Developing Useful Mobile Apps

A technical blog can sometimes be as dry as a week old bowl of Weet-Bix left out in the Sahara desert.

Rather than simply rattling off jargon or spouting technical specifications – I wanted my next blog to reflect the human side of what we do.

Luckily, inspiration for said blog arrived at my office door in the form of a support analyst named Duppie Du Plessis. Duppie needed some advice developing ideas he had into SYSPRO Espresso applications.

SYSPRO Espresso is, of course, SYSPRO’s mobility platform. Along with a large variety of standard out of the box functionality, Espresso also serves as a development platform for mini mobile applications to run inside of. The Espresso development platform is particularly suited to making small tasks more accessible to users by surfacing the functionality on the users own mobile device rather than having to start-up a computer or use a VPN to connect to a server.

The applications that Duppie wants to develop are great examples of this. The first one that we discussed will simplify the lives of SYSPRO Administrators by allowing them to administer operators (for example, unlocking them, seeing if they are logged in and a host of other functionality).

The second application allows support people at SYSPRO to view support events and bugs directly from their mobile phones without having to log on to our events server. This application to surface SYSPRO support events is especially interesting because it requires some of Espresso’s native functionality to open Word documents and PDF’s.

The software development process sometimes reminds me of the old sausage adage: if you saw them being made, you probably wouldn’t be keen to eat them. Bearing this in mind, I was only slightly surprised that Duppie wanted to use Espresso to develop applications for internal usage but also motivated to make it a success. The result was that after only a few days, which included hands on learning of the Espresso development platform, Duppie managed to develop two small but nonetheless extremely useful applications that are now available on the SYSPRO app store.

The collaboration between support and product development not only highlighted the unique culture at SYSPRO that made it possible but also resulted in some pretty palatable sausages.

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