Iwrote a couple of articles about the integration between the iPad and SharePoint. This integration was based on the use of applications such as SharePlus and Documents to Go. I like to call them interface applications from now on.
In this article I want to show you what you can expect, functionality wise, without the use of these applications. This is not some shameless advertisement for these two applications, there are many out there in the market with similar functionalities, but just to give you an overview how out-of-the-box iPad works with SharePoint.
I want to start with the end user experience of working with Office documents. I click on a Word document and the following screen appears:
The Word document opens but immediately a message appears that it is recommend installing Microsoft Silverlight…that sounds great! Only the iPad can’t install Silverlight… I can still view the content of the document, it looks fine. The only difference is that with the other browsers (IE, Firefox, and Chrome) you browse the pages of the document from top to bottom. The iPad only allows you to use the next and previous buttons.
How does this compare to the interface apps? I checked SharePlus and the lay-out of the document is not the same:
The lay-out of the tables is totally messed up. Trying to edit a Word document with the Office Web Apps is a total disaster. You can press your finger at any spot of the screen you want but no keyboard appears to edit or add some text. You really have to use the interface apps for this.
Let’s try to open and edit a PowerPoint presentation. Again, this does not work great. You have to press the next and previous buttons. Another problem you will face is the Notes hyperlink next to the forward button. You need to have tiny fingers not to touch Notes. So scrolling through a presentation is an annoying experience. Unfortunately is editing a PowerPoint presentation the same experience as the Word document. No matter what I do the keyboard does not appear.
No luck so far. Let´s move on to Excel. I open the Excel spread sheet in the browser but I cannot move lower than the last visible row. I have more luck adding text! No problems here. I can add text to cells and format it a little bit (for example changing the colour).
I am getting a bit disappointment now, one more shot. How does OneNote hold up? Not really good either. The browsing works fine but there is possibility to edit anything.
My findings tell me that for now we have to keep using the interface apps. At least I can view documents properly and edit them. I think this is mainly because of not being able to install Silverlight so the Office Web Apps don’t function. The iPad Safari browser seems to cause some compatibility issues as well.
In a follow up blog post I will test some other basis functionalities such as browsing through sites and adding/editing SharePoint items.