CRA Presents SR&ED Software Project Example

During the SR&ED External Stakeholder’s event on November 1, 2012 in Mississauga, the CRA presented an example to stakeholders entitled “New web techniques for animation & quasi-real time interactivity in browsers.”  The CRA ended the session by clarifying that the example was meant to stimulate conversation, and was not in itself an example of work that was eligible for SR&ED.  As per the CRA commentary, the project that was presented, and is detailed below, lacked in detail to determine actual SR&ED eligibility.

Title: New web techniques for animation & quasi-real time interactivity in browsers

Technological context

The evolution of tools, platforms, operating systems, and programming languages continues to accelerate.  From an approach that was originally at a very low level (machine language, assembler, etc.) and that allowed complete control of processing resources (often at the expense of complexity), we now see the creation of new, very high-level tools (in terms of functional integration).  And yet, despite the fact that users have increasing access to highly sophisticated development tools to simplify their work, it must be noted that very often these tools are so specialized that they sometimes fall short with regard to the every growing needs of the users.  Development work can thus become more complex, at different levels (system, module, components, etc.) rather than simplified.

Background

The WOW company designs and implements interactive game Web applications that are meant to offer users very high-quality animation and interactivity, almost equivalent to those of video games.  The development of these applications is a significant challenge, given the multiple constraints associated with the Internet.  For example:

  • Bandwidth, which varies greatly depending on each users’ network capacity
  • Transmission delays (latency), the limiting characteristics of communication
  • Peak-load levels that can be much higher than average; and the random nature of user interactivity.

Work undertaken

In the context of developing these applications, to resolve the technical problems above, the company undertook several tasks.

It is attempting to select and optimize its development environment to be as efficient as possible in the pursuit of its objectives (i.e. achieving the desired software functionality and minimizing the resources required).

It is making use of a number of existing, recent technologies (some of which are still in the embryonic stages) to help in the achievement of its fluid animation and the interactivity objectives (Web Services, Flash, Flex, AJAX, and various scripting languages, etc.)

It is investigating all types of software/modules, whether they are Open Source (Open Source Software or OSS) or commercial (third party software), with the goal of integrating as many existing components as possible – components it will not have to develop – to improve the performance of its applications.

Discussion Questions

  • At what level can technological advancement be achieved (in terms of programming level and/or reuse/modification of modules, etc.)?
  • Will the Open Source nature of some software/modules/components affect eligibility?
  • Will the fact that it is attempting to combine software components, whether they are Open Source (OSS) or commercial, affect SR&ED eligibility?
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