Microsoft is focusing heavily on mobility. Just the last 12 months, we have seen significant updates to the capabilities provided out of the box in Office 365 for road warriors who need to work on documents and content.
Microsoft is becoming more open to other platforms and web standards. The openness took a leap after Nadella became CEO when Microsoft released Office for the iPad. Office quickly became one of the most popular apps in the apps store. Also with the Office 365, Microsoft is rapidly rolling out new updates including better support for mobile devices. You are no longer stuck with the feature set you got when you installed SharePoint. A significant number of the updates on the roadmap for Office 365 are mobility features and access from devices.
In this post I summarize my experience with Office 365 using the devices I carry around; my iPhone and my iPad.
Using native Office apps on the iPad
Viewing and editing existing document is a key user story for a road warrior. I can create, open and edit documents on the iPad using the native Office apps. This includes Word, Power Point, Excel and OneNote.
Of course, there are limits to the capabilities of these apps compared to the full-blown PC versions. But I am positively surprised by the experience provided on the iPad.
When starting Word on the iPad, I can open documents from my personal OneDrive, my corporate OneDrive for Business or SharePoint. Often you want to edit documents you are already working on. Office synchronizes recent documents across all your devices so you can quickly continue working on a document.
You can also open documents from team sites. All document libraries in the team site are show and you can open documents from the libraries.
This document was created on the PC as a blog document. I then started Word on the iPad and opened it from the Recent tab. Most of the text in this document was created on the iPad and the picture below was pasted from the iPad. The final touches were done on my PC. For example, I cannot crop pictures in Word for iPad, I had to crop them on the PC.
- Word and Power Point on the iPad works surprisingly well.
- Recent documents are synced across devices and apps. This is very convenient and means you easily get at the files you have been editing on the PC on the iPad or iPhone.
- Frequently used documents can be pinned for easy access.
- SharePoint sites can be added by entering the url of the SharePoint site for easy access to all documents in a team site.
- I can present power points in meetings from my iPad (and even iPhone).
- Sites are not synchronized across devices or across iPad office apps. A nice feature would be if Office for iPad knew what sites I am following.
Touch Design on the iPad
In addition to editing documents, browsing for other information is also important in many scenarios.
Office 365 renders a responsive touch view on mobile devices called Touch Design. The first version of this was released in November 2013. Touch Design is a touch and mobile optimised experience that gives quick access to the various applications in Office 365 such as Outlook, Yammer, Delve, One Drive for Business and Sites.
Clicking Sites lists all sites I am following and promoted sites. From Sites I can navigate to a specific site. For example, in our company we have a prompted site for all the events we run. In the events site there is a team site for each event. I can go the Events promoted site, see all its subsites and go the event site to find content.
If I then navigate to the event site, Office 365 renders the site in a Touch Design view. The screen shot below shows our PzlFriday event site.
Tasks can be edited, see screen shot below.
Documents can be edited in the browser or opened to be edited in the iPad app.
Touch Design was created to allow a fast and accessible experience on touch devices such as smart phones and tablets. Already this is quite powerful. Microsoft has announced more improvements to Touch Design. From the roadmap:
“Office 365 will expand Touch Design features and footprint to cover more of SharePoint Online, plus enhancements to the overall OneDrive for Business mobile Web experience. New features include:- Touch Design for your Team Site homepage- Touch Design for your Sites' document libraries, plus new capabilities for these libraries AND your OneDrive for Business (the ability to sort documents, create documents (Windows tablet and iPad only), create folders & upload files).We continue to invest in the bringing you the best mobile experience across the Office 365 service. Look for more in this area in the future, too, as we expand even further to all sites beyond the main Team Site.”
At the SharePoint Conference 2014 in Las Vegas Microsoft announced Office Video. Office Video was one of the major new announcements at the conference. See Impressions from the SharePoint Conference for other things I learned at SPC.
The SharePoint Conference 2014 took place in Las Vegas March 2-6 2014. The conferences showed that SharePoint is alive and kicking with a vibrant ecosystem around it with more than 10000 attendees from 85 countries and more than 200 exhibitors at the conference.
At the SharePoint Conference 2014 in Las Vegas Microsoft announced Codename Oslo. Codename Oslo was one of the major new announcements at the conference. Codename Oslo combines the new Office Graph (social graph) with the search index and presents information in an attractive user interface.
Computerworld is for the first time arranging an IT conference for the oil&gas sector. The conference, Energy World, takes place in Stavanger on March 1st. With a focus on current and future solutions for oil&gas I am looking forward to participate at the conference. The conference has
We are looking at how to best localize the static content of a packed ASP.NET app. The current idea is to use resource files and satellite assemblies to localize the texts in the web pages.
Long time no see!
We had a user group meeting on Tuesday with 70 people and 3 excellent sessions. We had to start one hour earlier than usual to fit in everyting. The sessions were
- Inge Stubdal talked about his impressions from TechEd with a strong focus on Burton.I can't wait!
- Reidar Husmo talkedabout the experiences in creating the official Norway site based on ASP.NET, Content Management Server and more
- Jon Jaren went deep into SQL Server and how you can tune and montor .NET apps running on SQL Server.
Another great meeting!
Many developers don’t realize that they can do edit and continue (EnC) when developing ASP.NET applications with Visual Studio .NET 2003. And it doesn't matter if you are using Visual Basic .NET or C#. It's pretty close to EnC anyway. And it gets even better in Whidbey.
How? By using attach / detach in Visual Studio 2003.
Say you are deep down debugging a web app and an error occurs on your postback. Now, to fix the bug you don’t have to stop the debugger, you simply go to the debug menu and select Detach all. You can now edit the code, build, and select Debug -> Processes. Check the ‘Show system processes’ checkbox, select the ASP.NET worker process (aspnet_wp.exe) and attach.
You can now hit refresh in the browser and voila, you are back in business without having to start all over again. Note that you don’t have to start out by debugging. I often prefer to start without debugging and attach when I need to.
This gets better in Whidbey since you don’t have to compile the code-behind to a DLL. You don’t even have to detach / attach. With Whidbey, simply
- Start out by debugging
- Edit the code
- Save the file
- Hit refresh
Nice, or what?
At the NNUG/MSDN event I have demoed the return of Edit & Continue in Visual Basic .NET Whidbey. Someone in the audience even said they would not move to .NET before this feature is back (talking to him offline revealed that he was already using .NET).
For me this is mostly an issue with Windows Forms development where you may be deep in an application debugging. Fixing the bug and coming back to the place where the error occurred may take a significant amount of time. Windows Forms apps are not the fastest to start up ;-) and getting back to the same place and state can take a long time.
Since C# probably will not get EnC, maybe VB.NET will be the language of choice for Windows Forms development? Having done some Office integration lately and now working with VB.NET in Whidbey has put VB.NET in a new perspective for me.
The last stop on our NNUG/MSDN tour today, Stavanger. I am sitting here at the venue extending my talk from 45 minutes to 90 minutes because one of the speakers had to stay home (hope you get better soon Trond!). That is no problem; with Whidbey there is just so much to talk about and to show! OK, back to the demos.