#MobileCRM: A Deeper dive into the Tablet version – part 8

In my last article I discussed the tablet version of the Dynamics Mobile App, which turned out to be a world of difference compared to the phone version. I was pleasantly surpised with the tablet version because I was able to use more functionality of Dynamics CRM compared to the crippled phone version.
Too bad, Microsoft hasn’t delivered an update for the iPad version (which seems to be broken after the iOS 8.3 update). For now I’ll stick to the Windows 8 tablet app (running on Windows RT).

Being just curious of what the tablet version was capable of handling, I took one of the financial solutions we are developing at this moment at the company I’m working for.
A solution which is stretching the boundaries of Dynamics CRM  . In this solution we have very complex forms, crammed with business rules, custom script and advanced layouts.

Let’s find out how the tablet app will handle it… 

Web client

In the picture below, I’ll show the contract line screen of the web version of the solution. As you can see, the screen is pretty complex: sub-grids, custom script, business rules etc.

What I want to find out is how the tablet version will cope with this amount of complexity.

Naamloos2

Tablet version

When firing up the tablet version, we get notified that the system changed. We have to download the updates before they will be visible in the tablet version. I found out that after every “publish” action, the update dialog appeared on the tablet. That is a really nice feature, as a user you will always be informed when working with an outdated version.

When I was confronted with the home screen, I found out that my entities were not present in the menu. I had to update the solution in the web version to indicate that the form should be available on a mobile device (not as express form). I changed the settings of a single entity amd republished.
My entity became available on the tablet version.

This is good: this was you can distinguish mobile and web functionality.

Schermopname (16)  Schermopname (17)

Clicking the “contractregel” entity (contract line), an empty list appears.

Clicking the “new” button, results in a error message. The script in the onLoad event of the form cannot reference one of the sections I defined in the solution. To look at it from the positive side of things:  Custom scripting is working! * YAY *

Time to find out how the form opens.

Schermopname (21)  Schermopname (22)

Hmmmz…. the contract line form looks totally different on the tablet. All fields are presented in a single column. That explains the scripting error above.

It is good to see that the business rules behind the  “facturatie afspraak” (invoicing agreement) field are firing. When toggling the option fields are hidden or shown and being emptied if needed. * Nice *

Schermopname (25)  Schermopname (26)

The same applies for “prijsbepaling” (pricing determination).

Schermopname (27)  Schermopname (28)

Impressive

I don’t have other words for the tablet version.

It is capable of handling custom scripts and business rules. The layout options are limited compared to the web version. On the other hand we should not forget that the purpose of the tablet version is to offer a mobile experience.

We should design functionality suited for mobile devices, which means:
“Get your job done, while on the go”.

For now my test wasn’t exhaustive. I didn’t test offline capabilities: which are limited compared to other offerings. For now my goal was to find out if we can handle complex functionality.

My conclusion: Yes we can… with some limitations.

This means that we can equip our mobile work force with tablets (iPad or Windows 8 tablets) and provide them a good mobile experience using the tablet version. In terms of TCO (total costs of ownership) this can be very compelling: instead of expensive laptops, cheaper tablets can be used instead.

But then, we should design our solutions to be tablet centric.

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