With all the excitement of Windows Phone 7 series, many are asking the questions… Should I have waited? (Release planned for the Holidays - Nov/Dec 2010) Does SharePoint 2010 have a mobile story? Is that story any better than 2007? Is anyone really using mobile to access SharePoint anyway? <update 2/17/09>The stories are starting to come, including Windows Phone 7 Spotlights SharePoint Collaboration. “An application that many users have never seen--Microsoft's SharePoint--plays a key role in Windows Phone 7 Series' Office Hub, the center of business activities in the new smartphone operating system.” Complete with a screenshot of the Office Hub with SharePoint documents.</update>
The iPhone today has a pretty decent full fidelity experience against SharePoint 2007, and I argue, is even better than WinMo6.5 the experience even gets better in 2010. With WinMo 6.5 prior to SharePoint 2010 using SharePoint was a pretty rough proposition, and trying to use it with lists or forms, essentially anything beyond read only, was a no starter. This experience for WinMo 6.5 changes, and all releasing mobile apps support 6.5, but the interface and resolution alone takes a multi generational jump into the future with Windows Phone 7 series.
Actually I’m noticing in the Windows Mobile marketing to both the existing Microsoft consumer from the Zune and XBOX angle as well as to the enterprise angle. That enterprise angle is sure to pay off. As the release of SharePoint 2010 nears you’ll hear more and more about Mobile.
I think I heard crickets during the keynote mobile demo at the SharePoint Conference. It was definitely the weakest demo in the SharePoint Conference Keynote. It looked kind of like a check box. Part of the issue was the fact that the demo didn’t really show off the net new or illustrate what has changed. A blogger Oscar Medina does in a few screenshots of his iPhone against SharePoint 2010 what couldn’t be done at SPC. Oscar’s blog shows off the new page view with inline images, and even UI for modifying the theme. As well, I think the lack of showing off the new sync features in the SharePoint Workspace 2010 mobile client was a missed opportunity and turned people off by simply only showing one side of the interface without the trained eye looked as it did in 2007. I think it was undersold, and the rest of this post will better explain what’s new and cool.
The Windows Phone 7 does provide a new fancy interface with more of a Zune like feel to it with demos showing off Facebook and Twitter integration including Zune and XBOX live, they are definitely catering to the social crowd and those who are already customers of the other services.
Resources on Windows Phone 7
I’m interested to hear more about what Windows Phone 7 series will bring to the SharePoint story. Of course it will support the Office 2010 Mobile clients including SharePoint Workspace mobile and synchronizing. With the touch improvements in Office 2010, Windows Phone 7 will definitely provide a more complete cohesive experience. There is more to the story than what you see on the surface. Let’s drill down.
Today in 2007 you can simply go to any SharePoint site collection and add /m and it will redirect to the mobile view (it is enabled by default, so if it doesn’t work it might be disabled.) The mobile views are very scaled down views of a SharePoint site. In SharePoint 2010 by default if you browse with either the iPhone or WinMo you’ll be redirected to the mobile version of the pages which are definitely list focused views. With SharePoint 2010 you can simply append ?mobile=1 to any SharePoint page will render the mobile view of that page or list in a non-mobile browser. For example running /m on a blog will take you to the All Posts aspx page in mobile layouts view. http://www.joeloleson.com/_layouts/mobile/bloghome.aspx
Summary of the Various Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 Mobile Experiences
- NEW! Office Web Apps Mobile support for WinMo, iPhone, Blackberry and more… Allows viewing of Office 2010 (non binary formats) documents, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and OneNote in your browser. This capability of Office Web Apps is a service application in SharePoint 2010. The experience is read only for Office Web Apps Mobile, read/write for desktop browser versions of Office Web Apps which is cross browser compatible as well. Consider this the document viewer for cross device access.
- Office Mobile 2010 – Various mobile client applications from Word Mobile 2010, Outlook Mobile 2010, Excel Mobile 2010, PowerPoint Mobile 2010, and OneNote Mobile 2010 (not available in the beta). Office viewing, and mobile editing experience. As well introducing the new… SharePoint client which will get those changes back to the server…
- NEW SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010 – Windows Mobile 6.5 and higher only. Available in the Windows Mobile equivalent of the App store called Marketplace. The beta is apparently already in marketplace and expires Apr 5. Go and get it and tell me how cool it is. Not to be confused with Groove Mobile Workspace for SharePoint which is not for smart phones. Really not a lot of info on the web, trying to find an authoritative source was difficult. I’m sure there will be much more info later... Follow the SharePoint workspace team blog for more info (where a search for ‘mobile’ turns up 0 results currently).
- New SharePoint Mobile Pages and Updated List Views – Built in mobile views, (in layouts) built into any SharePoint site. Support for TONs of devices, I’d say this is the most backward compatible and is even a stretch to say basically all smart phones should be able to browse/read SharePoint in this old school view. Works in iPhone, BlackBerry, and pretty much all phones with various support for browsers. Definitely consider this the WAP interface.
What’s Going on With SharePoint and Mobile?
NEW! SharePoint Workspace Mobile
Take your files on SharePoint offline on your phone with Microsoft SharePoint Workspace Mobile 2010! You can browse document libraries and lists right from your phone. As well you can open, edit and sync documents directly for viewing or editing in the various mobile office apps like Word 2010, Excel 2010, and PowerPoint2010, and sync to SharePoint 2010.
The coolest part is the ability to sync documents and folders to your windows mobile phone (6.5 and higher).
You’ll be impressed with Powerpoint’s 2010 presentation companion where you can advance slides from your phone with your blue tooth enabled phone.
With OneNote 2010 Mobile you can take notes, voice or text on your phone and sync to your Windows 7 PC with WinMo device center. Conversation view in Outlook 2010 mobile will be nice as well as the new company directory based searching UI.
You can actually see in the diagram on the right of SharePoint Workspace 2010 Mobile the icon rich interface with the sync setup on folders and files.
As with the browser and search wars, it aint over till it’s over!
I remember a company meeting a few years ago where Ballmer asked the crowd, does anyone here use google? After explaining how google made money off of every search whether you clicked on the ads or not, and then explaining the advancements in MSN search now Bing.com and asked now who will use google. He then explained that it was an IQ question, and those that raised their hands failed that IQ question.
I explain this analogy because using iPhone the last 2 years has been an IQ question.
Mobile today in SharePoint 2007 compared with SharePoint 2010
As mentioned before there are built in mobile views with WSS 3.0 and SharePoint Server 2007. In fact there’s actually a good explanation of how mobile views work with the blog template vs other templates on MSDN. There is an entire node on Mobile development in SharePoint 2007 and new content for mobile development in SharePoint 2010 Jan Tielens introduces the topic of SharePoint 2007 mobile views in his post SharePoint 2007 on mobile devices.
See the mobile views for yourself. Essentially the easiest way to get at the riches of the mobile views for navigation.
(Feel free to replace my domain name above with any SharePoint domain, and add the path to site collections or sites.)
Not simple enough?
The /m is compatible on both despite what you might hear. Where it takes you depends on the template and can actually be controlled.
Not only do you get a richer look and feel, you can see site further recursive navigation is included, a new filter for locating content in a large list to increase findability.
The scenarios are better served in the mobile experience. While it’s far from perfect, the simple mobile views have been cleaned up and redesigned to focus more on the lightweight browsing experience. You can even imagine the mobile views being used for remote employees to address bandwidth issues when working with SharePoint 2010.
OLD WSS 3.0 Doc Lib vs. SharePoint Foundation 2010
An installation of Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services includes numerous .aspx pages for mobile access that are deployed alongside native site definitions. These pages are located in the following directory: %Program Files%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\TEMPLATE\LAYOUTS\MOBILE For SharePoint Foundation 2010 you can find them: %ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\14\TEMPLATE\LAYOUTS\MOBILE
Development for mobile focuses on creating views of the various SharePoint lists for mobile access. This expands into simplified page views with SharePoint 2010, and the default behavior changes based on the site template. For example this is an example of the Intranet Portal template with the out of the box Contoso portal.
TechNet goes into more detail…
“The body section of a Windows SharePoint Services mobile list view is created through Microsoft ASP.NET mobile controls, but metadata in a supporting SharePoint list schema drives various aspects of the view. A mobile view is a standard SharePoint list view
You can designate a standard list view in a Schema.xml file as a mobile view by setting the MobileView attribute of the View element to TRUE. To specify that the mobile view is the default mobile view, set the MobileDefaultView attribute of the View element to TRUE. The following example shows the opening View element for a standard view that is designated as the default mobile view for a list.”
I was curious after drilling in what are some real world stats on what’s happening today on Windows vs. iPhone. Here’s what I got from my blog between Nov 1, 2009 and Feb 3, 2010. Essentially 1% of all my traffic is mobile and the number is starting to climb.
I’ll be anxious to see how this changes post release of Windows Phone 7.
In conclusion, there’s really a big SharePoint 2010 mobile story that is yet to be told and experienced. While Windows Phone 7 series is likely to leapfrog the iPhone on the office editing experience, the iPhone and Blackberry experience is definitely improved. You can read my confessions on (why I’ve been using iPhone the last couple of years). Very soon, It could be said very soon that the best editing for SharePoint is actually on a Windows mobile device.