SharePlus Lite for iOS Review


SharePlusLite Splash Screen

SharePlus for iOS is available in three variants: Lite, Pro and Enterprise. I don’t have access to the Enterprise version of the product so will focus only on the Lite and Pro versions within my posts.

SharePlus is now owned by Infragistics and there are also versions of the application available for Mac, Playbook, Android and Windows 7 (coming soon).

The web site for the iOS version of the product is here: http://www.sharepointoniphone.com/.

This article is specifically on the Lite version aka the free version. This post is based on version 2.9.8 which is in the App store as at 5th March 2012. The review is done on an iPad running iOS 5.0.1. Features available within the Lite version are shown in the table below:

SharePlus Features

SharePlus Features

Global settings are configured within the application by tapping on the cog next to the “Go Pro!” button.

SharePlus Lite Settings

SharePlus Lite Settings

From here you can:

  • Change the number of seconds before connections time out (minimum 15 secs)
  • Tap help to access information on new features and how to configure a connection (shown within the application)
  • Browse FAQ (launches Safari and requires internet access)
  • Tap to email feedback and feature request information
  • Tap to read the about us (shown within the application)

Setting up a new site is simple and straightforward. Tap the + symbol in the top left corner brings up the Add Site panel:

SharePlus Add Site

SharePlus Add Site

As the screen shot above shows, you can configure a site by entering the site name and URL and then completing the authentication details. The application supports a number of different authentication modes as shown, just tap to select the one required.

A client certificate can also be used with the application as an extra layer of security. Toggle the slider for this option to On and provide a .p12 certificate file (uploaded via iTunes) and the password. In the testing I’ve done with the application, I have not used this option.

Once you have set up your sites you can edit, reorder or delete them  easily. Tapping the Edit button in the Home area allows you this access:

SharePlus Sites Editing

SharePlus Sites Editing

NOTE: Tapping and dragging your finger to the left or right on a site name also provides the facility to delete a site without going into edit mode.

When you tap the site you wish to enter, you get a clean, clear view of your site content. Whilst this UI is good, I’d personally prefer to see a differentiation between list and library in the same way as Colligo Briefcase.

The screen shots I’ve included here show the application used in landscape mode but the application also works well in portrait mode with the site structure hidden by default and exposed by tapping the Navigator button.

SharePlus Lite Office 365 Site

SharePlus Lite Office 365 Site

Selecting the Shared Documents library, the content is displayed. Any views configured in the library that are present within the SharePoint site are also brought locally to the iOS client and can be applied.

There is also the ability to apply additional local configuration by tapping the settings in the bottom right hand corner. Using this option you can move columns into the Group By or Sort By areas and also change the order from ascending to descending by tapping the icon:

SharePlus Lite Group By and Sort By

SharePlus Lite Group By and Sort By

The application allows the ability to search separately at both a site level and at content level. Similarly, application content can be refreshed at either a site level or within a selected library/list.

In the Lite version, tapping on content takes you to the detail for the content. From here, you must tap the icon to preview the content. The Pro version provides an option to skip this phase and proceed direct to the preview.

Preview of items within Shared Documents provides the native iOS preview of content. There are options to copy the item URL, email the item URL, email the item or print (if you have an AirPrint device).

There is an Edit option that will allow you to open content in other applications. There is a quick option offering you one application or you can use the “Open In…” option to select from a list of installed applications.

For list items (read only in Lite version):

Announcements can be viewed within the application although I found this area had some truncation in the display of the message content. There is an option to view the body of the announcement via a link saying “html content” however tapping this lead to a window that never loaded any content. This window didn’t timeout based on the limit defined within settings.

Calendar worked well but only allows limited functionality in relation to presentation of events. The calendar event I used was linked to a meeting workspace and whilst the application showed that there was a workspace for the event, there was no option to navigate there from within the event entry.

Tasks can be accessed within the application. From a usability perspective, it would be nice if the description field could be more accessible in place of the small window that currently comes up that can be scrolled through.

Team Discussion is also supported within the Lite application and gives a good preview of functionality that would be more advanced in the Pro version where mobile users will be able to edit content. As with the announcement list, tapping to access the body of a discussion results in a window that does not load content nor does it time out.

Summary

Similar to my review for Colligo Briefcase, for a free client this is very impressive and will certainly help give an understanding of what to expect then moving to the Pro version.

Definitely worth a try if you are looking for a SharePoint client on iOS.

I look forward to seeing this application hit v3 and further refinements to the UX!

Pro:

  • Good user interface design
  • Very strong showing for free client – a good showcase that should encourage users to upgrade to Pro or Enterprise
  • Easy to configure and use – no need to read manual
  • Pulls down views from SharePoint site so available locally
  • Ability to apply sorting and grouping of content
  • Good search options

Cons:

  • Doesn’t currently support .msg file type although will be supported in v3
  • Couple of minor UX issues prevent access to some content e.g. announcements and discussion
  • Would be good if calendar event could include link to workspace to cut down on navigation and improve UX
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About enigmaticit

Husband, father and acting IT Systems Analyst with keen interest in SharePoint, Lync 2010 and iOS.

Posted on 05/03/2012, in iOS, iPad, iPhone, Mobility, SharePlus and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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