Saturday, March 19, 2011

Duet Enterprise development work plus applicability

At the global level, following development activity is involved in building a custom Duet Enterprise scenario.

SAP side

Plain and simple: Provide SCL-ready services, that are SharePoint BCS consumable.
There is no other option here, this work is required to deliver SAP data + processing services that are enabled for SCL-publishing. At minimum this involves ABAP custom development for mapping the W3*-standards based SCL data representation onto the native SAP data representation, and vice versa; and invoking from within the SCL runtime context the inner SAP processing at either RFC, BAPI web services or SAP Enterprise Services level.

SharePoint 2010 side

Here the amount of development work depends, namely on the signature of the SCL-published services. Ideally the services provide a CRUD+Q signature (required) + a flattened data structure (optional). If both aspects are present in the SCL-services, these can be directly consumed and displayed in SharePoint External List. Then there is no development work required at SharePoint side, it is all configuration done in SharePoint Designer. You get the maximum added Duet Enterprise value in case of flattened data: SAP/SharePoint connection, authorization, system monitoring; and out-of-the-box presentation of the SAP data.

In case of non-flattened, complex/hierarchical data structures, the External List UI metaphor is not viable. Duet Enterprise can still have its value, on the connection, authorization + system monitor aspects (plumping). What you loose here is the out-of-the-box UI presentation. You will have to build a custom UI instead, and program directly against the BCS Object Model. Thus more work, but Duet Enterprise still has standards-based value and role for SAP/SharePoint interoperability.

Connection requirements / BCS implication for Duet Enterprise

The Duet Enterprise SharePoint Add-on builds and relies upon BCS. Consequence is that BCS prerequisites are imposed on the SAP / SharePoint service connection, provided by the SCL-publishing and BCS-consumption. The SCL provided SAP-services must expose a CRUD+Q interface, with at minimal a ‘ReadList’ (= Query) and ‘ReadItem’ (= Read) type of operation. If the SAP processing behavior cannot be mapped on the CRUD+Q signature, you cannot reasonable apply Duet Enterprise. Point. The SAP .NET Connector 3.0 may be a alternative for such connections.

Schematic overview of the Duet Enterprise applicability

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