Detecting the device characteristics

The device detection feature of CFML allows you to identify the device properties and characteristics, which can be used to determine the best content, layout, mark-up or application to serve to the given   device.

These characteristics include screen size, browser type and version, media support, and the level of support for CSS, HTML, and JavaScript.

For getting the device features and capabilities, you need to specify an attribute detectDevice in the <cfclientsettings> tag and set it to true:

<cfclientsettings detectDevice=true />

If the detectDevice attribute is set to true, ColdFusion automatically detects the features and capabilities of the device (width, height, and orientation) on which the application is running.

Note: If detectDevice is set to false, all <div> elements need to be defined before the <cfclient> block.

Supported device detection features

The following example shows the usage of the device detection feature:

<cfClientSettings detectDevice=true />


<cffunction access="public" name="showcanvassupport" returntype="void" >
<cfset document.getElementById('canvas')>



Canvas support -<b id="canvas"></b><br>
<button onclick="invokeCFClientFunction('showcanvassupport',null)">
Show canvas support

In the above example, we are trying to find if the device supports HTML5 Canvas. returns a boolean value indicating the support for the HTML5 Canvas property.

ColdFusion Server internally uses Modernizer JavaScript library (version 2.6.2) for the device detection feature.

The following table lists the supported device features with example usage:



Touch Events

Canvas Text



Web Sockets

Drag ‘n Drop






Device Width

Device Height


Device Group Name

Device Group Descriptions

CSS Animations

CSS Columns

CSS Generated Content

CSS Gradients

CSS Reflections

CSS 2D Transforms

CSS 3D Transforms

CSS Transitions



Hash Change


Input Attributes* (* refers to attributes for input elements. For possible values, see the Modernizr documentation)

Input Types* (* refers to input type attributes. For possible values, see the Modernizr documentation)

Post Message

Session Storage

Web Workers

Web SQL Database


For the description on all above mentioned features, see the Modernizr documentation.

Using media queries

Media queries allow you to apply changes to the page design based on the viewing size and capability of the device on which your content is displayed. A media query consists of one or more logical expressions formed using the detected device data that checks for certain conditions of media feature and based on the result of this expression we can change the layout of the page dynamically.

If you are building a mobile application, you can easily detect the characteristics of the device and customize the layout just for that device as shown in the following example:

<cfclientsettings detectDevice=true />
<cfif lte 480 >
<cfinclude template=" phone.css ">

<cfelseif gte 480 AND lte
<cfinclude template=" tablet.css ">

<cfinclude template=" desktop.css ">


In the above example, the web page is customized for different devices based on their screen sizes.

Handling orientation changes

For handling the device orientation changes, you can register a listener using the addOrientationListener() function:

<cfclientsettings detectDevice=true />
Orientation : <b id="orientationId"></b><br>
Width : <b id="width"></b><br>
Height : <b id="height"></b><br>
<!--- Adding the orientation handler here. After adding
the handler, the handler will be invoked whenever there
is an orientation change. --->

<cfset cfclient.addOrientationListener(orientationHandler)>

<cffunction access="public" name="orientationHandler"
returntype="void" >
<cfargument name="orientationString" type="string">
<!--- The orientation (landscape/portrait) will be
passed as an argument to the handler. You can also get
the orientation value from cfclient. --->

In the above example, addOrientationListener function is used to register a listener that monitors the orientation of the device (landscape or portrait). When the orientation of the device changes, an orientationHandler call back function is invoked.

You can use the removeOrientationListener to un-register the listener:

<cffunction access="public" name="removeorientationhandler"
returntype="void" >
<cfset cfclient.removeOrientationListener(orientationhandler)>

You can also add multiple listeners:

<cfset cfclient.addOrientationListener(orientationHandler1)>
<cfset cfclient.addOrientationListener(orientationHandler2)>

When the device orientation changes, all the registered listener functions are invoked.

Handling window resizing events

For handling the window resizing events, you can register a listener using the addResizeListener() function:

<cfclientsettings detectDevice=true />
Width :<b id="width"></b><br>
Height :<b id="height"></b><br>
Device width :<b id="devicewidth"></b><br>
Device height :<b id="deviceheight"></b><br>
<!--- Adding the resize handler here.
After adding the handler, the handler will be
invoked whenever there is a browser
resize. --->

<cfset cfclient.addResizeListener(resizehandler)>

<cffunction access="public" name="resizehandler"
returntype="void" >
<cfargument name="width" type="string">
<cfargument name="height" type="string">
<cfset document.getElementById('width').innerHTML=width>
<cfset document.getElementById('height').innerHTML=height>
<cfset document.getElementById('devicewidth')>
<cfset document.getElementById('deviceheight')>

You can also add multiple listeners:

<cfset cfclient.addResizeListener(resizeHandler1)>
<cfset cfclient.addResizeListener(resizeHandler2)>

When there is a change in window size  all the registered resize listener functions are invoked. You can use removeResizeListener() to un-register the handlers.

<cffunction access="public" name="removeresizehandler"
returntype="void" >
<cfset cfclient.removeResizeListener(resizeHandler)>

Setting device timeout

In the <cfclientsettings> tag, an attribute called deviceTimeOut can be specified. The default value of deviceTimeout is 10 secs. When enableDeviceApi or detectDevice is set as true, the deviceTimeOut value will be honored. Time will be provided for the required plugins to be loaded. After the specified time, an exception will be thrown.

<cfclientsettings detectDevice=true deviceTimeOut="30" />