5 Popular SharePoint Apps for iPad and iPhone

Written by Ron Charity. Posted in Social & Mobile Workplace

When enabling your mobile workforce, the right applications will ensure user productivity. Consider off the shelf applications for usage scenarios where your staff requires access to SharePoint content.  

A variety of options are available for accessing Microsoft SharePoint on the iPad. Using the native iPad browser provides a surprisingly decent, though not perfect (e.g. can’t upload documents), SharePoint browsing experience. However, this solution is not tested by Microsoft and the Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog explains the cause for incompatibility.

In summary: Apple Safari 4 or higher for a Mac/PC and Safari for the iPhone OS are not the same. Whereas the desktop version of Safari supports content editable attribute, Safari on the iPhone OS does not. The content editable attribute is used by SharePoint and other collaboration products, such as Office Web Apps, to provide a rich editing experience within a supported browser.

For those that require a richer experience and offline support, several apps are available for download from the Apple App Store. For the purposes of this article, I downloaded the full versions of four such products - Colligo Networks Briefcase Pro 3.0.0, Infragistics SharePlus Mobile Client 3.2, Aircreek Filamente SharePoint Client 1.6.7, and Harmon.ie SharePoint Mobile Client 1.2.3 - to my iPad 2 (64GB IOS 5.1.1); no evaluation copies were used. I then evaluated the installation, configuration (to connect to a Microsoft Office 365 team site), and content browsing, viewing, editing, and uploading experience for each product, as well as for the native iPad browser.

The following table summarizes a comparison of the applications conducted while traveling and in the office within North America.


Product Pros & Cons Vendor

Native iPad
browser
Pros:
  • No purchase of additional software necessary
  • Known UI
  • Text input for list items
  • No offline capability (reduced security risks)
Cons:
  • Limited user experience
  • Office Web Application quirks when typing text
  • No offline capability
Bottom Line: Use if offline isn’t required and only browsing is required
Apple

1 (877) 412-7753

Briefcase Pro
version 3.0.0
13.3MB
Pros:
  • Easy to set up for team site
  • Search from anywhere
  • Intuitive UI
  • Rich text editor
Cons:
  • Text editor lacks rich editing
  • Issues uploading items, requiring support help
Bottom Line: Adopt if sync and security are high priority and UI item management is secondary
Colligo Networks

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SharePlus
version 3.2
21.4MB

Pros:
  • Easy to set up for team site
  • Intuitive UI
  • Rich text editor
Cons:
  • Client footprint
Bottom Line: Adopt if UI and item management is priority
Infragistics

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Harmon.ie
version 1.2.3
2.5MB

Pros:
  • Easy to setup for team site
  • Fairly intuitive UI except for upload
Cons:
  • Less-polished UI
  • UI for uploading items not as intuitive as other apps
Bottom Line: Be sure to upgrade at a later time with the release that improves the UI functionality
harmon.ie

Contact Online
1-800-624-6946


Filamente
version 1.6.7
6.4MB

Pros:
  • Easy to set up for team site
  • Intuitive UI
  • Rich text editor
  • Link to Dropbox feature
Cons:
  • Client footprint
Bottom Line: Adopt if UI and item management is priority
Aircreek

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

When testing these SharePoint applications, the following test environment was utilized:

  • Apple iPad 2 64gb IOS 5.1.1
  • Installed productivity applications: Keynote (ver 1.6.1), Numbers (ver 1.6.1) and Pages (ver 1.6.1)
  • Remote storage applications: DropBox (ver 1.5.3) and SkyDrive (ver 2.1)
  • Office 365 small business license: SharePoint Team Site, Office Web Apps
  • Various mobile networks: home, coffee shops, airport and hotel with varying quality and speed
  • A 65MB dataset consisting of 150 items: documents (i.e., Office documents and Adobe PDFs), pictures, blogs, and discussions

Summary

Overall, these products were fairly intuitive, some more polished than others, but they all utilized the native User Interface gestures, such as touch and swipe, which made learning how to use them very easy. These products could also help you reduce cost of ownership longer term.

The mobile professional of today must have access to key applications, information and contacts. All this must be available on mobile devices, especially laptops and smart phones. But most importantly, the culture must be prepared to deal with and support this relatively new way of working. Read this article on how to build a roadmap for mobilizing your workforce from a cultural, office and technology perspective.

Browse all Mobile Solutions for SharePoint

Overall, these products were fairly intuitive, some more polished than others, but they all utilized the native User Interface gestures, such as touch and swipe, which made learning how to use them very easy. These products could also help you reduce cost of ownership longer term.

 

The mobile professional of today must have access to key applications, information and contacts. All this must be available on mobile devices, especially laptops and smart phones. But most importantly, the culture must be prepared to deal with and support this relatively new way of working. Read this article on how to build a roadmap for mobilizing your workforce from a cultural, office and technology perspective.

Ron Charity
Author: Ron CharityWebsite: http://ronjcharity.wordpress.com/
Ron has worked with SharePoint since its Tahoe beginnings and has done a variety of work for clients in different industries and countries. Currently Ron works for a large US bank designing and deploying scalable and versatile SharePoint solutions.

Comments   

 
# Pen 2013-04-23 13:37
Client footprint - can you elaborate on what makes this a "con"?

Thanks

Pen
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# Ron Charity 2013-05-09 08:47
Hi, thanks for the question. I rated foot print as a con because some devices don’t have a lot of memory. Also, some will have a lot of software on the device which could limit their choices. Finally, downloading clients under low bandwidth situations is painful for users.

Question, In rating applications such as this, what other criteria would you recommend?
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