In my last blog, I talked about how you can to greatly improve E-business Suite’s User Interfaces with software customizations (I also provided some nice examples). Using Oracle APEX, the Oracle-built and supported application development platform, you can provide your E-Business Suite users with modern, intuitive applications while you enhance your business processes. This can be done without affecting EBS’s source code or the Oracle warranty and without extra licensing costs. In this blog, I’ll cover information exchange between your system and the outside world, using Web services for E-Business Suite.
I’ll be going into detail on this subject in my upcoming presentation at Collaborate19 in San Antonio April 11th entitled “Break the E-Business Suite Jail with Application Express” (From 9:00 am to 10:00 am, GH 4th floor Republic B)
Connecting your ERP to other systems
In many workplaces, the main ERP system doesn’t smoothly and automatically connect to other business systems. This might be the case at your company. As necessity is the mother of invention, your business may have gotten around this limitation in a few ways: Using Excel sheets to upload data from one system to another, using .txt files, using expensive 3rd party software to connect them, or even manually entering data from one system to another using printed files! Thankfully, the advent of Web services changes all that. They make for safe, easy, and automated data exchange, reducing the risk of your “Single source of truth” being corrupted.
Web Services and their Uses
In a nutshell, Web services allow you to expose or consume data and APIs over the internet (public or private) while using a standard protocol and structure. REST services are the most popular type of Web Services. If you are new to “REST” read this primer on why your business may need REST.
Changing ways of doing business have created an infinite variety of uses for web services. Today, they cover a vast spectrum of needs. Web services can include:
- Those you need to communicate between homegrown applications in your organization. Perhaps these are legacy applications. Maybe they are so different in nature that they wouldn’t be able to communicate otherwise (unless you export and import text files!).
- Those that can connect your EBS system to other ERPs you are using such as JD Edwards or PeopleSoft. It is not uncommon for businesses to run more than one type of ERP to suit different business functions.
- Web services that are available over the internet from 3rd parties that come as a package you can integrate into your activities. Shipping companies offer web-service-based tracking, accounting, rating and other services such as integrated connection to online e-Commerce platforms.
- Public data made available by Governments or private companies. Government bodies and some large cities offer countless data sets based on demographic and geographic information, research, surveys, and more.
- And of course, the data you would like to expose for your business partners, or customers to use, such as order and billing statuses.
EBS, before Web Services
The key issue here is the ease of using web services in E-Business Suite. Modules for data exchanges like Integrated SOA Gateway developed some years ago are more cumbersome and require extensive installation effort (i.e. patching), as well as development tricks that are not relevant to today’s standards. Using web services to create these data exchanges allows companies to step into the future while maintaining the core system that they’ve developed and refined often over many years.
Web Services for E-Business Suite – The Missing Link
One of the best (read: Fully Oracle supported) ways to do this is with Oracle APEX. As a 100% Web-based development platform, APEX enables EBS to consume and expose web services securely, yet with surprising simplicity. APEX’s patching cycle is totally independent of EBS. This is because APEX is certified against the database and not a specific version of EBS. This separation of APEX and EBS is also what allows for customizations without affecting EBS code.
APEX and ORDS
APEX uses Oracle Rest Data Services (ORDS) another built-in feature of the Oracle Database, to create Web services. Like APEX, ORDS uses PL/SQL programming language, the same language your EBS developers have been using all along. Using ORDS and APEX, your developers can help generate safe, effective REST-enabled Web services for your EBS system. All through well thought-out and well integrated Oracle Technology. An added bonus: both APEX and ORDS run just as easily on the Public Cloud as on-premise.
In my presentation on Thursday, I’ll be demonstrating how to build a Web service for EBS using APEX and ORDS. I hope you can join me.
If not, don’t worry, you can contact us anytime if you’d like to know more!
Previously in this Series