In this sixth part of the tutorial on SAP Graph – the new API for connecting to your business data – we will discuss the concepts and configuration of the Business Data Graph. Please refer to the information map to see all parts of this tutorial series. The documentation on Help Portal provides an in-depth look at many of the concepts featured in this part.
What makes the “graph” in SAP Graph?
SAP Graph offers an API for developers, providing them one connection to your business data in the form of a connected graph of business entities which we call the Business Data Graph. The business data graph is constructed by SAP Graph through discovery of the landscape and reflects the connected data entities available in the landscape, including custom fields.
Part 5 introduced the roles of administrator and key user, and how to configure a landscape and the corresponding SAP Graph service with these responsibilities. This part (six) completes the process of creating a business data graph for the configured landscape.
Instead of experiencing a lengthy and convoluted handover of system-specific information, you can hand the developer the URL and credentials to the business data graph as an abstracted representation of the landscape. Development time is focused more on application building and less on knowledge transfer.
Configuring the Business Data Graph
We pick up from where we left off at the end of part 5. You created destinations to data source endpoints, added an SAP Graph service, and assigned yourself the key user role. Also, you generated and downloaded the credentials text file, which we will need in the next steps. Here is the process we will follow:
Install the SAP Graph command-line configuration tool
Generate a business data graph configuration file
Edit the configuration file
Activate a business data graph with the configuration file
Step 1: Install the SAP Graph configuration tool (graphctl)
Open a console (here we will use Windows and have created the subdirectory C:\demo, but this also works on other operating systems) and enter:
npm i -g @sap/graph-toolkit
To check that the installation was successful, enter:
Step 2: Log into the SAP Graph configuration tool
Provide the credentials text file that you generated previously as a parameter to the login command. Enter:
graphctl login -f <credentials file>
A browser tab or window will open and require you to log in. Upon successful authentication you will see:
Close the browser window and return to the console.
Step 3: Generate the SAP Graph configuration file
Now is when the unique business data graph is constructed through a discovery of the landscape. The generated configuration file is effectively a recommended default configuration, that you can choose to adapt or fine tune.
In your console enter:
graphctl generate config -f <config.json>
It may take some time for the configuration output to be generated.
The graphctl tool has generated a default business data graph configuration file. Here is what the first few lines look like:
Lines 5-16 show the discovered data sources, based on the two destinations we created in part 5 of the tutorial series. Line 17 starts the data locating policy. This part specifies the rules that determine where SAP Graph looks for data. For instance, lines 28-30 specify that entities within the sap.graph namespace default to the "s4" data source, unless overwritten by a more specific rule, such as the rule in lines 32-34, which specify that sap.graph/CorporateAccount will actually be found in the "cxsales" data source.
Often, the generated default configuration file, based on heuristics, is all you need. In more complex use cases, it may need to be tweaked. You can also learn more about this topic in the documentation on Help Portal.
Just for fun, let's change just one small thing: go ahead and replace the default string "v1" in line 2 with something else, for instance "dev".
Step 4: Activate the configuration of the business data graph
In your console enter:
graphctl activate config -f <config.json>
This may take a little time. Eventually, you will see:
Congratulations, you have successfully configured a business data graph!
A file containing [business data graph credentials], credentials.json, is created during the process of setting up and configuring the business data graph. You receive this file and the business data graph identifier from the SAP BTP administrator or key user who configured the specific business data graph you want to access.
Well, that is exactly what we just did. We have our own credentials file and we generated a business data graph, which now has the identifier "dev". To test that everything works, go back to part 3 and:
Copy the credentials file you used for login into the src folder and rename it credentials.json
Change the value of the dataGraphId on line 4 of graph.js to "dev":
const dataGraphId = "dev";
And run the application again. Hurray!
This part of the tutorial series concludes the basic introduction to SAP Graph. In part 5 we learned how to set up a landscape for SAP Graph, which we used in this part (six) to create a business data graph. In part 3 of this series we learned how a developer creates a rudimentary application used by authenticated users to access the data in the business data graph. Note how the developer, in part 3, did not need to know anything about setting up landscapes or business data graphs – the developer only required the credentials file and the business data graph identifier.