Thursday, August 7, 2014

Safari Punch-out (And A Possible Solution!) with Web Applications in MobileIron 7.0.3

So about 4 hours after an enthusiastic post welcoming it I'm back to report the first (major) issue. Unfortunately it's a bit of a showstopper.

When you deploy a web application via MobileIron rather than opening that web application in Safari it instead opens the application in a browser of MobileIrons own making. For 90% of things this isn't an issue and the screen layout, not having a tonne of tabs visible, shortcuts, menu bar, etc is certainly a visual improvement that the somewhat cluttered view you get in Apps@Work which uses Safari.

This screenshot from within the MobileIron browser looking at the website shows that it's basically wrapping Safari;

This is the same number Safari (iOS) scored when I ran the test. You'll notice how clean the top of the image is - maximum space for the web application.

However the issue is that as it's not Safari it's possible that links within the Web Apps will punch out into Safari when the users touch them. Where the system requires a login they will then have to authenticate again.

It's not easy to create a link which punches out ... I would suspect 99% of links will be unaffected. However when the users hit that 1% the effect - to say the least - is jarring.

So how do you solve this? Well the bad news is there is no real solution other than re-writing your application. We do, however, have a workaround: why not just punch out to Safari at the beginning?

Here's the code you'll need to host on a website to punch out (both in the body of a HTML page);

(div id="foz" data-href="">

document.getElementById("foz").addEventListener("click", function(evt) {
    var a = document.createElement('a');
    a.setAttribute("href", this.getAttribute("data-href"));
    a.setAttribute("target", "_blank");

    var dispatch = document.createEvent("HTMLEvents");
    dispatch.initEvent("click", true, true);
}, false);

You'll need to replace ( with the proper bracket - I can't get Blogger to render the tags!

This code comes courtesy of (follow the link).

I tried a large number of ways to punch out from the MobileIron app and this was the first one I found that worked. There might be others but I tried all the common ones I could think of/ find!

Deploying A Web Application Using MobileIron 7.0.3

A fairly simple post to highlight how incredibly easy MobileIron have made it to deploy a web application with their latest update to the server.

The first step is to login as a user with permissions to add application;

Click on the "APPS" tab, then click on "App Distribution Library".

A drop down will then appear showing the available platforms for applications (in Alphabetical order, usually Android first). Using the drop down select "Web Application";

Click on the "Add App" button to bring up the popup window;

Now you can enter the details for your application. The most important point (obviously!) is the "App URL".

You can then pick your categories and whether or not the app appears in the store front - just as you do with other applications.

Unfortunately (in this version) what you can't do is choose the web browser that opens the application (for example Chrome) or apply a per-application VPN (which would just be incredibly useful!). And, while you can select a Windows 8 (note 8, not 8.1 - which I can't test) label it does not appear to rollout the application to the device which is a little frustrating.

On the device itself the application appears as a touchable icon to launch (in exactly the same way as other applications).

I'm sure you'll agree an incredibly useful new feature!