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For sometimes now, customers have been asking for a graphical tool to configure integration scenarios.  The swing tool used by the Integration Directory is considered too complicated to use during the configuration steps.  SAP made improvements with the Integrated Configuration object, which combined many of the different configuration objects (e.g. Receiver Determination, Interface Determination, Sender and Receiver Agreements, etc.) into one configuration object.  But, it is still not very transparent when one wants to know what the end-to-end scenario looks like.

 

As many of you may have seen at TechEd and other roadmap presentations, PI 7.31 introduces a graphical tool, iFlow (Integration Flow), in Eclipse.  iFlow is based on BPMN, which is also used by NetWeaver BPM.  Incidentally, with 7.31, PI, BPM and BRM are combined as a single product call Process Orchestration and can be installed in the same SID (this applies only to AEX).  All the development and configuration tools for all the components are now available in Eclipse.

 

In this blog, I will just provide a brief overview of iFlow.  A step-by-step guide using iFlow is available at http://scn.sap.com/docs/DOC-27342.

 

To use iFlow in NWDS:

iflow1.png

Create an iFlow scenario:

iflow2.png

Configure an Integration Scenario using iFlow:

iflow3.png

As you can see, we can do almost everything within the graphical tool.

 

We can:

  1. Create or assign sender and receiver components.  Business Systems can be assigned, but still have to be created in the SLD.
  2. Create or assign the sender and receiver interfaces.
  3. Add or remove the number of receivers.
  4. Specifying the routing rules based on XPath expressions.
  5. Select the mapping to be used for each receiver.  The Operations Mapping has to be created in the ESR.
  6. Create the sender and receiver adapters.

 

As you can see, from iFlow, we can immediate see the complete end-to-end integration without having to drill down the Swing tool in the Integration Directory:

  1. Who is the sender, how many and who are the receivers.
  2. Interfaces used with the sender and receivers.
  3. The adapters used with the sender and receivers.
  4. The dynamic routing used.
  5. The mappings used.

 

With iFlow, we get a simplified configuration process with a much lower learning curve.  But, in my mind, the most important benefit is that I can now see the end-to-end integration in one graphical view.

iFlow and Integration Directory share the same database.  It creates the configuration object in the same database as the Integration Directory.  As a result, we will be able to see the Integrated Configuration, Business Components, and communication channel objects in Integration Directory even when those objects were created in iFlow.

With PI 7.31, there are still some gaps between iFlow and the Swing tool of the Integration Directory.  These gaps are being closed with future SPs and EhPs.  For example, we still need to assign the Business Systems in the Integration Directory from the SLD.  The dynamic routing is only based on XPath; the extended feature using Operations Mapping is not yet available.  The communication channel must be created in iFlow.  We cannot yet assign existing communication channels iFlow; this will be available in the next SP.

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