Exploring Side-by-side Extensibility


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 applications that run outside of SAP S/4HANA Cloud (or other business application), but interact with it using standard SAP APIs.

They can potentially run on any run-time application platform, nevertheless SAP provides and recommends its dedicated platform: the SAP Business Technology Platform.

Side-by-side extensions can be coded in any programming language, although SAP supports ABAP, Java, or JavaScript.

The software architecture of a side-by-side extension

A side-by-side extension is a custom application that runs alongside SAP S/4HANA Cloud.

It can be integrated with SAP S/4HANA Cloud at different levels, such as the user interface, application logic, or data level.

Side-by-side extensions have the following key features:

  • They are decoupled from the core application, and integration happens through APIs, events, and replication services.
  • Their lifecycle is independent from the SAP application lifecycle.
  • They run on separate application stacks.

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 that allow side-by-side extensions to interact with SAP S/4HANA Cloud. These APIs allow developers to read SAP data and perform actions that users can perform through the UI, such as getting a list of business partners or creating a new business partner address.

SAP APIs are lifecycle-stable, meaning they will continue to work the same way even when SAP S/4HANA Cloud is upgraded.

The APIs are also designed based on open protocols (OData, REST, and SOAP), to support the widest possible range of client libraries.

Introducing the SAP Business Accelerator Hub

The full documentation of SAP APIs is available on the SAP Business Accelerator Hub: a web application hosted by SAP to discover, explore, and test SAP and partner APIs.

You can access it at https://api.sap.com.

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

  • Application developers who are building side-by-side extensions, mobile applications, or web applications.
  • Integration developers who are developing process integrations with third-party systems (application-to-application [A2A] or business-to-business [B2B]).

In addition, the SAP Business Accelerator Hub helps you discover and explore available APIs across different solutions such as SAP S/4HANA Cloud, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Hybris, and SAP BTP. You can read the corresponding API documentation and learn about its various intricacies.

The SAP Business Accelerator Hub also provides a cloud-based sandbox where you can test-run every API (in read-only mode) and check the response.

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