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“Windows Phone is designed to help you be productive right out of the box,” says Microsoft. One of the ways the software giant hopes to do this is through the integration of a SharePoint social feature into Windows Phone 7 applications which can help most businesses “work better on a people level”.
At this year’s Tech*Ed Africa, founder and director at Aptillon and SharePoint expert, Matthew McDermott discussed some the ways in which Windows Phone 7 users can use SharePoint web services to work with social data.
SharePoint collaboration software helps simplify business intelligence, content management, search, and sharing for intranet and internet sites.
At the moment, MacDermott explains that smartphones running Windows Phone 7 are the only ones that use a web browser or third-party app to connect with SharePoint. “This helps users share and stay connected to documents you need on the road, with support for full-fidelity viewing (online or offline), editing and syncing PowerPoint, Word, and Excel documents.”
“The SharePoint social and search web services allows developers create Windows Phone 7 applications that can find users and profile information and other social data including news feeds and comments. Creating social applications or integrating social data into a Windows Phone application can help users stay connected and informed,” says Microsoft.
McDermott explains that developers can replicate many of the features that SharePoint My Sites offer in a Web browser with their mobile application.
“The flow of the application will consist of a panoramic page with list boxes for Recently Viewed People, My Newsfeed, My Activities and My Colleagues. Anywhere a user selects another user’s image, the profile of the user they select will open in a new page. Search results will be presented in a list box, and selecting a user will display the user’s profile,” he explains.
One major benefit that McDermott focuses on is social data through Push Notification:
- Persistent notification service
- Push from a external application to the mobile device
- Allows an application to respond to external events without requiring the application to be in the foreground
- Notification-aware applications can subscribe to notifications
Push Notification does require a constant connection to the internet and the applications “must allow” users to opt in, which means users are able to unsubscribe. Devices are limited to 30 subscribed applications per device and notifications may be suppressed in low battery scenarios, so users are not guaranteed of delivery to device. There is also limit of 500 notifications/day/subscription for unauthenticated unless a TLS cert is used.
By integrating SharePoints social features into the applications developers can provide push notifications that alert users when SharePoint list data, or social data has changed. With such socially integrated lives on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, developers can use these external sites to compliment the social functionality of their application.
Social networking requirement
- Network connectivity is required
- Checks for network connectivity must be implemented
- Authorisation is performed with the OAUTH protocol
- A web browser is used to authenticate users
- You must sign up for an account with the social network you wish to integrate with
- Signing up for an account provides you the keys you need to authenticate you application
- Custom controls may be used to send data to social networking sites
The argument, is that in the age where social and mobility drive productivity and collaboration the integration of social data to SharePoint social features to Windows Phone 7 is a logical step for Microsoft.