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Automate Tasks in Microsoft Flow Using the CData API Server and SAP ByDesign ADO.NET Provider

Automate actions like sending emails to a contact list, posting to social media, or syncing CRM and ERP.

Microsoft Flow makes it easy to automate tasks that involve data from multiple systems, on premises or in the cloud. With the CData API Server and SAP ByDesign ADO.NET Provider (or any of 200+ other ADO.NET Providers), line-of-business users have a native way to create actions based on SAP ByDesign triggers in Microsoft Flow; the API Server makes it possible for SaaS applications like Microsoft Flow to integrate seamlessly with SAP ByDesign data through data access standards like Swagger and OData. This article shows how to use wizards in Microsoft Flow and the API Server for SAP ByDesign to create a trigger -- entities that match search criteria -- and send an email based on the results.

Set Up the API Server

Follow the steps below to begin producing secure and Swagger-enabled SAP ByDesign APIs:

Deploy

The API Server runs on your own server. On Windows, you can deploy using the stand-alone server or IIS. On a Java servlet container, drop in the API Server WAR file. See the help documentation for more information and how-tos.

The API Server is also easy to deploy on Microsoft Azure, Amazon EC2, and Heroku.

Connect to SAP ByDesign

After you deploy, provide authentication values and other connection properties by clicking Settings -> Connections in the API Server administration console. You can then choose the entities you want to allow the API Server access to by clicking Settings -> Resources.

Set the following connection properties to connect to SAP ByDesign.

  • Url: Set this to the Url of your SAP ByDesign site. For example, https://test.sapbydesign.com
  • User: Set this to the username of your account.
  • Password: Set this to the password of your account.
  • CustomService or AnalyticsService: Only one of these must be specified. If you have a custom service you want to retrieve data from, specify CustomService. If you want to retrieve the reports of a analytical service, specify AnalyticsService.
    If neither is specified, 'cc_home_analytics.svc' will used as a default for the AnalyticsService property. If you are not sure what service to specify, you can always query the Services view to list available services.

You will also need to enable CORS and define the following sections on the Settings -> Server page. As an alternative, you can select the option to allow all domains without '*'.

  1. Access-Control-Allow-Origin: Set this to a value of '*' or specify the domains that are allowed to connect.
  2. Access-Control-Allow-Methods: Set this to a value of "GET,PUT,POST,OPTIONS".
  3. Access-Control-Allow-Headers: Set this to "x-ms-client-request-id, authorization, content-type".

Authorize API Server Users

After determining the OData services you want to produce, authorize users by clicking Settings -> Users. The API Server uses authtoken-based authentication and supports the major authentication schemes. You can authenticate as well as encrypt connections with SSL. Access can also be restricted by IP address; access is restricted to only the local machine by default.

For simplicity, we will allow the authtoken for API users to be passed in the URL. You will need to add a setting in the Application section of the settings.cfg file, located in the data directory. On Windows, this is the app_data subfolder in the application root. In the Java edition, the location of the data directory depends on your operation system:

  1. Windows: C:\ProgramData\CData
  2. Unix or Mac OS X: ~/cdata
[Application] AllowAuthtokenInURL = true

Add SAP ByDesign Data to a Flow

You can use the built-in HTTP + Swagger connector to use a wizard to design a SAP ByDesign process flow:

  1. In Microsoft Flow, click My Flows -> Create from Blank.
  2. Select the Recurrence action and select a time interval for sending emails. This article uses 1 day.
  3. Add an HTTP + Swagger action by searching for Swagger.
  4. Enter the URL to the Swagger metadata document: https://MySite:MyPort/api.rsc/@MyAuthtoken/$oas
  5. Select the "Return [Inventory Balance]" operation.
  6. Build the OData query to retrieve SAP ByDesign data. This article defines the following OData filter expression in the $filter box:

    ProductCategoryID eq '1234567'

    See the API Server help documentation for more on filtering and examples of the supported OData.

Trigger an Action

You can now work with [Inventory Balance] entities in your process flow. Follow the steps to send an automated email:

  1. Add an SMTP - Send Email action.
  2. Enter the address and credentials for the SMTP server and name the connection. Be sure to enable encryption if supported by your server.
  3. Enter the message headers and body. You can add SAP ByDesign columns in these boxes.