SharePoint Tip of the Month
Quick and Powerful Mobile App Development with Nintex Mobile Enterprise
Recently, Nintex Mobile Enterprise was introduced, providing companies the ability to quickly and easily create customized mobile apps that can be distributed to most popular mobile platforms. Nintex Mobile Enterprise is a standalone version of the Nintex Mobile App, which has been around for a few years. However, the new Nintex Mobile Enterprise platform has several new features which allow companies to do the following:
- Apply custom branding, logos, colors, etc.
- Generate standalone packages for multiple mobile, including iOS, Android, Windows 8/10 Desktop and Phone.
- Easily pre-configure credential types to authenticate users to a Nintex Mobile Enterprise App. The available credential types are; Corporate (SharePoint/AD), Microsoft ID, and Office 365.
A Nintex Mobile Enterprise app works in conjunction with custom Nintex Forms on a SharePoint site that have been configured to include a mobile device layout. These forms can, then, be completed and submitted via a custom app running on a mobile device, which allows users to interact with SharePoint applications from, say, an Android Phone or iPad instead of directly from a PC connected to the corporate network.
Building a Nintex Mobile Enterprise App
The following outlines the general process for developing a demo app for a fictitious company called Casterra. The function of the app is a PTO Request process that will allow employees to submit PTO Requests via the app running on supported mobile devices. The app will allow managers to approve or reject PTO Requests, as well.
The process for building and configuring Nintex Mobile Enterprise apps is a little bit different than other Nintex products. Instead of receiving a license key and/or a product to download and install, Nintex Mobile Enterprise users are given access to a cloud-based web interface where all of their company’s apps can be managed. Configuration settings for each app, such as authentication type, mobile platforms, and artwork, icons and branding, can all be specified here. For example, in the Artwork section, we can upload the Casterra logo in various sizes and layouts, and specify where these different versions of the logo are to be used throughout our PTO Request app.
Once all of the app settings have been configured, the app can be added to the build queue. It takes a few minutes for the build process to complete and once it does, app packages are available for download and deployment to whichever mobile platforms were specified in the app’s configuration.
Deploying a Nintex Mobile Enterprise App
Now that our app is built, it can be downloaded and deployed to applicable mobile devices. For this demo, the app was side-loaded onto an Android phone. However, enterprise-wide distribution can be handled via any number of Mobile Device Management (MDM) platforms.
Once our app has been installed on a mobile device, the app can be opened and we can see that the various logos and custom branding that were specified in the app configuration have been applied. Also, any custom Nintex Forms that have mobile layouts are now available to be opened on the mobile device within the app. In this case, the only available form is called “PTO Request.”
When the PTO Request form is opened on the device, a new request can be completed and either saved as a draft or submitted. Once the request is submitted, a task becomes available for the submitter’s manager to complete. This task form is where the request is approved or rejected.
As companies become more and more dependent on mobile apps that allow users to access corporate data from outside the confines of the network-connected PC, the ability to quickly develop and deploy these mobile apps in a timely and cost effective manner will become increasingly important. As this simple demo shows, Nintex Mobile Enterprise provides the ability to quickly and easily create mobile apps. With a little imagination, it is not hard to see the potential for creating much more powerful applications that provide users the ability to remain productive while away from the office, from a variety of different mobile devices.
This month’s SharePoint Tip contributed by Rob Aycock, Abel Solutions SharePoint Architect.