Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Composite Applications in a Day – Possible ?

Having spent the last 5+ years talking about Composite Application I wondered what I had committed to when I suggested to SAP that CompriseIT could show people how SAP CE could be used to create a Composite Application in 1 day.

Could we really get 6-12 people from different organisations together and create working Co-Apps and have them leave understanding how we had done it ? We figured it must be possible, we had been working with CE for over 2 years and knew its capabilities inside out.

At the start of the first session we were full of apprehension, would the technology hold together ? would our guests identify a problem that was suitable ?

We launched to the day, identified our process (Customer Creation and Credit Check) and whilst I launch in to the theory of Co-Apps and SOA, our development team (of 2 people) started to build Web Services, wrap Enterprise Services, Build the User Interfaces and model and deploy the business process.

Shortly after lunch we had the first screens ready and demo'd to the attendees, modifications were made and the UI elements wired up to the process and it was time for playback number 2. With the process confirmed we could add the roles to each of the steps and throw in a Process dashboard and we were ready for the final playback...phew we had done it, a working composite in less than a day...

Since this session we have moved on to create more and more complex applications in our "Composite in a Day" sessions. These have covered :-

  • Customers Booking Marketing Events
  • Suppliers Requesting Non Conformance from Specification
  • Requests for Import Licences
  • Enquiry to Quote Process

Each of these Composites has interacted with at least one backend system , created custom Web Services, had at least 5+ user interfaces and 5+ process steps.

In addition the models created in these sessions could be used to evolve the application into a production ready application....so no mock-ups.

So what to be take from this experience ?

  1. Model Driven Development Does Work
  2. Business People really really like the flexibility that these tools bring
  3. Some IT people don't like the flexibility they bring
  4. These tools challenge traditional methods for development...you have to use Agile methods to really benefit from them
  5. To master the tools inside SAP CE needs a multi-skilled team and time

Anyway, we are all very pleased with the output and our next challenge is to create a Co-App in 30mins...