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SAP TechEd Demo Jam winner on HTML5 and his team's super generic mobile app

Mobile was a hot topic at SAP TechEd 2010 in Las Vegas, so it's no surprise that a mobility-related demo won the famous SAP Demo Jam. The audience went wild for the so-called "super generic mobile app." Inspired by their former work for a mining company, it's an HTML 5-based application. Winners Matt Harding and Al Templeton developed it to allow users to capture information offline and sync it when they get into network range. 


Read the full transcript from this video below: 

SAP TechEd Demo Jam winner on HTML5 and his team's super generic mobile app

Interviewer:  We are here at 2010 Tech Ed in Las Vegas. We are here with Al Templeton, who is one behalf of the team who won last night's Demo Jam in front of a packed crowd. Can you tell us a little bit more about what the application actually does and how you came up with the idea?

Al Templeton: Yes, sure. How did we come up with the idea? Matt Harding, who is the other part of our team, we always love to put a Demo Jam entry in to see if we can finally make the final; this year we cracked it.  I think we came up with the idea because mobility was a big topic this year -- the service acquisition. I guess we wanted to see whether we could actually build an offline mobile application without the additional technology that was being touted at the time.

What we built was what we call the Super-Generic Mobile Application Framework. It was all about a device-independent offline-capable mobile application. The technology enabled for that was HTML5, so I guess we were a little bit surprised that we had not heard a lot of people in this space talking about, outside the SAP community, HTML5 is starting to get some momentum. You probably heard Steve Jobs talking about it as the flex killer. Whether that is going to be the case or not, I do not necessarily believe, but for us, the key parts and specification were obviously, the offline storage and the application cache, which basically is the enabler for building offline applications with HTML and Javascript. That is what the app does.

The specific use case we used was an incident-tracking application. Matt and I both worked in mining and tracking of incidents and safety was very important. Often you are in places where you do not have any network access, any capability to actually talk directly to a system, so it needed to work offline. So a simple incident tracking system that would work on an iPhone, iPad, or Android device that you can capture incidents, then synchronize them back to your base when you got in a mobile range connectivity. That was the crux of the application and why we went ahead and did it.

Interviewer:     What kind of feedback have you gotten since you have been here? From anyone or from SAP people.

Al Templeton: Everybody seems really interested. There are a lot of people interested in the technology. There was a comment that came in last night. One of the guys had apparently been reading an HTML5 book on the plane on the way over, and he said the second he heard us say HTML5, he said we won. It was, I guess it was just the timing was right for us to introduce that technology into the SAP space to compliment what they are trying to do with mobile, and obviously, device enablement. Everybody now, as you probably would have seen from Demo Jam last night, is doing something on an iPad or an iPhone, and this part of the specification is going to be really important to that, I think.

Interviewer:     Any plans to further develop the application, or what is going to happen from here on out?

Al Templeton: I do not, not this specific application, I think, but conceptually, the mobile application, yes. The company I am from, I am from Australia, I am from a company called Acclamation, in Melbourne, and we are a niche technology provider basically in Netweaver. One half of the other team is Tony DeThomas, who you may or may not come across, the ALM guy. We are out there doing sort of a lot of mobile work and a lot of Adobe Forms work. A couple of the customers have already seen what we have done with the incident tracking system and are very interested in whether we can do something for them. I think the concept, yes, not particularly that application.

Interviewer:     That sounds great. Thank you very much Al. I appreciate it.

Al Templeton: Pleasure. No problem at all.

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