Leveraging SAP Build Process Automation APIs

Objectives

After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Leverage the SAP Build Process Automation Application Programming Interfaces

SAP Build Process Automation Application Programming Interfaces

What are REST APIs?

Naturally, most applications and services built on and running in the cloud rely on REST APIs:

REST (= Representational state transfer)
is an architectural style that defines certain guidelines and constraints on how to design components in the web. It particularly puts emphasis on the interaction and communication of such components.
APIs (= Application Programming Interfaces)
defines how components can be contacted by other components in order to trigger certain functionality or exchange data.

A REST API (also RESTful API) is an API that adheres to the guidelines and constraints defined by the REST architectural style.

End users usually don't access the REST APIs of cloud applications and services directly. They mostly use an application that provides a graphical user interface (GUI), and composes relevant information from further cloud applications and components, making use of REST APIs. Thus, the REST APIs are hidden from the end user. But this can be different for developers or administrators, as they might want to use or test functionality that isn't provided by an application with GUI.

During the development process, the developer might need to test or simulate individual functionalities of certain components independent from other components that are relevant to the overall system or architecture. For example, the developer is working on a new process for the approval of absence requests. In the productive scenario, the process is supposed to be triggered by an application that is developed by another team. The application will call a REST API of SAP Build Process Automation in order to trigger the absence approval process. As the application doesn't exist yet, the developer wants to trigger the REST API manually during the development process for testing. For that purpose, they can make use of a so called REST client.

A REST client is a tool that simplifies technical communication with REST APIs. It provides an interface to required technical communication protocols such as HTTPS, and facilitates their use.

Another role that might be interested in REST clients in the context of SAP Build Process Automation, is the operator or administrator. This role administers, processes, and might need to perform irregular tasks once in a while. These can be cleanup tasks for example. Many administration and operation functions of SAP Build Process Automation are available via the apps "Monitor Process and Workflow Instances" and "Manage Processes and Workflows", but some functions may only be available via its REST API.

Discovering SAP Build Process Automations APIs in SAP Business Accelerator Hub

When entering the SAP API Business Hub (link to be replaced shortly) and searching for the product SAP Build Process Automation, you'll find the according API package. Following, you find the different APIs it contains, and one example each on how these APIs could be leveraged.

Automation Execution
Build an application that lets you start specific automations by the click of a button.
Automation Monitoring
Retrieve the logs of past automation runs and administer them in another tool.
Decisions
Execute a rule service using a REST client to test that it yields the expected results.
Inbox
Build a custom Inbox application, that has a different look and feel than the standard My Inbox application delivered by SAP. This use case would also require the Processes & Workflows API.
Workflows
Let another application trigger new process or workflow instances.
Visibility Scenarios
Gain visibility on processes or workflows in non-SAP systems by pushing process events into the SAP Build Process Automation service.
Visibility Workspace
Get an overview of visibility scenarios that a specific user has access to.

Finding an Endpoint to Use

Let's say you would like to find out how to trigger a new process or workflow instance using the SAP Build Process Automation APIs.

Within the SAP Build Process Automation API package, select the Workflows REST API. You'll get an overview and description of the REST API.

Select API Reference in order to see details of the different API endpoints it provides.

Select Workflow Instances and then the POST endpoint for starting new instances.

Now you can see the details for the respective endpoint. This view is especially important because it also provides details about required roles or scopes to execute the API, and about parameters that are required when calling the API. In the following exercise, you'll learn about the exact required steps, when using an SAP Build Process Automation API.

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