Accelerate Fiori App Development with Neptune and BackOffice
API, API, API… The 2018 Neptune Summit was all about APIs and how Neptune empowers companies to expose their data for consumption across different technologies/devices (Cloud, IoT, Mobile). The headline news of the Summit was that this no longer applies to just your SAP data.
This year, I had the privilege of joining Neptune developers and architects from across the globe at their annual Summit. As in previous years, the Neptune Summit took place over 2 days in Oslo, where Neptune’s headquarters are located.
Neptune shared new features of their existing platform along with information regarding their new platform, Planet9, which was released the day prior to the event. The event also focussed on sharing customer success stories which demonstrated Neptune’s ability to quickly deliver real benefits to businesses around the globe. These educational sessions provided a deeper insight into the workings of Neptune’s platform and how they apply to real-life projects.
My takeaway from Summit 2018 is that Neptune has put considerable effort into developing their new platform. There is still some room for improvement and automation to make it greater; however, the concept behind Planet8/9 clearly demonstrates Neptune’s commitment to try to solve all your problems while simplifying the enterprise development and integration model.
Neptune UX Becomes Planet8
During the event, Neptune introduced Planet8, a re-branding of Neptune software running under the new Neptune DX (Digital Experience) platform, which supports both Planet8 and Planet9.
Planet8 brings large framework performance improvements, a completely revamped UI, and for the ABAPers that prefer to use SAPGUI for Neptune development, they are bringing the App Designer web version into SAPGUI and according to them, everything new they develop will continue to be ported into the SAPGUI platform.
The UI looks much improved, in place of all the previous transactions and tiles, they have created the Neptune Cockpit, a “one-stop shop” for every integration/security/deployment configuration. Alongside this, they have introduced a very welcoming feature which is the ability to expose your SAP data via REST APIs using the new API Designer. Yes, there are other ways to achieve the same outcome using a Middleware solution for instance, but I have never experienced anything that achieves this as effortlessly and quickly as Neptune does.
Exposing Your SAP Data in 5 Minutes
Neptune makes it simple to expose SAP data in a nice SAPUI5 frontend; however, if you have a different requirement and only need to expose your SAP data (as a RESTful API), you could achieve that goal in less than 5 minutes by simply following the steps below:
- Declare the new Neptune API Interface in your existing or new ABAP data provider class
- Go to the new API Designer, create a new API, and provide the name of your class
- Define your type of HTTP operation (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE…)
- Define your data structure manually or use the new feature of Swagger UI
- Adjust any additional API/security settings as required
It’s as simple as that! The API is exposed without the complications of middleware solutions and the need for a different skillset.
So what if you want to test it? Neptune has also included an API Client where you can test your new API. If you're familiar with it, you can also use Swagger for testing.
Neptune's big announcement this year was their end-to-end, non-SAP development platform that comes with the promise to end fragmentation and deliver everything you need for your solution development.
Running on the Neptune DX platform and written in NodeJS, Planet9 enables customers to run the platform on any Cloud or On-Premise solution. It supports any database with a very well thought out cockpit that enables Planet9 solutions to consume any REST APIs (including OData) from different backends with different authentication methods. This makes integration with almost anything possible and straightforward.
From an SAP world perspective, many of the functionalities in Planet9 represent separate areas and skillsets; however, Planet9 combines them all in a simple and friendly approach that makes the skillset required for an end-to-end development capable of being covered with Web Developer capabilities.
With a beautiful UI designer, the workflow development features notifications, approval flow and substitutions, and scripted tasks which gives you the freedom to customize your workflow actions.
Significant enhancements were implemented in the development editor allowing for easier drag & drop and better organization of the App UI structure. It also brings the new addition of API consumption support into the tool.
The API Designer for Planet9 looks very similar to Planet8 with additional flexibility, support of full API development, and the ability to manipulate HTTP requests and HTTP headers. Another addition for Planet9 is what Neptune calls SAP Discovery Service which exposes available services from SAP systems with Planet8 installed.
Like any other solution (especially Cloud), security is a big concern and Neptune offers proper role and user management tools to help secure your solution, including importing groups/users from LDAP.
Neptune developed an interesting transportation system with routes that allows developers to push content across remote systems, even from your local Planet9 instance running on your laptop. It contains approval flow settings and additional security features.
Since the frontend is powered by OpenUI5 and doesn’t include the charts library like SAPUI5, Neptune has acquired licenses to use HighCharts, a very popular charts library.
The List Goes On...
If you would like to find out more about these features and how BackOffice Associates and Neptune can help with your specific requirements, please reach out to us via info@BOAweb.com. To watch our recent webinar "Fast Track to SAP Fiori Apps" on demand click HERE.
About the Author
Technical Solutions Manager at BackOffice Associates, Skills in SAPUI5, ABAP, and SAP CloudMore Content by Jeferson Amend