Today we are very excited to announce the availability of Mobile Entrée for Office 365 SharePoint. The Mobile Entrée 365 Preview (ME365) is an open 9 month trial of the product installable in Office 365 SharePoint. It is a SharePoint App that you install on your Office 365 Tenancy. Because of limitations in the Microsoft Office App Store, you must side-load the app into your App Catalog.
The Elevator Pitch
Mobile Entrée 365 provides a premium mobile experience to SharePoint in Office 365 with a highly flexible and intuitive platform for mobile collaboration on all popular mobile devices. Documents, discussion boards, tasks, calendar and announcements are just a small sample of content you will have access to just 5 minutes after you install. Spend a few more minutes in Mobile Entrée Configuration and you will be able to brand and customize the experience specific to your business.
Through ME365, you will achieve immediate and intuitive access to content that SharePoint alone does not account for on your mobile devices. Search, Discussions and Calendar, just to name a few, are areas where ME365 will add value without having to do any additional configuration.
Mobile users are generally going to their SharePoint site with a specific need. They need to find that document or address or phone number. What’s the easiest way to allow them to do this? Search, of course. ME365 presents a Search box, prominently, at the top of the home page by default and will leverage SharePoint 2013 Search.
Have you seen the Calendar list view that SharePoint displays by default? Go have a look, we’ll wait… Yeah, it’s not much of a calendar. ME365 provides an actual calendar for calendar views configured in SharePoint. Makes sense right?
Discussion boards are another thing that SharePoint alone won’t support for mobile. ME365 allows you to browse, post and reply in discussions.
This is just the immediate value. Once you get into configuration options, it’s clear that ME365 adds significant value to your existing SharePoint sites. But don’t take our word for it, you have over half a year to try it out for yourself!
Options, Tools, and APIs Oh My!
ME365 uniquely provides you the ability to incrementally build your mobile experience. Most mobile SharePoint products (including Microsoft’s own) are rigid in functionality and customization. SharePoint is one of the most flexible, customizable platforms in the world, why handcuff yourself when it comes to mobile?
Most configuration is optional, however ME365 offers a variety of ways to tailor your mobile experience to your business needs. We’ve drawn on the 5+ years of experience having a mobile product for SharePoint on-prem, designing ME365 to have a smooth progression when it comes to customization.
Consider the following levels of customization:
Level 0 – Configuration Wizard
By simply running the required Configuration Wizard, the first time you run the app, you have tailored the mobile experience to only see the content you have selected. No more Asset Libraries or Microfeed lists. It takes just a couple minutes and you can be done with configuration if this is all you want.
Level 1 – Additional Lists & Views
Navigating to Mobile Entree Configuration (clicking on the app from a full PC/Mac browser), you will be able to select more content (lists/libraries) and also select additional views or change the default mobile view. It is important to note that at this time, views only control filtering and ordering. The view fields are controlled in the editable templates described in Level 5. Levels 2-5 are all performed within this Mobile Entree Configuration page.
Level 2 – Brand & Footer
So you have all the basic content you want showing, what’s next? How about a company brand and copyright footer. These are simply an image URL for the brand and an open html text box for the footer.
Level 3 – Home Screen Customization
Want your Tasks Due Today showing on the home screen? Maybe you want to see all content that you’ve edited in the last 7 days? Hop over to the Home Screen section and you can add content to the home screen based on List content or based on KeywordQuery (search) syntax.
Level 4 – Custom CSS
By now you have a pretty slick looking mobile app with some home screen customization and your company logo, but something just doesn’t look right… Change those colors and fonts with a custom CSS file. We have a handy branding guide that will help get you started on implementing your custom styles https://mobileentree.zendesk.com/entries/22810158-Branding-Guide.
Level 5 – Template Editing
You must be bored by now with all of these simple customization, time to get into some more advanced techniques. All content in ME365 is rendered using JSRender templates and we make most of them available for you to modify. You have a custom GPS location field in your Events list? Want to add a map to the item view based on that field value? Yep, you can do that by going to the Advanced Configuration option in the Event List Configuration dialog. Have a look at our guide to template development https://mobileentree.zendesk.com/entries/22804166-Template-Development-Overview.
Level 6 – Custom Apps
Along with the ME365 App installed in SharePoint, we also provide Visual Studio (2012/2013) extensions that will allow you to add mobile apps (that ME365 will load and run) to your SharePoint Hosted Apps. The code language for development of these apps is TypeScript http://www.typescriptlang.org/. This allows you to build custom mobile apps, using Visual Studio, ME365 Tools and the SharePoint (or any other REST) APIs. Need a quote generator app for your field sales people, yep. Need a checklist app for your mobile technicians, sure. SharePoint Mobile, no compromises, no limits.
ME365 was developed using the Autohosted model. Apps built using this model are not allowed in the app store yet, but we do anticipate them allowing us in at some point in the near future. This preview has a hard expiration of October 31, 2014 and we hope to be in the app store by that time to allow you to purchase and transition over.
Since the new app model was announced, we’ve been working on this new version of Mobile Entree for Office 365. We hope you can take some time to try it out and we’d love to hear from you about what you think!
Head on over to the ME365 Preview Download Page to get started.