SAP Business One Integration Framework (B1IF for short) is the strategy for SAP Business One to enable the evolution from a Business Application to a Business Platform.
B1IF is an integration strategy delivered with SAP Business One. This is based in the SAP Integration platform B1iP, that was developed some years ago using Java. B1iP supplies the integration blocks used by all of the integration products, including B1iSN and B1iF.
From the business stand point, B1IF takes business objects from one system, transforms them and creates or modifies object in another system. System is not necessarily SAP system, it could be any system such as ecommerce web site, shipping carrier, or legacy system within the organization.
Business Objects could be almost anything the business deals with. For example – an invoice, a journal entry, Credit Card transaction, or even an email thereby providing solutions for integration with high flexibility.
Typical scenarios are:
The main task for B1IF is to enable SAP Business One to publish/send data to external systems and to allow SAP Business One to consume/access data from an external data provider. Another aspect of introducing B1IF is to consolidate certain client functionality, to run these server side and effecting a single platform to perform all integration related tasks.
B1IF uses services to perform the required integration tasks. The transformation between all various components of B1IF is done via XML messages and being transformed using XSLT.
Messages are delivered in queues between Input-Process-Output point (IPO) and the various systems. After the message is retrieved from the sender system, it may go through one or more transformations (as defined by the author) and finally delivered to the target system. In order to deliver the XML message to the specific external system, B1IF provides a set of adapters that communicates with the specific technology.
The main adapters to note are:
The process starts when B1IF is triggered by the sender system via the technical adapter. The message is then formatted into a B1IF structured message and transferred to the processing phase.
At that point, the main logic is performed, including flow logic that supports conditional execution, loops and iterations, and intermediate access to any of the external systems. At the end of the transformation the message is ready to be delivered to the receiver system and a special part of the xml document is extracted and transferred to the receiver system.
The logic and transformation are stored in the B1IF repository as a Business Package, and could be applied to any combination of sender and receiver systems defined in the System Landscape repository. With the current version B1IF SAP provides three Scenario Packages. As an example sap.B1Mobile covers more than 40 web services to be called by a mobile device (e.g. the Apple iPhone) to interact with SAP Business One.
Scenario Packages are built in the B1IF Design Time and are processed inside the B1if Runtime. The strong B1IF Repository, the B1IF Flow Atoms and the generic B1IF Process Flow are controlling the complete integration process. This allows the Scenario Packages to focus on the business logic. All the tricky things like error- and conflict handling, transactional control, in-order processing, exactly once processing, guaranteed delivery, monitoring, debugging facilities, administration etc. are covered in a consistent and reliable way inside B1IF. Via the inbuilt adapters you have mature, reliable connectivity to all SAP systems and via generic adapters to many kinds of technologies.
When developing a new integration scenario, there is no programming needed to specify the inbound and outbound phases of your integration process. The processing flow is defined inside the development environment with the graphical Flow Designer. You will use the B1IF Flow Atoms, which are powerful out-of-the-box functional units for value mappings, for setting up calls (e.g. SAP Business One, SAP ERP, HTTP, SQL, File System, …), for running XSL transformations, for conversions, etc. The concrete field mapping will be done by XSL, optional by an embedded XML editor. Strong debugging facilities makes it easy to develop the individual processing flow in a well-structured and controlled manner.
The strict model-driven approach of B1i allows even people without years of experiences in integration to develop an individual, robust integration scenario with high reliability, with short implementation time and change friendliness from beginning on.
Inecom believes that the development and on-going maintenance and future development of Integration scenarios provided by SAP B1IF is a key component for our clients.
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