Dries Van Vaerenbergh Dries Van Vaerenbergh - - Digital stories

It has been quite a year hasn't it?
We have all had some pleasant and less pleasant experiences in 2020. It’s important that we care for and support each other, and let joy take the upper hand. During the holidays, it feels like there is some magical pixie dust in the air that makes this a little easier.
From a more technical point of view, I also experienced a little pixie dust in 2020. When you put developers together during the most wonderful time of the year, you can expect a mind-blowing result. Offer them the freedom to brainstorm, an SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Foundry Environment and the SAP Cloud Application Programming Model, and they have all the ingredients needed to create a truly magical gift app

image gift app 1

Flexso (SCP) Fast Track magic

At Flexso, we have evening sessions where we share thoughts and knowledge about SAP products and technologies, which we call ‘Fast Tracks’. Every domain has its specific Fast Track; the SCP Fast Track, Connect Fast Track (CPI), and so on.

During this SCP Fast Track, a colleague came up with the amazing idea of building The Magical Flexso Gift App. Building an application like this one brings even more fun to the work floor, and it is a nice topic to share during an evening session.

The app offers the possibility to register for a (virtual) event. Once registered, you can choose a present for one of your colleagues, assigned to you via the Secret Santa principle (randomizer of all registered colleagues).

What makes this gift app so magical

image gift app 2

First, it runs on SAP Cloud Platform in the SAP Cloud Foundry environment. Second, it was built using the SAP Cloud Application Programming Model. And finally, it is integrated with the web shop API of Bol.com, so the app can check whether the gift is available and not ridiculously expensive.

Contributing to De Warmste Week


But the real magic kicked in when Flexso decided to donate a dedicated amount to the fundraising event De Warmste Week (The Warmest Week) for every Flexso colleague who registered via the application.

The Warmest Week is a yearly fundraising event organised by VRT that takes place the last week before Christmas. This year, they focused on the commitment of the Flemish through beautiful and inspiring initiatives. Fostering personal commitment to a strong initiative to help each other: this was the new focus of the 2020 edition.

(Printscreen/picture of “De Warmste Week” website https://dewarmsteweek.be/)

Explaining the application architecture flow

The architecture and development of this application may sound incredibly difficult – but it was actually quite simple. There are the only 6 (technical) ingredients:

  1. An SAP Cloud Platform (SCP) Cloud Foundry (CF) environment
  2. An SAP Identity Authentication service (IAS)
  3. SAP Cloud Application Programming Model (CAP)
  4. A destination service instance on CF
  5. An XSUAA service instance on CF
  6. SAPUI5

Step 1: app registration and activation

The application runs on the SAP Cloud Platform Cloud Foundry Environment in a dedicated Cloud Foundry space. All users can log into the application via the SAP Identity Authentication service after activating their account via the activation email. Once they have activated their account, they are automatically redirected to the UI5 app (The Gift App), which is stored in the HTML5 Application Repository.

Step 2: checking permissions and prices

This application consumes the user and gift data via the app router from the database (SQLite or HANA). The actions of registering or adding gifts to the application must pass several checks, such as the price of a gift and whether the user can add a gift.

  • The destination service instance is used to integrate with the web shop API to check the gift price. The SAP IAS SCIM API is also used with this instance to retrieve the first and last names of the logged in user during the process of adding a gift.
  • All these logged-in user checks and name retrievals are made possible by the XSUAA service instance. This also allows us to assign different roles to users, enabling us to hide certain properties in the OData entities. After all, we do not want to show who added which gift, so we can exclude certain properties for non-admin users.

Bringing out the best in all of us

The moral of this story: we all have great ideas, and sharing them among the team results in amazing projects and demos. The Christmas spirit lives on at Flexso every single day of the year, thanks to the chances, support and freedom that are offered to the Flexso team.
That does deserve a gift from Santa, doesn’t it?

image gift app 4

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