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Interview with SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 Game On Challenge Runner Up

Last fall we launched SAP Mobile Platform 3.0 and with the announcement we challenged the industry’s best and brightest mobile developers to bring forth their greatest app creations in a recent “Game On” Mobile App Challenge. There were over 80 participants in the contest but only one winner that is on its way to New York City, with three nights’ accommodation at the Westin hotel, and two tickets to the Super Bowl with special access courtesy of SAP.

Tim Clark wrote a great blog about the recent SAP “Game On” Mobile App Contest winner. You can read it here.

But there is another story to be shared.

The competition in this game was high. Another participant, Scott Stefanich from PMC, submitted an amazing app which earned him the runner up position. I took some time this week to interview Scott and here is a summary of our conversation.

(Carolyn): Scott, how did you hear about the contest?

(Scott): Through SAP Community Network, one of the developer spaces that I follow was promoting the contest; I think it was the SAP Mobile Developer Center.

(Carolyn): OK and how long have you been a member of SCN and the SAP Developer Center?

(Scott): Let’s just say a few years (laughter); I’ve been involved since the days of the SAP Developer Network and then now SAP Community Network

(Carolyn): So you are not new to this community or development. What was your mobile app experience before the contest?

(Scott): Android Native development and hybrid web app development through Sybase Unwired Platform, and now SAP Mobile Platform. I’ve spent some time digging through the resources on SCN.

(Carolyn): That sounds like a healthy background to take on the SAP Game On Challenge, what attracted to the contest?

(Scott): The timing was excellent; my main goal is to create end to end mobile solution from the SAP backend through to an application itself, and not just the flashy front end, but the layers of important stuff like authentication, security, tracing and more. Oh, and the chance to go to Super bowl.

(Carolyn): Interesting, what do you mean by “the important stuff?”

(Scott): Well, the divide between the administrator and developer features of mobile app development and deployment. I think SAP Mobile Platform did a very good job of splitting the admin role and the developer role. For the admin you have control over installing, configuring, and monitoring the mobile app and from the SAP Cockpit you can easily creating an app end point and authentication as well as security profiles at the platform level.

(Carolyn): And why are these features so important?

(Scott): Well, usually the technical resources are not involved in a mobile app project before the people signing the checks make a decision. Usually there is an architect wanting to ask for these features and with SAP Mobile Platform there is a standardized way to avoid administrative issues, regardless of the app architecture type.

(Carolyn): Let’s talk about your mobile app, what was it?

(Scott): I build a hybrid app using SAP Mobile Platform 3.0, I used Cordova with the SAP Kapsel plug ins, SAP UI5 and App Builder with secure access to SAP ERP. The use case was for warehouse management, to ‘pick’ or retrieve items for shipping, ‘put away’ to stock incoming inventory, and ‘move’ to shift inventory storage. I called it ‘Warehouse Accelerator’.

(Carolyn): You mentioned that your goal was to create an end to end mobile experience; did you accomplish this with your mobile app?

(Scott): Well yes, and even learned JavaScript along the way.

(Carolyn): Wait a second; you didn’t know JavaScript before the competition?

(Scott): Let’s say that I would not have put it on the resume before the contest, I knew of it. I took a few days to learn it, went to and ran through some exercises and played with it in a text editor until I had a passing familiarity.

(Carolyn): That’s impressive. Let’s go back to your mobile app. Tell me more.

(Scott): I had to learn some basic JQuery (not essential, but helpful) because SAP UI5 uses it and then wrote the app using HTML JavaScript and tested it in my browser. SAPUI5 is so well designed that you can create a table and bind it to data in a few lines of code. I designed the app for OData or JSON models and leveraged SAP Kapsel Plugins. The SAP Mobile Platform made development easy, it was flexible and allowed for agile development. Plus I could test out different add-ons for later projects.

(Carolyn): And what did you then submit?

(Scott): I created both Android and iOS Cordova projects and submitted the Android app.

(Carolyn): And how long did the entire project take?

(Scott): Two months, with one system wipe out. It is easy to quickly recreate the app when you know how to do it.

(Carolyn): Well, we don’t need to dive into that. So, would you sign up and participate in SAP Mobile Platform challenge again?

(Scott): Definitely.

(Carolyn): Cool, and what did you get out of the experience?

(Scott): Working with Jim Jaquet from the product team was excellent; he was proactive with customers, always checking in with participants on their progress. And I now know a solution architecture and framework that can be applied to any side of the business. I always have something to refer to, and am now showing the mobile app around the office.

(Carolyn): That’s great. Last question. Any advice for others looking to take on a SAP Mobile Platform Challenge?

(Scott): Dive in head first, don’t be intimidated by the scope of the project and power of the platform, it is there to help you. Start with what you want to accomplish. Oh, and read SCN every day.

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