HTML5 or Native mobile apps? That is the question.

We love this infographic table from Business Insider Magazine on how to make your mind up about whether to develop/purchase native or HTML5-based mobile applications:

HTML5 vs Native mobile apps infographic

 

Those of you who are familiar with Azurati, will undoubtedly know that our feet are firmly in the HTML5 camp.  We see a great future for HTML5 and enterprise mobile apps and mobile micro-apps.

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Microsoft Office or Skydrive Pro unlikely to come to IOS (or Android) in the near future

apple vs microsoftThose of you who have been patiently putting up with the shortcomings of document editing on your iPads and Nexus tablets while you wait for Microsoft to release a mobile version of Microsoft Office®, will be sorely disappointed by the recent declarations of Steve Balmer and Kurt DelBene, the head of Microsoft’s Office division.

In short, you can forget about Microsoft Office on anything other than a Windows Phone or Windows 8 tablet.  The same goes for the confusingly branded Skydrive Pro, which was announced by Microsoft in 2012 as being the new mobile offline client for Microsoft SharePoint.

If you have not been keeping up to speed with what is becoming something of a saga, Microsoft and Apple are in the middle of a major dispute over the payment of royalty fees to Apple for upgrades or paid subscriptions within in apps that have been downloaded from the IOS App Store for free.  Essentially, Apple is saying that if a developer charges for an app or service relating to an app that was free at the time of download, they want their 30% royalty fee.  This is something that Microsoft has found hard to stomach and so they have (for the foreseeable future) decided to eschew the IOS platform.  [The lack of availability of Microsoft Apps on Google Play is due to other reasons].

Microsoft’s mobile SharePoint plans up in the air?
All of this means that Microsoft’s much lauded SharePoint 2013 mobile functionality with an offline mobile client, is unlikely to see the light of day.  Even Gartner seem to be frustrated by Microsoft’s inability to get their story straight on mobile and had this to say in a recent research note:

“Microsoft hasn’t given much attention to mobility on SharePoint, and there doesn’t seem to be a sense of urgency around it, which is bewildering”

Fear not however, because companies like Azurati have developed solutions that provide cross-platform mobile SharePoint with on and offline working options and the ability to use full Microsoft Office to edit documents, spreadsheets or presentations live on any mobile device.

Azurati doc live edit 2

Figure 1:  Users select ‘edit document’ in SharePoint2Go

Azurati doc live edit 4

Figure 2:  Editing a document in Microsoft Word via SharePoint2Go

Azurati has integrated Microsoft Office Web Apps® into its HTML5 SharePoint2Go® solution, allowing documents stored in Microsoft SharePoint to be edited live and saved back to SharePoint without having to download documents to third party editing applications and then having to upload them back to SharePoint (sometimes with document formatting issues) at a later time.  Its a really neat solution and gives users what they want:  to be able to edit documents in Microsoft Office.

To find out more about Azurati’s SharePoint2Go solution and to arrange a free trial, visit: www.azurati.com/products/sharepoint2go

 

New study shows BYOD growing ever more popular

A new research study by Research and Markets published today shows how Bring your own device (BYOD) initiatives continue to gain momentum in the enterprise.  Bring your own device programs aim to permit personal mobile devices in the workplace to access corporate systems and applications, like email and other enterprise systems.

The Research and Markets BYOD study is based on an extensive survey of enterprise organizations around the world and indicates that as many as 65% of organizations will have adopted some level of BYOD by the end of 2013 and only 11% not having any plans for BYOD in the future.

BYOD has its critics, who highlight security concerns and spiralling costs, with a typical native mobile strategy requiring the purchase or development of applications for each mobile platform and necessitating an additional Mobile Device Management (MDM) infrastructure layer to manage mobile devices and applications.

BYOD – a new way
With the rise of HTML5 as a standard, the costs of developing cross-platform mobile applications are plummeting  but many developers are still publishing HTML5 web applications with native application ‘wrappers’ so that they can be accessed via public or private app stores and installed on mobile devices.

Azurati Mobile Portal - HTML5 Mobile App Container

A new breed of mobile solutions, like Azurati’s Mobile Portal™, an HTML5 application container solution, aims to provide secure BYOD at a fraction of the total cost of providing and managing a native application environment.  Azurati does this by providing a secure mobile portal environment that, when authenticated, provides users with all of their approved corporate mobile web applications in one location; without the need for Mobile Device Management infrastructure layers.   Access to the Azurati Mobile Portal container is granted based on the user’s job function or role, allowing apps to be granted based on personal requirements and access to the Mobile Portal environment can be cut instantly if the employee leaves the business or if the mobile device is misplaced.

To find out more about the Azurati Mobile Portal HTML5 application container solution, visit:  http://www.azurati.com/products/azurati-mobile-portal/ or email info@azurati.com if you would like to talk to Azurati about how you can manage your BYOD programs more efficiently with an HTML5 app container solution, like the Azurati Mobile Portal.

Azurati webinar: Deploying secure HTML5 mobile applications to any mobile device

Friday, January 11, 2013

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Are you considering deploying mobile versions of your enterprise applications, like Microsoft SharePoint or other line of business applications, to your users?

Gartner estimates that by the end of 2014, 70% of companies will have deployed an enterprise mobile or BYOD strategy.

Azurati is a leader in providing secure, cross-platform enterprise mobile applications.  Join this webinar to learn more about how we can help you to deliver on your enterprise mobility strategy.

During the webinar we will talk about:

1. Mobile user authentication and security
2. Mobile-enabling core enterprise systems, like Microsoft SharePoint
3. Developing new HTML5 cross-platform mobile apps faster with Azurati ASAP

Who should attend?
This webinar will appeal to IT professionals, business executives and systems integrators who are looking at deploying secure cross-platform mobile applications to enterprise users.

Title: Deploying secure HTML5 enterprise applications on any mobile device
Date: Wednesday, January 23 2013
Time:     08:00  Los Angeles

11:00  New York

16:00 London

17:00 Paris

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BYOD-ready mobile SharePoint with Azurati SharePoint2Go

Video demonstration of Azurati SharePoint2Go, a secure HTML5 cross-platform mobile SharePoint solution.

Contact Azurati via http://www.azurati.com for more information about how you can deploy mobile SharePoint as part of your enterprise mobile or BYOD strategy.

Nielson Norman announce 10 best Intranets; mobile still lagging behind

Nielson Norman Group, a leading Intranet design and consulting firm, have just published their annual top 10 Intranets study; an annual review of the top 10 corporate intranet sites from companies around the world.

Nielsen Norman’s top 10 best designed intranets for 2013 are:

1. Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. Biotechnology USA
2. American International Group, Inc. Insurance USA
3. AT&T Telecommunications USA
4. Hager Group Manufacturing Germany
5. Luzerner Kantonalbank AG Financial Services Switzerland
6. ONO Telecommunications Spain
7. Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) Governmental Agency Saudi Arabia
8. Swiss Mobiliar Insurance and Pensions Insurance Switzerland
9. WorkSafeBC Workers Compensation Board of British Columbia Canada
10. XL Group Plc Insurance Ireland

Interesting points to note from the report are that, according to Nielsen Norman, over 70% of corporate intranets are built on a Microsoft SharePoint platform, and mainly due to the fact that corporate intranets take a very long time to develop and perfect (an average of 26.5 months or 2.3 years), mobile enablement of corporate intranets is seriously lagging behind other new features, like Social Collaboration.

This means that many corporate intranets are failing to address the needs of a growing number of users who want to be able to access corporate information and knowledge on mobile devices.  Gartner estimates that by the end of 2014, 70% of enterprises will have implemented a BYOD strategy and the corporate intranet is one of the most obvious enterprise resources that should be made available on mobile devices.

The report lists common mobile barriers as being:

  • Security concerns
  • Difficulty of choosing a platform
  • Lack of resources to create and maintain mobile builds
  • Uncertainty about whether to implement a full feature set with a good mobile user experience or an app for particular tasks

Creating mobile SharePoint intranets
As with all things software, there will always be the debate as to whether one should build and develop a bespoke solution, or whether a commercial off-the-shelf solution would make better commercial sense. The same will undoubtedly be the same when you come around to considering mobile-enabling your SharePoint-based intranet.

Azurati SharePoint2Go_compared_with Standard_SharePoint

Our (biased) counsel, would be to refrain from custom development of mobile interfaces with SharePoint.  It is a fairly well known issue that Microsoft has not done a good job with the standard mobile templates that ship with SharePoint.  Even with SharePoint 2013, developers are dissuaded from branding and customising the standard mobile templates that ship with SharePoint.  In addition, new mobile templates need to be developed for each form-factor that is released, which can lead to prohibitive on-going costs of maintenance and support.  That is why solutions like Azurati’s SharePoint2Go solution is able to deliver mobile enabled SharePoint that will work seamlessly on any mobile device in five minutes.

Not only does SharePoint2Go deliver an instant cross-platform mobile solution for SharePoint intranets, it also includes over 15 options to authenticate your mobile users securely; with everything from forms-based authentication to 2-factor built in to SharePoint2Go’s administrator wizards.

SharePoint2Go your way
If your SharePoint intranet is heavily customised with value-adding functions that make your desktop version of your intranet a productive experience (like company news, people finders, document repositories, management dashboards, etc.), SharePoint2Go can be extended by developers to create mobile versions of custom SharePoint web parts – we call them V-Parts.  V-Parts can be designed to be used within the mobile SharePoint interface, or as stand-alone full-screen mobile applications that can operate in offline mode as well as online.

As an HTML5 mobile application that is accessible via the mobile device’s browser, SharePoint2Go will work with feature-parity on any mobile device, no matter what the market throws at you; making it the ideal solution to complement your enterprise mobile or BYOD strategy.

Find out more
If you are looking to mobile-enable your SharePoint intranet and you are looking for a solution that:

  • is built with enterprise security in mind
  • will work on any mobile device or form factor, with feature-parity, and will therefore complement your enterprise mobile or BYOD strategy
  • will not require costly internal development teams to develop and maintain your mobile environment, or costly Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions, get in touch with Azurati.

To find out more about Azurati’s SharePoint2Go solution for mobile-enabling Microsoft SharePoint and to request a free 14 day trial, contact info@azurati.com or visit www.azurati.com.

So, was Facebook wrong about HTML5?

When Mark Zuckerberg publicly dumped HTML5 earlier in 2012, saying that ‘it was not ready’, many in the mobile applications development community sighed in disappointment and frustration; including the folks at Sencha, a mobile development platform provider for HTML5 developers.

So, Sencha decided to prove Facebook wrong by building their own replica HTML5 mobile web version of Facebook, called Fastbook that goes to show that it was not HTML5 per se that had previously caused Facebook’s mobile app speed and response times, but probably more to do with how Facebook had originally used HTML5 in their generation 1 mobile application.

fastbook-hero

“When a team has problems with HTML5, it usually stems from the fact that they take a “website” development approach to building an app, and often don’t use the right tools and architectures for application development. This is what we suspected about the Facebook HTML5 app”, says Jamie Avins of Sencha.

Fastbook is accessed via the mobile device’s browser and is truly impressive.  IOS users can save an application icon/badge to their iPhone/iPad homescreen, so it appears just like other native mobile applications.  It is fast and includes all of the key features of the original Facebook mobile application, but now instantly accessible on all mobile devices and platforms.

Try it for yourself by going to http://fb.html5isready.com/ on your mobile device.

FastBook is a great Showcase of the capabilities of HTML5, showing that you can develop fast, feature-rich mobile applications that will work on a single code-base across different mobile platforms.

HTML5 mobile applications in the enterprise
In the enterprise space, Azurati has been promoting the adoption of HTML5 mobile web applications for some time.  HTML5 applications should be considered by CIOs as a viable alternative to native mobile applications, for certain types of enterprise mobile applications.  For a start, mobile web applications do not require expensive Mobile Device Management (MDM) infrastructures.

However HTML5 web applications that require user authentication in the enterprise space suffer from a common issue and that is that the user either needs to bookmark the mobile app (like a website), or the user needs to remember the URL of the mobile app – if using a non-IOS device.  Azurati has come up with a unique solution to this that we call the Azurati Mobile Portal.

Azurati Mobile Portal for HTML5 mobile applications

Azurati users are able to access enterprise HTML5 mobile web applications securely and conveniently from a single mobile portal interface.  Users authenticate themselves once and can then open verified mobile applications from the Mobile Portal with Single Sign-On, providing a more secure solution for IT and a better user experience for the end user.

For further information on how to use development tools like Sencha Touch to publish HTML5 applications to the Azurati Mobile Portal, visit www.Azurati.com.