There’s more than meets the eye: Differences between SharePoint’s Oslo and Seattle master pages

If you’ve been looking at the neat new masterpages with SharePoint 2013, and playing around with changing them, you can quite easily see a difference between the two options: Oslo and Seattle. Seattle is what we’re used to with SharePoint 2010: left nav and a top nav. Oslo moves the left nav to the top, and removes the top nav all together. Oslo also provides more room for your content by widening the area by moving the left nav.

SharePoint's Oslo Masterpage
Oslo Masterpage Layout
SharePoint's Seattle Masterpage
Seattle Masterpage Layout

But what is really different, technically speaking? I compared the two pages and found a little more:

Comparing Oslo to Seattle Master Pages

  • Oslo uses a different CSS, obviously, oslo.css instead of corev15.css. Also, the CSS link has EnableCssTheming set to true, whereas Seattle doens’t state anything.
  • Oslo has several accessibility and animation links wrapped with a SPSecurityTrimmedControl, configured to hide the contents from the search crawler. Seattle just has the links listed, no security trimming.
  • Oslo has a AuthenticatedUserDiv tag wrapping almost all of the content on the page. This control “Renders a DIV element which has different styles based on whether the current user is authenticated or anonymous” (from MSDN article). This control is configured with an authenticated style set to a CSS class. So when an authenticated user accesses the site, it uses a CSS class, when it’s anonymous, no class is specified at all.
  • Oslo has several other areas and controls wrapped with SPSecurityTrimmedControl configured to restrict to authenticated users only.
  • Oslo has a couple of small areas where CSS class names differ.
  • There’s the obvious changes with the navigation and header, and previously noted.
  • The PlaceHolderTopNavBar content place holder is thrown at the bottom of the page, and is set to be hidden. So that’s where that went.

Seeing there are a lot of security trimming around authenticated vs anonymous, I decided to test that out to see what it looks like.

First, let’s see what Seattle looks like anonymously:

SharePoint Seattle Masterpage in Anonymous
Seattle Master Page as Anonymous

Interesting, the web parts are intelligent enough to know anonymous users can’t “get started” and the newsfeed is gone. Also, some of the ribbon items change. Nothing else too significant.

Next up, Oslo:

SharePoint Seattle Masterpage in Anonymous
Oslo Master Page as Anonymous

Whoa, that’s a lot more now isn’t it? We lost the ribbon completely, including the SharePoint blue bar at the top. It feels naked.

I compared the HTML output of the two sets of pages as well.

  • Seattle didn’t differ much, minor items, but nothing too specific to anonymous vs authenticated.
  • Oslo, huge differences, entire sections are missing. Those security trimmed sections I mentioned before, poof, gone.

It almost feels like Oslo was designed with anonymous access in mind, as in Microsoft wanted us to use Oslo for public facing sites, as it took care of so much for you already. ;)

Thanks to Sane Amit for asking this question on, always looking for new post ideas ;)

21 thoughts on “There’s more than meets the eye: Differences between SharePoint’s Oslo and Seattle master pages

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  1. Hi David,

    There is a problem when I upload twice the seattle master page. The result is I cannot access to Parent Site and if I insists there will be a message come out as “Sorry, something went wrong, An error occured during translation of your HTML master page. For more information, please navigate to the master page by clicking preview button in the Master Page Gallery or directly typing its URL”. Same thing happen if I navigate to Site setting and to the Design Manager, the same message come in. Right now I just can access within the subsite.

    How can this problem be troubleshoot?

    Thank you and really appreciate if you can help

  2. Hi David, my master page encounter a problem when I have upload twice time the seattle master page, and it affect my master page where I cannot go back to the parent site, if i insist to go back to parent site the result will “Sorry, something went wrong, an error occured during translation of your HTML master page. For more information, please navigate to the master page by clicking the preview button in the Master Page Gallery or directly typing its URL” , same goes if I navigate to Site Settings and click to the Design Manager, the result will be the same as above. The only site I can access is the subsite. How can I troubleshoot this?

    Thank you

  3. Hi David, I got a problem when i upload twice for seattle page, and now a problem encounter where i cannot access back to the parent site, only subsite page i can access

  4. Great article David. Good to know the annonyms access part for these two master pages.

  5. Hi David,

    this is an interesting article, however i have a question regarding oslo masterpage.
    i want to hide the gear icon on the top right (site settings menu) based on permission.
    since oslo and seattle are different, i cannot find the div id s4-ribbonrow, furthermore, when i try to track down the div id by using the developer tools from the browser, i still cannot find it both in oslo.master or in oslo.html
    do you have any idea how to hide the gear icon in oslo template?
    kindly advise.


  6. I noticed the issue with the shorterned Gallery height. Can you help with any suggesstions on how to fix this issue?

      1. Done. Email sent with screenshots. Eager to know your thoughts on this. Can it be resolved with an edit to the Master Template? Or, do you suggest an alternative?

  7. Notice that the PowerPivot Gallery template under an Oslo master page is shortened so much in height as to be unusable. How to fix that? Any suggestions?

  8. Is it safe to go between the two without losing any information if I wanted to see the difference?
    Also, I thought I had Seattle selected, and the navigation appears that I do, but when I went to the master page settings it says I have Oslo.

  9. Great comparison. I was researching on the responsiveness of Oslo template and bumped into your article. Good to know that anonymous feature is taken care of for the most part in Oslo. Although I use it for team site collection.

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