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Mobile App Dev Service Leverages InfoPath

FormoPublish enables mobile app creation by non-technical workers.

Smartphones and wireless PDAs are fast becoming critical enterprise computing targets. They have the potential to provide users with a mobile gateway to company systems that is every bit as useful as a notebook connection, with greater mobility and flexibility. But developers aren't keeping up. Real-world mobile data applications are in short supply.

Mobile Solution
Enter Formotus Inc. and its newly launched FormoPublish mobile application service. FormoPublish is designed to leverage Microsoft Office to allow non-technical users to click-and-deploy secure mobile applications without writing a single line of code.

The Web-based service is designed to allow workers to input and access business data from their Windows Mobile devices, online or offline. By eliminating coding and the need to purchase additional hardware or software,

the company says, FormoPublish enables companies to transfer mobile-application creation from busy IT departments to office workers.

Headquartered in Bellevue, Wash., Formotus is a Software as a Service (SaaS) company, but the apps developed with its new FormoPublish solution resemble Office Business Applications (OBAs), which Microsoft has been promoting as part of its Software plus Services (S+S) model. Microsoft has been pitching S+S hard since early spring. Speaking at the Software 2007 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., in May, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said, "Everything we do [at Microsoft] will evolve to this model-Windows and Office, business and entertainment applications."

Microsoft Compatible
FormoPublish apps are created in the Microsoft Office environment (specifically using the Microsoft Office InfoPath application), and converted and deployed securely over the air as mobile XML data applications. They leverage the company's SaaS architecture, and use Web services to sync with company data systems once a network connection has been established. FormoPublish supports all Windows Mobile devices, and the company says it's the only mobile application solution that works out-of-the-box with Microsoft SharePoint Server.

Available in Professional and Enterprise editions, it includes features like a customer-specific e-forms library, a forms-management facility with search and pre-built templates. Management features include primary and secondary administration, offline data validation, device management with data backup and a reporting facility.

FormoPublish is available now through an online subscription model.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance author and journalist based in Silicon Valley. His latest book is The Everything Guide to Social Media. Follow John on Twitter, read his blog on ADTmag.com, check out his author page on Amazon, or e-mail him at john@watersworks.com.


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