SharePoint on My iPad

clip_image002This is part-2 of a short series that I began on my AIIM blog on Tuesday. In that post, I described how we worked around the fact that Datasheet views don’t work on an iPad by using some of that middle-tier magic Marc Anderson got us addicted to back in June. That solution is looking very good, and when we unveil it on Monday, I think we are going to have some happy users. The other problem we have been trying to solve is how to edit documents on an iPad, documents that we store on SharePoint. If we can solve these two problems, the people who have iPads tell me that they can then travel without their laptops. They also tell me that is something they want to be able to do. My choice is between being the guy who makes that wish come true or the guy who owns the reason it can’t come true.

In my previous posts regarding documents and iPads, I’ve gotten comments from the folks who developed SharePlus; it’s a good product, but my complaint was that it was setting up a 2-cushion bank shot between SharePoint, SharePlus and DocumentsToGo (and I rarely make those). In what I thought was going to be an unrelated story, I was also trying to get my iPad working with personal documents I store on Box.net. When I wanted to edit a document on my iPad, Box suggested that I could use Office2 HD. Not only does Office2 HD work with Box.net, it works with SharePlus. In fact, it made editing a SharePoint-based document a basic bank shot (and I can make those once in a while). The process for document creation is:

Create new document in Office2 HD
Save it to SharePlus
Open SharePlus
Save the document to SharePoint

That’s not bad! Editing a document is a little more tricky, as you have to move it from SharePoint to SharePlus’ local store first and then do the edit, save back to SharePlus and upload thing, but the process works and we were able to train one of our more technically adept users how to do it. The thing I like about this solution is, even though it is a slightly complex effort; there aren’t that many moving parts, and they are pretty cool parts. SharePlus provides a good–looking, intuitive interface to SharePoint that is consistent with the iOS user experience. Office2 HD is a sweet Office editing product whose only drawback is the inability to work with pptx files. Box.net is a safe and reliable platform for content management and I am happy to recommend it to my users for storing personal files. One editor, and our users can work on personal and business documents on their iPad, and they can easily hook up to those files from their home and office computers. As they say on TV, “But Wait, there’s More!”

My Systems Admin realized that Office2 HD works with storage locations that support WebDav. Within a few minutes, he had Office2 HD working directly with our SharePoint 2007 Internet-facing server. Unfortunately, there are some challenges to getting WebDav to work properly on SharePoint 2010 and IIS 7, but I’m sure he will crack those. This makes creating and editing SharePoint documents on the iPad as easy as a straight shot into the corner pocket. With Office2 HD for documents, SharePlus for lists, and custom middle-tier solutions for everything in between, we will be in great shape.

Since February 2010, I’ve gone from “No iPad for Me” to “Why I Bought an iPad” to the recent litany of posts complaining about how Microsoft just doesn’t get it. Today, I have a working ensemble solution and I am convinced it will only get better. Instead of waiting for Microsoft to make their software work, I’m thinking “Microsoft is going to have to deliver something stunning to pull me away from these products” – that’s the power of the market for iOS apps.

Our impending success is due to more than the Apple marketplace. The companies behind these products are building great solutions. The SharePoint, iOS and ECM communities have provided access to countless individuals who share their experience and expertise through blogs and forums. While I am spreading the credit, I want to recognize the members of my team. I am fortunate to have a Systems Analyst who is driven to give our users the best possible user experience we can provide. I reference our Systems Admin often in this blog, but it’s hard to quantify how much he brings to the table – these guys, rock!

16 thoughts on “SharePoint on My iPad

  1. Thanks for the heads up on office2 HD, I will give that a try. I've been using Box.net for few months now and I also echo you toughts on the solution. Good stuff Dan

  2. Thanks Mark.DocstoGo works, but I like Office2HD better, even though it only works on older style ppt files. Most of our travelers are concerned about Word docs and Excel and it works fin on new versions. If we crack the WebDav issue, this will be one-touch sweet.D

  3. We have not yet cracked the webdav issue. I hope that is because we have been busy with other aspects and haven't really focused on that. On the other hand, the preliminary readding I have done doesn't sound promising.

  4. When I wrote this blog entry, there was a way to identify Office HD as a service that could be accessed by SharePlus. Once I completed that step, the “Open In” option in Office HD showed SharePlus as a service you could use.I don’t know whether it is related to Office HD upgrades, SharePlus upgrades or iOS 5, but that option appears to be missing now.I am going to contact tech-support at both vendors to see what might be going on.

  5. Great News!Last night, I checked my iPad's App Store and saw that Office HD2 had released an update that specifically addressed the issue in the above two comments. The latest version, 4.0.4 says that it "fixed the Open In option in iOS 5" – I downloaded that version and once again, I am able to save New documents created in Office HD into SharePlus!

  6. I said in this post that I was convinced that SharePoint iPad access would get better. Well, it'snot quite a year later, and we have a new entrant to the iPad/SharePoint market – Harmon.ieWe use Harmon.ie for Outlook in the office, our users love it, and the reaction to the Harmon.ie app is very positive. SharePlus is still on the approved app list, but Harmon.ie's integration with email is giving it an edge today. http://www.sharepointstories.com/2012/05/sharepoint-ipad-comfort.html

  7. For those of you looking for a cross-platform/device mobile SharePoint solution for enterprise users, you might want to check out SharePoint2Go from Azurati (www.azurati.com)

  8. HiIn Office2 HD, I can't seem to find SharePlus in the 'open in' menu.I've got the latest Office2 app and latest SharePlus Lite app.But can't get these two apps to work together. Could anyone offer any help.Thanks

  9. The best I can say is that this has happened before (see previous comments on this post). HD has released versions where they seem to break this feature and then they have released new versions that specifically fix that feature. I would contact their tech-support because I doubt they wanted to remove this feature.

  10. I’m using AVEpoint to synchronise with windows shares, which replicates the folders and documents to SharePoint. So people in the office work in windows shares as they normally do. Then I’m using Shareplus to access the folders on SharePoint via IPADs and using Apple Products (Pages) to edit them.

    Seems to work well.

    Office HD I couldn’t figure out how to save back to Shareplus.

    • Lee, it sometimes takes me a while to find the option to save back to SharePlus or any of the other sharePoint access apps on my iPad. It does work, but if I don’t use it often, I tend to forget. I’ll try and add some screen shots, but it sounds like you have a working solution for now. Thanks for reading.

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