Coming soon: SharePointFabian Blog Mobile App 1

What’s my Motivation?

So, we can all agree that as each passing day goes by, our technology spigot comes to us via a mobile device [iDevice, Android Device, Microsoft Mobile Device, etc], so with that in mind I wanted to (1) start creating Mobile Apps (2) Learn how to do the first objective via creating my first Mobile App to showcase my Blog.

What was my approach

When taking on a new challenge, especially one where you are totally unmatched i.e. low to no prior knowledge on the specifics, then you use what you know to support what you don’t know. What do i mean by that? well in my case, I know C#, ASP.NET, MVC, so I try to use that as an approach to bridge getting a Mobile App created. Now, I will also say that recently I started to dive deep into HTML5, CSS and JavaScript as a way to also master SharePoint’s evolution into more Client Side Development, thank God, because that knowledge of JavaScript really panned out, I could whip out JS quite easily in my MVC code.

So, to wrap up this section, I talked to folks who have done this before from the SharePoint Community, and I bounced my App that I already built in HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript off them and they all said the same thing, “…its functional, but its ugly…” or words to the same effect.  Bart @Bart_tubalinal Tubalinal suggested that just take my HTML5/CSS/JS files and use a tool called PhoneGap (now called Cordova) to make it a Native App that can be consumed by IOS, Android and WindowsPhone. Now, that sounded like a great Idea, until i realized that PhoneGap didn’t give me an easy way to make my solution look petty i.e. I still needed to “sexy it up” So I spoke to Chris @LoungeFlyz Johnson (CJ) and asked his advice, after all he has this awesome App “My Trips” that plugs into TripIt’s API and allows you to well… take a look here in the marketplace for more detail. Well he turned me on to Sencha Touch 2 (@sencha) which takes ‘functional’ developers like me and puts some nice themes, buttons, panels, etc, in front of my code, then use PhoneGap to wrap it.

NB: I will do a separate blog on that journey of how to take a HTML5/CSS/JS App port it into a Sencha Touch 2 App then port that to a PhoneGap Solution then package that to the Microsoft Marketplace

So, that is/was my approach

Where is the App Now?

So the App is in the Validation phase of the Microsoft Marketplace and it is set to Publish Automatically, as soon as it does, I will tweet it. Mind you this is my first attempt 🙂 and ITS FREE, so you are getting exactly what you pay for LOL, nah JK, its pretty good for a first attempt.

for now, here is it working in a short demo video: SharePointFabian Blog Mobile App

and in the browser its just plain old MVC with JavaScript


What’s Next

So what am I going to do with this new fountain of budding knowledge? Well, I am going to first begin by tackling some stuff in SharePoint that not only will satisfy “DemoWare” solutions but should have some meaningful impact as well, for instance

  1. Visually Navigate Easily (icons, line graphs, actions) Workflows from a SharePoint Library using CSOM, REST and OData to adjudicate them without going into SharePoint by using Push Notifications
  2. and more stuff, i cant just put all my ideas out there can i 🙂 ?

Outside of SharePoint I do have my @TunnelViz App that I will be refactoring next since its already developed in HTML5/CSS/JS and that will be out soon. But expect some SharePoint Saturdays and other Conference Talks on Mobile Apps for SharePoint, as far as I know there are very few people doing Mobile Apps targeting Windows Device, so either (1) the market place will determine that there is no need for anything like that [and based on my struggles trying to figure out how to use Sencha with PhoneGap, I’m beginning to think that may be true] and my sessions wont get picked up or (2) Ill have a few others out there that do SharePoint Mobile Talks like Jeremy @jthake Thake did at TechEd

Till, then.. cheers.

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