So They Want a Mobile App

More and more clients want to go mobile and everyone has a great idea for an app, but going beyond the idea stage can quickly become a forest of confusing questions and foggy answers. The first step to making a great app a reality is deciding what type of application provides the best platform and reaches the right people. In this post, I’ll go over some basic terminology and the application types available to someone who is ready to go beyond the idea stage and start developing an app.

When talking about mobile apps a few different words and concepts may be tossed around that seem familiar but vague; one is the phrase User Experience or UX. UX is exactly what it sounds like, it’s a description of the user’s experience while using an application, and sometimes even after they’re done using it. This is a broad topic and there are a few different angles from which we can approach the concept. Read more of this post

User Experience Matters Part 2

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

In my previous article about UX, I talked a lot about how the buy in from users is greatly affected by the design of the application.  At the time I was referring to a specific example in my mind, although I didn’t call it out directly.  I wanted to expand upon that post because of a recent, and excellent, series of articles that I read on MSDN magazine by David Platt about wanting Microsoft to publish UX (UI) guidelines for WPF.  In his first article, he articulates a very compelling case for those guidelines, stating:

“The biggest growth driver of the Windows user platform, besides Solitaire, is the standardized UI that its API encourages. The primary control structure is a menu at the top of a program’s window…”

He goes on to posit that this concept is dictated, in large part, by convention, best practices and actual guidelines from Microsoft.  When I read the article, I was smiling because A) I agreed wholeheartedly with him and B) I knew that he’d get taken to the car wash from the free spirits that seem to be encroaching on the ecosystem with the fancy new WPF toolset.  True to assumption, a month later in his second article he gets quite an earful from folks:

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Patterns and Practices for MOSS 2010

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

Via the Innovation Showcase

The Patterns and Practice group at Microsoft recently (today) updated some patterns for MOSS 2010 which provides a good read and some great sample code.  I recommend at the very least looking over and understanding the MS patterns after you get your feet wet with the new API model for 2010.  I’m not much of a programmer, but when I do code, I find MOST of the patterns and practices guidance helpful, if a little thick sometimes.  It’s where I learned the MVC pattern and later on, the MVVC pattern.  From the blog post:

“Microsoft’s Pattern & Practices group has released a new, updated version of guidance for building collaborative SharePoint applications that extend your LOB systems.

This guidance helps architects and developers design and build applications that are both flexible and scalable and it focuses on four key areas:
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OCS Ethical Walls

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

I do a lot of work with OCS 2007 and its R2 friend.  One of the challenges that I’ve come in contact with is the prevention of certain users from contacting other users (perhaps those higher up the food chain).  Contrary to some beliefs, not everyone should be able to just IM the CEO of a Fortune 100 company!  There was a great posting today that came across my Google Reader about ethical walls for school districts which can be found here from the UC Amigos.  Check it out, download the sample API tool and let me know if you have success!

The cousin of OCS, Exchange, just recently went 2010 flavor as I am sure you already know.  Ethical walls were introduced in EX 07 and have been GREATLY enhanced in 2010.  These walls can be set up for a variety of reasons, regulatory coming to mind quickly.  One good example of combining these EX walls with OCS walls gets into using your AD containers and OUs to match up with the walls you need to define.  That assumes, of course, that your AD is laid out well…another several blog posts later 🙂

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