Project Siena

Build powerful business apps, no coding necessary. http://aka.ms/ProjectSiena

Project Siena: Enabling Business Users to Create Mobile Apps for the Enterprise

Project Siena: Enabling Business Users to Create Mobile Apps for the Enterprise

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The proliferation of mobile devices presents a great opportunity for the enterprise.  App experiences that simply weren’t possible before are appearing with more and more regularity. For example:

  • Apps to support conversations, where a customer can reach over and touch the employee’s screen, make changes and ultimately own the solution
  • Apps with the smarts to help users make on-the-spot decisions by offering choices first and allowing trade-offs later
  • Apps for tasks that involve capturing real world information through photos, videos and voice

What has emerged is a new, purpose-specific type of app. These are apps rich in media, distinctive in their look (generic looks simply won’t cut it), simple to use, yet loaded with custom intelligence and connected to high-value data.  To fully unlock the value of mobile devices for the enterprise, millions and millions of these purpose-specific apps will need to be authored in the coming years. To accomplish this, we must enable a broader class of people to author these apps.

Project Siena
Today, I’m excited to announce the availability of the beta release of Project Siena (code name). Project Siena is for business experts, business analysts, consultants and other business users with the imagination to conceive an app for today’s mobile devices.  Now, using little more than PowerPoint- and Excel-level skills, they can create a whole new category of powerful apps, often in a matter of minutes. These are apps for the device-first and cloud-connected world, with the potential to transform today’s business processes and customer interactions.

Siena provides a familiar and easy document editing experience: put your information on the canvas, compose and style it, and add custom logic and interactivity using the power of Excel expressions. The result is an immediately usable app with all the rich information, differentiated looks and purpose-specific intelligence expected of modern Windows apps.

Siena works well with corporate and web data: SharePoint lists, Excel and Azure tables, RSS feeds and REST services. The authored apps are IT-friendly. Since the output is just HTML/JavaScript, developers can also open up and extend them in their favorite HTML/JavaScript programming tools, if needed.

Summary
I'm excited about the potential for Project Siena to enable broad classes of business people to build mobile applications for the enterprise.  I encourage you to install Project Siena, watch one of the how-to videos on http://aka.ms/ProjectSiena, and then build your own apps.

Namaste!

S. Somasegar, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft

http://aka.ms/ProjectSienaIntroVideo

Comments
  • A few queries: 1. As the app on store says support for ARM, I assume that I would be able to install it on a Windows RT device and use it. 2. The publish generates an executable installer, an EXE. Would I be able to install it on my Windows RT device? 3. How can this app be published to the Windows Store?

  • Is it possible for rss description content to import images? I am retrieving text only content. Thanks!

  • Consuming REST data seems to work, however accessing the info inside a JSON array and mapping it to a listbox or gallery-'visual' doesn't. How would that work out?

  • An obvious use for this would be as a channel app for youtube videos. Easy to get the data from an RSS feed. However, using the link from youtube as the source for a video player yields nada. Does the video player only play local video at this point?

  • It should be possible to add links to websites.

  • Would be nice if the video will be available to winrt devices because of silverlight

  • This tool is so cool, BUT, I created a quick app on my Surface 2 tablet and published it locally to run a test but it will not run on my Surface 2 tablet (win RT). Is there a way to publish the app to ARM format? Or is this functionality coming.

  • Thank you all for the comments! I'll attempt to answer many of your questions, but for the best place to find help topics, sample videos and more, please visit our TechNet site at http://technet.microsoft.com/projectsiena. In no particular order:

    Q: "An obvious use for this would be as a channel app for youtube videos. Easy to get the data from an RSS feed. Does the video player only play local video at this point?"

    Video player media must point to a video file, however this file can be remote.

    Q: "The publish generates an executable installer, an EXE. Would I be able to install it on my Windows RT device? How can this app be published to the Windows Store?"

    For instructions on how install your published app on a Windows RT device, please see "How do I install published apps on a different device?" at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/dn518216/. We do not currently support publishing Project Siena apps to the Windows Store in beta. For a full list of release notes please see http://aka.ms/ProjectSienaReleaseNotes.

    Q: "Do we have an ETA on when REST and RSS feeds will be live or at least have a manual refresh button of some sort? Lastly, is there any documentation on some of these variables?"

    Data sources with more complex refresh capabilities are coming in the next several weeks and months ahead. Please see Looking Ahead (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/dn495637) for more information. For variable documentation, please see our Function Reference (http://aka.ms/ProjectSienaFunctionReference) for a full list of functions.

    Q: "Would be nice if the video will be available to winrt devices because of silverlight"

    I agree! You can watch the Introduction to Project Siena video directly here: http://aka.ms/ProjectSienaIntroVideoDirect.

  • It seems you can install the Siena apps on WinRT, but there appears to be some conditions to this. I worked through the AdventureWorks tutorial and was able to install the app in fine using both the executable installer and powershell on my desktop with Windows 8.1. When install the app on my tablet (WinRT), I followed the instructions for powershell, but was also asked for a developer's license. I was able to provide the necessary information for developer's license since I do have one, but it is kind of odd to have individuals who do not develop Windows apps on regular basis whether for business or as a hobby for a developer's license. I hope Microsoft will take a look at this and provide possibly a simpler solution.

  • Is there functionality to update Excel table data from a button "OnSelect"? Also, where is the best place to ask these questions? I checked the TechNet site, but there is no forum or Q&A section *that I could find*

  • Hi, is there some Kind of documentation anywhere on the web? i cannot find out how to set the text of a Label when clicking a button. do i overlook something? is dynamic assignment of values at possible at all? how do i work with collections? i didn't even find a Forum focusing on it.

  • Can it get data from SharePoint Online ? When Sharepoint online is doing SSO to ADFS ? It just ignores me when I enter a URL.

  • Azure Mobile services keeps coming back with 'undefined' as the only table it can see but appears configured correctly with zz_config table :(

  • Attempting to put together a quick app with SharePoint as a data source and I have authentication issues. I have tried Office365 and an on-prem install of SharePoint and both seem to receive 401 Not authorized when trying to connect to lists.asmx. Siena does not seem to prompt for credentials. Any tip on how to get credentials into the Data Source?

  • This is a great idea. It has the potential to make the metro UI extremely relevant for business. The way I see Siena is that it should find its place along other Office Suit app as a very simple to use application comparable PowerPoint. Creating an app should be as simple, as accessible as creating a Word document or an Excel Spreadsheet. The entire interactivity of the application should be put in place without code. Microsoft, there is great opportunity here to make the app development something accessible to everybody. I also agree an SQL data source is a must.

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