Monthly Archives: May 2013

SharePoint App Shapes

What are SharePoint App Shapes ?

SharePoint 2013 allows for multiple ways to interact with and access apps. The key method used to determine how your app will be interacted with is to define the one or more app shapes. App shapes define the experience for interacting with and using an app. There are currently three app shapes available:

Immersive (or full-page app): This shape provides a fully immersive experience by using the entire page. While this gives you complete control over the app experience, it is important to make sure that your app properly links back to the SharePoint site, so the user experience feels integrated and not lost. To make this simple, we provide a chrome control that not only lets your app automatically point a user back to their SharePoint environment, but it also provides your app with the current SharePoint cascading style sheet (CSS). So when SharePoint changes its CSS, say, through a theming change, your app will change its look and feel as well.

App part: An app part is an IFrame hosted in a Web Part that is represented by the ClientWebPart class. The IFrame can take parameters which can change the user experience of the app part. You can think of these app experiences as similar to standard Web Parts, the difference being they do not interact in the same way legacy Web Parts do.

Extension app: Extension apps are just custom actions that can direct to a page in your app. This could be a page hosted on SharePoint, or, in the case of a cloud-hosted app, a remotely hosted webpage. You can think of extension apps as entrance points to your app. They don’t provide a user experience in themselves.

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feedly

The next Google Reader might be Feedly

feedly

As you all know Google is pulling the plug on its Google Reader component from July 1, 2012 and there already quite a handful of alternatives floating around. Running far ahead as per User count is Feedly.com. There are many others who are trying desperate hard to be there, but I guess none of them are worth the move. I am not getting biased, so I will explain why Feedly excels in the features.

Top features

1. The Google reader subscriptions import by single click is simply the most wanted for any competitor. If you need users to shy away, just don’t implement this. 🙂 Some other reader sites have features asking for the existing OPML file from Google Reader or whatever, which is nasty.

2. The Responsive UI is simply cool with lots of Views that can be selected by the user’s choice.

3. They have decent Apps in all the mobile platforms.

4. Searching for a new RSS Feed is easier and organizing your subscriptions are very user friendly.

Even though, these are the great benefits; there are lots of improvements that Feedly has to take care. Or these would be the features that others can concentrate on making some thing better than Feedly.

Remove these problems

1. I was surprised to know that Feedly did not have a web interface, like Google Reader, but it had extensions on Chrome and Firefox. This also shows the growing importance of mobile user focus as Feedly’s user base is mostly from mobile users. The biggest failure of Feedly here would be ultimately no support for IE browser. This should be rectified immediately if they need to stay ahead.

2. The default settings of Feedly are not set to the user experience as that of Google Reader and users should tweak their custom preferences to make it how they had used it earlier. There are lot of options here, but a user who is non-technical will have a tough time finding what he/she wants.

3. Scrolling on the left – This could have been exactly how Google Reader works. Instead, you need to keep the mouse precisely on the Subscription list to scroll them. Why don’t it just scroll the subscription list when the mouse pointer is anywhere on the left side. This is extremely irritating.

4. Google Reader was simply perfect in displaying what Feeds where read and what were left out. Feedly just displays the ones that you have not read. When you mark them as read, it just moves to the next subscribed item on the list. This is absurd. What if I still want to see what’s already read?

The list of improvements can also go endless, but currently they are the front runners. They have scaled up their architecture 1 or 2 times already, after their servers went bogus. These happened during the initial days after Google ‘s announcement of their Reader shutdown. But, I think they still have a lot of scaling up to do. You can notice that loading the RSS feeds are not up to the mark still.

You never know, who all are already building up applications to show up on July 1st, but according to me, whoever has got their basics will succeed in the run. All the best folks.