Universal Worklist book for SAP Press

I spoke to one of the guys on the SAP Press stand at Tech Ed in Amsterdam to see if they were looking for authors, and got a pretty enthusiastic response. Since I’ve been doing some fairly interesting stuff with UWL in the last year or two and have overcome a fair few challenges on the way, I quickly drafted an outline for a book on UWL, checked out the Authors section on their website and sent the outline to SAP Press a few weeks later.

There is a pretty detailed questionnaire to fill in. Not only do you need an outline of the proposed book’s content, but you also have to demonstrate that you can write and you need to show that there is a market demand for the book. That wasn’t too hard for me – the SAP Press Workflow book has less than one page on the Portal, and none of their Portals books mention UWL at all.

Fast forward a month or so of discussions, and I have now signed a contract to produce the book. I will have completed the manuscript by July, in time for the book to be released for SAP Tech Ed 2007.

This is the outline I am working on:

1.    Introduction
This chapter will be 5-10 pages long and will provide an introduction to the concepts discussed in the rest of the book. Readers will need no prior experience of the area to read this chapter. The first section will describe the history and purpose of SAP workflow; the next section will describe the NetWeaver Portal and how its Universal Worklist works with workflow systems; finally, there will be a description of how SAP’s new architecture allows users to interact with workflows using the technology of their choice – Web Browser, Rich client, Email client, Handheld device or even by telephone.
Subchapters:
1.    What is Workflow?
2.    What is Universal Worklist (UWL)?
3.    Enterprise Services Architecture and the new face of SAP workflow

2.    Standard UWL configuration
This chapter will be 30-50 pages long and will look at the standard configuration methods described in SAP’s documentation, but will have more in the way of specific examples and will be more readable in style.
Subchapters:
1.    Connecting SAP systems
1.    System definitions
2.    UWL definitions
3.    Downloading item types
2.    Items in the UWL
1.    Work items
2.    Notifications
3.    Alerts
4.    Decision Tasks
3.    Changing the basic look of UWL
1.    Tabs & navigation
2.    Column ordering & display
3.    Which details are shown
4.    How work items are launched
1.    SAP GUI – Win, Web or Java
2.    ITS applications
3.    Portal iViews
4.    Web Dynpro applications

3.    Customising UWL
This chapter will be 20-30 pages long and will describe some of the more advanced configuration options which affect how the Universal Worklist looks and behaves.
Subchapters:
1.    Custom views
1.    Task-specific views
2.    Adding new columns
3.    Adding decision buttons
2.    Custom work item handlers
1.    Java iViews
2.    Web Dynpro applications

4.    Other types of workflow
This short chapter (10-20 pages) is about other workflow systems which can be connected into the Universal Worklist, including the ad-hoc and publishing workflows which come with the portal, and the ability to add in 3rd party workflow systems such as Lotus Notes.
Subchapters:
1.    Ad-hoc workflow
2.    Publishing workflow
3.    3rd Party Workflow

5.    UWL behind the scenes
This 20-30 page chapter is about how UWL works “under the hood”, in terms of the communications with SAP, the SAP functions which are called, and the compromises which are made compared to using the old-style SAP Inbox for work item processing.
Subchapters:
1.    How UWL works
2.    UWL Performance Tuning
3.    SAP function modules
1.    SWK_LOCAL_INBOX_GET
2.    SAP_WAPI_*
4.    Working around limitations
1.    WebGUI limitations
2.    SAP GUI limitations
3.    Java GUI limitations
4.    Work item chaining

6.    Next-generation workflow
This 20-30 page chapter is about extending the reach of workflow beyond the Portal. This shows how SAP’s adoption of an Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA) allows loosely-connected technologies to access SAP workflow, and gives details of how this applies to Blackberry devices, Microsoft Office software and even the public telephone network.
Subchapters:
1.    Workflow on a Blackberry
2.    Duet: Workflow in Outlook
3.    Netweaver Voice
1.    SAP phones the user
2.    User phones SAP
4.    Business Processes and Enterprise Services (ESA/SOA)

7.    Further Reading
This 10-page chapter gives more details and reference points for the interested reader.
Subchapters:
1.    SAP documentation
2.    SDN content
3.    SAP notes

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