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Value Help in SAP Process Orchestration

SAP Process Orchestration is a single, integrated solution for building and running end-to-end business processes across both SAP and non-SAP environments.  Value Help or Search Help (often referred to as F4 Help in the ABAP world) is available as of SAP NetWeaver 7.3 EhP1 SP10.  This series of blogs introduces you to the various aspects of Value Help.

Value Help lookups are supported from either an ABAP backend or a Database system.  Accordingly, we have two flavors ABAP Value Help and DB Value Help.


Please see the related content for details on configuring ABAP or Database Value Help.

  • For ABAP Value Help, you should have a Search Help defined and a Destination configured in SAP NetWeaver Administrator.
  • For Database Value Help, you need a Datasource configured in SAP NetWeaver Administrator.

1. Features

  • Value Help Public API
  • Caching capabilities
  • Secure Value Help
  • Filtering capabilities
  • Alias configuration
  • Language support
  • OData access

1.1 Value Help Public API & Caching capabilities

  • getHelpValues( URI uri )
  • getHelpValues( URI uri, boolean forceCacheRefresh )
  • getHelpValues( URI uri, long notOlderThan )
  • refreshValueHelpCache( URI uri )
  • refreshAllValueHelpCaches( )

The Search Helps are consumable via the usage of the Public API[1] listed above.  Flexible caching capabilities are provided for the ease of consumption.  A wide array of applications use Search Helps repetitively, so much so that the cached value helps the applications to continue unaffected even when there are planned or unplanned downtimes of the ABAP or Database backend.

1.2 Secure Value Help

In order to cater to the needs of customers who prefer to use Secure Value Help, an abstraction layer has been introduced to limit the details that are exposed to the consumption applications.  The idea is to have a Value Help alias configured that includes the Search Help properties, the actions/roles tabulated below and filter settings.  Security checks here are accomplished via Actions defined in SAP NetWeaver Identity Management[2].  In addition to the actions, you may also configure one or more authorized roles for each alias based on the business requirement. The consumption application only needs to reference the relevant alias after this configuration.

FunctionalityRequired Action / Role

Create Alias (NWA  Application)

Read / Refresh Help Values


Authorized Role(s) specified while configuring the alias

Refresh All Help ValuesSAP_BPM_VALUE_HELP_ADMIN (Action)

1.3 Value Help Filtering

Filtering support is also provided as of SAP Process Orchestration 7.31 SP11.  Filters can be either simple or sophisticated.  You can define a filter by navigating to the last tab while creating an alias.  Multiple filters are supported, but note that the filter conditions will be treated with a logical AND operation if you have defined them.  $filter (with certain limitations) is also allowed as part of OData support for Value Help.

1.4 Alias configuration

A Value Help alias configuration application is provided via the menu: SAP NetWeaver Administrator -> Configuration -> Connectivity -> Value Help.  You may configure an ABAP alias or a DB alias for Value Help from scratch, or choose to import a file containing your alias configuration.  The Alias Configuration application allows you to export all aliases at once, so that they may be imported into another instance, for e.g., from a Development environment to a Pre-Prod environment.  While the import may be handy for a large number of alias entries, do not forget to make sure that the alias properties are valid after an import, for e.g., the Datasources exist, the column names are the same as what they are supposed to be on your imported system, etc.  You may edit the alias properties to make the desired changes.  It is worth noting that the alias name and filter names cannot be modified via the Alias Configuration application.

1.5 Language support

Language support is also provided for Search Helps in SAP Process Orchestration.  If your backend has Search Helps defined in multiple languages, you may prefer to display the Search Helps in different languages for different locales.  The language column has to be defined as part of the alias and needs to be passed in as a parameter by the consumption application.

2. Value Help architecture

Fig 1. Value Help in SAP Process Orchestration

A high level architecture of Value Help in SAP Process Orchestration is shown in Figure 1.  Both ABAP and Database Search Helps are supported.  Apart from a Java API layer, there's a configuration layer and a caching mechanism for offline access to the Search Help and a persistence mechanism that is used for both caching as well as the configuration.  Value Help Alias Configuration is performed via the SAP NetWeaver Administrator.  The consumption application has a choice of using an OData service as well.

References / Related content

[1] Value Help Public API

[2] SAP NetWeaver Identity Management Help Portal

[3] SAP Help documentation for BPM Value Help

[4] ABAP Value Help in Process Orchestration

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