This blog is about the 'Extending Your Industry Data: Drag-and-Drop Teamcenter Into User-Friendly Experiences' video, presented by Andrej Koelewijn from Mendix and Tedie West from Siemens. You can watch the video here.
Teamcenter - A Core Application
For those who don't know, Teamcenter (TC) is a suite of software applications for product lifecycle management (PLM). That means it's a core application for many businesses, covering crucial/key business processes. The data that is processed there is extremely valuable for these organizations.
The challenge is to make this data usable outside of Teamcenter, not only for specific use cases but in general, not just for IT but also for non-technical people, domain experts in particular.
So how can you expose Teamcenter data in a way that achieves that goal? A way that allows non-technical people to rapidly build new Mendix-based apps?
Solution: Data Hub + oData Schema Generator
The solution leverages the capabilities of the new Mendix Data Hub. Data Hub is a data platform that allows users to quickly and easily discover and consume data and services across the enterprise. I strongly recommend watching the other sessions on it or reading our blog post.
Combined with the TC oData Schema Generator app, the setup is completed.
To understand the purpose of both components, let's look at the 3-step process:
1. Define the API with oData Schema Generator
The oData Schema Generator is designed to help you define the new API. It can read the TC data model (including customizations). You can select objects and attributes from TC that you want to expose, and you can even simplify naming for increased clarity.
This is done once for every API.
2. Deploy in TC and Publish to Data Hub
You can deploy the API definition to TC right from the Schema Generator and also trigger the publishing to the Data Hub catalog.
Again, this is only done once for every API.
3. Use in Mendix
You can now leverage the new API in any Mendix app. From the Mendix Studio (Pro), you can drag and drop entities from the Data Hub catalog into your domain model. That's all you need to do. Mendix itself will do the rest. Again, if you want to know what's happening under the hood, read our blog about Data Hub.
Roadmap and Teamcenter Connector
Looking at the roadmap, we see that the support is limited to read-only solutions for now. Expect read-write scenarios, file upload & download, and more in the follow-up releases.
Be aware that you can fall back to the Mendix Teamcenter Connector for unsupported scenarios.
The Mendix Teamcenter Connector was the previous option for integrating with TC. So, without Data Hub, this is still the way to go, though it is a bit more technical. For more complex integration scenarios, this is still the way to go.
How great is that?
We've been introduced to a great solution here. The Data Hub is a great platform for making data sources available to everyone, including non-technical employees and Mendix beginners. With TC's new OData API and the Schema Generator, it is now possible to connect TC to this new platform.
This is a new solution that can unleash a lot of creativity and empower your domain experts to extend Teamcenter or build new solutions.