer the restrictions of in-app extensions.

They can potentially run on any run-time application platform, nevertheless SAP provides and recommends it's dedicated platform: the SAP Business Technology Platform, where a dedicated toolset exists: the SAP Extension Suite.

Side-by-side extensions can be coded using potentially any programming language, nevertheless some languages are better supported by SAP, in particular ABAP, Java and JavaScript.

The Software Architecture of a Side-by-Side Extension

A side-by-side extension is a customer-developed and operated application, running next to SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

Based on the need, the extension application can be integrated with the SAP application at various levels. For example at UI level, at application logic level, at data level.

Some key features of the side-by-side extension are:

  • It is de-coupled from the core application, integration happens via APIs, events, and replication services.
  • The lifecycle of the extension application is independent from the one of the SAP application.
  • The two applications run on separated application stacks.
  • Hybrid scenarios are supported.

The Virtual Data Model

What is the SAP S/4HANA Virtual Data Model? Watch this video to know more.

Introducing SAP APIs

SAP provides a set of APIs, which allow side-by-side extension applications to interact with S/4HANA Cloud. SAP APIs allow the developer to read the SAP application data and programmatically execute many of the actions a user would be able to execute via the UI, for example, obtain a list of business partners or create a new business partner address.

The SAP APIs are guaranteed to be lifecycle-stable. Unless important changes happen in the back-end application, the APIs continue to work the same way when the SAP application is upgraded to the next release.

The SAP APIs are designed based on open protocols (OData, REST, and SOAP) and can be accessed by any external program, based on the corresponding open communication standard.

Introducing the SAP API Business Hub

SAP API Business Hub

You can find full documentation of the SAP APIs in the SAP API Business Hub.

The SAP API Business Hub is a web application hosted by SAP to discover, explore, and test SAP and partner APIs.

You can access the SAP API Business Hub at https://api.sap.com

SAP API Business Hub simplifies the development process and reduces effort for the following users:

  • Application developers when building extensions (for example, when they are building extensions to applications within the same line of business), mobile applications, or Web applications
  • Integration developers when developing process integrations with third-party systems (Application-to-Application [A2A] or Business-to-Business [B2B])

In addition to the above, SAP API Hub supports you in discovering and exploring available APIs across different solutions like SAP S/4HANA, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Hybris, SAP BTP, and so on. You can read the corresponding API documentation and learn about its various intricacies.

SAP API Hub provides a Cloud-based sandbox, where you can test-run every API (in read-only mode) and check the response.

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