Creating an iFlow Purchase Order

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

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Create your first integration package

Integration Flows

An integration flow (iFlow) is an integration artifact that enables the specification of how a message is processed on a tenant. As such, an iFlow can be viewed as a cross-system process that is executed to process messages in a particular way based on an underlying integration scenario. Each executable process step and their parameters are defined in Cloud Integration. You can either create iFlows from scratch or leverage SAP's rich library of pre-configured content.

Components

The makeup of an iFlow depends on the underlying integration scenario. However, different element types can be distinguished, which are then leveraged to suit a particular purpose within an integration process.

Let's look at some of the iFlow components in more detail.

Senders and Receivers

Typically, an iFlow is developed to specify the way messages are processed between sender and receiver systems. These can be any supported source and target systems (for example, SAP S/4HANA CloudAriba). For the connection between source and target system to the tenant, the preferred technical protocols can be designated.

Adapters

The SAP Integration Suite offers a plethora of standard adapters. To give you an idea of the types of remote systems that can be connected to the integration platform, here are some typical examples (this is not a complete list):

  • On-premise systems, for example, SAP systems based on SAP NetWeaver
  • SFTP servers
  • Cloud applications, for example, SAP SuccessFactors
  • Other systems such as e-mail servers or SOAP clients

Standard adapters for these systems include but are not limited to:

  • Cloud Connector adapter to securely connect your integration flows to your on-premise landscape
  • ProcessDirect adapter for flow-to-flow communication
  • SOAP
  • OData
  • JMS
  • Mail
  • HTTPS
  • Kafka
  • ODC
  • AS2
  • SFTP
  • SAP SuccessFactors
  • SAP Ariba
  • Facebook
  • Open Connectors
  • And so on

Adapters are available via the Discover tab in your tenant or via the SAP API Business Hub.

Adapter Types

You should also be aware that not all adapters function in the same way:

  • Pushing sender adapters provide an endpoint that can be called by external senders
    • Parallel executions possible
    • Execution schedule not configurable but controlled by incoming messages
  • Polling sender adapters run at scheduled times and pick up the data from the source system
    • Only one execution at a time
    • Configurable execution schedule

Events

The following events are available to work with in Cloud Integration:

Message Processing Elements

You can specify your desired integration pattern by adding a dedicated integration flow step or a combination of various integration flow steps to an integration flow.

Transforming and Converting Messages

Message transformers allow you to convert messages from one format to another. The figure below shows the transformers supported by Cloud Integration.

    Mapping

    Message mapping defines the logic that maps input message structures with the required format of output message structures.

    Operation mapping is used to relate an outbound service interface operation with an inbound service interface operation.

    XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) mapping transforms XML documents into other XML documents, HTML, or text. The transformation capability in the XSLT mapping step leverages the XSLT 3.0 specification.

    A value mapping artifact is used to represent multiple values for a single object in different contexts. Value mapping groups can be created or uploaded as a value mapping artifact in an integration package.

    Routing and Controlling Messages

    Routing messages enables you to link a certain processing path at runtime with a certain XML or non-XML condition. A list of available routing options is shown in the following figure:

    Let's take a closer look at each of the routing options.

    Multicast
    Enables you to send copies of the same message at runtime to multiple branches/routes without interfering with each other which can be executed either in parallel (parallel multicast) or in a specific order (sequential multicast).
    Join
    Merges the control of all multicast branches back into one branch.
    Splitter
    This process step helps to break composite messages into individual messages based on certain criteria. The general splitter breaks down XML and non-XML files, can use grouping and parallel processing while keeping the enveloping elements. An iterating splitter is similar but removes the enveloping elements.
    Gather
    Merges the content of the individual multicast/splitter messages. Identical headers and properties are overridden and all branches are merged (including abandoned ones).
    Aggregator
    Merges multiple XML messages into a single message.

    External Calls

    Besides routing, external calls are an important element to enhance an integration flow with information from external sources. You can send intermediate messages to external targets and continue flow processing normally after the external call. The available options are shown in the figure below.

    Pool

    In order to limit the complexity of an integration process and increase readability, integration developers can use local integration processes. These represent partial modularized units of the main integration process that are then called in the overarching iFlow by using either a simple process call (local process is called once) or a looping process call (local process is called multiple times based on XPath or non-XML condition). Local process calls can also be nested within each other.

    A good application scenario is, for example, an exception subprocess to catch and handle any exceptions that might occur during the execution of an iFlow, including any supplementary processing action.

    Consume and Process APIs

    Over the next three units, you will be guided step-by-step through the process of integrating an SAP S/4HANA Cloud system through the use of the SAP API Business Hub with non-SAP applications following the eCarHero business needs previously described. For this, you will be using the tools of the SAP Integration Suite, combining the different capabilities.

    In this unit, you will start building your first integration artifacts, pulling data of a purchase order (PO) from an SAP S/4HANA Cloud ERP system in preparation for subsequently sending a purchase order notification to the supplier. For this, several steps, such as the configuration of communication arrangements, are required. You will now focus on the creation of integration artifacts and the consumption of third-party APIs.

    Hint
    A complete environment for this course is not provided. You will work solely based on publicly available, free offerings, leveraging an SAP BTP trial account and subscribing to available integration services. Other systems will be simulated via APIs provided by SAP API Business Hub and via Open Connectors.

    In case you run into issues during the configuration process, we suggest re-reading the corresponding steps carefully. Please also consider the available assistance documentation SAP provides free of charge and any offered additional resources.

    Important resources to consider for this and the following units are as follows:

    Summary

    The Cloud Integration capability within SAP Integration Suite is an integration service that is used directly in the browser. It works in DevOps mode, that is, development and monitoring can be used in a common area. A variety of predefined scenarios can be used directly out of the box. Adapters in the input and output offer many possibilities for connection to internal and external systems. Scripting, mapping, and many integration features such as routing and splitting are available.

    Further Reading

    Since Cloud Integration is part of SAP Integration Suite, you can find the relevant information here:

    Visit SAP Cloud Integration on SAP Help Portal for a condensed introduction to this topic. provides a condensed introduction to the topic.

    Cloud Integration

    Usage Scenario

    You want to connect a variety of different interfaces to your system landscape by minimizing the deployment effort through an integration service.

    Cloud Integration as a part of SAP Integration Suite supports end-to-end process integration across cloud-based and on-premise applications based on the exchange of messages. It provides capabilities to process messages in integration scenarios spanning different companies, organizations, or departments within an organization.

    Features of Cloud Integration

    Cloud Integration has the following features:

    Implement diverse scenarios
    Cloud Integration allows you to integrate processes and data in application-to-application (A2A) and business-to-business (B2B) scenarios.
    Connect to multiple endpoints
    Integrate various applications and data sources from SAP and non-SAP, on premise, as well as the cloud. Cloud Integration comes with a set of pre-built adapters.
    Customize SAP integration scenarios
    Benefit from prepackaged integration content to jump-start integration projects and to set up productive scenarios with only minimum effort. You can extend predefined integration flows according to your requirements.
    Develop custom adapters
    Use the adapter SDK to build your own custom adapters for additional connectivity needs.
    Access public APIs
    Customize the access to Cloud Integration with our public OData APIs.
    Set up secure and reliable communication
    Use our core integration and security capabilities for the safe and reliable processing of messages. Configure the way how messages are exchanged within an integration scenario so that the data involved is protected according to the newest security standards.
    Implement various communication modes
    Orchestrate business processes and integrate data in synchronous as well as in asynchronous scenarios. Cloud Integration also supports reliable messaging processes based on asynchronous decoupling implemented by using queuing mechanisms.
    Integrate with SAP Process Orchestration
    Use Cloud Integration and SAP’s on-premise integration platform, SAP Process Orchestration, seamlessly integrated. You can process a lot of out of the box scenarios as well and also create your own iFlow. You can see an example below.

    Cloud Integration Walkthrough

    Watch this video for a walkthrough of Cloud Integration.

    Explanations:

    1. Discover
    2. Design
    3. Operations view
    4. Tenant settings

    In the following, you find details about these functions.

    Here, you will find all available pre-defined iFlows that you can use directly. A partial list of the available preconfigured content is depicted in the following figure:

    Advantages

    Deployment as an integration as a service does not require installation or configuration. All actions take place in the browser. This is in line with the DevOps approach. Due to the large amount of predefined technical integration scenarios, you are quickly productive.

    Create iFlow Purchase Order: Exercise Overview

    Scenario

    You will set up your own integration package and add a basic integration flow (iFlow) that will be adapted throughout this course.

    Task Flow

    In this exercise, you will create a new iFlow with the name PurchaseOrder.

    Prerequisites

    You have activated the SAP Cloud Integration capability within the SAP Integration Suite.

    Create the iFlow Purchase Order

    Task 1: Create an iFlow

    Steps

    1. Create an iFlow named PurchaseOrder.

      1. If not already done, navigate to your SAP Integration Suite tenant and select the Cloud Integration capability.

      2. Choose Design on the left panel of your screen. If this is your first time working with the trial, you will not have any other packages available.

      3. Select Create. Add a Name and a Short Description. Note that as you are working on your own private tenant, you are not bound to any naming conventions, but it is strongly recommended to do so in a productive setting. Choose Save.

        The package you just created can now be filled with integration artifacts such as an iFlow.

      4. Choose ArtifactsAddIntegration Flow to get started with your first iFlow.

      5. Enter a Name and optionally a short Description. In practice, you would ensure that the values you enter are meaningful to integration developers other than yourself. Leave the other fields blank for now and choose OK.

      6. Select the iFlow to access the editor and view the iFlow. You will enhance this template in upcoming lessons. Leave the tab open in your browser.

      7. You should now be able to see the following screen:

      8. In the upper top right navigation bar, choose Edit.

      9. Select the Sender, Receiver,Connector, Start Message and End Message events, selecting the Delete icon for each individual process step.

      10. Choose Save to secure your progress.

    Result

    You have successfully prepared an integration package and created an iFlow template that will be built on in the following lessons.

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