One of the few downsides of working closely with SharePoint, and being part of the Microsoft stack, is having to deal with an office full of iPhone fanboys. Being one of the few (OK, maybe the only one) in the office that does not own an iPhone, it’s a pain in the neck to have to put up with coworkers who “pinch” their mobile phone during meetings.
So, I was one of the first brave souls to get the new HTC Surround that runs the shiny new Windows Phone 7 Mobile OS. Frankly, I wasn’t sure what to expect since the press coverage ranges from “it’s an iPhone killer…” to “it just sucks…” I really wanted to check out how the new Microsoft SharePoint Workspace Mobile works with our internal portal.
SharePoint Workspace Mobile (previously called Office Grove) is part of Office Mobile, which is part of the standard WP7 that includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. SharePoint Workspace provides a personal synchronized copy of a SharePoint site on your mobile phone. You basically connect to SharePoint 2010 sites via their URL, and then you can:
- Open, edit, and save Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote files.
- Browse SharePoint 2010 sites.
- Bring the files offline to your mobile phone, edit, and then check back in at a later time.
So, let’s take a tour. You can get to the Workspace opening the Office application on the phone:
You enter a URL to your SharePoint 2010 site, either to a site, or directly to a List or Document Library within a site:
The site contents will be listed on the phone:
Open the library to see its content:
You can step into Document Sets and folders:
Click on a document to view and/or edit:
The rendering of Word and Excel is quick and nice. Simple editing of documents are pretty straightforward and are easily accomplished on the phone.
The good news is that once you have accessed a List, Document Library, or document, the files and URLs are stored on your phone so that you can quickly open them the next time you need them, without having to search or browse again.
Now, for the bad news:
- Editing List items is not possible through my initial review.
- The really bad news is that I can’t open the SSL extranet site of our website. This version does not support Windows NTLM authentication. What a bummer! The whole point of having a mobile device is to be, well, mobile… and not being able to access your secured portal site is just, well, a failure of sizable proportions. To be fair, you can access your SSL site via the browser as the message indicates. It should also work with a Forms-based authentication site, and secured sites that use Forefront Unified Access Gateway, which I was not able to test.
Dealing with SharePoint information via the mobile phone is much easier and quicker than before. I like the built-in support for Office documents and SharePoint lists. It will certainly increase productivity, especially during those all-hands meetings. As of right now, you will end up using the browser to login and perform some of the necessary tasks, but browsing, viewing, and editing Office documents are good to go using the Workspace.
By the way, the rest of the Windows Phone 7 OS is very easy to use, intuitive, and smooth. It is very appealing on the HTC Surround handset. Caught between being a device for consumers and corporate users, there are obviously improvements needed to become an essential collaboration device. If you are thinking about using the current release, beware of these shortcomings:
- You cannot sync directly to an Outlook Calendar. It has to be done through Exchange, Hotmail, or Google.
- There are no tasks on WP7. What’s up with that?
- Boy, do I miss the Copy and Paste function.
Overall, it’s not perfect, but actually quite a pleasant surprise for a release 1 from Microsoft.
Now, excuse me while I go wave my new phone in front of the iPhone gang…
re: A Tour of SharePoint 2010 on Windows Phone 7
Just thought I would add that Forefront UAG and forms based auth seem to work fine on the browser. Also I had no issues editing list items from the browser. It was rather slow loading a SharePoint 2010 site with UAG through the browser over 3G. But it did work.
re: A Tour of SharePoint 2010 on Windows Phone 7
Thank you for your comment and clarification on the authentication through UAG. I should make it clearer in the article that editing items via the Mobile Workspace is not possible.
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