Technology Blogs by Members
Explore a vibrant mix of technical expertise, industry insights, and tech buzz in member blogs covering SAP products, technology, and events. Get in the mix!
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Active Contributor
0 Kudos

Don't get mislead by the title - I'm not violating the copyright act. This blog is not about any comedy science fiction as the book which shares part of this blog's name is, and I'm no Douglas Adams! This blog is about Netweaver BPM (Business Process Management) which was codenamed as Project Galaxy inside SAP before its release. Netweaver BPM is the next generation of Composition Tools that SAP is developing as part of the its Composition Environment platform. Though it was known to the enthusiastics in SCN for a long time that SAP is going to release NW BPM in later part of 2008, after long anticipitation and wait finally it has arrived silently as a preview version in SCN download section on 5th September, 2008 (maybe as a weekend surprise gift!). It is part of the SAP Netweaver CE 7.1.1 or EHP1 for SAP Netweaver Composition Environment 7.1. NW BPM preview release consists of the Netweaver Developer Studio, and two flavours of the Netweaver J2EE Application Server - CompositionEnvironment (with Java EE) and Composition Environment - Java EE only. Those can be downloaded from the following URL in SCN:

EHP1 for SAP NetWeaver Composition Environment 7.1 - Preview Version

I downloaded the Netweaver Developer Studio and and Composition Environment (with Java EE) Application Server to try my hands on with the brand new SAP Netweaver release. I'm writing this blog series narrating my experiences on working with Netweaver CE 7.1 EHP1. In this part I'll cover the general features, installation and Netweaver BPM modeling in Netweaver Developer Studio and in subsequent parts of the series I'll cover the topics of Netweaver BRM (Business Rules Management) and other related topics.

The installation of Netweaver Developer Studio is quite simple. I just followed the instructions in the installation guide HTML page (start.htm) present in the parent folder of the IDE installation directory. The installation is done by specifying a local update site pointing to the file (present in the installer folder) in the Netweaver Developer Studio which is based on Eclipse platform.

There are quite a few new perspectives added in the new Netweaver Developer Studio.

Process Composer, Rules Composer, Composite Designer, Visual Composer are the new ones. I started exploring from the Process Composer perspective. This is a new perspective which gives an overall view of the Composite Application components.

We can create Development Components for each of the logical components of a composite application from here. Select the node and right-click on Create Development Component menu. To create Development Component for process we have two options - Guided Procedure and Netweaver BPM. I selected BW BPM to try the new approach of SAP for process modeling.

A new process component can also be created using the Process Composer perspective. Anyway, after creating the Process Component I switched to the Process Composer perspective. It gives a detailed view of the process component elements and the design environment for developing the process. As announced before Netweaver BPM is based on BPMN (Business Process Modeling Notation) a new and standard approach for business process modeling. The six-part elearning series on BPMN by bruce.silver/blog I feel is a must read for anyone who's new to BPMN modeling. That explains the BPMN design notations and process composition by BPMN in a very easy way with hands-on recordings of process composition.

Once the process component is created a new process definition by clicking on New menu option on the Processes node in the project.

This asks for a new process name and description.

Clicking on Next other relevant process details for creating a new process are required to be specified.

The option Create start and end event from a service operation can be selected with the default options which will create two default events - start and end for the process. Also Create New Pool option creates a pool for the process. A pool is graphical container in the process which separates multiple logical activities in the process. At a time only one pool can be active in a process. On clicking on Finish now my process looks like below:

The process consists of only a start and end event by default. On the right pane the process elements such as connections, events, activities, gateways, etc are available which can be used to create a new process by simple drag-and-drop into the process design board. My first reaction seeing this is - Wow! SAP has finally moved to pure model based approach for application development. This is a long-anticipated approach by the partners and customers from SAP. And going forward developing SOA based solution, modeling applications is a much needed requirement. Also this way it is easy for the BPX as well as the developers to model the process and then implement it technically. So each step of the process in BPMN modeling can either be an activity, event or gateway. For a simple process which I was trying to design I need an activity where an user will create a PM notification from an user interface by calling a SAP Enterprise Service. So I added a Human activity between start and end events in the design board by dragging and dropping the Human task element from the right pane. Other than Human activity NW BPM supports Automated, Sub-process and Mapping activities, which are used for service call, invoking process and process context data mapping respectively.

After adding a Human activity I need to add a task to that activity which will be processed by the user. So I click on New in the drop-down below in Properties window to create a new task. In the task I need to add an user interface which the user will invoke. Currently it seems only Web Dynpro Foundation is supported.


So I need to create a Web Dynpro project, create a public part for it and then add it as a dependecncy in the process development component to add it in task. I decided to check that later. I completed the process design first exploring the various features of NW BPM modeling. Now in my process I want to have two user roles - so I added a lane. Lane divides a process tasks for different user roles. For each Lane the potential owners and exluded owners can be specified at design time using the UME roles in the properties view. In the next Lane I added another Human activity to review the PM notification created by the first user.

I noticed another interesting thing also at this point. I need to set the deadline for the activity, for which I can specify the deadline option and then use a rule to configure that. I'll look into configuring and using rules and Rule Engine later.

Now I need a choice based on the supervisor review to decide whether to create a PM work order or just end the process. So I used a gateway action namely Exclusive Choice. The other gateway actions available are Parallel Split, Uncontrolled Merge and Parallel Join. For the gateway action I can use the rules again to decide which path to take at runtime based on the process context data.

Finally I need to create the PM work order if the user approves, so I need a service call, which is provided by the Automated activity. I need to configure the service interface and operation it should invoke in its properties. Finally I end the process by joining this activity with the End event.

So now my basic process design is ready and at the next step I'll configure the activities and gateways, the experience of which I'll narrate in my next blog in this series. Meanwhile, I've also installed the J2EE WebAS for Netweaver CE 7.1 EHP1 and setup the UME which is required for the configurations.

Overall to me SAP Netweaver BPM looks promising and seems to radically simplify the composite application design and development.

Labels in this area