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SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile

Andrew Froehlich, Network Engineer & IT Consultant | 11/27/2012 | 42 comments

Andrew Froehlich
Microsoft is taking Sharepoint 2013 on the road. With a fresh focus on mobile, they are making a strong case for upgrading.

The popular file sharing and collaboration tool has long been a one-stop shop for project managers, software developers, and the sales team. However, as workforces have gotten more mobile, the need to support Sharepoint on smartphones and tablets has increased. At the same time, social networking is changing the way we collaborate.

Sharepoint 2013 integrates social networking features, including the ability to "follow" certain users, and the ability to suggest documents you might be interested in based on your document history.

In order to accomplish this goal, they addressed deficiencies when it comes to mobility. With Sharepoint 2010, if you want mobile access, you have two options -- use a mobile browser or purchase third-party apps.

There are many complaints with mobile Web browser access for SharePoint 2010. There are browser compatibility problems, and sites are rendered in a very antiquated, clunky mobile format. It's just not a mobile platform that you want to use on a regular basis. The only mobile OS that works well with SharePoint 2010 is Windows Phone 7 -- but since the market share for these phones is so low, it's almost a moot point.

Third-party apps available for iOS and Android help, but they lack consistency across the different apps and mobile operating systems so they are a nightmare to support.

With Sharepoint 2013, it seems like Microsoft is on the right path. For one, the SharePoint team is ramping up efforts to make the mobile browser experience much more enjoyable. According to Microsoft's Website: "SharePoint Server 2013 offers improvements to the mobile browser experience with the introduction of a new contemporary view."

Even more importantly, Microsoft is finally getting around to making native apps for smartphones and tablets. It's well known that native apps are preferred by most users, and I believe that the addition of native apps will really take off within the enterprise and bring SharePoint social networking use to a whole new level. Even though Microsoft seems to be working on Windows Phone and iOS versions of native apps, it's probably only a matter of time before an Android app becomes available.

If you're considering a business collaboration tool or are looking to upgrade from SharePoint 2010, it looks as if there are a number of features that justify using the 2013 update. The new upgrades to social networking will certainly make it more functional. But the focus on mobility will really make your teams far more productive in and out of the office.

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tjgkg   SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile   7/1/2013 10:34:25 AM
Re: It's about time
I've wondered that myself. My teenage girls hate the GUI and find it difficult to use. Business people can't stand it. I am wondering if MS actually conducted focus groups and usability studies before deciding on this direction. My guess is they did not. That reflects upon the hubris of Microsoft.
SaneIT   SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile   6/10/2013 7:44:10 AM
Re: It's about time
It makes you wonder why they decided to go with that as a UI design.  I've had so many people complain to me about things like their HDTV cutting off the picture when it's hooked up to their cable box that I can't imagine someone looking at the tiles hanging off the screen and think "wow that's cool".
tjgkg   SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile   6/7/2013 4:34:59 PM
Re: It's about time
A very apt analogy. And now MS has listened because 8.1 is coming out. I saw some screen shots and it looks better. But I will shell out money and get a Mac Book Pro before I touch Win8.
SaneIT   SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile   5/3/2013 7:53:41 AM
Re: It's about time
Yes Win8 feels "unfinished" to me especially when accessing the control panel applications.  Quite a few times I was looking at the pane and thinking, where are the rest of the settings that should be here.  Then I saw a thin line of white and realize that there was more of the panel that was shoved off screen.  To me it feels like the old days of CRTs that would display as much of the signal as possible but you'd have windows running off the monitor if you didn't adjust the horizontal and vertical sizing.
tjgkg   SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile   5/2/2013 9:13:13 AM
Re: It's about time
That's for sure. It is a very frustrating GUI for use on a non touchscreen PC. As for the phone UI, I don't know anyone using Win8 on the phone. So far you are the only person I have heard from who has experience with it and feedback from the users. I agree with you that the GUI looks shoddy (on a PC) and it can be slow. But if the users are happy with it, great. That is one less thing for you to worry about!
SaneIT   SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile   4/8/2013 7:24:50 AM
Re: It's about time
The people I know with Windows Phones actually like the UI.  I think it looks unfinished and the tiles hanging off the screen just look shoddy to me.  I guess I don't have to like their phone as long as they like it though.  The people I talked to who have the phone are either used to the UI or they really did enjoy it from the beginning because none of them had a bad thing to say about the UI.  I do suspect that would change if they tried to use it on a desktop.
TJGUK   SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile   4/7/2013 1:15:20 AM
Re: It's about time
I'm glad they recognize the reality of the situation. I just wish they would fix Win8 and make it recognize when it is being used on a non touch device so that the GUI could revert to the Win7 format. But for phones, I cannot see Win8 being very good. The interface is really busy and not intuitive at all. It's just plain ugly.
p_1790   SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile   3/22/2013 2:41:40 AM
how to get contemprory mobile view
hi , i have created site in sharepoint 2013 and want to access from ipad which support ios 6 version but when i am using mobile view then it gives me classic view not contemprory please suggest ho w i get the contemprory view
SaneIT   SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile   3/6/2013 8:41:33 AM
Re: It's about time
Yesterday I sat down with my inside rep at Microsoft.  One of the questions he asked was "do you have any Windows phones".  He didn't look surprised at all that we haven't bought or deployed any Windows phones.  He did a lot of talking about Win 8 on his tablet and moving to Win 8 on the desktop from a consumer standpoint but I think Microsoft itself has accepted that Windows phone is going to continue struggling.
TJGUK   SharePoint 2013 Goes Mobile   3/5/2013 2:29:43 PM
Re: It's about time
I have seen the Win8 phone marketing and you are right it has failed. The new BB is pretty cool but I fear it is too little too late. Why couldn't they come up with this 4 years ago when all they could do is produce the Storm?
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