Last TechEd, we saw several great examples of how SAP Build empowers everyone to create powerful solutions. You may remember from Juergen Mueller’s keynote the 12-year-old developer named DAK, who used no-code to create several apps for kids and publish them in app stores, including Knowledge 4 Ever (available for iOS and Android). The story of the young Builder struck quite a chord with the community – one person even asked me if he was an SAP employee’s kid (I assure you, he isn’t!).
After his keynote debut, DAK was inspired to come up with new ways to get more kids into app development. One of his latest creations is a motivational mascot named Sappy, who is both reminiscent of the SAP logo and passionate about teaching kids to build apps. We caught up with DAK one morning before he headed off to school to chat about Sappy, why development is tough for kids, and how he brought the mascot to life with a 3D printer.
Why would kids relate to Sappy?
DAK: My mission was to bring younger kids into the world of coding and app development. And I wanted to have a mascot that wasn’t too “adult-y,” something that kids could relate to more.
What’s challenging about getting kids into development?
DAK: App development and kids haven’t really aligned. There are kids who do coding, but that isn’t a traditional thing kids would do, like gaming. It’s difficult to lure kids into app development.
What would make it easier for kids to get into something like Build Apps?
DAK: I’d let them know that mistakes happen. Troubleshoot your work and review everything. One comma or something can mess up your whole app, so keep an eye open for that. The best part is when you have all the assets ready, and you have the structure of the game built. Then you add the assets and backgrounds together and see all those little things that make the game “the game.”
Are you also learning coding in school?
DAK: We do some coding occasionally in Tech (class). We have Chromebooks that we use, and we’ve also used some no-code tools. Sometimes we have an assignment to build something and that’s usually the best day of the week. I made a World Cup re-enactment where they were taking the penalty kicks.
Are you a big soccer fan?
DAK: After the World Cup I am!
Any other pieces of advice to encourage kids to try SAP Build?
DAK: It’s drag-and-drop, so it’s very visual and you can see a mistake. Overall, it’s an easier environment than actual coding. With enough practice and if you spend enough time, it’s all possible and no-code makes it all easier!
Let’s talk about Sappy – the 3D printed version is awesome! How did you create it?
DAK: I started by drawing Sappy in Photoshop from the SAP logo, then adding the eyes and mouth. I made a couple of variants of it with different backgrounds like the stationary one and different colors. Then I plugged that image into the 3D printer program and traced over it. I made a couple of modifications to the settings and then printed it. The printing itself took like three and a half hours.
You might be too young to remember Clippy, the talking paperclip. Do you picture Sappy being something like that?
DAK: I know Clippy because of chess.com, there’s an AI bot that looks like him. I think Sappy could motivate people with messages like that. Motivational messages are always helpful when you’re building something.
DAK also provided this short bio of Sappy:
Sappy was born on November 15, 2022 during TechEd in Las Vegas, USA and is a big no-code super aficionado. Sappy lives in a huge 100 terabyte mansion on the SAP cloud. Floating above his mansion, you can see the quote, “You can do anything as long as you put your mind to it,” mentioned by his creator DAK during TechEd. Sappy’s favorite food is microchips, which Sappy enjoys with their AI friends when they are having code-bashing codeathons. Sappy likes to encourage coders to use SAP Build and anytime they see an accomplishment by a user they shout, “Sappy is happy!!!”
What other app projects have you been working on?
DAK: I updated my K4E app about three months ago, fixing some content and upgrading to the latest API version. I must say, the process was very smooth and worked as expected without any issues. Also, I am planning during summer break to create a new language learning app where the user can simultaneously learn six languages.
Got other ideas for inspiring young developers? Join the conversation on the Builders Group.
Note: Sappy is not an official SAP mascot.