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Author's profile photo John Astill

SAP Netweaver Cloud – it’s childs play

The title for the blog really says it all. The Germantown Droids are a team of middle school children that came together two years ago to compete in the First Lego League. The First Lego League is an international competition that encourages children ages 9-16 to become involved in science and technology. The competition has the teams create a research project and proposed solution along with a Lego Mindstorms robotics challenge. This years theme was Food Factors, encouraging the teams to research food safety. The Droids decided to look into sourcing of food and whether the food was potentially contaminated. A simple example could be sea food during the gulf oil spill.

The team comprising of boys and girls from 11-14 decided to create a food safety database, Food Agent. To make the database accessible to the general public they created a native iPhone application that allows you to scan an item and determine where it came from and whether there were potential safety hazards. They imagined shoppers walking around the supermarket being able to determine where their food came from and if it was safe.

The initial architecture of the application was native iOS making rest calls to a PHP server with a MySQL backend.

When the Droids presented their app at the Maryland State Qualifier they astounded the judges, not only with the fact that they created the app (not me), but they also realized their idea. The competition ended for them in February, but they wanted to take their idea further.

PHP/MySQL was a good foundation for them, but they wanted to learn Java as they heard it was a great language. What better way for them to get into Java than with SAP Netweaver Cloud. The server already exists, has a 90 day license, has tutorials, has a database and because it is cloud based there is nothing for them to install on the server side.

I sat with Nikola one Friday evening to get started. We both started to download the tools and follow the tutorials. After 30 minutes, without my help, NIkola had his first Hello World app running on his trial server. After another 30 minutes he had a persistence example with JPA working.

Nikola took his experience and shared it with Jordan, Jordan created his first SAP Cloud Hello World application too.

That was all started 3 weeks ago, the Food Agent application has now been migrated from PHP to Java and SAP Cloud, the native iPhone application has been integrated. The team are in the final steps of polishing both the client and server whilst learning about servlets, JSPs and JPA.

This blog is only an intro as I am simply the coach of the team and wanted to introduce them, all three remaining members of the team, Nikola, Jordan and Angelo will be posting blogs over the coming weeks describing their application and their experiences.

Germantown Droids


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      Author's profile photo Tom Van Doorslaer
      Tom Van Doorslaer

      Amazing that Young talent can come up with such great ideas and actually implement them.

      It's even more amazing to see them doing so with technologies that baffle many professionals.


      Author's profile photo Matthias Steiner
      Matthias Steiner

      What a great story - thanks for sharing John!

      Author's profile photo Marilyn Pratt
      Marilyn Pratt

      Eagerly awaiting the blogs and please update us (here?) when your young proteges do post.  This is an exceptional activity.  I've told Claudia Brack who leads Global communities of practice for CapGemini about this work, as she takes an interest in developing skills of youths and works to this goal in India when she visits there. There are many opportunities to bridge generational divides and learn from our "Future of Work" workers as well as mentor them.  Not only is this a socially responsible type of activity, but a smart business move.  That makes you John, a literal futurist because you work with our future workforce.

      Thanks for sharing this.  I know we will be hearing more.

      Author's profile photo John Astill
      John Astill
      Blog Post Author

      Hi Marilyn,

      I have 2 drafts and will work with the team over the weekend to incorporate some feedback. Hopefully next week we will have the first published. The kids do already have SCN accounts so will be posting their own (as Independent Consultants 🙂 )

      Warm regards