Matthias Steiners looking at “The story so far” on HCP has encouraged me to write my own memories.

HCP is a very special system for me, it has been part of some fantastic memories, and continues to be a part of my daily life, both personal and professional.

My first exposure to HCP in 2012 was much the same as every developers first steps. Getting access to a Developers account and getting my feet wet.

One of the first things that struck me was the quality of the documentation. It was very easy to follow and in no time at all I had an application running with access to the database using JPA. This for me was a big step forward from installing JBoss, Tomcat and a database locally. It now gave me the ability to work immediately on a project without having to worry about system installs and upgrades.

After playing around for a while I was approached with a project to build a mobile game that would use HCP as it’s backend system . For anyone that can remember, this was Paul the Octopus . The game being inspired by a real Octopus that had the uncanny ability of predicting the results of matches in the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

The game was published to the app store and made publicly available. The source code was also made freely available on github. Not only was this a fun project to work on but I also got to work with some amazing developers. Making the code public was also a positive step as it gave other developers a baseline to work with and quickly get up to speed with HCP services.

I was also fortunate to be part of Global IT Mobile CoE at this time. The team embraced the possibilities presented by HCP and starting to build applications on the platform.

However, by far the most precious HCP memory for me, still in 2012, is the time I spent with the SAP Droids, a team of middle school kids in Maryland that I coached for 2 years competing in the First Lego League . The team had finished their tournament season and had created a mobile app around the theme of Food Safety that used LAMP for it’s backend services. I challenged the team to change the implementation from PHP and MySQL to “Neo”.

This led to perhaps one of the most humbling experiences I have had in a long time. I gave the team the links to the getting started documentation, we sat together to create our JPA based applications. After ~30 minutes Nikola (I think he was 11 at the time) was up and running. He was already changing the entities, whereas I was staring at a failed application. I of course “knew better” than to read the documentation and had missed a step setting up eclipse!

The team were not one to shirk at a challenge and submitted their idea to Demo Jam, well, the rest as they say is history:

SAP Demo Jam Las Vegas – Demo – ‘Food Agent’. Angelo Castro and Nikola Bura, Roberto Clemente Middle School

As word spread about their DemoJam achievement, the boys became instant SAP TechEd celebrities. A film crew followed their every move for the entire day (see video). SAP Executive Board member Vishal Sikka gave a shout out to boys at his keynote, “These three kids, they built an application, and they built it on SAP NetWeaver Cloud,” Vishal said. “This is an extraordinary example of what the future holds.”

My role is now part of the Concept Engineering team within SAP presales. I feel fortunate that I continue to work on a platform that continues to evolve and I still use for fun and education purposes. I am still teaching STEM to our youth and HCP is always there in my toolbox.

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  1. Matthias Steiner

    Thanks for sharing these stories with us John! Yeap, you rightfully earned that Early Adopter shirt!

    Still remember that blog you wrote back then about the SAP Droids: SAP Netweaver Cloud – it’s childs play. What a great story to confirm the platform’s ambitions of providing a low-entry barrier, also speaks volumes irt to the quality of the online documentation and… last, but not least your success as a coach! Kudos!

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