SharePlus Pro v3 Review
The application has primarily been used with an Office 365 site but I also connected to a SharePoint 2007 site. The review is based on v3.0.15 and is has been carried out on an iPad 2 running iOS 5.1.
I’ve completed a review of the Lite version before so will not cover off basics that are within that article. Instead, this will focus on improvements that have been made available in v3 and the Pro features that are not available within the Lite version.
The settings for the application can be accessed by tapping on the cog in the bottom left area of the application. The Pro version has a larger range of settings than the Lite:
The Pro version offers a new Passcode Lock facility that can be switched on. With this active, you must enter the Passcode to unlock the application every time you switch away from it.
Whilst I understand the concept of providing options to disable the Auto-Lock feature, I’m not sure that this benefits the security aspects of the feature. If a user chooses to enable some of these features they are in my eyes leaving content on the device open to compromise.
For me personally, I would prefer not to see an option to disable Auto-Lock. I much prefer the Colligo Briefcase implementation of changing the timeframe that any lock will occur in. I would also like to see this application adopt a similar security feature like Colligo Briefcase that will result in the application data being wiped if the passcode is entered incorrectly too many times.
Tapping on the Help section provides access to another screen where there is information that outlines the new features, how to work offline with this application and how to edit offline:
Tapping on FAQ switches to Safari and loads http://southlabs.com/shareplus-faq.aspx
Not shown above is a Feedback & feature request (creates email) and About Us which brings up information on the version and details about Infragistics.
Tapping on Advanced Settings shows further configuration options:
You cannot change the User-Agent. Tapping this field will show more information. In my instance this was: “SharePlus 3.0 (iPad; iPhone OS 5.1; en_AU)”
Tapping on the SSL Level, you can change the value from the default of Negotiated to:
- TLS v1
- TLS v2
- TLS v3
You have the option to amend the Idle Time value before a Sync will stop and you have the option to switch on a Technical Log which will be visible in the Local Files area.
Adding a site is straightforward: Tap the + symbol in the top left then enter the name and URL of the site. Select the authentication method and if required, configure the account.
A new feature of this release is the option to Test Connection as shown above. I’m not sure why, but this option disappears based on the authentication mode selected. If I choose Office 365 or Web Login, this option disappears when I believe it should remain present – it can still be used to verify that the site URL is valid.
When a site has been added, you can tap and hold on it to reveal options:
- Edit settings will allow you to amend settings for the configured connection
- Clear Credentials Cache will clear any stored login information and will force an authentication request (for Office 365) the next time you access the site
- View in Web will display the site within the SharePlus Pro application but use Mobile Safari to render the site
New v3 Features
The key features that are promoted for the Pro version are:
SharePlus Pro supports the addition, edit and removal of items within a site. Within the example below, there are two items that have been edited and one marked for deletion:
There is an indicator in the bottom right hand corner that shows all changes. Tapping on this, you can access a screen showing all the changes:
From this area, you can view details of the updates, further edit the item or remove the update so that it is not written back to the site.
The v3 version of the application also introduces a Rich Text Editor that can be used to edit content.
In the controls at the bottom (excluding the obvious):
- F can be used to select from a number of Fonts including Arial, Courier, Helvetica, Times New Roman and Verdana
- The area shown as A 3 A above allow you to decrease and increase selected text size by tapping on the letter. The left A decrease the size (and number) and the right A increases (to a maximum of 7)
- The image icon allows you to either Take Photo, insert from Photo Albums or insert from Local Files
In the top right corner, there is option to tap and select an HTML view of the content. Within this feature there is only the option to insert a photo which doesn’t appear to work as well as that in the Rich Text Editor:
SharePlus Pro supports check in/check out and also approve/reject functionality if enabled within the site. Content can also be edited within the application using the View in Web feature (subject to site permissions and availability of Office Web Apps).
Tap and hold on the content icon and you will be presented with one menu of options:
Tap and hold on the other area for the item of content, you will receive a different menu of options:
This took a little getting used to but once you know there are different menus based on where you tap it is better. Ideally, I’d like to see one tap result in an aggregated menu of options but this may not be possible with the size of the menu.
On occasion when working in Airplane mode, I ran into a few issues with opening content. For a large number of items I got the issue below even though I had set content for background sync:
The work around this issue was to go back online and access each item of content then go offline again.
V3 introduces support for email file types so that they can be opened within the application:
Opening an email you can see the details of the email. Any attachments can be viewed by tapping on the link.
Tapping the arrow at the top left presents a number of options:
- Copy URL
- Email URL
- Email Document
- Copy to Local Files
- Reply All
Tapping Edit results in an error as the application does not have the ability to edit this type of content:
Automatic Sync and Offline Support
There is no offline support in the Lite version so you could only use that version of the application if you have an internet connection. The Pro version enables synchronisation to make content available offline e.g. when on a plane.
Unlike Colligo Briefcase, this option appears to be off by default and there is no option provided to enable as part of a site setup. Once the site has been setup, I needed to go through each list and library and configure individually.
Turning Offline Support on for the list, you then have configuration options:
Sync Mode can be set to either:
- Browsed – Sync only what has been looked at online
- Background – Sync all content as a background process
Only WiFi allows you to control any data transfer so it only happens via Wi-Fi to avoid any large data bills.
The list of features and options here is great; however, I personally found it frustrating that there is no default for the Sync Mode or Sync List View. Without these being set, the user will see two errors that I feel would not be necessary if say Mode defaulted to Browsed and List View defaulted to All Documents in the case of a Document Library.
I would personally prefer a default set for these fields to avoid presenting an error.
It doesn’t appear possible to make an entire site available offline in one go, the option only appears to exist at a list or library level. I would like to see an option where settings can be applied quickly to a number of lists and libraries.
A new feature of v3 is Media Recording. Within Local Files, you can capture new audio, photo or video or add from existing Photo Albums on the device:
Tapping Record Audio will bring up the option to start recording audio as shown below:
The gray line appears to indicate volume for the recording. There are options to pause and stop recording along with the ability to playback after stopping. If the recording is saved, it is stored in Local Files in the Core Audio Format (.caf)
This area of the application has seen some improvements over the previous version and incorporates the fix to ensure that a user cannot login with cached credentials or access cached information.
As detailed above, the Passcode Lock feature has been introduced. All data stored locally on the iOS device is also encrypted using Apple’s Data Protection guidelines.
Some other features that are available include the ability to Clear Credentials Cache:
There is also the feature to select what information is removed when a site is deleted:
And there are prompts when you delete an account:
This feature can be used by tapping on the Wi-Fi icon at the bottom of the screen. Use the slider to switch the feature on and off. Tapping Close in the top right corner will close this feature and switch off the File Sharing:
The port number generated is random and changes as the feature is activated and deactivated.
Browsing the URL that becomes active, you can view a web page of the local content on the iOS device running SharePlus Wi-Fi Sharing:
As shown above, in addition to downloading files that are on the iOS device, it is possible to choose a file to upload into SharePlus.
The website becomes inactive if you switch applications or if the iPad is locked. When you reopen the application, this feature is off which is great from a security perspective.
Local Files Management
This feature allows you to work on items that have either been moved/copied from a SharePoint site so that they are local on the device or have been added to the device via the Wi-Fi feature shown above.
The above screen shows the options available after tapping on Edit. You can tap next to an item to select them and the Open button at the bottom can then be used to view in a browser (tabbed if multiple selected).
Select All/Deselect All is self-explanatory as is Delete.
Move will only be available when you have a folder created within the Local Files area.
Compress allows you to produce a zip file of the selected files. The application appears to support zip files natively and will prompt to confirm extraction. Files extracted from a zip will be placed in a folder based on the name of the zip file.
An extremely good client with a large amount of features and functionality. Part of the reason this review took longer than usual to complete is looking into these features to provide a thorough and hopefully informative review.
The application still has some areas that could be improved in my opinion; mainly refinements to improve user experience. I would anticipate that these will be addressed as Infragistics iterate through application development.
I would certainly recommend other people purchasing this application. I bought this myself last year and have been very impressed with it. In my opinion it is money well spent for an iOS App!
- A large amount of features for the price
- Integration with Office Web Apps for editing and using web to view content
- Security improvements over previous version
- Offline capabilities
- Support for email
- Local file management, sharing via Wi-Fi and compression support
- I would prefer to see the option to turn off auto lock removed to improve security and be on a par with Colligo Briefcase
- I would like to see improvements in the way that settings are applied for offline sync
Posted on 14/04/2012, in iOS, iPad, iPhone, SharePlus, SharePoint and tagged Infragistics, iOS, ios version, iPad, Mobile, SharePlus, shareplus ipad review, SharePlus Pro, SharePlus Pro Review, SharePlus Pro v3 Review, Southlabs, technology. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.