Look Deeper into SAP Fiori: It’s More Than a Pretty UI

  • by Paul Modderman, Senior Product Architect and Technology Evangelist, Mindset Consulting
  • November 30, 2016
Open Data Protocol (OData) services power the back end of your SAPUI5 applications. Because OData is a web standard protocol, its flexibility makes it useful above and beyond Fiori applications. In this article, several alternate uses for OData are proposed, with examples to illustrate expanding your use of OData services.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article, you will learn:

  • A brief history of Open Data Protocol (OData) and its design principles
  • How to connect OData services to Google Apps Script
  • How to set up and use the SAP Gateway add-in for Microsoft Excel
  • How to enable Salesforce to use SAP OData services for application enrichment
Key Concept

Open Data Protocol (OData) is a simple, standardized, and open protocol for defining Representational State Transfer (RESTful) APIs. Web services can define standard create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) operations with OData to ensure that consuming applications know exactly what they can do with the data provided. Fiori applications use OData to provide back-end SAP data to user-facing applications.

I’ve worked with several companies taking their initial steps to SAP Fiori. Often, what happens is they install a few standard out-of-the-box apps to play around and see what they’re getting, then jump in and start to extend and create their own apps to meet the true needs of what the business is asking for. They produce SAPUI5 user interfaces and SAP Gateway Open Data Protocol (OData) services, roll out the apps, and take a well-deserved victory lap for simplifying processes.

However, what those companies don’t often see is that by creating those OData services, they’ve unlocked a broad set of capabilities that go well beyond connecting to SAPUI5 in SAP Fiori. They have created standards-driven APIs that open the doors of innovation.

I encourage you to think of OData services as an investment that goes beyond powering SAP Fiori applications. There are great opportunities to flexibly integrate the SAP back end with other software and devices, including many outside of the SAP system altogether.

I discuss the following details about using OData services for integrating disparate applications:

  • A primer on OData, briefly focusing on its history and key design features.
  • An example of using OData to enhance office productivity through the SAP Gateway  Productivity Accelerator for Microsoft’s Excel add-in.
  • An example of using OData to develop connected applications through Google Apps Script and Google Sheets.
An example configuration scenario for integrating cloud applications through Salesforce’s Lightning Connect tool.

Paul Modderman

Paul J. Modderman is senior product architect and technology evangelist for Mindset Consulting. He has more than 10 years of software development expertise, specializing in ABAP, ABAP Objects, .NET, Python, and Java. At Mindset, Paul ideates and develops innovative software products based on SAP, often joining SAP with cutting-edge cloud software such as Google for Work. Before joining Mindset, Paul developed software internally for several large enterprises. He has experience with Fiori, SAPUI5, SAP Gateway, Transportation Management (with BOPF), SAP QIM, Workflow, and standard RICEFW objects. Paul contributes regularly to the widely read Mindset blog.

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