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I believe since the launch of SAP Hana in recent years, it has become well known that SAP has been changing its perception of the visual aspect of its products, and this is indeed evident. We can observe that the user experience when using Fiori applications is much more intuitive than using screens within the SAP GUI.

Product designers are experts in crafting user-centered solutions to enhance the overall user experience for products and services. It is of paramount importance for the product designer to thoroughly take into consideration and incorporate user feedback. Whether it pertains to software or any other domain, the input from end-users is invaluable in elevating the quality of these offerings. This feedback relationship between designer and user not only fosters continuous improvement but also ensures a closer alignment with the expectations of the broader public.

My intention for producing this article is to highlight potential solutions related to field selection within OData services within the SAP CPI platform. My aim is that by addressing these issues this post reaches the attention of SAP's product designers responsible for BTP. I hope to initiate a conversation about the feasibility of implementing some of these ideas within the integration middleware, with the potential to extend their application to other products within the SAP BTP ecosystem.

Recently, I had to perform maintenance on integrations created a while ago within SAP CPI. These integrations included OData connectors with a hundred fields already selected. Since the OData had been updated, the request was to include 2 new fields within the OData. Unfortunately, I had to manually select the new fields because I needed an updated XSD file with these fields.

I believe that the SAP CPI screen for field selection in OData could be improved to offer users a better experience. Below I have listed some enhancements that could be implemented to streamline the field selection process:

  1. Fields Finder
    Implement advanced search capabilities, such as using regular expressions, case-sensitive word searches, whole-word matching, and highlighting the found words. This would make the search tool more powerful and greatly simplify field filtering.

  2. Select All Fields
    Currently, when selecting all fields, only the fields at the root level are chosen, while fields at sub-levels are unaffected. It's unclear whether this behaviour is intentional or a problem.

  3. Expand/collapse button
    Consider adding a button to expand/collapse all sub-levels. This would save users from having to click through each sub-level to expand the entire tree of levels.

  4. Sort by field
    Another improvement that could be implemented would be field categorization, allowing users to sort them in ascending order with a single click and in descending order with another click. This would certainly make it much easier to search for fields.

  5. Query
    Since users often have a predefined list of fields to select, a great improvement would be to provide an option to edit the query text. When an event like "onmouseout" occurs, all specified fields would be automatically selected with their respective counterparts.

  6. Resize
    Include a feature to resize the DIV where the field area is located, allowing for better visibility of fields without the need for excessive scrolling up and down.

I've created a wireframe that illustrates what the new screen would look like:

Wireframe that illustrates SAP CPI oData Selection

In my opinion, these enhancements could significantly enhance the performance and productivity of individuals involved in development and maintenance tasks that require OData connections within SAP CPI.

What are your thoughts on these suggestions? Do you have any additional ideas that you believe could improve the SAP CPI experience? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
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