Love Business Intelligence on Project Server, install the December 2011 CU now!

It’s always sound advice to try and keep your Project Server 2010 environment patched to the latest cumulative update, typically these include bug fixes or small enhancements to keep your environment running smoothly. Back in December, Microsoft released the December Project Server 2011 CU, which included a number of fixes and changes to timesheets amongst other things. As Project Server runs on top of your SharePoint environment,  it’s also necessary to patch SharePoint at the same time. With the December 2011 CU, the PerformancePoint team rolled in a number of enhancements to allow the viewing of PerformancePoint dashboards, reporting services reports and excel services on the iPad which Project Server gets to benefit from free of charge! Check out the screenshots below of the various Business Intelligence reports and dashboards rendering on an iPad.

Project Server Summary Dashboard on the iPad

 

Project Server Status Report on the iPad

 

Excel Services on the iPad

There are a number considerations for allowing your reports and scorecards to render correctly on an iPad. From my limited testing most, if not all of the the Project Server v1 demo image rendered correctly without modification, with the exception of one of the status reporting services reports. Microsoft published a technet article outlining the limitations of the type of reports that can be displayed on the iPad and tips on how to interact with the reports.

Finally, don’t forget to check Brian Smith’s and Adrian Jenkins webcast covering the contents of the December CU including the various fixes and design changes it implements, to make sure the patch is right for your farm & circumstances.

Happy Patching Smile

Native Project Server Support and the iPad. It works. Sort of.

With the introduction of Service Pack One, Microsoft have introduced Cross Browser support to the timesheet, task and risk and issue features of PWA (in addition to the existing support of the Project workspaces), for the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 (32-bit) on Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008
  • Internet Explorer 8 (32-bit) on Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows Server 2008
  • Internet Explorer 7 (32-bit) on Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003
  • Firefox 3.6.8+ on Mac OS X v10.6, Windows 7 (32-bit/64-bit), Windows Vista SP2, Windows XP SP3, Windows Server 2003 and UNIX/Linux
  • Google Chrome 6.0 on Windows 7
  • Apple Safari 5 on Mac OS X v10.6

What isn’t listed is Safari for iOS which the iPad uses which I was keen to see would work or not. Like many people, I purchased an iPad so I could sit on the sofa and catch up with twitter, RSS feeds, email and play Angry Birds without having to have a massive laptop burning a hole through my legs.  So the idea of being able to fill in my timesheets in Project Server using an iPad really appeals to me.

Anyway to cut a long story short, I thought I would wire up my SP1 + June CU VM to my home network and point my iPad over at PWA to see what would happen. To my surprise, instead of seeing the new cross browser error message (below)…

Project Server - Non Compatible Browser

I was granted with this Smile

PWA on iPad

Clicking through the cross browser pages (Tasks, Timesheets and Risks / Issues), the pages seem to render fine, both in portrait and landscape mode:

Timesheets on iPad

However the issues seem to start when you try and use the app.

Splitter Bar

To start with the splitter bar (as highlighted above) doesn’t seem to work via the touch interface, which if you have a lot of fields being displayed in the left hand pane, can make the screen unusable.  There is a potential workaround for this, by reducing the number of columns in the view, however these won’t be reflected until a new period is created.

More Timesheets on iPad

Scroll Bars

Like the splitter bar, the scroll bars don’t seem to operate as expected, but touching on the region outside of the actual scroll bar as marked in red below will work

image

On closer inspection the scroll bar itself is not a traditional scroll bar, instead it is one rendered in HTML as part of the JSGrid, which might explain why Safari on the iPad is having trouble interacting with it.

Keyboard sensitivity

Again, more of a limitation of the iPad, but when trying to enter text into a timesheet entry towards the bottom of the screen, the keyboard will fly out and obscure where the text entry is taking place.

Tasks and the iPad keyboard

One option is to run this in portrait mode, but that will have the side effect of hiding some of the columns of information.

Ribbon

Finally, the ribbon seems to be having a bit of a hard time when used on the iPad. When you pinch to zoom in, the ribbon tries to do it’s best and resizes as per the screen below. However when you zoom out the ribbon can take a while to realise. This isn’t a Project thing per se, and I would imagine it’s an issue with all SharePoint sites viewed via the iPad.

iPad Ribbon Confusion

Conclusion

As I said above, Project Web App on the iPad works, sort of. But it does have some limitations and annoyances which you will need to work around. As this isn’t an officially supported browser within SP1, if you use the iPad you will have to live with these, but kudos to the Project team for their excellent implementation of cross browser and not explicitly blocking the iPad.