Seeing as how SharePoint (news, site) is so widely used within the enterprise today, it's not a stretch to think that employees would want to access their SharePoint sites and content from their mobile devices. But out of the box, mobile functionality isn't all the great.
To the rescue comes Mobile Entrée, a server side plug-in for SharePoint that will let you access your SharePoint data from your iPhone, Blackberry or Windows Mobile.
Mobile Access to SharePoint
Mobile Entrée (ME) was created by H3 Solutions. It is installed as a SharePoint solution to either Windows SharePoint Service 3.0 (WSS) or SharePoint (Standard or Enterprise). It includes out of the box support for accessing SharePoint lists, document libraries and Search.
There are three features in the solution:
- Mobile Entrée Management Farm Feature: Manage Licensing, HTTP and Caching Filters
- Mobile Entrée HTTP Modules Web Application Feature: Using the HTTP filters, redirects to the appropriate mobile application
- Mobile Entrée Base Site Feature: The framework for a mobile application on a per-site basis
But it doesn't end there. ME includes API that will let SharePoint developers build their own custom mobile applications for SharePoint.
Mobile Applications are built as Features, providing a standard development approach.
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There are two ways to customize your mobile apps, depending on the license you buy.
- By manipulating CSS: To make it easy to rebrand your mobile apps, they provide 2 stylesheets: Style and Core.
- Using the API: The API provides rendering and delivery mechanisms that allow you to create cross-device compliant applications.
Cross Device Development
One of the best things about ME is that you only have to write one .NET application to support all supported mobile devices. ME is cross device compliant.
There's no additional client-side software required for ME to work (it is browser based), and these are the mobile versions currently supported:
- Windows Mobile 5.5 / IE
- Windows Mobile 6.x / IE, Opera 9.5
- iPhone 2.x / Safari
- BlackBerry 4.5 / (built-in browser)
- BlackBerry 4.6 / (built-in browser)
- BlackBerry 4.7 / (built-in browser)
Pricing and Licensing and All That Stuff
Mobile Entree is available now. You can download a 30 day trial and then kick in with the full license. ME is licensed on a per web front-end basis. There are two licenses available: Basic (US$ 199) and Enterprise (US$ 3,950). ME also has a special rate for developers who sign up for their Developer Alliance.
The Basic license includes the basic plug-in with the out-of-the-box functionality for accessing SharePoint data. The Enterprise license includes the ME API for developing custom mobile applications.
To see how well ME works using the OOTB capabilities, simply browse to ME's own website on your mobile and check it out.
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