SharePoint For Mobile – Yes we can!

You may have deployed SharePoint and had a complaint from a mobile user, by default the experience isn’t great. A legacy design decision was made for SharePoint 2010’s that creates a poor default mobile smart phone experience. In my mind if they would have kept the capability for mobile as an alternative and left the default experience alone things would be much better. Instead, by default, an iPad or iPhone, Windows Phone 7, Android, and even Blackberry… yes essentially all your rich mobile phones have a degraded user experience. SharePoint 2010 inherited the mobile interface that was built in SharePoint 2007, and it was improved slightly for publishing sites in SharePoint 2010, and a whole SDK was built for mobile. Was it a waste? Well not according to all of mobile apps out there. It’s been low hanging fruit for making the experience better with apps. Unfortunately as key as the mobile revolution has been to Intranet and web based applications, Microsoft didn’t take the opportunity to focus on building interfaces for the rich mobile phones and instead made investments to slightly improve the legacy phone experience. Yes, I’m being a bit harsh, but this is more as a warning that you should pay attention. 99% of SharePoint environments should make this simple change to your web.config files to make the mobile experience rich. We recently launched the sharingthepoint.org site and quickly realized we forgot to turn off the default mobile redirect. This code snippet below makes it a rich browsing experience for your iphone, ipad, wp7, blackberry, etc…

Add the XML code snippet to your web.config file on each web front end.


<browserCaps>
  <result type="System.Web.Mobile.MobileCapabilities, System.Web.Mobile, Version=2.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=b03f5f7f11d50a3a"/>
  <filter>isMobileDevice=false</filter>
</browserCaps>

Here’s more information for developers that want to see what other options they have once they sniff the mobile client:

Here is a chart of my analytics. Thanks G dudes. This is a breakdown of the mobile operating systems. Look at the loyalty. Surprised? What I was explaining above is that it apparently was tough to anticipate the dominance of smart phones. These metrics drill in on traffic over the last year. Those old phone operating systems that the default SharePoint experience was designed for are really a no show here. Just take a look at the numbers.

Mobile Device Operating system on SharePointJoel.com over the last year

The emergence of iPad for browsing sites is really gaining ground. It’s incredible to me to think that more than 3% of my traffic these days is from mobile devices.

Visits by Operating System on SharePointJoel.com over the last 30 days

Just in case you can’t read this: iPad 1.2%, iPhone .93%, Android .72% and the rest.

If you’re looking for improving the mobile phone experience for yourself or your enterprise users. As rich as the experience is with the browser experience, you still can’t upload files from your ipad or iphone. Most if not all of these have free clients as well as paid.


Access to your SharePoint files. Tag files, folders, for offline, sync tasks contacts, etc…

Check out the Mobile SharePoint Vendors. It’s getting better, even if you looked at these… look again!

Southlabs – SharePlus – "SharePlus is the universal iOS Client for SharePoint, allowing you to carry your SharePoint’s most valuable information assets with your smartphone or tablet, no matter how your connectivity scenario is like. It works on multiple OS like Android, iOS, Blackberry and even in your Mac."

Colligo – Colligo Briefcase – iPad – "Securely browse, view, and store SharePoint content, including Outlook .msg files, on your iPad"

Moprise – Moshare, Coaxion – "Coaxion allows you to synchronize documents and discussions with your team in real-time from iPhones or iPads."

Aircreek – Filamente SharePoint Client – "Manage multiple SharePoint sites. Office 365 support. Offline access. Create, edit, upload, or annotate your data and even save documents locally.Support for discussion board, calendar, and task management."

 

Careful with Box.net those guys are predatory, and they’ll try to push out SharePoint.

Published by

Joel Oleson

I LOVE traveling our little planet. In my quest to visit every country in the world I've got about 35 UN countries left! I'm not just country hopping, but looking for the most immersive cultural experiences and capturing them as photos and videos. Yes, I'm also a geek. I've been recognized as a Microsoft Regional Director, a community leadership award. When not traveling, I'm in paradise in sunny southern California as I'm a Senior IT Manager at Blizzard Entertainment.

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