Friday, 2 August 2013

Device Channel in SharePoint 2013

Amongst many new features introduced in SharePoint 2013, one of the key features is Device Channel. With the continuous growth in the mobility sector, mostly smartphones are being widely used to  surf net. As a result, it is very important to provide a user friendly experience to any user visiting your website on mobile.

Microsoft has come up with the concept of Device Channels in SharePoint 2013. For all those who have not heard about Device Channels, let me explain it briefly.

Device Channels allows you to target your SharePoint site (Device Channels are available only if publishing feature is activated.) on mobile devices. It helps you in setting different master pages and css for different devices like Tablet, Windows Phone, iPhone etc. As a result, you can have a user friendly experience for your website when viewed on mobile device.

The very first thing that needs to be done is to create Device Channel for your site. In order to do the same, you need to go to the Site Settings > Look and Feel section and click Device Channels link.
After clicking this link, you will be directed to the list that contains all the device channels. By default you will see one device channel created for you already. It is the default channel which will be visible when no other channels are active or when the device's user agent string does not match the device inclusion rules for any active channel.
When you try to create a new device channel for your devices, you need to specify a few important parameters i.e. Alias, Device Inclusion Rules and Active.
Alias is the unique ID that helps in determining the device channel in the code. This comes handy when working with Device Channel Panel (will come on this a little later).
Device Inclusion Rules contains the user agent substring such as Windows Phone OS. This substring will be matched against the browser's user agent string in the device and based on that master page will be applied.
Active checkbox enables the device channel if it is checked.
The next thing that is required to be done is to associate a master page to the newly created device channel. To do this, go back to the site settings Look and Feel section and click on Master Page link.
There you can configure a master page for your newly created Device Channel.
After setting the master page for your device, now if you view the site in the device, you will see the device channel applied. 
In case you directly want to test the changes, you can do it by appending the following to the url in the browser.
Hope it gives you a brief idea about what device channels are and how they can be configured. In my next post , I will explain about Device Channel Panels. Till then stay tuned. :)
Happy SharePointing :)

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