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Tuning SharePoint from a "Mobile Ready" to a "Mobile Friendly" Experience


Developing a winning Enterprise Mobile-First strategy is on the top of most CIOs checklists. With SharePoint being positioned as an Enterprise Collaboration and Productivity Platform, mobilizing the Portals and Apps is part of enriching the B2E (Business-to-Employee) experience. The general perception is that turning on “Mobile View” in SharePoint 2013, will result in sites becoming Mobile-Friendly. However, majority of the times, the resulting UI and UX does not meet the customer’s expectations. Mostly, customers are surprised to discover that SharePoint’s “Mobile View” although branded as Mobile-Ready, was not Mobile-Friendly, out of the box.

What about Device Channels and Design Manager in SharePoint 2013?

Although Device Channels in SharePoint 2013, really showed a lot of promise to solve the Mobility challenges, it came with its own set of limitations. As Developers, most of us know the pain involved in managing multiple pieces of code, and the limited number of devices that can be targeted. Design Manager does not solve the problem. It only prevents you from using SharePoint Designer to create your HTML Markup and CSS code. It doesn’t abstract you out of SharePoint’s default styles and Markup as such.

How to solve this imminent problem?

Using AngularJS as the base framework, Bootstrap and HTML5 for responsiveness, and SharePoint 2013’s REST API model as the service layer for transactions, mobile friendliness can be accomplished easily. The recommended architecture considerations would be:

  • Creating a Single Page Application (SPA)
  • The App would be super responsive to heavy transactions
  • Utilizing SharePoint 2013’s REST API for abstraction


While the usage of Bootstrap and Media Queries, is pretty obvious for building the styles needed for mobile responsiveness, some of the high-level advantages of using AngularJS framework with SharePoint are:

  • Fully Client-Side Programming – It could be developed and deployed without the IT Admin’s intervention
  • Improved Page Load time and overall performance
  • Better UI/UX
  • Two-Way Data binding offers greater control – If the value of a variable changes anywhere in the model, the UI is automatically updated
  • Many features were provided by the framework itself, such as the concept of binding data, looping, and hiding/displaying a section

Additionally, SharePoint 2013 REST API provided the necessary Endpoints, to securely interact with data in Lists and Libraries across various Sites within a Web Application.

Overall Benefit

Using this framework would not only help solve any current SharePoint Mobility challenges but also provide a base for Scalability, Extensibility and Flexibility. Some of the additional benefits observed are:

  • Is highly customizable
  • Is Reusable
  • Offers rapid development, deployment, and feedback loops
  • Minimizes redundancy in back-end code blocks
  • Provides abstraction
  • Enables “write once, run anywhere” capabilities for mobile devices

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