Hi all! I return from my long blogging-hibernation. Lately, I encounter a little problem with mobile detection in Sitecore. Before that, yes, I am still working on the website of my company’s client and yes, though I really tired of this Sitecore stuffs, I still feel so curious about it. I hope through this post, you can find the best way to choose for your Sitecore site in detecting device.
As we know, WURFL is a powerful tool that makes your web page suit the device that opens it. We also know that Sitecore is powerful enough to let the developers set a different look and feel for a different device. I thanked so much to my client for they have provided us, the developers a good-customized-WURFL-system. Our client, that is mainly based in the continent far away customized the 51Degree to suit their needs. I don’t want to write how to do such because greater people than me have written about it in their blog (example: the great mentor – at least for me – Alex’s blog.)
Then using the module that our client have made, we can differentiate the site look and feel on various devices. Well, for now, we just differ between mobile, tablet, and our beloved big screen computer. Well, it works just great. Our client make a fine module and I like it! Well, somehow there is a problem, what if the device have a different user agent and that user agent is not registered, yet? Also the update can be automatically done.
In contrast, you know that most of the devices have a common thing in their user agent. Really? What is it? For example, there will be words like “mobile”, “Blackberry”, “Android”, “iP”, etc. You can add the devices and don’t have to write a module like what my client have done. It can detect automatically, and easily. Really? Yes. So, I tried this, too! The result is just great! Fine and really nice. The goodness is that you can detect most of devices easily because they “must have something in common” on their user agent. What’s the disadvantage? If you add a new device, well, be sure to update all of the items in your Sitecore, which can be so many even though you only update the default value of the template.
In the last two paragraphs, it shows like I am telling you that Sitecore default device detection using user agent is a classic way that cost us more effort than using the WURFL way to detect device. Well, I’m afraid I have to say that is true. Since 51Degree offers a free lite package to use, we can just create a module that will need to be updated once or twice for a long time. We don’t have to really create a new device and trouble us with all the task to assign the layouts and sub-layouts to our Sitecore items.
Well, it is up to you to choose. But I am sure there are more things to consider than just what I wrote in here. Be free to comment.
May, 29 2013 update:
For some reason, the device detection system on my local is having problem. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it don’t. I tried to check the values of IsMobile and width (these two rules are those who are used in detecting mobile device in my project). It shows values that match the rule, but somehow it keeps showing the default layout setting from Sitecore. Will update on the way to prevent it.